Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Christ Can Heal Us

Luk 8:1-3 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, (2) and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, (3) and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

I want to ask you a serious question. Is there any ailment or trauma or damage evil has done to us that Christ cannot heal? I mean that question, as I said, seriously. Because even though we quickly answer “of course not” to that question, in practice we answer in the affirmative. In other words, we don’t really believe that He can. Oh, He might heal other people, but not me.

Now, the Lord for His purposes and for our good may choose to allow certain physical ailments to go unresolved in us. He did that with Paul’s thorn in the flesh, you recall. But I want to suggest something very confidently to you – We can be certain that Christ wants to heal us of spiritual maladies such as fear, anxiety, depression, deceit by the devil’s lies, hatred, unforgiveness, shame, false (and even real) guilt, and on and on the list can go. Christ came into this world to conquer the devil and set us free from his snares. Jesus wants you to be healed and be freed of these things. It is a certainty.

It is my observation that certain common schools of therapy in this world only want to make you cope. They give you meds and ongoing therapy sessions (often for years) in order to help you just get by. To enable you to function to at least some degree. But they never cure you. They never set you free. Only Jesus can do that! And He wants to do it!

I am sure that this is the message we are supposed to take away from this account:

Luk 8:43-48 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. (44) She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. (45) And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” (46) But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” (47) And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. (48) And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

We often recommend that abuse victims seek a qualified therapist who understands the dynamics of trauma and so on. But we do not recommend this as an end game treatment. Jesus wants you healed, He wants you to be free, and he is able to pull it off! His power is the power that raises the dead. Don’t think for a moment that He cannot or that He does not want to heal you.


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  1. Lurker

    Back when I was trying to recover during the 1990’s, I so wish that the therapists I saw had told me about narcissistic abuse rather than sell Prozac. I gave up on having kids and other things when the therapist simply confirmed that I was defective (just like the abuser said). The therapist might not have meant it that way, which is partly why traditional therapy is so weak in its ignorance of abuse. The therapist just wasn’t interested in me, just following procedure. But as we know, common reactions play into the abusers hands, because the therapist does nothing to stop the abuse, thereby condones it.

    • Anonymous

      A decade later, abuse was recognized to cause PTSD and Paxil and cognitive therapy was the treatment of choice as Pastor Crippen says in order to cope with the abuse.
      The other day I was reading that a new treatment for domestic abusers is being tested out : virtual reality. The goal is to have abuser recognize fear and what this looks like and feels like for the victim through their own eyes and emotions.
      It’s just my opinion, but I think therapists still miss the point and deny evil exists.
      Somehow this may backfire thinking the abuser is rehabilitated in their new insights and understanding of empathy. From my experience, the greater the pain inflicted the greater the joy of the abuser.
      I am grateful for the true healing that comes from the shared experiences of other survivors, sisters in Christ, the concept of No Contact, and the most solid of all paths: the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Agreed. Virtual reality simply provides another realm for the wicked to be wicked. These methods originate in man and they will never change the heart. Therapy, the right kind, has some place in helping victims understand more clearly what has been happening to them, but ultimately it is Christ who sets us free. There are no substitutes.

    • Susan

      I totally agree! Thank you for reminding me of the powerful way God has healed me COMPLETELY!

      My worst mental/emotional struggles were from 1981 to about 1984. I was supposed to take medication on a regular basis around 1982 or 1983. I kept NOT taking “my meds,” as I kept thinking, “How will I know when God has healed me if I take meds?” I wanted Him to do the healing because I knew He would do it right! Just let me say here, without medication, God honored the desire of my heart! Though I had serious, serious emotional conflict beyond 1984, I was able to face it head on and eventually find out that the source of my “illness” rested squarely in the face of my abuser.

      The credit for the strength I needed to face that, and to take appropriate steps to end the abuse, belongs solely to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ!

  2. lg

    I was very lucky to have found a good therapist who recognized the abuse before I did, she even labeled his actions as “evil” which took me aback — no one from my family or so called “Christian” church had used that term. She also kept saying to me “it sounds like he has been planning this for a long time,” and also said he sounds like a “sociopath.”

    At the time, I could not wrap my head around what she as suggesting. I eventually stopped seeing her b/c I was too busy, did not have mental health issues requiring therapy (which she also confirmed) and could not longer afford her under the new insurance.

    It took me several years and after reading Jeff Crippen’s books and sermons before what she said really sunk in, and to realize how she spotted it all right away. She is a Jewish therapist (she went to Yeshiva University in NYC), and the best therapist I have ever met and feel so lucky to have met her — especially when I compare to my “Christian” marriage therapist, some other “Christian therapists” I’ve met, and to some of the therapists who work with the students I work with.

    But as Jeff Crippen said, the real healing from the abuse did not come from her / from therapy, but from the reading of the Scriptures and seeking God’s Word, presence and promises.

    I only saw her for a few years, but it got tot the point where I just felt like talking to someone who isn’t God just isn’t helping. A lot of trauma is not not being able to articulate thoughts, feelings and emotions, etc and once this is able to be identified and articulated, then spiritual healing can begin.

    It stunts people’s spiritual growth and healing when most churches and therapists don’t even identify the evil and name it for what it is, and instead – most therapists and churches – pathologize the victim. I was so lucky that my therapist did not do that to me, but I see how it seem like most therapists do. Many students I work with identify themselves by their pathology as a ways, it seems, o avoid confronting the true evil of the abuse.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, “identifying oneself with one’s pathology” – that says it well. Huge mistake and one that will keep a person in real bondage.

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