Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Refusal to Repent Exposes the Hypocrite

Mat 3:8-12 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (9) And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. (10) Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (11) “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Repentance is an essential element in genuine faith and salvation in Christ. A person who refuses to repent is not a Christian. And as most of you know, the RASN (Reviler, Abuser, Sociopath, Narcissist) is not known for his/her repentance. The Bible is quite clear:

1Jn 1:8-10 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Listen to John Calvin on this. The quote is taken from one of his sermons on this scripture:

Act 2:37-38 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (38) And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

[Note: Calvin is speaking about man the sinner in general. When he says “we” or “us” here he means how man is apart from Christ]

“Now we must not be surprised if we are unable to prick our own conscience, because we do the very opposite. We are grieved if someone speaks of our vices in public. We do not want anyone to reproach us for them. We do not want to think about them in private either….”.

“We should be quick to confront our vice head on and take heed to correct it while God gives us the grace to put our minds to it. Now, since very few of us do that and are blessed, many more of us do not do that and are not blessed. And no matter how much we might boast of being a Christian, we indicate clearly, unless we change our ways, that ours is but empty boasting.”

“For we should know that Christian teaching consists of these two points, namely, repentance and the remission of sins. We have no other instruction from God. After Jesus instructed his apostles, he said, ‘Preach repentance and the remission of sins’ (Luke 24:47).”

“And that is why we see many people who are far from being Christians. For as I said earlier concerning repentance, they never want to acquire knowledge of their sins and do not want to be badgered about them, and yet it is in repentance that all our well-being lies.” [John Calvin, Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles, Banner of Truth Trust]

The thing is quite plain and clear –

Luke 13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

2Co 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Calvin also states just what genuine repentance is –

The Christian must experience personal grief for offending God….Repentance is, in a word, the turning of a man to God. Repentance has its seat in the spirit and in the heart. It is a turning around to contemplate God face to face rather than having one’s back turned to Him. Repentance must produce fruit; otherwise we will not recognize that a man is converted. ‘Bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance’ (Matthew 3:8). It will only be boasting filled with lies if we say we are repentant but our lives do not reflect our words.

Still another point in this regard is this: the genuine Christian continues to repent daily. This is another certain mark of the new man in Christ. We continue – even increasingly – to see our sin and confess it, asking the Lord’s forgiveness. We continue daily to hate our sin and battle against it by the Spirit in us. The hypocrite is characterized by none of this.

Note then what I said at the beginning (quoting Calvin). The hypocrite has no pricked conscience. (That is, his conscience does not cause him to grieve over his sins). If anyone speaks of his sins, then he is grieved – savagely so. He lashes out in rage. He does not want anyone to reproach him for his sins. He will not even think about his sins in private. His boasting about being a Christian is a lie.

This is the reality of the RASN, and knowing these truths serves as a great encouragement to the victims of these evil ones. It clears up the fog and confusion. He is not in Christ. He is dead in his sins. And his refusal to repent proves it.

Finally, a word to pastors –

The one who preaches to us must reprove us daily for our faults. Otherwise we would have a gospel made to our order. It would not be the one God has given us. That fact greatly annoys us, whatever the situation. Some are vexed and others gnash their teeth, but we must nonetheless uphold the teaching of God in the midst of his church. If we think we are doing them a favor by being lenient, we shall be contributing to their ruin. It is a great pity that we cannot be persuaded that this is true. As I have already said, when God calls us, a change must take place in us, as if we had become new men. That is how Scripture speaks of it and how we must use repentance to advantage.

[John Calvin, Sermons on Acts, Banner of Truth Trust]


I Cannot Teach this Scripture Too Often


It’s Those Brief Unguarded Moments


  1. Molly

    After years of hearing this verse it just hit me the part “if we CONFESS our sins..” meaning to name it, then He will forgive us. I have been estranged from my blood family for a few years now and just recently my dad called to say he was “sorry”, though when I asked him what he was apologizing for he could not name it. I know he merely apologized only so he could throw it back on me and be able to say that he tried but I wouldn’t forgive him. When things like that happen, some things that are written about in the bible make so much more sense.

    • Molly- you showed real wisdom in this. Learned it the hard way I’m sure. Fake I’m sorry’s or fake “I forgive you’s” are just setups for further abuse.

    • That’s really a helpful distinction, Molly, thanks

  2. Kate

    From the post: “Note then what I said at the beginning (quoting Calvin). The hypocrite has no pricked conscience. (That is, his conscience does not cause him to grieve over his sins). ”

    Their conscience is eternally seared. (1 Timothy 4:2) This means they do not even have the ability to look at themselves truthfully. There is NO truth in them (John 8:44-45). Not a single drop. This leaves them COMPLETELY unable to live in REALITY. They are spiritually dead so they can NEVER RIGHTLY discern. They may say the right words but we know from John 8 that their very essence and every thought is a lie. They are actually self worshipers (2 Timothy 3:1-5) so they don’t truly see ANY imperfections in themselves. In their mind the fault is always external, as in others people’s or circumstances. They are TRULY insane.

    They do NOT have ONE SINGLE POSITIVE ATTRIBUTE from 1 Corinthians 13. NOT EVEN ONE. Any good behavior is an act. They are 100% evil, worthless, and spiritually dead just like the devil.

    The bible is actually very clear in describing these worthless-minded people but as with many things, we are kept deceived so we are more easy to control. Thank you so much Pastor for continuing the good fight!

  3. Charlene

    I am several months out of a 30+ yr marriage. Never one apology (not exaggerating), little to no compassion which left never to be seen again years ago. Claims of not sinning because he was walking so closely with the Spirit and God “wouldn’t give us a law we couldn’t obey or it would be mocking us”. Says you are not a christian because christians don’t leave (when you finally have the courage to realize God gives a way of escape in his mercy). And did I mention 15+yrs of counseling and going to pastors for help? So confused by the dishonesty in counseling because I THOUGHT he wanted a good relationship. Using any vulnerability to hurt you at the opportune time. And one day I heard a prayer “please don’t waste my sorrows”. So a least 1-2 people a week that are still trapped in these spiritual torture chambers and when I can offer comfort and hope in Christ I hear that prayer being answered.
    I am not even done with the divorce, but the healing on every level of my personhood is clearly underway. Thank you God Kept by the power of God despite all the enemies worst against me..Never doubting the goodness, wisdom, love or power of God and passing the “test of our faith” and trusting that God knows how to use the worst that happens to us for the best purposes in His Kingdom and our lives (he did that at the Cross).

    • It is in there sufferings that the Lord is revealed as the author and sustainer of our faith. It is indeed a gift from Him and can never be extinguished no matter how long the enemy attacks. Several times it has taken me over 20 years to finally see the evil for what it is.

      So glad you are free!!

  4. Wendy

    I would occasionally receive, an “I’m sorry” or “I can never do anything right” from my ex when he thought it would serve him better. The picture you paint of turning your back to God as opposed to turning to face him in repentance brought back a memory of him always saying he was mad at God. I could never understand this because he had so much to be thankful for. I realized that his anger was from him not getting his way. He wanted a genie in a bottle to give him wishes not a God who desires holiness. I spent years in confusion because his mask was Godly Christian but his true self was being an abusive, unrepentant, blame shifting, gaslighter to me. So glad I am free from that nonsense!


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