Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

God Gives Vengeance to the Afflicted and Rescues us from Men of Violence

Psa 18:46-50 The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation– (47) the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, (48) who delivered me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence. (49) For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name. (50) Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

I am sure that you have days – perhaps many of them – when you just feel like quitting. Your thoughts run something like this:

  • My abuser seems to win every time
  • People believe him, not me
  • He has treated me with violence, yet he prospers and I have nothing
  • Maybe everything really is my fault, just like so many people are saying

I can’t read your mind, but I know how this kind of thinking goes because I have those very same thoughts many times too. King David had those days too, if you will read more of the Psalms you will see it to have been the case. And yet here in Psalm 18 David shares a great victory with us. God had given him vengeance. He rescued him from the man of violence. But the Lord does not only do this for people like David. Notice that last line –

Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

And to his offspring. Offspring is “seed.” Who is the seed of David? The Lord Jesus Christ! And all who are in Christ by faith are also David’s offspring. You see it in Romans 4 where Paul shows us that Abraham was the father of all who are of faith, David being one of them. We are Abraham’s seed. We are, you might say, David’s seed as well.  And that means that we are heirs of all the promises God made to them.

The point is this: don’t despair. Don’t give up. Fix your eyes on Jesus and believe His promises. Because I can tell you this by the sure authority of God’s own Word: the day is coming when God will give you vengeance and when he will deliver you from the violent man. He will do it. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But he is going to do it because if you are in Christ, God has set His love on you just as surely as he set it on King David.
He is coming. He is coming. Your day is coming.


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  1. Anonymous

    It does seem at times, like what you said. That the abuser is winning and also that people believe him and I look crazy. The hurt that goes along with that can be so intense, that it is sometimes crippling. Someone gifted me a book this week, called “Overcomers”, by David Jeremiah. Though it doesn’t address abuse directly it does offer hope and encouragement for desperate times. I read the following in this book today: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10). Thank you for the encouragement that you offered today by putting into words what the journey often feels and looks like. Also, for stating scriptural truth and offering encouragement for the journey. I am standing firm in God’s promises and His love for me.

  2. Gabby

    Dear Anonymous, just know you are precious and loved by God. He is the one who knows what is going on and he is not fooled nor deceived. God is not mocked and He says: ” vengeance is mine”. Praying for peace , comfort and endurance for you.

  3. Real Freedom

    Thank you Pastor Crippen. Everything you said is 100% how it is – how it felt – how it feels – and how it will be. Amen to that!

    Interesting though…. After all of the abuser’s varieties of abuse, including his hidden violence behind our closed door…. the years he has physically taken off my life (and others!), surgery, hospital stays, too many doctor and physical therapy appointments to count, etc. there is still n-e-v-e-r a day I would e-v-e-r want to go back to the silent hell of living with the abuser, or being anywhere near him or his allies. Freedom started the minute, by the grace and strength of God, I finally got away for good – and praise the Lord he promises he will take care of the rest!!

    It would’ve been very nice, like really nice…. not to have gone through all the hell and fallout the abuser caused, but it happened and he used his free will for serving satan…. And although it doesn’t make sense – satan’s servants never do – that’s God’s to handle now – and exactly as you said, exactly as he said – he will – now or later, he absolutely will. There is comfort in knowing God has got all of this covered.

    This doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the fallout years later, or that some have more or less fallout from the choices of the abusers – it will happen. And it does mean that you will be ok. We either get through the fallout, or the Lord shows us how to maneuver within it. Either way – or whatever way he does it….. it’s all back to his promises and he takes care of us…… and he will certainly take care of what is due to them.

    That is where the real freedom is…… let God be God, he follows through. And to your point, we need not despair, he is coming – our Lord, our Savior Jesus will return.

    • Jeff Crippen

      1Jn 5:4  For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

  4. Painfully Awake

    Today I was overcome with anger, because of all the violence–physical (a friend in law enforcement said, “You are one of the lucky ones [meaning I was still alive], when I consider what he did to you), verbal, emotional, financial, spiritual) I suffered from the abuser. I was literally yelling at God, “WHY did you allow him to do this to me in the first place?!” WHY am I struggling and struggling (poor health, financially, children I protected, yet they chose him over me) and he financially prospers over and over and over again–his life is SO easy! I cannot take this anymore!” I’ve been abandoned and targeted, because of all the lies he told and continues to tell about me. He brainwashed the children from a very early age against me. I apologized to God soon after and thanked Him for all the grace He has shown me. My heart is *shattered* in a million pieces; I experience profound loneliness on a daily basis, because I’ve had to keep so much of my life private to have some slice of safety. I was astounded at God’s timing when I read this article, because I sure need it. I also came to this blog, because I know someone will understand the deep pain that seems to never go away.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Painfully- absolutely we understand. All of those evil tactics. And years later they are still prospering – or so it appears. The Psalmist (ps 73) was feeling the same as you and he says that he finally came to see things as they truly are. He says-

      Psa 73:2  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
      Psa 73:3  For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

      And then his thinking got straightened out-

      Psa 73:17  until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
      Psa 73:18  Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.
      Psa 73:19  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!

      Consider their end. It is coming and in a moment they will be in hell. Be sure of it.

    • Free….

      Painfully Awake – your post brought tears. As Pastor Crippen said – we understand. For what it’s worth, we really do – once you have been in and go through what you did and are – you will experience pain like none other. This group here can assure you that you are not alone in the human race, and you are never left without the Lord – we DO understand, and it is awful what you have had to face, and still do.

      If I may, please know it’s not that you are a survivor as much as it is that Lord saved you for a reason. I swear there was an angel that tore the abuser off of me in one of his more violent assaults. I say this not for sympathy, I say it so you know you are not alone – there are forces in the spiritual realm which is RIGHT here! Evil AND good. It is inevitable you will suffer severely from the abusers’ assaults (be it physical, spiritual, emotional or all of them) and probably feel ostracized etc. but what I have learned is that when I think of the sudden silence post assault(s) and what I saw during the most horrible one(s), I am certain the Lord intercepts abusers when he has more that he wants for his child – you – his beautiful, beautiful loved child – to do – to finish the race – as the word assures, and keep the faith.

      This group here cannot remove your pain, we can only assure that we get it – and everything you have said makes complete sense – and though we will probably never meet – you have brothers and sisters that love you through anonymous prayers and encouragement. Please know that this time when you are targeted and go through horrible pain and public shame – it’s disgraceful on – them, NOT you! We see it – we get it – and others will too.

      Do not look back on those snakes that have betrayed you – they are a pool of vipers and they are poisonous – you do not need them, you have our Father, our Lord – our Savior, and his Spirit – you will NEVER be alone. NEVER.

      God bless you and your journey. We can assure you there is joy ahead – not the happy go lucky pretend world joy – but the real joy, the undertone of living knowing you are the Lord’s, it’s one that meets and exceeds the degree of your pain right now. You have been spared, you will do a victory stance like none other, if not now that’s ok, hang tight for it then in the future…… You are his child – literally – you will be free…the abuser(s) have chosen to go to hell – so be it.. they have a free will as do we all.

      Find that place in this world where you can be what you have fought so hard to be…. just that….free.

  5. Painfully Awake

    Wow! >>> Psalm 73:3 “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” The one word I heard over the years from multiple people describing the abuser was “arrogant.” Once again I am amazed! at God confirming the truth through His Word, about this wicked person. Thank you for this blog, Pastor.


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