Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Disguised "Friend"

Psa 55:20-21 My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. (21) His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.

One of the characteristics of the wicked which I have seen repeatedly over the years is the seemingly instantaneous transition from our best friend to our worst enemy. In fact a transformation has not occurred. Such a person has always been an enemy – disguised as a friend.

When a wicked person determines that we can be “of use” to them…they use us. And the typical way this goes is that they approach us as a genuine friend. And they sure seem like it! They want to be around us. They invite us to do things with them. They compliment us and encourage us. They profess their loyalty to us and they even stand with us against enemies.

But then…

…the transformation. This can happen years into such a relationship, or it may happen on the honeymoon as many of you know whose abuser was a spouse. Literally and almost unbelievably they become our enemy. Overnight! One day they are our loyal friend and the next morning…it’s over. How can this be?

Well, let me tell you. The fact is the friendship was always a disguise. It was motivated by a desire to use you for some evil purpose. They use you as a vehicle to ride to some desired destination on – fame, popularity, wealth, feeding their desire to control (yes, they controlled you in ways you may not have even seen). Paul mentions this wicked business in Galatians:

Gal 4:17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.

In some moment of time, these kind realized that you were of no use to them any longer. Perhaps Christ’s light in you was shining too brightly and threatening to expose them. Perhaps your growth in Christ was taking you in the path He calls you to and they wanted no part of going along with you. But their decision was made, and they cast you off. Cold. Heartless. Without conscience. As if your “friendship” never existed, as if all the history of your life with them was erased. And really, it was erased by them. If you doubt that, just run into them a year later or so and you can tell that they treat you like a total stranger, as if they had never known you.

This is the devil’s work. These are the methods of his servants. It turns out, they never loved you at all. And knowing this is wisdom.


More on Revilers I Have Known


Psalm 64 – Protection from the Secret Plots of the Enemy


  1. Free

    Thank you Pastor Crippen for posting this hard truth. After the abuser slowly but surely the veil lifted and I saw the majority of people I had considered friends were in fact friends as long as I provided what the fix they needed, known as fair weather friends. When I saw how much they were not there for me, I mean really there – I felt horror, it was shocking how unhealthy these relationships were in my life & how I didn’t fully see this until I endured the impact of the devastating abuse.
    I started the process of re-evaluating all the friendships top to bottom. There was nothing to salvage in most cases, & when I made my move forward the friendships were either already dead on the vine, or it was not well received that I was no longer going along with their choices. I am certain there is a long “prayer list” out there, aka their gossip list under the guise of “concerned” sister and brothers who are deflecting their lives & choices on me. It could appear I was the one who dropped them – so the script could be blamed on me, however it was either me separating from them, or I would continue to die in the “friendships” – I choose to live, so I was the one who moved on.
    There were only a few who stood strong & did not need details, they knew what the abuser did was evil & that’s where they drew their line. They have been a priceless gift in the good & in the trials of the abuse, & I thank God they were genuine friends in such a difficult time.
    Funny thing is – I have not missed the ones who were fair weather friends. When I stood back & looked at the big picture, over all of these years, I saw it was this way all along. Your blog is accurately stated – nothing changed.
    I did not see it in it’s entirety until all of this – & now I see, there was nothing to miss. Perhaps grieve for a moment what you thought was, but celebrate the opportunity to live in genuine friendships from here forward. Sometimes the hardest part of seeing the truth is knowing you didn’t before – if horrific abuse is what it took to see this – then so be it. Yes, I walked away & did not look back, & setting them free is setting me free.
    Bottom line, choose your friends wisely, & just because they say they’re Christians does not qualify them as trusted life companions.

    • Sarah

      “prayer list” out there, aka their gossip list under the guise of “concerned” sister and brothers”
      Accurate description! Thank you.

  2. Kesha

    Unfortunately, I have had a few friendships as you described. In my experience, these friends were professing Christians with sound doctrine, defenders of truth, lovers of the Word, yet they had a very critical spirit, controlling, busy-bodies, gossipers, envious, coveters, manipulators, etc.. When I began to witness the wicked sinful behavior, as a friend I would challenge them with their sin and attempt to rebuke them, which made them angry and defensive.

    These types of “friendships” are very confusing relationships. Friends who say they love the Lord and God’s people, but their actions show another. I too concluded that they were never friends from the start. I was being used to fulfill something they wanted…and they are like you said ” Cold. Heartless. Without conscience.”

    As a sexual abuse survivor, one lesson I’ve learned from living with a demonic abusive pedophile is how well evil disguises itself as an angel of light. The enemy of our soul, Satan, is a highly skilled deceiver, and “therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds: – 2 Corinthians 11:15

    What I’m finding to be challenging is the desire to want to warn mutual friends who are unaware of the true character and wicked nature of these so-called Christians. I do not want them to experience the hurt and betrayal of these toxic, unhealthy, and evil people…but realize that warning others could backfire and those who you try to help may turn against you.

    Praying for God’s wisdom for us all.


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