Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Vengeance is Mine (says the narcissist)

Est 3:5-6 And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. (6) But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.

We recently looked at these verses which show the rage of the abuser/narcissist/reviler when anyone refuses to do their bidding. I wanted to give you two examples which I personally encountered years ago in my pastoral ministry.

The first one we will call Maggie – no, that’s too warm of a name. Let’s try Lucy. Lucy was raised in a pastor’s home and focused her life around the church. She married a man who did the same – after all, what else could he do? Lucy sang solos in church. She realized early on in life that if she was going to see her father much at all, she would need to be his assistant, which she did.

Lucy immediately approached me, volunteering to “serve” in our church by leading a youth ministry, along with her husband. This specific type of ministry required young people to meet each Sunday evening to plan and practice the roles in the ministry. One week, Lucy asked me if my wife could come and help her in the music portion of the youth ministry and my wife agreed when I asked her. Later that day however something important came up that precluded her from helping, so I went instead.

Now, it is Lucy’s reaction that night and the next Sunday night which I want to point out to you. Keep in mind that pretty much everyone in the local churches and community thought Lucy was the finest Christian in town.

When Lucy learned from me that my wife was unable to come but that I would help where I could, Lucy immediately fashioned an indescribable look of disdain and anger on her face. She said in very cold tones, “I designed this entire practice around her coming!”

Then, the next week my wife did come to the practice to help, apologized to Lucy for not making it the previous week, and Lucy looked at her, handed her a music director’s baton and said, “here. It’s all yours.” With that, Lucy walked out.

What was Lucy all about? Vengeance. Revenge. She was going to punish my wife for not doing her bidding and teach her that she better not fail again.

This kind of behavior evidenced itself in Lucy more than once and yet in public, her persona was one of a “servant” who loved Jesus. We knew better however. But guess what, even to this day if you ever tried to tell anyone who thought they knew Lucy who she really was – you would not be believed. Lucy was not born again. The love of God was not in her in spite of the disguise she wore.

Now, I was going to give you a second example of this same kind of person who craves revenge on anyone who “bucks” them. But Lucy is enough for now. Let me just say that years later, hundreds of miles away, I met another woman who by nature could certainly have been Lucy’s twin.

Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord. The Lucy’s in this world would differ. To them, beating down those who don’t obey them is sweet. And you won’t have that hard of a time finding them in local churches.


The Fruit of Thankfulness


No Excuse for Assuming All are Christians


  1. Lynn

    A narcissist’s “vengeance” is finite. It will pass away when they pass away. The plots they scheme usually end up ensnaring them, as we see with Haman in the book of Esther, But even if the narcissist gets away with everything in this life and is able to enact their vengeance, they still will have to answer to a Holy God at judgment day – for every thought, word, and deed they carried out in this life.

    God’s vengeance, once it is unleashed against the wicked, is eternal. At day 1,930,493,003,494 the wicked will be no closer to relief than they were on the day they were sentenced for their cosmic crimes. Their punishment will not stop. It cannot stop because it is the perfect justice the wicked’ s cosmic treason requires. Once judgement day comes and each person who is not found “in Christ” will experience the full measure of vengeance and wrath of a perfect, holy, righteous God that their behavior in this life warrants. It will be awful to experience for the wicked, but perfectly just. The saints of God will rejoice in finally seeing God bring his perfect justice against their abusers.

    It is a day I long for and can’t wait to see. When all the wrongs of this world are made right. Where the pain and scars I have lived with as a result of the abuse I’ve endured will be wiped clean. Where I can live in the presence of God and his people without fear, shame, or the burdens that this life impresses on me as a result of those who’ve sinned against me and my own sin. Where my new, perfect, eternal body can rejoice in the freedom and total healing I haven’t been able to achieve this side of eternity.

    So if you’re dealing with a wicked narcissist who is inflicting vengeance on you through their narcissistic rage, know that God will bring his perfect justice for the evil inflicted upon you. Paul describes the trials we endure as light, momentary afflictions, They may not feel light in the moment, but in comparison to eternity, they are but a blip in comparison to the love, joy and perfection we will experience in heaven.

    Know that God doesn’t require or demand that you remain in relationship with abusive people. This can be a spouse, parents, children, church member, pastor, boss, co-worker. It is not a sin to leave those who abuse you. Scripture calls to us to separate from those who profess faith but whose deeds are evil. They are the hypocrites whose real identity is that of a wolf not a sheep.

    In Galatians 5 it says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Forcing yourself to stay in an abusive relationship is akin to choosing a yoke of slavery. Anyone who is trying to enslave you is not a Christian. It doesn’t matter who they are – friend, family member, spouse, pastor. Walk in the freedom Christ offers. Who the son sets free is free indeed.

    Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Let your kingdom come and invade earth, making earth like it is in heaven.


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