Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

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Bunyan’s Insights into The Devil’s Invasion Plans of Eden

The following is taken from John Bunyan’s book “Holy War” in which Satan (Diabolus) and his fellow demons are plotting revenge against Shaddai (the Lord) for casting them out of His presence when their evil conspiracy was discovered. Bunyan here very accurately describes how Satan operates. He is the father of lies, and as I hope you are realizing in more and more clarity, lies and deception are the tools of his servants:

Therefore let us assault them in all pretended fairness, covering of our intentions with all manner of lies, flatteries, delusive words; feigning of things that never will be, and promising of that to them that they shall never find.

This is the way to win Mansoul, and to make them, of themselves, to open their gates to us; yea, and to desire us too, to come in to them.   And the reason why I think that this project will do is, because the people of Mansoul now are every one simple and innocent; all honest and true; nor do they as yet know what it is to be assaulted with fraud, guile, and hypocrisy. They are strangers to lying and dissembling lips; wherefore we cannot, if thus we be disguised, by them at all be discerned; our lies shall go for true sayings, and our dissimulations for upright dealings. What we promise them, they will in that believe us, especially if in all our lies and feigned words we pretend great love to them, and that our design is only their advantage and honour.

Bunyan, Bunyan. The Works of John Bunyan, complete, including 58 books (Kindle Locations 90352-90360). B&R Samizdat Express. Kindle Edition.

And there you go. Remain naive about evil and it will sucker punch you.

The Tentative Love of Counterfeit Brethren

One of the qualities of counterfeit “brethren” is that you always sense their relationship/friendship/love they claim for  us is tentative. You may not really be able to verbalize it right away, but you feel it. There is always an “if.” If you say the wrong thing…then. If you do something….then. All of this is of course very characteristic of a domestic abuser/sociopath.

But these fakes often creep into the church posing a Christians. I know that over all these years the “if” has always been hanging there like a club. And I wasn’t imagining it because inevitably the “then” on their part kicks in. They hate. They abandon. They revile and slander. Seemingly overnight.

But where there is the real article, there is no “if.” We love one another. We forgive one another. We forbear with one another.

Eph 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (32) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

More Thoughts on Why an Abuser Cannot be a Christian

Good people never pretend to be evil, but evil people pretend to be good.  Sheep don’t wear wolves’ clothing. 

In the beginning, when abuse still had me in the fog and I was a new pastor (the fog can last for years!) I used to think that the many abusers I had met in the church, people who profess to be Christians and were even highly thought of by the rest of the church, were Christians with problems. A hard childhood, shame issues, and so on. As long as I dealt with them that way, in my relationship with them as their pastor, I got nowhere. In fact, what I did do was enable them in their abuse, supporting them in their excuse-making. Have to hold the church together, you know.

Then, after almost 30 years of being emotionally and spiritually slapped around by these kind, the Lord opened my eyes to the real nature of abuse – its mentality and its tactics.  He gave me an extra-hard wakeup “whack” upside the head as they say down South.  The result was that I began to see what was happening to me, and to their other victims, and I also began to read the Bible like never before, with new understanding about what it says about the psychology of sin. Nothing illustrates the nature of sin better than abuse, in my opinion. I realized that when the Bible says things such as it does in the following verses, it means exactly what it says.  I say that again – it means exactly what it says!  I had been taught for years, like many of you in the evangelical church that these black and white words are actually quite gray.  Wrong!

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, (1 John 2:4)
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (1 John 2:9) 
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15 )

Christ truly changes us when He saves us. I mean, He really changes us so that though we are not perfect by any means, the fundamental nature of our being becomes one that loves God and loves others.  Have you been taught otherwise?  I was taught “otherwise” at a conservative Bible college for Pete’s sake!

When I faced up to this, I realized that a person who is an abuser simply cannot be a Christian.  It can’t be. He may look like it in many ways and at many times, but he is a fraud. I learned that good people never pretend to be evil, but evil people love to pretend to be good. Sheep don’t wear wolves’ clothing. What is perhaps even more sobering is that this also means that many people in our churches who may not be classic abusers, nevertheless are not genuine Christians. Abuse victims in a church can really suffer at their hands too.

As I began to deal with abusers in this light, progress was made. Oh, they didn’t change and we didn’t all live happily ever after together. They blew up at the exposure and hated me and left. They still hate me.  It will be the same for you.  But now I have peace and these false sheep are gone. I wish I could have been better help to their spouses, but so many victims remain under the confusing fog cast by their abuser. Maybe one day some will see it.

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