Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Emotional Vacuum of the Wicked

Mat 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. (28) So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Dead bones. That is what is inside of the wicked who are of the genre of the Pharisees. In this blog we focus on a particular (and far too common) class of wickedness – the narcissist, the sociopath, the psychopath. And I want to suggest some points for your consideration in regard to the vacuum of positive emotion in these types. Virtually all domestic abusers (especially the kind who claim to be Christians) are characterized by this vacuum.

Human beings, even those who are still dead in their sins and without Christ, are still possessed of positive emotions. By positive, I mean, for example, some ability to love, to experience real grief, to show and feel empathy toward others. They have some sense of the moral law of God and can feel a degree of righteous anger toward that which is wrong. If you are sorrowing, for example, over the loss of a loved one, your unsaved neighbor might well feel some sorrow for you and bring you flowers or a card or prepare a meal for you. And these things are done by them in some sense, from the heart. That is to say, they are not faking it. They are sincere.

But narcissists/sociopaths/abusers have a vacuum within them in respect to positive emotions. If they bring a meal over to you, it is not out of a heartfelt genuine sharing in your grief. It is outward, and can only be outward for them because inside they are dead emotionally. It is pretend. Fake. Counterfeit. It is an imitation they have picked up by watching “normal” people. And it is all meant to deceive.

Now, such people do possess negative emotions. They are capable of intense hatred and anger, of shame which underlies that anger. They can shed buckets of “crocodile tears” which are either just plain fake or nothing more than an expression of rage.

Spiritually then, we see that this class of evil persons cannot be real Christians. When we are born again, we love Christ from the heart. We love one another from the heart. We hate evil. We weep with those who weep and we do so genuinely. We sorrow over the state of the world and have a genuine zeal to see the lost come to Christ. Like the Good Samaritan, we really do want to help those who are suffering. But none of these emotions are present in the abuser. Anything that looks like positive emotion is just an act. A real act, the script of which is picked up by studying normal people and then aping their behavior (apologies to primates).

So don’t be duped. Be wise about wickedness.


Cold-Blooded Anger


Aloneness – the Common Experience of Christ’s People


  1. AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!!!

    “Narcissists/sociopaths/abusers have a vacuum within them in respect to positive emotions.” Wolves in sheep’s clothing only imitate the positive emotions of others. There is absolutely no genuineness in them. “And it is all meant to deceive.”

  2. Veronica Miyake

    Thank you for this post today, Pastor. I needed the reminder. I just read in Proverbs a similar warning: “A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within. When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭26:24-25‬ ‭

  3. Casey T.

    I can confirm what you are saying here. The *suspected* narcissist in my life would often imitate me. He would copy my positive actions or pretend that they were of his own accord and independent from me, but ultimately my positive would never become a part of his permanent thinking or behavior. When I would want him to empathize or demonstrate visible concern, as he presented that he was capable of, it was usually in regard to his own negative behavior. During those times he would look at me with perplexity and say, “I don’t know what you want me to do.” It was crazy making in the inconsistency.


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