Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Abuse is Murder in Slow Motion

1Jn 3:14-15 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (15) Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

I like to watch the “true crime” type programs – FBI Files, Real Crime, and so on. You can find scores of these episodes on You Tube. They are very instructive about evil, how justice is brought down upon the heads of the wicked, about how evil operates, and sadly, about how justice is sometimes not fully served. One of the regular themes you see in these stories is how the wicked imagine themselves to be able to get away with murder – and they ultimately become fools.

One of the recent programs I watched was the very sad story of incredible wickedness unleased upon a young woman in England. She went out on a date with a guy who worked where she was employed, realized he was not the person she wanted to have a relationship with after that, and turned down his subsequent requests for her to go out with him.

And then he began to stalk her.

He was everywhere. On the train she commuted on. Outside her apartment. At work in her department (even though he was supposed to work on a different floor). On the phone. In texts and emails (scores of which came sometimes every day).

She was reluctant to report this to the police because she felt ashamed that she had, she thought, been so stupid as to go out with such a person in the first place. Of course there was nothing to be ashamed of. We have all been duped by evil people. Nevertheless she was ashamed and it took quite some time more of this stalking before she finally went to the police.

Now, here is where the “system” failed her. Restraining orders were issued. This sociopath ignored them. He was arrested, but then permitted to go free with a warning. No matter to him. He kept showing up wherever she went. He continued to work where she worked even after she reported the stalking to her employer. He was arrested again, but posted bond and a trial date was set.

Then he disappeared. She thought the nightmare was finally over. Some months past with no sign of him. Where was he?

It turns out that he has left England and gone back to his native eastern European country. What was he doing there? Well, having once served in the military in that country, he was able to purchase a handgun. And he was practicing with it at the firing range. Then, the day came when he set out – with the gun – to return to London. Amazing as it was, he easily drove through the border station with no one detecting that he had a firearm.

And, finally, one day while this young lady was at work, a few minutes before closing time, this evil demon of a man crept into the store via a rear entrance (security had been warned about him after he had been terminated from his job there)…where no one saw him come in. He walked up behind this poor girl, shot her in the back of the head, then fired 3 more rounds into her face, then -coward that he was – turned the pistol on himself.

In the days after this horror, the victim’s mother stepped forward and took action, lobbying even at 10 Downing Street (where the Prime Minister was) for legislation to make stalking a serious crime. Stalking came to be seen for what it was, as one friend of the victim put it – Stalking is murder in slow motion. In states such as Oregon here in the U.S., stalking is a class a misdemeanor (up to one year in jail) and becomes a class C felony (5 years in prison) for a subsequent conviction. This is still not serious enough in my opinion.

Like stalking, domestic abuse effected by a RASN (reviler, abuser, sociopath, narcissist) is slow motion murder. God’s Word says so (see the Scripture quoted above). Abuse is murder. Spiritually and physically. If you know many survivors/victims of abuse, you also know that many, many, many of them (probably most) suffer from physical effects of abuse. You cannot live day by day, moment by moment, in a state of stress, being constantly on guard, walking on eggshells, having your immune system fired up on high alert, without being physically harmed – even if the abuser never physically assaults you. Abuse is a poison administered in doses day after day after day.

The Lord in His Word puts it plainly and clearly – if a husband or wife hates/abuses their spouse, they are guilty of murder. RASNs are murderers. And their evil, by the way, extends beyond marriage. RASNs target fellow employees. They target others in the church in order to get power and control. They murder family members by daily serving those doses of evil. And, let’s not forget, more often than we even want to know, RASNs literally kill their target. You read about these murders every week in the news.

Abuse is murder in slow motion. How many murderers are members of a local church, disguised as “just the finest Christian person you would ever know”?

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8 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Thank you, Pastor. That’s all very true. I had often said that being married was killing me. I didn’t know it was abuse or what to do, but I knew I was not going to make it. Parents do this to their children as well.

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  2. Lynn

    As someone whose childhood best friend was murdered by her college stalker several years after she graduated, this article hits home for me. Like the woman in England, my friend tried going to the police, but they weren’t willing to do much. He stalked her for years before finally taking action. He was arrested and released for violating the restraining order she had against him. She did everything she could legally to protect herself and it wasn’t enough. He shot her in front of the elementary school she worked at right before school started.

    To this day I still feel pain and rage at the injustice done to her. It is pure evil. The system failed her, but God won’t. He will grant her the perfect justice her murderer deserves. Matthew 10:28 – do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Vengeance is God’s. He will repay evildoers with their promised end. It will be perfect. It will be just. It will be complete. It will be eternal. It will be glorious.

    It’s why, on top of overcoming my own familial abuse, I hate injustice and have such a strong visceral reaction to it. It’s why I can’t wait until Christ returns and makes everything right. It’s why I am grateful for imprecatory prayers to help me process and release all of the emotions that get stirred up in me when I relive the memories of losing her.

    We never know when our time on earth is finished. Make sure you’ve repented and reconciled with God before it’s too late. Eternity is infinite. Where you spend it depends on whether or not you’ve reconciled to God. So don’t delay. Repent to God, turn from your sin, and do the good works God has called for his children to complete as we await his return.

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  3. Kay

    It’s absolutely amazing how I found this article! I had been thinking about a book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick, that was the spark that helped prepare me to finally cut myself out of an emotionally and mentally destructive 20 year marriage. I have been seeing the same patterns in my brother with his family, and am choosing to set hard boundaries. I dug Leslie’s book out… hadn’t read it in 9 years. I was just looking at the recommendations and read one by Jeff, mentioning church cultures with unbiblical tradition. He said he was going to put her book to use in their church in both men’s and women’s groups, and I thought… I need to listen to a message from this guy!!!! I googled him and up popped TODAYs blog entry, which speaks to my heart regarding the situation with my brother. He is not a stalker, but the rest of my family does not see how his toxic, continual temper tantrums, lashing out at his family and then saying sorry, over and over is literally killing his family. My heart is that my sister in law will one day get the courage to set some firm boundaries of her own, so that maybe my brother will get help. Even if they do not, I am free of this terror, and hope that others will find courage and support to leave their abusers. There is “life” at the end of the tunnel. It takes a very long time to detox from the high alert that you mentioned. There is also so much damage done when a church stands by the abusers, minimizing their behavior. I am still recovering from that pain.

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  4. Z

    While my history doesn’t include a completed murder like Lynn’s friend, just reading about it caused a physical reaction in my body. As do all instances I read about or see that display injustices of any kind. But especially involving domestic violence.
    DV is my history. A slow murder is a very apt description of how I felt from as far back as I can remember. In fact, I was told I was abused by my father while I was still in the womb via his kicking the stomach of my pregnant mother. Those “poisons” of toxic stress chemicals started messing with my developing brain and nervous system before I was even born.
    When I was born, my ex-mother joined in the physical and other abuses I endured until I was a teen and taller and stronger than she was. She sensed (rightly) that I’d physically defend myself at that point. But my ex-father was the primary abuser of us all. Some say verbal and mental abuse is worse than physical. I’ve experienced them all including covert and some overt incest by both sexually perverted ex-parents. (My ex-siblings seemed to thrive on being brought into their parents’ bedroom behaviors. Salacious and extreme. I was repulsed.)
    I can say neither the physical nor the verbal and mental abuse felt better than the other. No child wants their little body punched and kicked, hair pulled, face slapped…ever! Especially when doled out by the ones God tasked to love and care for His little children. (Jesus words about those who cause His little ones to stumble-millstone and depths of the sea-make me smile.) AND no child or adult wants to be slowly murdered with hateful words and cruel mental abuses. The physical beatings stopped even by my brutally violent ex-father on us kids when we were older teens. But we had to continue to witness the extreme violence against my ex-mother right up until I went No Contact when they were elderly. Yet my ex-siblings-extremely enmeshed, still striving for a crumb of “love” lie as always and say it never happened. Or it was just normal discipline. And they idolize these “self-proclaimed gods” who demand to be worshipped. I didn’t comply so I was the scapegoat and got the worst of it. To have to live in “survival mode” from infancy throughout my life has been torture.
    And the abuses NEVER stopped-in fact they spread to add my husband as their target (for loving and verbally defending me-their main target)-until I went No Contact 6 years ago with everyone in my former family and anyone who still associates with such evil posing as “Christians”.
    But still the attempted slow murder continues by way of the chronic daily conditions that have pretty much ruined the life I once had. (An actual violent felony attack occurred that WAS an attempted murder of me and my husband by my ex-family member. The grave INJUSTICE we faced by the police and court is a story for another time! Outrageous beyond belief. GOD’S coming Justice for them all and the Imprecatory prayers also comfort my badly beaten-up soul, Lynn. )
    I had many chronic illnesses growing up. Then I developed immune system problems where my immunity/T-cells were nearly non-existent. That took many years to treat. I then developed a neurological condition that causes 24/7 searing throbbing relentless pain. No cause can be found on tests. My Drs who know my history say the constant lifelong flooding of my nervous system and brain with poisons-toxic stress chemicals-have caused my brain’s pain-signaling system to malfunction and NEVER turn off. So I suffer all day every day. And I have the most severe CPTSD my therapists and my Drs have seen. I’ve improved, but life is still a far cry from how “normal and happy” it once was. (When I was very low contact with my ex-family for many years.)
    How can I avoid my “triggers” to help my CPTSD symptoms when the pain I always have is a constant reminder of what evil people did to me? So the cycle continues. I struggle each day to not let the severe pain get me down. That struggle wears me out. I’m exhausted all the time. And then I get anxiety and intrusive thoughts because of how awful I feel. How small and limited my life has become due to the constant pain. And when I think of all I’ve had taken from me by evildoers, the pain worsens. Because STRESS is my biggest trigger for the pain. On and on it goes.
    I’m worn out but not destroyed. The Lord will NEVER let me fall too far. So I live day to day by His grace and strength to endure it all and not lose heart. I do get overwhelmed by it all when I think of living this way until Jesus takes me home. It seems hopeless at times.
    But as a daughter of the King nothing is ever hopeless for me. It’s HARD!!! But not hopeless. The many promises of God in His Word are my lifeline. And living in total childlike dependence on Christ is the only way I can live. One day at a time. If I take the whole of my future, which does seem so bleak, filled with pain and my lifelong traumas stress symptoms, I get overwhelmed with grief and loss. Like my self as God created me to be HAS been “murdered” by murderers.
    So I don’t look ahead and borrow troubles from tomorrow when today has quite enough troubles of its own.
    AND: There will be that DAY! My enemies will finally get their due from the Lord Himself. Perfect Justice will finally be served. I will be vindicated in front of my enemies. I will have a seat at the feast with Jesus and my enemies will have to watch on from “outside” before they are eventually given their known final judgments. Eternal destruction and desolation which they CHOSE when they threw in their lots with satan their father. Kind of like what they TRIED to do to me. Our holy and serious God will be true to His nature and His many promises to me. None of that same garbage I heard all my life from FAKE Christian ex-relatives and ex-church friends, “They said the Sinner’s Prayer in the 1970s so they’re covered by the Blood no matter what they do”. Those false teachers and false Christians who caused me great harm too will not escape the punishment for their complicity in evil.
    Life may not be good on earth for me. But GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD!

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  5. Wendy

    I remember hearing someone say once that emotional/psychological abuse is like death by a thousand cuts. I can attest to it feeling like a slow death. I’ve experienced my fair share of being abused, but I cannot imagine the pain that some have gone through. I am drawn to those same types of shows that you watch and sometimes I wonder if it is because of what I’ve experienced. I have a hard time emotionally when I watch, yet I am drawn to watch them anyway. There is a channel I have recently started watching on YouTube called Soft White Underbelly. It is truly eye-opening how messed up some people’s lives/childhoods can be and the outcome of someone not having at least one loving parent to watch over and protect. It is hard to watch people self-destruct due to abuse, drugs, and loss of hope. I never chose drugs to mask pain, but I can understand why some feel they have no other option. I am trying to process what God wants me to learn/do. I love Jesus, I am born again and I know I will be with Him for all eternity and I want others to have that too, but I know God will not force anyone. It is hard to process a person who was abused since childhood, with no parent that protected them, and who self-medicates with drugs just to get a moment of emotional peace to find out that never gives them true peace. We know the only One who would help them to be overcomers, but it seems so few can make it to that point. It breaks my heart. I have a super hard time emotionally with it all. Knowing and truly believing that we serve a God of love, justice, and mercy is the only thing that brings hope that one day all things will set right.

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  6. Lynn

    Domestic abuse (DA) is a multi-faceted poison that is pumped in the body that results in murder. Sometimes it is slow acting. Sometimes it is fast acting, but the end results are the same. The murder of its victim. When you look at the health issues that DA survivors face, it’s not hard to see how the poison has crept in and affected so many different aspects of the victims bodies. Some turn to drugs to dull the pain. Some turn to food or shopping or other things that help them escape the reality of what they’ve lived through.

    The things that have helped me heal mentally – I still struggle with the physical manifestations of DA, and lean on the Holy Spirit to help me get through the days where my body feels overwhelmed and exhausted – are searching the scripture to learn what God actually says versus what preachers have told me he said. Learning about the nature of evil and how it shows up, so that I can more quickly identify it when it shows up in my own life. Finding ways to share my wisdom so that others may also find freedom in Christ and from the lies of the enemy like on this blog. Discovery of imprecatory prayer as a way to process my emotions when I am feeling overwhelmed and angry at all the injustice I see and have experienced. Writing my thoughts and feelings down – even if I don’t share them with others.

    For a long time I believed that if I just prayed hard enough my RASN family would repent and become the true Christians that they claimed to be. I no longer hold onto that false hope because I know that God doesn’t force himself on anyone. RASNs don’t want to change. They want to be God and expect those around them to treat them as such. In my multi-year study of narcissism, I realized that there is nothing I can do to make a RASN choose to change. The best and only thing I can do for them is to pray imprecatory prayers for them so that either one of two things will happen. Either they will genuinely repent of their sin and demonstrate the fruit of repentance for the remainder of their lives or they will get God’s perfect justice that aligns with their actions both on earth and in eternity.

    I will say that I’ve never seen a RASN genuinely repent. They love themselves too much to change. I leave them in God’s hands knowing he will work it all out in his time.

    The fact is we cannot stop the poison of abuse from doing its work. We can only delay it as we seek to minimize its effects for as long as God grants us breath. So I encourage you to seek the temporary healing offered in this life where you can and reconcile with Christ if you haven’t yet so that your eternal destiny is secured.

    For those Christians who are DA survivors, this is part of your martyrdom for the Kingdom of God. For each person who’s abused you has metaphorically jabbed you with a dose of their poison and will be held responsible before God on Judgement Day for their role in your murder. That poison attacks your brain which filters into every fiber of your being. It shows up in your body through your emotions along with a variety of physical manifestations.

    While we, the Christian victims of DA, can choose to look for healing and can find ways to delay its permanent end – which I highly recommend you do – it won’t stop our deaths from being murder once we’re gone. Pray for the quick return of the Lord. Know that once you’re gone – your blood, along with all of the blood of the saints, will continue to cry out daily to God for your murder to be avenged – as Revelation 6:10 tells us. Abel’s blood, the blood of the prophets, and the blood of the apostles has been crying out to God for multiple millennia.

    Trust God to bring about his perfect justice. Vengeance is his. He will repay every single murderer for their actions. He will reward his children for their faith in Christ and usher them into a place of eternal rest, peace, joy, and love – free from the pain and misery their lives on earth were subject to. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

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  7. Cordelia

    Can an abuse victim go the police, if an upcoming circumstance (similar to one in the past which enraged the abuser) is causing the victim to fear for their life? In another words will the police listen, if the crime has not yet been committed, but past actions by the abuser make it highly likely he will double up on attempting to murder the victim?

    • Yes. That is the basis for a restraining order. Being in fear for your life. I imagine you may have to pursue that at the courthouse but certainly you can call the police and tell them you are in fear.

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