Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

What Kind of People Go to Hell?

Revelation 21:6-8,” 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.”

What kind of people will populate Hell?  Or, more precisely, the Lake of Fire?  The answer would surprise most people.  The Apostle John lists some of them here:

  • Cowards
  • Faithless
  • People who practice detestable things
  • Murderers
  • Sexually immoral
  • Sorcerers
  • Idolaters
  • Liars

I don’t pretend to know exactly what each of these items mean.  Sorcerers, for example.  What is that?  A witch perhaps, or a practitioner of some black art, a Satan worshiper?  But I have a hunch that this category also includes more subtle things as well.  What are the detestable?  They are fundamentally people who are detestable to God.  Idolaters, murderers.   Then the faithless.  We overcome the world by our faith in Christ, though we do not see Him, we love Him.  We believe His Word.  Not so the faithless. They must be hands on or they will have none of it.

But do you know who else will end in hell?  It’s at the top of the list: cowards. Let me translate that for you: nice guys.  Nice people are at the top of the Lord’s “do not enter” list.  Nice, you see, is much different than loving.  Nice people make everyone happy.  Nice people are popular.  Nice people…. let us do whatever we want.  Nice preachers tickle our ears. So the masses like them.

Oh, but don’t ever count on Mr. Nice Guy to back you when you are in trouble.  That would require him to take sides, and that is something he simply cannot do.  Nice precludes such a thing from him.  Nice people, you see, are cowards.  They really aren’t nice at all.  They are incredibly selfish. It’s all about them and their reputation.

Which brings me to my point.  What kind of a pastor do you want?  When churches are looking for a pastor, how do they evaluate the candidates?  (By the way, there has to be a much better way to call a pastor than the standard resume cut followed by interview followed by preaching a few times and answering a few questions.  No wonder we are in the mess we are).  Most people want a pastor who is “nice.”  I know some people who absolutely loved their first pastor because he always gave candy to the children.  The children “loved” him.  So the parents were happy.  It was all so, “nice.” People want a pastor who will pat them on the back, tell them how well they are doing, hold their hand in a hard time, and pronounce them saved at their funeral. But a real Christian detests such things. Christ’s true sheep hunger and thirst for God’s Word.

Let me burst the bubble.  The reason many of you have been so sorely treated with gross injustice at the hands of your churches is because the leadership is sooooo, “nice.”  That’s the problem.  They are nice to everyone, including your abuser.  Nice people just want to smooth out the rough spots so all can go on as it always has.  Fine for them.  Not fine for you. And guess what? These nice guys turn out to be not so nice at all to victims or anyone who tells them “hey, you have wickedness in your church here week after week. You need to expose and confront it.”

You see, in the end, we don’t need nice guys as pastors and elders.  We don’t even need them as friends.  What we need for a pastor or elder is a just and righteous judge who refuses to show partiality.  A man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness and who is willing to stand with the weak and oppressed even if it costs him his job.  Think about it.  Let’s say that some wicked person commits some gross evil against one of your children.  What kind of a judge do you want when the evil man is brought to trial?  Judge Nice?  You know you don’t.  You want justice, not nice.  Because justice is right.

Jesus is not nice.  The Son of God is everything His Father is, and He has been appointed the Judge of all men, living and dead.  He is not going to be nice on that Day.  He will be loving toward His own.  But He will not be “nice” toward the wicked. EVERY deed, EVERY word will be judged.

So, if your church has leaders who give out candy, whom everyone just absolutely loves, who are known in the community as the nicest guy ever known…. well, good luck to you on the day you go to such a man seeking justice for and rescue from your abuser.  Such cases require a Jesus who charges into the Temple, whip in hand.  Not a nice guy.  Not a…. coward.

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16 Comments

  1. Neil Schori

    Your post leaves me with one question for myself: “what is the very next “right” thing I need to do today?”
    Thanks, Jeff!

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  2. notlongnow

    Can’t amen this enough. If you ask me, being a coward disqualifies a man to be a pastor as it is so diametrically opposed to what a real man of God is meant to be. It’s being so utterly unlike the real Lord Jesus Christ.

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  3. Cara

    I’ve wondered about this list, too. I know I’ve failed. I’ve been cowardly “nice” at least once. I’ve lied at least once. I’ve doubted my faith at least once. And so on. Good thing God is patient and Christ already lived and died in perfection for us.
    Tolerance was heavily promoted for awhile. So are the standbys of niceness, politeness, and being well-mannered. I think such are mistakes. They train people out of their sensibilities, set people up to not have self-protective skills, and so forth.
    Neil has it. What is the very next right thing I can do today? We can train ourselves back out of bad teaching, misguided teaching, and stop being “nice” bit by bit. It’s a terrible habit to have cultivated. And women especially are punished for not being “nice” so it’s a tough battle.

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    • Molly

      Yes! Love how you say that the flock is not taught to have “self-protective skills.” So very true! And I was definitely trained to ignore my sensibilities. I was blind to that for so long.

      3
    • Cherey

      Amen, Cara. I’m afraid I’ve lived by and trained my children to be kind at all costs. That doesn’t protect us from the “swine”. Backtracking now to teach better discernment and boundaries and watching for the red flagged cowards.
      Thanks!!

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  4. Rae

    Standing by a conviction is not an easy thing. Spiritual convictions can appear to “nice people” who call themselves believers as a divisive act. When I stand on Gods word.. I am finding out who the “nice people” are. Boldness and courage especially for a Christian woman is frowned on. Especially in today’s churches.

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  5. suzzieq07

    Wow, I just had to post on this one. My Pastor of seven years, back in Florida, was not NICE! He, however, was NO coward either! He went out on a limb several times to defend me when he (and his lovely wife) saw what was going on in my “marriage.” Abuse is what was going on. One day I had been telling him of my ongoing deep, hurtful and troubling relationship with my husband. It was like getting a drink of cool water to my soul when, after I finished, he said to me, “Believe me, Jerry isn’t fooling me!” He and his wife actually stood in the gap with me as I struggled to bring to a close that horrific time in my life. My beloved Pastor Len even toured my neighborhood to locate my only source of transportation, a battered 20-year old car. He found it, minus the distributor! He persuaded the owner of the home where it had been parked to release it to him even though they had sided with “hubby,” based on the completely untruthful story he had told them. (Of course Pastor Len had to put in a new distributor first!). There were so MANY things this couple did for me, I could write a very long time. Most of all it was their prayers and unwavering support that helped me break free, once and for all! I write this now as I just found out today that Pastor Len’s daughter and son had to have him moved to an assisted living facility. He has become a victim of severe dementia at age 75. His beautiful wife Sharon, died about 12 years ago. I’m writing this in honor of BOTH of them. One day I will get to see them again and we will ALL be well and healed…forever!

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    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you for telling us about Pastor Len and his wife. We shall indeed meet them one day!

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  6. lg

    Hi — Would you be able to do another post about praying for enemies / narcissistic sociopaths, and what that should look like?

    I was prayed over against my better judgment the other week, and the prayer was for God to do a work in my abuser’s heart, ie change his heart. It was so upsetting and distressing for me and when I was trying to explain why it was so distressing and I kept coming back to how I don’t believe Jesus prayed that all people “know not what they do,” and that there are some people who know exactly what they are doing is evil and harmful and that we are instructed in Jeremiah not to pray for those people, and provided imprecatory prayers in the Psalms and I also gave the Nehemiah example, but was met with blank stares.

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    • Jeff Crippen

      Lg- actually you state the truthful response very well here. The illogical “logic” of those people would conclude that the devil himself doesn’t know what he is doing so hey – pray for Satan to repent.

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  7. Monique

    Amen!

  8. Trust in him…..

    Wow – thank you Pastor Crippen. After the hell of the “nice” people basically socially adopting the abuser after I left him for his willful and ceaseless violent, deceitful, covertly torturing choices in his “Christian” marital “love”, among other things….. nice now bears a new meaning…… and you nailed it in this posting.

    Seems someone could be generally nice enough, but still have a spine – then there’s the “nice” who have lost their spine and sold out to satan and trample across lives with their willful cowardly default. This “nice” misuse of the love concurs all campaign is like taking a hacksaw to the Lord’s word to promote a fairy tale nicey-nicey cover up for satan’s select.

    It might take a few rounds (or more!) on the nicey nicey merry go round before you really see what’s going on, but once you see it, I mean really see it, there’s no turning back…. you won’t want to go around that thing any longer….. and getting off of it is returning to what he has wanted us to do for all of our lives… Get your footing back in the Lord, keep it there and stand firm…. bracing yourself…. trusting in him, not them.

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  9. Dawn

    Maybe someone can clarify something for me.

    I am not disagreeing with Pastor Crippen’s assessment of “nice” people but sometimes I feel like we are sorely lacking “nice” in our society. I see so many people who get so ugly and nasty over really petty matters or who attack others for disagreeing with them. I feel like over the past year I’ve become a broken record calling for unity to those around me. I really want people to act nice for a change. And by nice, I’m not meaning to brown-nose anyone or to accept the unacceptable but more along the lines of expecting adults to act like adults. People can disagree without being disagreeable. I know I can disagree and still treat others with respect and courtesy. Or confronting others on their bad behavior with respect and not just jumping all over someone with condemnation and accusations. So maybe it is just a matter of semantics but “nice” is the word that keeps popping into my mind.

    This topic has great relevance to me on a personal note. This past weekend I had the privilege of planning and chairing a political convention for my senate district here in Texas. It went well and most people were fabulous to work with with the exception of my two kindergarteners (two adults acting like they are 6 y.o.). I feel like I’m still recovering from having gotten beaten up by the two of them and every single issues they were upset about was so unbelievably petty as to the point of ridiculousness. The sad part is that their behavior is extremely common both within our political party and society as a whole. I don’t coddle such “children” but am amazed at how many others do.

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