Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Tender-hearted, Forgiving, Believing the Best

Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Col 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, (13) bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (14) And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

We necessarily talk much here about how the wicked twist Scriptures on the subject of forgiveness. And we talk about righteous anger and how it is right and good to yearn for the Lord’s justice upon evildoers.

But what I would like us to think about here is how we as real Christians must relate to one another. Especially when we have differences or when we sin or perceive that we have been sinned against by a fellow believer.

You know the feeling. That pit in your stomach when you are afraid that you have offended a friend by something you said or did that perhaps was wrongly perceived. This fear can be the result of being blamed, shamed, accused, alienated, and isolated by someone like a reviler/abuser/sociopath/narcissist. It has happened so often, right? Relationships destroyed. Dumped. Abandoned. Rejected. Blamed. By family members, children, one-time friends. These things are the work of the evil ones who want to isolate us and control us and punish us for not adequately worshipping them.

But with this kind of toxic history, we can easily become relationship “gun-shy.” When is the next person going to turn and abandon us? When are we going to say or do something “wrong” and that’s the end of that? This thing can haunt us. It’s one reason abuse victims often habitually say, “sorry, I’m sorry….sorry…sorry.”

When we who are real, authentic Christians think that another believer has said something that seemed hurtful, or has done something that offended us, we need to be slow to take offense. I hope that whenever I write something in this blog that offends a reader, or that when I say something in a sermon or Bible study that rubs someone the wrong way, that they will not just convict and dump me. We have all had waaaayyy too much of that dumping, right?

In the best of relationships between real brothers and sisters in Christ, there will sometimes be friction, or most of the time perceived friction because of something said or done or not done. I mean, I can mention that I enjoy hunting and fishing and shooting and……whatever – and suddenly someone is done with me. Or I can mention that I approach the book of Revelation through an amillennial lens, and another person casts me away for being a “liberal.” I can say something I think is funny, but someone is offended – and once again the dump truck dumps the relationship. These things ought not to be among brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a terrible crippling thing to have to live in the fear of waiting for the next rejection blow to fall and we must do everything we can to help one another conquer that fear by extending safety in Christ to one another.

We who are in Christ ought not to have to fear these things from one another. We should be able to be comfortable in Christ’s flock – even when we receive some valid criticism which is meant for our good. Because, after all –

Col 3:12-13 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, (13) bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.


Faith Must Have Priority Over Intellect: “The Intellectual Evil Man”


Hard-Hearted and Heartless


  1. Veronica Miyake

    I love this because isn’t it the world these days that gets offended at everything? We have to be so careful what we say or we are considered haters. So if people who claim to be Christian’s are easily offended, that makes us just like the world, catering to our flesh and judging people’s motives. If we are defensive, what are we defending? The word is clear that His people are to be humble of heart, teachable, and able to receive exhortation. I’ve noticed throughout my walk with the Lord that those who are so easily offended quickly accuse those who offended them without grace or mercy! They assign cruel motives and do what they are accusing others of doing! I avoid people like that because then you’re always walking on eggshells, constantly afraid of saying something they will take offense to. That does not fit into the paradigm laid out in the scriptures of how we are to be as true sons and daughters of the Most High.

  2. Dee

    Thank you Pastor Crippen for writing about offenses – so prevalent today. For the most part, it shows me those so easily offended show both a sense of arrogance, entitlement and immaturity, which seem to go hand in hand. They need to get some real world experience to know what genuine hardship is, so they learn to count their blessings and use their time wisely. ‘Maybe use some of that energy to help out the needy and oppressed. I say be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger, James 1:19. I really don’t find myself dealing with them much once they let me know who they are when easily ‘triggered’. I try to remember who I am in Christ, knowing that life is too short to ever be unkind. I have seen so much of this. I have resolved to be gracious and simply remove myself when possible, leaving room for the wrath of God if He sees fit. Most seem to be looking for an offense – which to me is the real offense. Just before I leave home, standing in front of the door, I ask Jesus to go before me and help me remember who I am in Him, this seems to calm and steady me for the world while I am out, because today you don’t know what you may face.

    I will add if a brother or sister offends you, go to that person and get it resolved in a loving kindness way. Do not mention it to others, just the source so you both can get past it and walk in agape love. At the same time, let’s not strain at a nat and swallow a camel, Mt 23:24. One time at a grocery store, apparently I offended someone, without realizing it. She simply looked at me and gently said, “thank you, Jesus”. I immediately corrected myself. That, ultimately was a beautiful learning experience I will never forget – the grace she showed in her correction of me. If someone truly is being offensive, God Himself will deal with them, as His word says, “offenses will come, but woe to that one through whom they come”, Mt 18:7.

  3. Jill

    I really agree with you, Pastor Jeff.

  4. Grace

    May the Lord give us discernment to be slow to anger or assigning negative motives and quick to forgive those true believers who offended us but are repentant. On the other hand, we pray that we do not tolerate and explain away behavior that is genuinely evil and dangerous. It is a delicate balancing act, for which we need wisdom.

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