Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Author: Jeff Crippen Page 2 of 54

New Post Coming Up Today at 6AM PST – I deleted the Jer 5 post which I accidentally published.

You will get an error message if you try to read the Jer 5 post. Just ignore it. That post will publish on a later date.

A Real Christian Cannot “Not” Repent

Psa 51:3-4 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Psa 32:3-5 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. (4) For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah (5) I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Well, still another pastor of a typical mega-style church has been discovered to be a rapist of a child. You’ve no doubt read about it in the news. This one happened in Indiana. Then the guy continues in his sin for some while, and keeps right on preaching! For like 20 years or more I think it said. Now he comes forward, minimizing his sin by calling it “adultery.” Fortunately his victim had the courage to march right up to the microphone and tell everyone exactly what this man did to her.

What I specifically want us to think about in this post is the issue of conscience. As you know, I maintain that abusers – the kind we expose here in this blog (many of whom claim to be fine christians) – I maintain that abusers never change. They never repent. Change and repentance for them is all fake and self-serving. They have no conscience. Think it through. How could this criminal do what he did and yet keep right on being the pastor of that church, standing in the pulpit and preaching every week, and not be ripped up with guilt inside? Well, he could do it because he is a wolf. He has no conscience. He is not born again.

So his recent “confession/repentance” is fake. You can bet on it. I suspect that some circumstance was taking place that forced him to confess in order to save his own hide. And it is quite possible (I’m not sure what Indiana law is on this) that he knew the statute of limitations had expired so that criminal prosecution is not possible. Something happened. Perhaps he knew the victim was coming forward. But you can be sure of one thing – this guy is not repentant.

This is a typical mark of this kind of evil person. They have no conscience. They are easily able to be a devil behind the scenes and then put on the saint disguise in public. As I read recently – “A man may smile and smile and still be a devil.”

The “Fluid” Truth of the Wicked

A friend recently sent me her thoughts on how the wicked so often deny God’s truth and make it ebb and flow according to their own twisted purposes. She said:

I was thinking about truth. Christians believe that truth is measurable – that is, truth is true or not true. If we deny truth or change it for some benefit, guilt consumes (the Christian conscience).

Not so the deceiver. That person has a ‘fluid’ truth. It flows to whatever that person sees as the biggest advantage to him or her. A dishonest (abusive) person cannot be helped in the long term because it is their mode of operation – this fluidity. They believe that everyone else is here just for their own use to make them look good.

This all relates to subjects and examples that we have often discussed here.

  • The Double Standard
  • Blame shifting
  • Crazy making

The wicked insist that everyone else (and especially those around them) embrace and uphold their lies and deceptions. We are bound, in their view, to be like the press secretary who announces lies and demands we all work to further the propaganda. Dissension is quickly punished. Problems are all our fault, not the real perpetrator’s.

The fluidity of truth, you see. First it flows that way, then it flows this way. Truth is whatever the wicked say that it is. And I suppose this is at least one major reason why God demands confession of sin. An admission of the lies and an acknowledgment of real truth. Because God’s truth – true truth – is rigid and unbending. It is what God says it is, and the course that it runs is the narrow way.

Is it You, You Troubler of Israel?

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals. (1 Kings 18:17-18)

Wicked King Ahab hated the godly prophet Micaiah. And Ahab hated Elijah as well. Why? Because both of these prophets spoke the truth. God’s truth. Notice that Ahab knew full well that these prophets were indeed prophets of God and what they said was in fact God’s Word. Didn’t matter. Ahab was evil. Ahab didn’t want light. So he imprisoned Micaiah and he called Elijah a troublemaker.

We see the very same dynamic here at Unholy Charade, and you all have seen it in your dealings with the abuser, and with the abuser’s allies – including so often, pastors and churches. The abuse victim is depicted as the troubler of Israel. She says things that are not “good prophecies concerning her abuser.” The thing is troubling. It is unpleasant. These words don’t tickle ears. “No more! Tell us no more!”

I have seen this in our church over the years. Wickedness is detected among us. We shine the light of truth on it. Allies of the evil one don’t like it and they start accusing – “you are causing unnecessary trouble! You need to be more patient. You are too harsh. We have to love these people to Jesus.” You’ve heard it. But we answer as Elijah answered: “We have not troubled this church, but you have…because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord.”

Abuse victims are not the troublers of Israel. They are not troublers of their families, or of their churches, or of their marriages. The abuser is the troublemaker. His allies, including people in his local church who protect and enable him – they are the troublemakers.

So let the Ahabs of our day scream and yell their accusations all they want, the fact is that the reason they are so enraged against the victim is that they are walking in sin, disobeying Christ whose command is that we protect the weak, the widow, the oppressed, and that we shake the dust of abuserville off our feet. And when people abandon the commandments of the Lord, they should expect that God’s people will not be prophesying good about them.

Abuse Without a Word — Nonverbal Abusive Communications

Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause. (Psa 35:19)
A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. (Pro 6:12-15)

“I just won’t say too much.” “No, no. I think it best if I just remain quiet.” “What YOU said is gossip.” How often have you heard an abuser make these kinds of statements? All of them are designed, of course to accuse you and yet, because the wicked person doesn’t actually verbalize, he maintains he is righteous and you have no right to rebuke him.

The Bible has really a fair amount to say about non-verbal, devious methods of accusing, reviling, and sowing discord. The two quoted above are classic examples. This is what a worthless, wicked man does. He “goes about.” This is his mission, and it is intentional. In addition to “crooked speech” (which you can bet is disguised as pious and holy talk), he uses non-verbal body communiques with his eyes and feet and fingers as weapons of his perverted heart. With them he sows discord among people, alienating them from the victim and from one another. All of this only takes a wink of his eye applied at just the right moment, a shuffle of his feet, a raised eyebrow, or even (and perhaps the most devious of all), an expressionless flat facial affect accompanied by verbal silence.

We have seen these very things operative in years past in our church, and I can tell you that this wickedness was very effective at sowing discord among us. The culprits were very often verbally silent – “I don’t think it is right that I say anything” – after they had already communicated and accused by, let’s say, abstaining from a vote or refusing to positively stand together with others against some injustice.  Quite often these evil ones project dissonance that plants seeds of trouble by accompanying pious-sounding words with non-verbal actions or nuances that contradict those words, sending a message that trumps the one that is verbalized.

Non-verbal communications — the winks, the nods, the silences, even the choice of where to sit in a social setting — are also incredibly devious because the real message they express is clearly recognized by the victim, but not by others. This has probably happened to you. The abuser, at some gathering, jumps right in to help clear the table after a meal. What a noble guy he is. Yeah, right. The victim knows full well what his real intention is — to accuse and shame her in some way; or to parade as such a helpful husband that every other women at the gathering wishes her husband was a good as he is. Just what level of evil do these kinds of tactics require? What kind of a person naturally and habitually practices such things? I can tell you — a thoroughly evil person consumed with power and control on a quest for self-glory.

Sulking of course is still another non-verbal abusive communication. The silent treatment. Pouting. Sitting off to the side, distanced from the others. Not smiling. Having a ‘worried’ and serious expression on his face. “Did you see Hal tonight? Something must be troubling him. Poor man.”

Well, God’s Word to such people is this: calamity is going to come crashing down on your head and squish you like a bug. God hates and detests what you are doing. People may not ‘hear’ your winks and shuffles, but God gets it, and He is going to get you. In fact, Proverbs goes on in the very next verses to tell the winking wicked just what God thinks of them:

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Pro 6:16-19)

He hates you, Mr. abuser. God Almighty hates you. And He is coming. He is coming, for you.

Getting in the Wreck Over and Over is not Wise

Rom 3:13-16 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” (14) “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” (15) “Their feet are swift to shed blood; (16) in their paths are ruin and misery,

I have written on this subject before, but it has been some time since I did and the topic deserves frequent mention. It regards healing from trauma, abuse, or injuries suffered in a car wreck. Let me state it this way:

You cannot heal from an injury if you keep getting injured over and over.

And that is exactly what happens when you suffer the same car wreck repeatedly. As long as an abuse victim is still being assaulted by an abuser, the wreck just keeps happening and healing isn’t going to take place.

Now, for some period of time many abuse victims cannot leave due to various circumstances beyond their control. They are in the abuse and they cannot get free, so everyday crash. The wreck and injuries just keep coming. But others choose to stay when they could get out.

I am challenging those of you who may be in this latter category. You are getting injured over and over again. The crazy-making makes you crazier. The attacks on your value as a person are eroding your personhood so that the person you are, or were, increasingly disappears. That broken arm isn’t going to heal if it keeps getting fractured every day.

Enslavement to an abuser (and that is what he wants – slavery) increases over time. In many cases that I have seen, people who choose to stay in that slavery often begin to take on the characteristics of Pharaoh the slave master and become unsafe people themselves. You simply cannot choose to remain in the atmosphere of evil, breathing its poisonous vapors, and not be affected and even transformed.

Accused of Being Cruel for Blocking Cruelty

2Ti 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (15) Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

We are not told exactly what Alexander had done to cause Paul great harm, but we do know that he did it. Paul not only identifies him by name and announces his evil, but he tells Timothy to go no contact with the guy. To beware of him. Certainly that means not only to be wise to him, but to have nothing to do with him. Don’t listen to him. Don’t answer his texts. Don’t friend him on Facebook.

When we take this kind of action – very appropriate action indeed, made necessary by the evils such people do – we are the ones who will be charged with being “unkind, cruel, unforgiving, throwing people under the bus….” yada, yada, yada. Many of you have probably experienced this.

This thing is nothing more than the raging of evil for being called out. Cruelty is met with a refusal to be subjected to it further, and yet that no-contact action step is charged with cruelty! The wicked one will say “you unfriended me! That is so mean, so selfish, so uncaring.” And yet it is just common sense. When a person is assaulted, they take reasonable steps to prevent further assaults. To fail to do so is unwise.

So, expect it. And don’t let such false charges prevent you from doing what Paul told Timothy to do. Have nothing to do with Alexander.

Do we Really Want to be Well?

Gen 12:1-4 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (2) And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (4) So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

I want to talk today about a subject that is very easily misunderstood – and I do not want you to misunderstand. I know very well, very, very well, that leaving an abuser or other evil relationship is not only not easy, it is often for the moment not even possible. What I am about to say here is NOT meant to guilt-trip any victim whose doors to escape are for the present time not open.

But what I do want to say is as in the title above – “do you want to be made well?” That is to say, do you want to leave the bondage? Do you want to leave Egypt? Or in the end, is your choice to stay in Egypt eating those leeks and garlic that the enemy has duped you into thinking look pretty good in contrast to the unknown of walking by faith through the Red Sea?

I have worked with many, many victims of domestic abusers and others who are targets of some other evil family member, employer, church leader, etc. While the majority hesitate to leave for a time because they really haven’t come to realize what abuse is and what is really happening to them, there are some who, having seen the abuse with clarity, choose to stay in it. These are the ones who do not want to be made well.

Why do such people choose to stay? There are numbers of reasons. Financial security is a common one I have seen. These people are married to a wealthy person and they are living pretty well. They don’t want to leave because it will mean giving up the money. I had one such person tell me, “I would be a fool to leave all of this.” And that just after pleading with me to help her deal with her abusive “christian” husband. By the way – if you pour your energy into trying to help this kind, in the end I guarantee you, they will hate you. YOU will be the guilty one for myriads of reasons they dream up.

Another reason for refusing to leave in cases like this is related to the money, but it has to do with reputation. Image. Being married to their abuser who happens to be a big man in the community means the “name” will rub off onto her (or sometimes him). And another “by the way,” – eventually anyone who tries to help such a victim will also end up being the bad guy because the counterfeit nature of the reputation will begin to be exposed.

You know, the Lord Jesus had this to say to us:

Mat 10:34-39 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. (36) And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (37) Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (38) And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (39) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

So, to abuse victims who want to leave and when they eventually can leave, This is the challenge. Will you obey Christ and follow HIM? Are you willing to pay the price to enter into His freedom? Or will you choose to stay back in Egypt chewing on onions and garlic and telling yourself you are eating filet mignon? Will you believe the Lord, or will you yield to unbelief and choose to reject His good promises?

A Typical Way Abusers Deceive Us

Gal 4:17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.

One of the primary reasons we get duped by the wicked and fail to see who they really are, even when their victims tell us, is because 1) the wicked wear disguises, and 2) the wicked can be very charming and draw us into becoming their “friends”.

Think about it. If we come to “know” an evildoer via the disguise he or she wears, and if we enter into what we think is a friendship with them, what is going to happen when their victim tells us about the abuse? We will be so blinded that what she tells us simply does not fit the mental paradigm we have formed from the lie. It will take the Lord turning on the lights in our thinking for us to see the thing clearly. And on top of that, the “thing” is something we don’t want to see. We don’t want it to be true about our “friend.”

I don’t completely know the solution. Are we to just stand off from people and avoid close relationships? I don’t think so. In the church we love one another – if we are born again that is. Perhaps the defense is this:

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.

Grow in Christ. Immerse ourselves in His Word. Pray that by His Word and Spirit we grow wiser and wiser in His wisdom so that we can see what is good and what is evil.

When Our Shepherds Go Wrong, We are in Big Trouble

Malachi 2:7-9, “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. (8) But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, (9) and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”

God had a case with the priests.  The people had returned to the land, rebuilt under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, spurred on by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.  Now they were stumbling again.  And God hammers the spiritual leaders for it.  I have no doubt that His words apply directly to our condition today.

What SHOULD be happening in our churches under the ministry of godly leaders?

  • They should be teaching the Lord’s truth – knowledge,
  • The people should be able to go to their shepherds and know that the instruction they receive will be the message of the Lord

What IS the far-to-common case in our churches however?

  • The shepherds have turned aside from the way
  • Their instruction causes the people to stumble under a heavy load
  • They show partiality in their ministry

God sees it and knows it.  He has a case against those who are doing this to His people.

Now, I know full well that there are some, here and there, faithful pastors ministering for Christ. And I am not trying to sit back and be the self-righteous “I am the only one left” kind of Elijah.  I do not enjoy having to say these things, believe it or not.  Frankly it frightens me to have to say it because if what I am saying is true, then the evangelical church of our day is in one huge, terrible mess.

And yet story after story after story comes to us every week now it seems, describing the treatment that the weak and oppressed are receiving at the hands of their churches.  I would have to be willfully blind to claim it isn’t happening.  Story after story after story of sexual abuse.  Of domestic abuse. And of cover-up.  Of church leaders rendering judgment in favor of the wicked.

Arguing that this is mostly caused by ignorance will only get us off the hook so far.  But it cannot explain what is happening completely.  What does explain this sorry state of affairs is Malachi’s description of the sinning priests of his day.  They had turned aside from Christ to their own way.  They teach things that cause Christ’s sheep to stumble. They side with those who can benefit them the most rather than being impartial in their judgments.

Yes, I know very well that to the average church member it doesn’t look this way.  People who talk like I am talking here are going to be labeled as paranoid, self-glorifying, dooms-dayers.  But I challenge – no, I double and triple-dog  dare anyone, to sit down and read and listen to the victims of this terrible injustice that I read every week, and still maintain that I am overstating the case.  The rising tide of the outcry is growing and growing and I do not think that the church is going to be able to continue to ignore it.  At least I pray not.  The cat is out of the bag and that cat has no intention of crawling back inside it.  Victims of abuse who have come into the light and now understand what has happened to them, both at the hands of their abuser and at the hands of their church, are just not the kind of folks who tend to shut up about it.

What is the solution?  Guess what, it isn’t really very complicated at all.  “Return to Me, and I will return to you.”  But keep refusing, keep turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the plight of the weak and oppressed, well, here it is in the Lord’s own words:

Malachi 2:1-2, “And now, O priests, this command is for you. (2) If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.”

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