Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Let's Talk about "Peace"

Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Christ is titled the Prince of Peace. We look forward to the fullness of His kingdom in large part because there will be unending, complete and final peace. Every single aspect of war and conflict, sin and hatred, racism and injustice will be gone forever. Peace is a beautiful thing that in reality none of us have ever known in its full glory.

And when it comes to this evil business of abuse that we deal with, we are confronted by various “experts” who claim to hold the key to giving us peace. There are numbers of ministries that focus on this issue of peace. Some are worse than others, but most all of them raise my suspicions. Over and over again victims who go to them for help end up being put on trial. They are told that “well, God wants peace restored in your life so here is what YOU need to do.” That sort of thing. The problem is that so often what the victim “needs” to do is to make peace with her abuser!

Now, think this through. How does the Prince of Peace establish peace? Even now, but on that Day also when He comes again? How does Christ fill the creation once again with peace? I can tell you:

2Th 1:5-9 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— (6) since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, (7) and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (8) in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

There will be no negotiations with the enemy. Only full and complete destruction. The wicked will be cast into the Lake of Fire and we will never ever see or hear from them again.

And I want to tell you that THIS aspect of peace, that is to say, this business of HOW Christ is going to fill the creation with peace, is swept under the carpet by most supposed “abuse ministries,” churches, and pastors today. In other words, the “peace” they promise via their various programs and formulas is a false peace. As our friend Lynn has recently said in her post on Hezekiah’s prayer, there is no place for imprecatory prayer in these people’s system. As a result, we see that the Christ they serve is not the Lord Jesus of the Bible. He is a watered down version who loves everyone the same and what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians is, well, not worthy of this Jesus they serve.

So beware. Most “peace” that is promised by this myriad of “Christian” ministries is a false peace. Abuse victims are not going to have peace until they are able to be free of their abuser and that means that in this present life, absolute peace is not going to be achieved. The amazing thing about the New heavens and New Earth that we who are in Christ are headed for is this:

Rev 21:4-8 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (5) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (6) And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. (7) The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (8) But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

See it? The former things will have passed away. That means a whole lot more than we realize. It means that those triggering memories, all that PTSD, all of it – will be gone! Every tear. Every aspect of death. Gone. And why? Not only because of our new resurrection selfs, but because the wicked will have received their portion in that burning, eternal lake. We will never see them again. Will we think of them again? I don’t think so. And that is real peace.

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7 Comments

  1. Lynn

    There is much professing Christians do not understand about peace. They typically define peace solely as the absence of conflict. That is an incomplete definitional best.
    True peace is a sense of wholeness, of being restored to God, seeking to live as peaceably as we can with our neighbors, being at peace with ourselves, and living quiet lives that honor God.
    The only way to have peace with God is through repentance of your sin and placing your faith in Christ.
    You cannot create absolute, genuine peace in today’s fallen world. Sin prevents it. Evil men and women will do everything they can to prevent it. God will not allow it until sin is completely dealt with. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either deceived or trying to manipulate you.
    The only way to have peace with abusive people is to cut them off from your life and pray for the swift justice of God to be enacted in their lives. Remaining connected to them, even at a distance, is toxic. I discovered this when I went no contact with my family. The amount of peace and relief I felt greatly outweighed the sadness and grief I felt for what I’d lost.
    Much of what is taught in today’s Christian churches regarding peace is centered on peace keeping not peace making. “What’s the difference,” you ask.
    Peace keeping is when a person or group of people submit to the demands of those in power in order to avoid conflict, pain, or discomfort. This is what most Christians believe biblical peace is. They are wrong. This kind of peace is only applicable between true believers in Christ when dealing with non-gospel issues or with regards to the laws of the land that do not contradict God’s law. Otherwise it is sin. God calls it cowardice.
    Peacemaking one the other hand is taking whatever action is necessary in order to bring about the righteousness of God in the situation. This is the kind of Peace Jesus brings to us. It includes the complete and utter destruction of God’s enemies by Christ himself. It includes the justice of God against his enemies in this life and in eternity. It includes cutting off relationships with those who profess Christ but are wolves and goats. It includes walking away from people and institutions that require us to create alliances with the kingdom of darkness. It includes using imprecatory prayer against the enemies of God to inspire God to enact his justice for their wickedness. It requires sacrifice to enact and will be costly. It cost Jesus his life and may cost those who follow him theirs. It can cost us family, friends, relationships, jobs, wealth, businesses and more. But the reward is so much greater. All that was lost will be restored in eternity with Christ. We will be free from the burden of the memories of the abuse we’ve endured. We will never have to see, hear, or remember our abusers any more when we are in eternity. They will receive their just reward and be cast into hell, forgotten by us forever.
    If professing Christians do not love and obey God, they are not true brothers and sisters. If they demand you keep peace with abusive people and Institutions they are false Christians. Depart from them. I don’t care if they are friends, family, fellow church members, pastors, or employers. Remaining in relationship with them continues to slowly poison yourself. It does not bring healing to their sinful life. It’s like being a healthy apple trapped in a box of rotten ones. The longer you remain with the rotten ones the more likely you too will become rotten.
    Is there a time to keep peace? Yes, but it’s probably less often than you think it is. Most of the time we tell ourselves that we are keeping the peace is really just our own cowardice and fear talking. It was with me. It’s why I stayed in unhealthy relationships with family, churches and career for much longer than I should have and didn’t speak up as often as I should have for fear of retribution. Once I finally I saw the way their rottenness began to infect me and harm me it triggered my choice to change. The misunderstanding and false teaching about what peace looks like is one of the reasons why I am wary of most visible churches today. They say pretty things that seem right, but upon further inspection it’s destructive and abusive.
    Never keep peace if it means surrendering to the demands that violate God’s law. That is not godly. It is cowardice. That is the peace we see modeled for us in much of Christendom today. They make alliances with enemies of God in the name of peace and encourage their followers to do the same. Where in scripture do we see Jesus or the authors of the New Testament making peace with the enemy and God commending them for it?
    Usually when we are pressured to keep the peace it is an invitation to suppress the truth of God and keep his people in bondage.
    When peacekeeping is applied wrongly – which it is most of the time – like not standing up for the laws of God that oppose what’s popular in today’s culture, it is sin.
    You see this often in church when wicked people demand you keep the peace, what they mean is that you must forgive the unrepentant abuser. You must reconcile with them. You must ignore, hide, minimize their sins lest the name of Christ be sullied by the truth of their sin being exposed.
    The opposite is true. The name of Christ is glorified when we identify and expel the wickedness from among us. Evil can’t hide and cause damage as easily when it’s exposed to the light. If you want a safe, peace filled church, you must expose and expel all the abusers in your midst. No matter if it’s a member, volunteer, leader or pastor of the church. Failing to do so will destroy the people and the church turning it into an ally of Satan not a light in the darkness.
    Model Christ. Choose to be a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper.

    • R

      Lynn, what you call “peace keeping” here is what Leslie Vernick calls “peace faking.” I appreciate that term because it’s exactly what I did for years, and there was nothing peaceful about it.

      • Lynn

        Thanks R,
        Peace faking is a great way to phrase it. I too spent way too much time doing that in order to survive with wicked family. It was anything but peaceful. It created a lot of anxiety and depression in me because I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t know how to escape the abuse that would follow if I didn’t keep the peace.
        Very grateful to be free from them as I grow that peace making muscle.

  2. wingingit

    I was recently criticized for saying God hates his enemies and he will administer justice to them, and the time for mercy will be gone.
    The Lord will harden his face toward those who harden their heart toward Him and his people.
    Thanks for speaking the truth about justice. It is the hope that keeps me standing and holding my ground.

  3. Z

    Pastor Crippen,
    THIS is the best counsel a sufferer of PTSD & anxiety from a lifetime of abuses by “family” could receive! That PROMISED HOPE OF PEACE one day. Jesus Himself wiping our tears from our eyes, no more pain, injustice, no “christian abusers” (liars) in their masks or the liars who enable them in the New Heaven & New Earth-NEVER to be seen or heard again! No more smear campaigns! No more “christians” adding to our suffering by turning their backs on us & running to the side of the abusers-for personal gain/bribes/flattery/exemptions from known abusers, convenience & ease in this life, avoiding unpopularity with evil people/the world, not incurring any even slight discomfort by standing for what is just & right (as the Lord they “profess to follow” does stand for & says they will be targeted for rightly doing). Their future residence for eternity, arranged by a just, righteous, holy God, in the lake of fire & sulphur & separation from God should be cause for hope & comfort for each of us who has been denied justice here on earth. We watch the wicked seem to prosper in every way & that can destroy a victim emotionally & spiritually & also cause PTSD.
    But->Your Scripture references & also Psalm 73! Their end is destruction! And ours is what you described! Gloriously free & peaceful in the Presence of our Lord forever.
    No amount of trauma counseling can bring about the comfort these Scriptures, that guarantee my future promised peace, bring to my spirit!
    Thank you for this compilation of Scriptures, your blog’s encouragement today as well as past ones referring us to Psalm 73. They have blessed me greatly & have “treated” my PTSD better than anything else has!

  4. E.

    Thank you for this post. It’s so true that victims will not be able to experience peace on this earth until they are free of their abusers. There is a sense of peace even in being able to get ready in the morning without someone “commenting” on my looks, hair, outfits, and weight. Peace is impossible while the disrupter of peace is present in one’s life.
    But perception is often twisted where the one who seeks help or tries to leave the abuser is the one who is deemed as disrupting the peace in the relationship by “alleging abuse,” thereby “creating drama.” The abuser likes to act surprised and say that he doesn’t know “why she is throwing away the perfect family,” or is leaving him after he has done all that he can to “keep her happy.” His acting can make the victim appear insatiable, delusional, or vindictive.
    And the people listening to him sometimes don’t even bother to get both sides of the story. Perhaps they equate peace with normality (i.e. “divorce = conflict/ contentiousness” and they don’t want to be on the side of the person filing for a divorce).
    And when the victim leaves the church due to a lack of support, that only exacerbate their negative opinion about her (that “She is unable to sustain relationships, whether marital or church fellowships). Sometimes it costs one a reputation in the church community to gain a life of peace—a life without her abuser. But why stay with the abuser just to keep on pleasing people who don’t understand what true peace is?

  5. Snapdragon

    It is so cathartic and validating to hear these words. I needed to be reminded of the New Heavens and New Earth where there is no evil forevermore. Reading the verses, I was saying “Yes! Yes!” in my mind. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

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