Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

A Spoonful of Sugar Makes…for Confusion

Gal 4:17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.

When you are or have been in a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath/abuser, it is quite common to have doubts. By doubts, I mean that you call into question yourself, your observations, your conclusions regarding what is really going on – is he (or she) really so bad as I have concluded? Maybe I share the blame? Doubts, you see.

Now, these doubts are quite often the result of some “sugar” your narcissist serves up to you, or has served up in the past. A kind note. A kind action. A fun outing. Sprinkled in with the sugar in varying quantities added often almost imperceptibly, is the sour lemon of reviling, abusing, accusing, and so on. It’s all that dynamic you often hear called crazy-making.

These doubts can throw us into a real spiral of false guilt. We can start questioning our own motives and actions in the relationship. If, after all, the devil were always openly what he is – evil – and never showed up as an angel of light, the thing would be far easier to analyze. But that is not how the devil operates and it is not how his wicked servants operate. They sprinkle in sugar and spice and everything nice – but it isn’t really sweet or savory or nice at all. The whole thing is an evil facade. A tactical game to gain power and control over you.

And that is what Paul was warning the Galatians about – those foolish, foolish Galatians. The false teachers, anathema to God, were using flattery for an evil purpose, persuading the people to follow them and their false gospel rather than Christ.

None of us are perfectly holy. None of us are above sinning. We have not and do not always act righteously toward others. But the truth is that even if we did, even if we were perfectly holy and always behaved in thought and deed toward evil people, they would still hate us because that is who they are. In fact, as we walk in the light of Christ more and more perfectly, growing in Him, the hatred of the devil’s servants will actually increase. Just look at Jesus and what He experienced in this world and you will see it.

There isn’t any sugar in these types of evil people. The “pleasant” times might seem sweet, but they are a deception. In truth, there are no good times with a wicked person.


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  1. Praying Lady

    “The “pleasant” times might seem sweet, but they are a deception. In truth, there are no good times with a wicked person.”

    GREAT POST! The above sentences sum it up perfectly. There are no “good times” with a wicked person! People have asked me if I had “good times” with my abusive husband of over 35 years, and I have answered, “no,” because what I thought were “good times” were all deception and not the reality of our relationship. The flowers and gifts that he brought to me after treating me horribly were meant to keep me thinking that he really did love me in spite of the abuse that was the norm.

    The day he had his hands around my throat and was trying to kill me, which he never admitted to doing even though it was witnessed by a deputy sheriff, was the reality of who he was and how he acted toward me when his mask came off. The flowers and gifts were only tools he used to manipulate me.

    Thank you, Pastor Crippen, for another excellent post.

  2. Veronica Miyake

    I read once somewhere that women in abusive marriages aren’t stupid. If the husband was abusive 100% of the time, no woman would stay with him! But they’re not. They do exactly as you described here, Pastor. They can be fun, funny, give gifts (always with strings attached, however), and even be kind (always to the benefit of having a good image, though). I experienced this recently with someone. I began to question myself thinking, maybe I misjudged him. He was so gracious to me today! That very day the Lord took me to this Proverb: ”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)‬ ‭Don’t doubt your discernment. And don’t believe their gracious speech. They have seven abominations in their heart.

    • Molly

      So true. And one of the big reasons I believe for that is because we are kept naive in churches the way of abusive people. I have never been to a church that did a study into those passages. (part of satans plan to blind us ) “Those” people are on the outside, the world. Not us good, decent, god fearing church folk. Such arrogance make us ripe for satans pickings.

  3. SJH

    They always do something nice before they do someyhing mean….this is how I know the workplace bully (mean girl) is up to something.


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