Shaming: A Favorite Tool of the Wicked

Domestic abusers are shamers, and we are very often far too willing to wear that shame.

Shame. Shame on you. Shame, shame, shame.

What does that word mean anyway? Permit Webster to explain:

a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Humiliation, mortification, chagrin, embarrassment, indignity.

But the kind of shame we want to consider here is false shame. This brand is not caused by wrong or foolish behavior (which would be true shame, something that can be good), but by false thinking about our behavior, often initiated by the false accusations of a wicked person. False shame is incredibly destructive. Shame is very powerful. If it is not truth-based, big trouble looms.

I should be ashamed if I sin. That shame leads to repentance. I should be ashamed if I walk down the street naked, if I lose my temper, if I lie and so on. A lack of shame for sin is a sure sign of depravity and we see plenty of it in our culture today.

1Co 6:5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,

But there are things which we need not be ashamed of. In fact, which we must not be ashamed of. For example:

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

The wicked love to mock and shame God’s people, so it is not at all surprising that abusers (revilers as the Bible calls them) thrive on shaming their targets. False accusations. Attributing false motives. “Let me tell you why you did that. Here is what you were thinking….”. You’ve heard those words I am sure. “God is not pleased with what you did.” Yada, yada, yada.

False shame does not produce good results. It enslaves us. It leads us to false conclusions about ourselves, about the Lord and how He views us. It causes us to make bad decisions (like suppressing our true thoughts and believing the lies). “If you leave your husband, you are a bad Christian. God’s anger will be upon you. If you were really holy, you would be patient and forgiving no matter what your abuser does.” Lies. All lies. False shame.

A typical and notorious reviler, hiding in a disguise of “saintliness,” once pulled this false shaming business on me. It worked for a time because I wasn’t wise to this tactic. I had confronted a wicked, evil, vile man who was blaspheming the Lord’s name and making threats against me. It was late at night and he had phoned me. I stopped him and told him he was a wicked man and he should fear using the Lord’s name in his profanities. He then threatened me and said “I ought to just come over there and knock you senseless.” Drunks never know when to shut up, you know. I told him “You come right on over. I will meet you by the front door of the church. Let’s go at it!” He shut up and that was the end of the conversation. Never had trouble with that guy again.

Now, enter Mr. Shamer/Reviler. “Oh, pastor, I just disagree with what you did. That was wrong. As Christians we need to be kind and compassionate to people. We need to suffer persecution patiently. What you did was wrong.” Blah, blah, blah. Over the years this guy brought up these same shaming accusations several more times.  Why was he doing this? What was his motive. Power and control. Its always about power and control. He must control the pastor. He must be better and more holy than the pastor. He must appear as a holy “martyr” ready to suffer anything for the Lord. So he plays situations like this for his own self-glory.

This is wickedness. What I did was not only not sin, it was right. It would have been wrong to remain silent and not confront the man. It would have been cowardly to just “love him.”

Your abuser pulls the same kind of shaming tactics with you. Like most all of us, at first at least, you have put on his cloak of shame. It has labeled  you like that Scarlet Letter of literature. I am stupid. I am not a good Christian. I am not capable of properly seeing things. I am worthless and good for nothing.

Lies. All lies.

The fact is that I have talked with enough abuse victims over the years and listened to their stories to know this for a fact: Abuse victims, especially domestic abuse victims, particularly domestic abuse victims who are Christians, are the bravest, strongest, and most wonderful Christians I know. Enduring horrible abuse for decades, their faith still stands. They are willing to die for their children. They hope and pray that their abuser will repent and be saved (he isn’t going to, by the way). They put their trust in the Lord in the darkest times, even when everyone in their church abandons them or even puts them out. They are the last people on earth who need to be ashamed.

Domestic abusers are shamers, and we are very often far too willing to wear that shame.

 

Abuse Victims are Being Thrown to the Lions in Local Churches

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

This passage of Scripture is often misapplied to keep victims of domestic abusers in bondage. However, in this post I want to focus upon God’s promise of “the way of escape.” Obviously it is God’s will that when we are in a trial or test and we see a way of escape, we take it! After all, God Himself provides it!

Now, there are people who claim to be Christians who will tell you that it is always better (and in fact that God requires it) to remain in the trial. Even “unto death.” In other words, they promote martyrdom. Of course they are characterized by the ever-present double standard of the abuser. No way would they become a martyr, but you are required to be one.

Continue reading “Abuse Victims are Being Thrown to the Lions in Local Churches”

The Abuser Provokes His Children to Wrath — Sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

The Abuser Provokes His Children to Wrath
Sermon 10 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on September 26, 2010
Sermon Text:  Ephesians 6:4

Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians chapters 5 & 6 contain the Lord’s instructions to us regarding the exercise of His authority and the submission to that authority which is
to characterize the various relationships of our lives –

  • Husbands and wives
  • Fathers and children
  • Masters and slaves (employers and employees in today’s terms)

Before we are finished with this series on the topic of abuse, we will of course need to return to Ephesians 5 and deal with the whole matter of headship and submission in the husband/wife relationship. It cannot be denied that the Bible establishes a doctrine of headship in marriage, but sinful, abusive human beings have often distorted this Scripture in their attempt to justify their evil abusive practices. In particular, we want to underscore what biblical headship in marriage, in parenting, and in other relationships of life, such as in the workplace, IS NOT! 

Continue reading “The Abuser Provokes His Children to Wrath — Sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen”

The Abuser Uses Language to Establish Himself on the “High Ground”

Gen 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

The wicked talk “down” to those they are trying to control and to do this, they very often open up their deceptive assault with words that are designed to establish them on the “high ground.” To make them appear superior – morally, spiritually, intellectually, superior. We are wise if we recognize this tactic. Let me try to explain and illustrate what this business looks like. Many of you will know exactly what I am talking about.

In order to shut down their target – to silence them and bring them into submission – the power and control hungry abuser will speak or write in such a way that he appears to be wiser, more loving, kinder, more godly, and purer in his motives than his target. All for the purpose of making his victim doubt herself, lose her confidence, place blame and guilt and shame upon her, even though in reality everything he is saying is a lie. Here are some real examples of this nastiness in action. The first one was targeted at me, and I have shared it before. It was written by a wicked man parading as an eminent “saint” in the church who was trying to shut me up after I had exposed evil in an organization our church used to belong to. Listen to him speak in his air of superiority:

Continue reading “The Abuser Uses Language to Establish Himself on the “High Ground””

Bow Down — The Abuser’s Command – sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

Bow Down — The Abuser’s Command
Sermon 4 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 15, 2010
Sermon Text:  Esther 3:5

“When we are honest, we come to the humbling realization that in each abuser is a piece of us.  Jesus recognized this when he stated that anyone who was angry with his brother has committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:22). Here Christ eradicates any subtle distinctions we might make between degrees of violence as a way of defending our own violent thoughts or actions. Jesus cuts through to the spawning ground of violence: the human heart. Thus, the fundamental issue of violence is not one of actions but one of the condition of the heart. Until this heart condition is changed, violence will continue its ‘dynamic of growth which condemns it to increase.

The church’s failure to effectively confront the problem of wife abuse [and, we add – the church’s failure to confront the problem of the abusive, power-seeking, deceptive wolf among the sheep who is so often also an abuser of his wife and children] more than being just a reflection of a fundamental disregard for women or a fear of any challenge to a patriarchal system, is a reflection of the failure to recognize evil for what it is. Before Satan can be defeated, he must be identified. And, once identified, he must be fought on spiritual ground. The problem of wife abuse is not one of feminism, secular humanism, or a lack of headship in the home. It is the problem of evil – unseen and unopposed.” [Battered Into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home, by James and Phyliis Alsdurf]

Continue reading “Bow Down — The Abuser’s Command – sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen”

More Weapons in the Enemy’s Arsenal – Sermon by Ps. Crippen

More Weapons in the Enemy’s Arsenal
Sermon 3 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 8, 2010
Sermon Text: Daniel 4

Power and control. As we have been proceeding now in our study of the Psychology and Methods of Sin as contrasted with the mindset and fruits of the Spirit, we have seen that sin craves to be God. Satan announced that he would be like the Most High. His emissaries, like Diotrephes, come to the church of Christ craving power and control, looking to enslave the people of God. All this for power and control – to be worshipped.

And so it is in such a man or woman’s family and marriage. The abusive person is all about getting and maintaining power and control over a spouse primarily and also over the children. Last time we learned that one of the most important and effective weapons in such a man’ s arsenal is secrecy. We were warned that we really do not know the abusive man – though we think that we do. We think, as he intends us to think, that he is a fine man, a nice man, a model Christian. He is the go-to guy in a church many times. But this is all a façade and mask. Behind it lurks a man whose philosophy is to be like the most high. To enslave others to the service and glory of himself. And quite often, he is a master at his craft.

We must be on guard against him. We cannot assume. We cannot afford to be duped by his ploys because if we are, his victims remained oppressed – and we can find ourselves aiding him in his purpose.

Continue reading “More Weapons in the Enemy’s Arsenal – Sermon by Ps. Crippen”

Another Fundamental Attitude in the Abuser – Justification

1Sa 13:8-12 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. (9) So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. (10) As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. (11) Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, (12) I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”

“I had to do it.” “I did it for your own good.” “You made me do it.” These are some examples of the mentality of justification which characterize the abuser’s thinking. Entitlement to power and control and justification in doing whatever is necessary to obtain and maintain unwarranted, unauthorized, power and control. This statement really defines the abuser.

You see it here in Saul. When confronted by Samuel for offering sacrifices he had no right to offer, Saul blamed first circumstances (not his fault) and then he blamed Samuel (again, not his fault). Saul was, in his thinking, justified in doing what he did.

And so it goes with the domestic abuser (and other types of abusers too). He rages at his target all evening long until she is beaten down and the children are hiding out of sight. And though later he may bring her flowers, he still believes he was entirely justified in doing this to her. And he will do it again in spite of any promises not to. After all, in the end he was just in what he did. She needed his raging punishment. Maybe he didn’t want to do it, but it had to be done, you know.

Continue reading “Another Fundamental Attitude in the Abuser – Justification”