Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Author: Jeff Crippen Page 3 of 56

Your Experience is a Foreign Language to Most People

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.

Many years ago I received a yearly prayer letter from people I did not know all that well but who had been in a church we attended at that time. The letter asked for prayer in regard to their daughters who had, they said, been estranged from them and cut off all contact. It went on to say that the source of the problem stemmed from their daughters consulting a therapist who had planted false memories in the girls.

Now, what I want to attempt to communicate to you is how I reacted to that letter. I didn’t get angry. I didn’t think a whole lot about it. To my knowledge the parents were fine Christian people. So I didn’t really choose up sides – and let me tell you why.

This scenario was beyond the paradigm of my mind. It was like a foreign language – or better – an alien language.

I just didn’t know about such things. I had never personally experienced a situation like this, and therefore my mental programming had no real capacity to understand it. I was not wise about evil. And in such settings, it is inevitable that the whistleblowers (in this case the daughters) are not going to be so much disbelieved, as they are going to be met with a kind of blindness and deafness. Which blindness and deafness is naturally going to gravitate toward accepting the claims of the accused perpetrator of whatever evil is being called out. (I told you I was going to TRY to explain this!)

When a victim of some kind of wickedness – especially the kind that parades as an angel of light – …when the victim reports the thing, this inability to process the data comes into play very, very often. And I suppose it especially does so in local churches and other Christian settings where naivete to evil so often reigns.

To a large extent, this is what the Apostle means in the verse above (Hebrews 5:14). We must be trained by constant practice to be wise to evil. No one ever sat me down and said “Jeff, you need to learn about evil and how it works in life. What it looks like. How evildoers disguise themselves.” But have you ever heard of a seminary course or a church Sunday School class dealing with this very topic? Pretty rare. So, a seminary graduate launches off into a pastoral career and guess what is going to happen when a woman (or man) in his church comes to him asking for help with child molestation or domestic violence?

You may as well be feeding a mathematics problem into a word processor application. It isn’t going to compute.

A Thought for Today from Jeremiah 5

I am just going to quote a Scripture here.  This passage pretty well nails the scenario in our churches today that most all of us have experienced and which we are trying to expose.  I like the Lord’s promise of His justice upon such evil and thought these verses might be an encouragement to all of you as well:

Jeremiah 5:26-31 For wicked men are found among my people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men. (27) Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich; (28) they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. (29) Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?” (30) An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: (31) the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?

A Suggestion About Why the Lord Waits to Bring Justice

Psalms 20:6-9 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.  O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

The Psalms are filled with prayers from the oppressed, pleading with the Lord to hear them, see their plight, and to judge their oppressors. Some of those Psalms also praise the Lord for answering those prayers and rescuing His people out of their trouble. In our troubles, many of us have seen answers to our prayers for help. Some of us have seen those answers come in some pretty powerful and glorious ways.  And yet….  So many times the Lord does not seem to hear or see what the evil man is doing to us. Some of you have expressed those feelings here on this blog in your comments, and we understand. Where is the Lord? Why doesn’t he strike down the wicked man? How can he allow these things to happen?

Recently I was discussing this very thing with an abuse survivor. The wickedness of her abuser has continued over decades of time and though she is now away from him, he still does what he can to make her suffer. Why? Here is what she said and I think it is a really helpful and incredible insight:

I think that the Lord reserves them for punishment. Emphasis on reserves. Maybe the Lord’s anger against them is that He wants to do this face to face so they know Who they crossed.

We see this idea of the wicked being reserved for the Lord’s wrath in numbers of Scriptures:

Romans 2:5
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
2 Peter 2:17
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.
Jude 1:12-15
These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Storing up wrath. Reserved for gloom and darkness forever. That is Christ’s message to all abusers. The King is coming with ten thousands of his holy troops. This heavenly army is coming like a nuclear missile laser-guided so it cannot miss. The wicked, if they would hear Christ’s words, should hear the thunder of the hooves even now. He is coming, wicked one! And he is coming for you! Your name is in his book and he has a place with your name on it reserved just for you in a place so horrible it cannot be described. You will never come out of there. Never.

It appears then, you see, that Christ has heard our prayers after all  and that He is acting.

And then there is this one final, incredible fact that we must be certain to announce. This same King whose wrath is against you, abuser, is also telling you that if you will truly repent of your evil and plead with Christ for mercy, He will give it. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? That the very One who is riding down upon you even now to destroy you, is the One who has made a way for you to be saved from Him!

Psalms 2:10-12 therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

A False "Happy" is an Environment in which Abuse Hides

“Where does this happy feeling come from? JESUS!

Where does this happy feeling come from? JESUS!

This happy feeling comes from Jesus! Everyday He more than pleases!

That’s where this happy feeling comes from.”

Luke 22:42-44 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

A false happy is typically taught in our churches, beginning with classes for the very youngest ages. This theology is often most evident in songs we learned in our Sunday School classes, VBS programs, and even in numbers of choruses used in worship. “I am a Christian. I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. A Christian is the happiest person on earth.” The thing flies with very young children, but as we grow older???

I suggest that false happy is false. That it is not a biblical, true representation of what it means to follow Jesus. And worse, it sets us up for denial of the reality of evil and thus makes the attacks of the wicked upon us even easier to launch. See it? If we have been taught in church from the youngest age that people who know Jesus are happy people, then are we not going to go into “stuff it” mode when evil touches us? “I won’t think about that. I am supposed to be happy. It’s just me.”

That is to say, when the false happy begins to break down, who ya gonna blame? Yourself! Not the wicked one who is causing the pain, trauma and grief, but YOU are the problem. I mean, there must be something wrong with you because everyone else seems to be saying that Jesus gives us happy feelings and everyday He more than pleases those who know Him.
Some of those songs may be catchy. You may have sentimental attachment to them. But they are just wrong. They cause real harm. They need to be round-filed.

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.

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