Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Worthlessness – Abuse Produces it

Deu 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

My friend Kelly Orr tells about how the Lord opened her eyes one day to show her that the abuse she was suffering made her consider herself worth less than $1.99. You can read her story in her book You Know Me. She says that through economic abuse (as just one tactic her abuser used) she had slowly been robbed of all control of the finances so that she could not even buy a $1.99 peanut buster parfait at Dairy Queen. Driving by the DQ one day, she saw the $1.99 sign and the realization swept over her that she had come to regard herself as worthless.

“You are nothing. You have no value. You are only here to serve me. You will do as I say or else.” A slave in other words. This is what abuse tells its victim and this is what the victim comes to believe and feel. This is cruelty beyond words.

These things are all lies of course. The Bible tells us quite the opposite. God’s children are the apple of His eye. He is the defender of the defenseless. He hates the abuser. His children are saints, holy ones, heirs whom He loves and has loved before the foundation of the world. This is truth. But the enemy uses his wicked lies to rob us of any sense of worth. He is cunning and works to strip us of all value. Self esteem of course is often the subject of much false teaching, but understood biblically, self-esteem is really a truth. God’s people have value because He loves us. Because He has adopted us and given us His name. We are ascended with Christ, made new creations, and we will judge angels!

In Christ, we have worth. We are valuable in God’s sight. Satan hates this and so do his servants.

I wonder – how many of you have been made to believe – and even emotionally feel – like Kelly did, that you are worthless? That you aren’t even worth $1.99? The thing is a lie. A wicked lie that is intended to enslave. It is a lie we can be set free from:

Joh 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, (32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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12 Comments

  1. anonymous

    Oh yeah, that’s me. My 90yo father observed that my husband has a sense of entitlement — the most expensive meal on the menu, a draught with every meal. He is right.

    Saturday when I grocery shopped I picked up a pack of peanut butter cups. In the middle of the night last night he woke me up and demanded to know what right I had to buy that, how many other things do I “sneak.” (I ate the peanut butter cup in front of him, not like I was hiding it.) He accused me of spending all our money on food. But my grocery shopping list is mostly things that keep the peace with him, nothing I eat — lemonade, ginger ale, ice cream, onion bagels/cream cheese, scrapple, shrimp, crab meat, meats he can grill, etc. The one thing that is for me is bacon and eggs, he won’t eat them. And I dared to add a candy to the basket, how terrible of me!

    My husband buys golf clubs, golf membership, shoes, tees, balls, all the stuff that goes along with his sport. I have no hobby, sport, or friends to do anything with, so there are no equivalent expenditures on my part.

    My father also noted that my husband belittles me all the time. Again, he is right.

    And then my husband says things like, “I’m taking my guitar when we visit your dad this time. I want him to experience ‘true’ worship and get out of that church he is in.” Does he really think my dad wants to hear about Jesus from him?

    I am so glad that I know El Roi, the God who sees. I know how He sees me. I am so thankful his eyes are always on me. And that is where I find my worth.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anonymous – Yes, this is classic and evil economic abuse. Double standard. Entitlement. And a whole host of abuser tactics on operation. His goal in all this is to have power and control over you because that is what makes his engine run. Power and control. Abusers feed on it like a vampire sucks blood. I hope that one day you will be able to be free.

    • R

      I am so sorry that he treats you that way and claims to be a Christ-follower. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  2. wingingit

    Me. I have been made to believe I am worthless and unlovable.

    I began to heal from these thoughts after kicking out the abuser, but over the past two years he has used the court system, a guardian ad litem, my own mother and sisters to tell me to my face how useless and replaceable I am.

    Then a man I have known since childhood came back into my life, claiming the name of Christ, saying all the wonderful things my heart longed to hear and spending time with me. He sent me scripture to cheer my days and quoted God’s promises.

    I began to think wholeness was possible for me.

    But it turns out he as lying and married and betraying both of us. I am swallowed up in a deep dark shame, that rightfully belongs to him.

    Now I feel more worthless than ever.

    • Jeff Crippen

      winginit – Real worth, real treasure, comes from Christ’s estimation of us. We know that, but it is very hard not to feel worthless when people around us do their evil best to tell us we are nothing. I am very sorry for your recent disappointment and pain.

      • Hannah

        The evil poser I was married tried the same tactics, telling me I wasn’t worth anything because I couldn’t have children, didn’t do anything (I was a house wife), etc. When I was divorced, I only had a GED. The Lord told me He wanted to show me what He could do IN me, FOR me, and WITH me. I went back to school and earned my undergraduate degree and a masters in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy. He restored me and gave me a new name on this earth – Veronica, which means the harbinger of victory. He gave me victory over feeling like nothing!! As a counselor, almost every Christian woman I met with struggled with feeling worthless/good for nothing/not valuable. I would take them to the scriptures, pointing out that when God was angry with His people, He would discipline them, bring consequences to their disobedience, even divorce them (Jeremiah 3:8)! But NEVER did He say they had no value, or that they were not worth anything! Only the accuser of the brethren speaks that lie.

    • R

      Please don’t let that piece of garbage convince you that you are any less that God’s beloved child. And I am so sorry that our unjust court system has victimized you, too, and your family. The Lord sees the truth, and he will make it right.

    • Anonymous

      Dear wingingit
      I’m so sorry that you have this pain. Expanding on this tiny deep down truth you have, “.. that rightfully belongs to him. “
      This person took away your right to freely chose what relationships and decisions you make based on facts and truths.
      Childhood friend, “Christian”, saying all the right things … but failing to be truthful thereby taking away your right to engage or not engage. It’s called fraud.
      We will continue to see and experience the vile works of evil people. That your mother and sisters have slathered on the obnoxious superiority (mine did also), being overly responsible comes back to remind us how little we matter. Mark this thought with a big red X, Here is the LIE.
      You are in no way responsible for what other people do, think, or say. Putting down this baggage that I was forced to carry, refusing to pick it up, has been one of the most challenging and recurring wounds to face.

      • wingingit

        Thank you so much for these words.
        Yes, it is heavy baggage piled on us by those who carry and distribute evil to thwart the good works of a loving God.

        I, too, am putting down their hurtful words and evil deeds and picking up the love Christ has for me.

        He wants me to grow and shine.

        It is time to release all the shame and not let it define me anymore.

  3. ALL FOR JESUS MINISTRIES

    Almost 20 years ago, I was told to my face by a man in the top leadership position in a “Christian” ministry that I was like something my husband would buy at the market. That man said that I had no rights and I had to do whatever my husband told me to do without question. He could not have made me feel more worthless at that time if he tried. That was the tactic used in that ministry to control and dominate the women. My husband loved that environment. However, I knew what the Bible says about me and fought the battle in my mind to cling to God’s truth and not accept the devil’s lies that were spoken by that ministry leader.

    Abuse by narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths takes on so many forms and it is pervasive in “Christian” ministries and churches. Making women feel worthless is one form of abuse that is a red flag that indicates that the organization is NOT representing Jesus Christ in the least. Jesus treated women with love and respect when He walked this earth. Many of His financial supporters were women. Everything, including the great worth in God’s eyes of every human being – and that includes women – is twisted by wolves in sheep’s clothing!

    Psalm 139 says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made! Men and women are made in the image of God. NONE OF US ARE WORTHLESS. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that those who will sincerely accept His sacrifice, ask for forgiveness for their sins and genuinely repent due to godly sorrow will be born again and realize their great worth in God’s eyes!

  4. Beans

    If only i had know that the worthless feeling I’d grown up with wasn’t real. It’s an illusion induced by abusers. The self image it caused affected the major decisions in my life. If only I had known that it was intentional by malefactors, and not a realistic assessment of myself.

  5. Valued by the one that matters

    Thank you for the post, and it is on a topic that is classic in the abuse cases, by abusers in and out of the church. The devaluing is via money, or whatever form they can, it is part of the abuser strategy – it’s beyond a game, it’s evil in it’s most disguised fashion in public, done so commonly behind the curtain of claiming to be a Christian, and behind the closed doors at home. One minute the abuser’s devaluing is via monetary, the next it’s dismissing you in public, the next it’s slandering you (with their make believe stories), the next it’s threatening you because you should “be glad” they “love” you, then cheating on you and denying it – accusing you of cheating, then beating you and telling everyone your health was really declining (forgetting to mention they caused the injuries and thus the decline…..), threatening you with guns and then staging their attacks, and….. the worst part….. You walk hand in hand to church every Sunday morning, and Bible study every Wednesday night. Smiling and actually carrying bibles most of the time, tithing, doing your part in your small group, volunteering, the abuser even having taught Sunday school, you- the doting spouse encouraging them to return, all the while at home you are literally in hell trying to salvage some type of marriage and life for your family…. and the devaluing is a daily expectation, you’re just never sure if it will land that day or on what topic or how severe it will be for you….

    In the end – after numerous attempts to do anything to hold on to the “marriage”, even as the devaluing increases as does the cycle of dragging you in and pushing you out, knowing it is literally very dangerous…… when the Lord gives you a safe moment to get out – and you finally do – this time knowing and accepting there is almost certainty the church will not support you and neither will most family or friends…. you fully see the one that always loved you just as you are, and will never leave or devalue you, is our loving Father….. the cross is more than a cross, it’s the reminder that if you ever questioned his love, Christ is our assurance of how deep it runs….. Christ understands every single devalued and twisted moment we went through – and he never ever told us to die on the cross again. He did it for us – we are free, and we are valued by the one that matters.

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