Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Sharing the Load

Gal 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

One characteristic of the love of Christ is its willingness to help the weak carry their burden. Christ took our burden of sin upon Himself and He welcomes His people to come to them and do this:

1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

If we are truly Christ’s people, then this quality of love, this caring for others, this awareness of their burdens and a willingness to help carry them, will certainly be evident in us.

One of the characteristics, in contrast, of the RASN (reviler, abuser, sociopath, narcissist) is that they are like the two who passed by the beaten, robbed man. They didn’t care. They had no empathy. They couldn’t be bothered. His pain wasn’t their pain so they just moved on.

Targets of RASNs carry tremendous burdens. False shame and guilt, economic deprivation, concerns about their children, fear for physical safety, and on and on the burden list goes. If we are genuine Christians, if we have been born again, the love of Christ is going to be present in us. That love will be willing and even anxious to say “here, let me help you with that.” The Spirit who dwells within us will move us to do so.

Sometimes we just cannot fix the situation (often times actually), but we can still help if we are willing. We can be someone who just listens. Who believes and validates. There really are a lot of ways that we can help carry the load.

Jas 2:14-16 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (15) If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, (16) and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

Following Christ in this wicked world is just messy many times. It requires getting involved in the messes which the wicked create in the lives of their victims. It entails being hated because you become the ally of the oppressed. It is costly because you end up sharing the cost.

Many if not most people, even many who claim to be Christians, just don’t want to be bothered. They don’t even want to “hear about it.” One of the things that victims of evil need to do is to talk about it. It’s a way of sorting it out, of coming to understand what is happening to them and how the RASN is operating against them. So they not only talk (if you will listen) but they repeatedly talk. They often tell the same story again and again. Are you willing to listen again and again? I don’t mean that a victim should remain “stuck” so as to make their very identity one of victimhood, but the truth is that people who have been traumatized by evil need time to sort out what has happened to them. And this sorting out entails talking about it. This requires a burden-sharer. A listener.

This is, says Paul, “the law of Christ.” You simply cannot obey Christ’s command to love your brother/sister if you don’t even want to be bothered with listening.


The Best Way I Can Help You


More Thoughts on Cain’s Hatred of Abel (over at Light for Dark times blog)


  1. Sarah

    I appreciate this post very much. It’s really true. Also, it adds to the guilt, shame and anxiety when those who claim Christ treat you with disregard and carry on their life ignoring your burden. I understand that a believer or church cannot help rescue everyone, however, not everyone goes through their doors seeking help. When you disregard the ones that do go through your door you add so much to an already severe burden.

  2. You make such a good point, Pastor, about being willing to listen, and maybe to the same story over and over again. It takes years to process and eventually get over the betrayal, pain, effects, and suffering caused by a RASN. It’s not something a woman or anyone else can just move on from overnight. Even though I’ve been free from my abuser for 25 years, I still get triggered by certain people or events. PTSD is very real. And even though I do not need to talk about what the RASN did to me, sometimes I need to vent about a situation that brought back the same feelings of fear, anger, and betrayal. Thank you for pointing out the godliness of bearing one another’s burdens, even when it’s uncomfortable or not convenient.

  3. Carol

    My friend calls this the “gift of presence.” Even when you really can’t DO one thing to help, you can walk the ugly, hard road with them. Somehow, caring about their situation (calling to check on them, taking a meal, praying together for the 100th time, going for a walk together), helps them carry their heavy burden. The load is a little lighter when it’s shared with a friend.

    Why are you the only pastor that understands this?!? THANK YOU!

    • Thankyou Carol. I’m not the only one but they are few indeed. I had an encouraging report today in fact about how my book has found reception among some in Britain. And Unholy Charade was recently translated into Slovakian and published there.

      Many pastors and professing Christians just don’t want to hear about evil. They remain milk drinkers-

      Heb 5:13  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
      Heb 5:14  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

      Others are just unsaved and blind.

      Still others are like the Pharisees who exalt their traditions above God’s Word.


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