Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Our Tendency to Minimize Abuse – Even When we are the Target

Psa 26:5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.

Does that statement seem harsh to you? Like overkill? I hate evildoers. They are wicked. Overboard, perhaps? But then, this is the Word of God. God Himself hates evildoers and the wicked.

Have you ever been struck with the realization that you tend to minimize evil that is done to you? In particular, when the perpetrator is a friend or supposed loved one? Can you look back over the years and now realize how you perhaps made excuses for that behavior? You realized it was wrong, but the full nastiness of the thing was not something you really comprehended.

I think this is a tendency in us, and probably even more so if we are a Christian. We don’t enjoy thinking the worst. We don’t think like an evildoer thinks. But then comes a kind of awakening moment – often quite a long time after the wrong done to us and it strikes us – “that was really wicked what he/she did to me.”

It seems to me that this may well help explain why we tolerate a RASN (reviler, abuser, sociopath, narcissist) for as long as we do. We don’t grasp the real evil of the evil. For myself, I have seen this in my own experience. Suddenly perhaps even years later a realization will strike. Not because I am embittered or looking for vengeance, but simply because I think the Holy Spirit shows it to me and I come to see the sinfulness of that sin.

It is very evil to revile someone. It is very evil to abuse someone to gain power and control. It is very, very evil to wrong someone repeatedly and have no conscience about doing so. It is incredibly wrong to function as a narcissist, insisting that you are entitled and superior to others. The Lord hates it. He sees it perfectly for what it is.


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  1. Lynn

    One of the hardest things to accept when I was trapped in abuse – first with family members, and then with friends and church people who claimed to care about me – was that I was being abused. Because there were no bruises on my body, it couldn’t be abuse right? So for a long time I minimized the abuse, blamed myself, and self-gaslighted. I didn’t want to believe that the people I cared about and loved were capable and willing to abuse me. But they were. I wanted to believe that after that first time that I would be smart, better, more wise in the ways of abuse – and in some ways I was – but it didn’t stop me from getting wrapped up in other abusive personal and professional relationships.

    I am at the point where it is much easier for me to say that I hate my abusers for the evil they’ve perpetrated against me. While I don’t enjoy thinking the worst in people, I’ve experienced enough evil to know that it is much more common than most professing Christians want to believe. I choose to call it as I see it. If that’s offensive, so be it.

    I hate the assembly of evildoers because it is a place that loves to revile God, his people, and anything that is good, right and true. It seems like almost everywhere we turn in today’s culture they are there making their evil deeds heard while demanding loyalty and compliance. Regardless of whether it’s sacred or secular spaces, evildoers have a very easy time assembling physically and digitally today. They rarely suffer consequences for their actions, and now all the RASNs have a much easier time of finding like-minded people because of how interconnected we are with the internet. Dumb ideas spread faster in today’s age than any other because of the technology we have, yet the truth still struggles to get its shoes on in a timely fashion.

    I hate those who view themselves as superior. Who are all about being in control and seek positions of power to do so because they are a reflection of their father the devil. They love to inflict great harm on an individual, collective, and societal level as we are seeing in real time. I’ve lived with RASNs at home, at work, and in the church. So I continue to cling to God’s promises for deliverance, pray for vengeance on his enemies and that perfect justice will prevail. We live in a depraved, fallen world that is racing back to a form of paganism that is non-sensical, unholy, and ungodly.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus. Strengthen your people so they may persevere till the end. For whom the son set free is free indeed. Go be free.

    • Z

      I can tell you that even when one has the bruises as evidence of the abuse on their body, as I did often, I still minimized it. Accepted it as “normal” because my whole extended family and lifelong and church friends and church leaders enabled them. Accepted and embraced them while KNOWING they were abusing their children, each other with extreme DV, other people they targeted as threats. Some of their enablers WERE once their targets! They thought by joining with the abusers they’d be left alone. Sold their souls to the devil for a convenient hassle-free life to be in the assembly of the wicked. They’ll all pay the price determined by our Perfect Judge.
      I despised my abusers from a young age. Knew what they were. Even said it to them out loud. And to others. That made me an extreme target of theirs.
      I too allowed and tolerated subsequent abusive relationships. The “normalized” abuse was still part of my reality. Low expectations. Minimized it all. But I did know I was being abused then too. I was taught over and over by mental and physical abuses that I wasn’t worth being kept safe. Being loved. And so I escaped the subsequent relationships but stayed in the familial one too long.
      And I did minimize the DAMAGE done by my staying in the assembly of my lifelong family of origin and their abuse through my adulthood. Extreme violence by them against me and then my dear beloved husband of the past 26 years was the last straw. God said to me, “Enough!” Took decades though. No Contact with them all and I never looked back.
      But the price has been high. Physically, mentally and socially.. But as you always say, Lynn, “Go and be free.” I’m getting there! God bless.

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