A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

How to Put on Christ When You are Accused by the Enemy

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

All Christians and in some ways in particular, those who have been victims of crafty abusers who parade as most eminent and holy Christians, have been the target of false accusations and condemnation, all designed to lead us to despair of having forgiveness of sins in Christ. This is a common tactic of the enemy and we must be wise to it.  Listen to these words by Martin Luther as he comments on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians:

Let us bear this in mind when the devil accuses and frightens our conscience, attempting to drive us to despair. He is the father of lying and the enemy of Christian freedom; he torments us every moment with false fears, so that when our conscience has lost this Christian freedom, it will feel remorse for sin and condemnation and always remain in anguish and terror.  When that great dragon– that old snake, the devil– comes and tells you that not only have you done no good, but you have also transgressed God’s law, say to him, ‘You are troubling me with the memory of my past sins; you are also reminding me that I have done no good. But this is nothing to me, for if I either trusted in my own good deeds or feared because I have done no such deeds, Christ would in either case be of no value to me at all. I rest only in the freedom Christ has given me.  I know he is of value to me, and so I will not make him of no value, which I would be doing if I either presumed to purchase favor and everlasting life for myself by my good deeds or despaired of my salvation because of my sins.’

Let us learn, then, carefully to separate Christ from all that we do, both good and evil, from all laws, both human and divine, and from all troubled consciences. Christ has nothing to do with any of these.  He does have something to do with afflicted consciences but not to afflict them further, but to raise them up and in their affliction comfort them. If Christ seems like an angry judge or a lawgiver who requires a strict account of our past life, then let us assure ourselves that is not Christ, but a raging fiend. The Scripture depicts Christ as our reconciliation, our advocate, and our comforter. He is and always will be such; he cannot be unlike himself.

The devil will disguise himself in the likeness of Christ and argue with us as follows: ‘You were admonished by my Word and ought to have done this, but you have not done it; you ought not to have done that, and you have done it; be sure that I will take vengeance on you.’ When he does this, we should not let it move us at all but should immediately think, ‘Christ does not speak like this to poor, afflicted, and despairing consciences. He does not add affliction to the afflicted; he does not break the ‘bruised reed’ or snuff out the ‘smoldering wick’ (Isaiah 42:3). It is true that he speaks sharply to the hard-hearted, but if people are afraid and afflicted, he entices them most lovingly and comfortingly (Matt 9:2, 13; 11:28; Luke 19:10; John 16:33).’ We must take good care, therefore, that we are not deceived by Satan’s tricks and receive an accuser and condemner instead of a comforter and Savior.

[Martin Luther, Galatians; The Crossway Classic Commentaries]

Pretty good stuff, right? Christian, Christ is your Friend, not your accuser!

23 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    Amen, Pastor. It is good stuff. We have a loving Father. He may convict us of our sin, but never condemn, abuse or accuse us. Satan does his job well sometimes. Thank you for the reminder. The longer I am on this journey the easier it gets to know who’s voice is doing the talking. I hope the preaching this morning at my church is half as good as yours in written form.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Brenda- Yes, it’s very encouraging stuff. We definitely need to learn to identify just who is doing the “talking” to us. Luther’s commentary on Galatians is top notch and full of this kind of encouragement. If you get it, be sure to buy the Crossway Classic Commentaries edition because it is much more complete than others and Luther’s preface to it is priceless.

  2. MeganC

    Such a good word this morning, Pastor Crippen! The Enemy accuses us both day and night . . . . and when others accuse us constantly, they are working for the wrong team!

  3. Thank you for posting passages from Luther – for those of us who have not read Luther’s commentaries it is wonderful encouragement. :)

  4. BeginHealing

    Oh, the way God uses this blog is simply beautiful and so evident of His love. Really good stuff Pastor Crippen!!

    I have been dealing with some different emerging fear’s. A not so fun side effect of emerging from this abuse and betrayal is that everyone feels unsafe and seems to have the potential to manipulate me and undermine my healing. Add this to the fact that my husband has become VERY involved at our church after his latest escalation. He is doing a lot of spin control because there are people that know what he did. He is working very hard to rewrite his public and self image. He shares his side of the story with a lot of people. Of course his story is filled with minimization and self pity. So, condemnation and judgement from some people is what I face when I walk into my church. Not everyone does this. People that have taken the time to speak with me understand and lend me support. But I feel like I am walking into a mine field when I go to church because I have no idea who knows what. Being the introspective overly conscientious person that I am, this feels absolutely horrible . Walking into church today I was nervous to say the least but I know that the enemy prefers me isolated from the body so I am fighting through that desire to isolate myself. Plus, I can’t shake the sense that God is going to use what I am going through in some way to help someone else.

    Our message today was on 1 John 4. I felt convicted when I was sitting there in the pews. I need to stand with courage and not be afraid of peoples perceptions because I know God. He abides in me. He works beautifully and gently in my life. Fear has to do with punishment not love and God IS LOVE! I need to be brave, strong, and confident in the love God is showing me and not allow the shame that people impose on me to divert me from the path God has me on.

    To hear this message in church then to come home and see even more reinforcement in this post. God truly speaks His love to us. I am going to have more confidence in His provisions. He has me in the palm of His hand and is not going to let me go or leave me to stand alone against the enemy.

    • Are you being abused in your church as well, BeginToHeal? sounds slightly similar to feelings I had in my old church. Anxiety and fear of what people were thinking of me, many people seeing me as the ‘problem’ and seeing my husband as the amazing husband supporting his wife through breakdowns and depression. I was the one that wasn’t close to God and not facing up to the truths in my life, i was too emotional. The fact was, I was very close to God and I was having victory in my life and gaining my confidence back, this and much more was misunderstood. This year I have come to realize how the enemy has used my husband to block my full healing. My husband has broken me in pieces with his tongue, this tongue is like a viper, as it talks about in the bible, venomous and harsh. He is so lovely and helpful to everyone and no one has a clue what is tongue can be like.
      He is the shining light….the fixer, helper, rescuer and a wonderful talker. Gives people time and talks to them. He is kind and courteous…… Like the iron fist in a silk glove, or the wolf in sheeps clothing.
      I can very much relate to this post. I am guilty of listening to the words of the enemy at times as these words have so much power and are so convincing. At times am so emotionally exhausted I let these words go in.

      • BeginHealing

        Loves6 I wouldn’t say I am suffering abuse at church only ignorance. Maybe a few of my husbands allies are more abusive but the church as a whole not really. I just pray and hope that God gives me the strength and words when needed to help enlighten and educate people so I can help lift the burden of ignorance from my church. If I find myself feeling abused I think I have the strength now to walk away from the church. I hope that it does not come to that though.

        This statement…..” At times am so emotionally exhausted I let these words go in.” Boy oh boy isn’t that a true statement. I can relate.

        I am so sorry for the duplicity that you are forced to deal with. Hold tight to God’s hand He is pure Truth, the brightest light in the darkness, and He will make your footsteps firm.

      • I wouldn’t say I am suffering abuse at church only ignorance

        Ain’t that so often the truth! It’s a little like someone who is allergic to bee stings going to the Emergency Dept because they’ve been bitten by a bee and are at risk of anaphylaxis (which can cause death), and finding that the staff don’t know how to treat bee stings so they have to teach the staff how to treat them.
        Hmmm. What is wrong with that picture?

      • loves6

        Bless you BeginToHeal… I can hear the strength God is giving you. Praise Him for that. X

      • Whisper

        Love6 – Keep fighting. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but what you are describing fits the description of an abuser from the internet sources I’ve read such as Cry of Justice and multiple books. Nice, kind, caring to everyone else BUT you. In public he/she might appear caring but behind closed doors and when witnesses are not around other than God, venom and poison to the soul. Jesus was killed by a group of such people manipulating the perceptions of the people to condemn Him. Thankfully, what these people meant as harm, brought salvation to all of us.

    • rejoicing with you, BeginHealing. :)

    • Rebecca

      Amen, agree! Thank you Jeff

  5. Yes. Good stuff, Jeff. This is exactly how Christ is. He does not afflict the afflicted. The devil, on the other hand, will not only afflict the afflicted but stir up afflictions to afflict you with in the first place, that he may afflict you the more.

  6. Gal 5:1 is liberating. Thanks, Jeff, for sharing this excellent verse and quote from Luther which helps us to identify the impostors, those with a false message who “climb over the wall and into the pen.” Also it helps us to hear the voice of The True Shepherd and His followers, those who have come into the pen through The Door, Jesus!

    You speak of “…crafty abusers who parade as most eminent and holy Christians…” This reminds me of the theme ACFJ has spoken of many times…wolves in sheep’s clothing. These kind do as BeginHealing said, “…work[ing] very hard to rewrite his public and self image.” Freedom comes when we remember it matters not what they say, rewrite or believe because the TRUTH will prevail!

  7. I read the bruised reed and smouldering wick passage the other day and what (duh!) did I notice? Justice.

    a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
    He will not grow faint or be discouraged
    till he has established justice in the earth (Is. 42:3-4)

    a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smouldering wick he will not quench,
    until he brings justice to victory (Matt. 12:20)

    • loves6

      I love this verse !

    • Rebecca

      Excellent verse! It never occurred to me either. Thank you so much for sharing, Barb

    • Jeff Crippen

      Barbara – You’re right! There it is smack in front of us!

      • BeginHealing

        Love, LoVe, LOVE these verses. Thanks for posting.

  8. Sunshine

    Someone forwarded me a different section from this blog and I have been up all night crying, reading, wondering if these things written could really be true. I have heard FOR SO LONG that I am in the wrong, but the danger to us was too great and I have left…and my precious young son and I are alone. I can’t find anyone that can help me understand, I dont know what god thinks about me anymore…we are just desperate for help! Where is this church that you guys speak of? Is it Jeff that is the pastor or leader? Where are you located? I would come to where you are if I knew you understood and we could be safe. I am just amazed at the reading here. Overwhelmed with emotion and don’t know how to feel or who to trust anymore… PLEASE reply if this church is willing or able to “have our back”…that was on the end of the post sent to me and it meant the world to me…what would it mean for the church to actually “have our back?”. How much less alone would we feel? I am just a mess and dont know where to turn…Thank you for writing…it has changed me tonite somehow…given me a shred of hope…

    • Dear Sunshine, so glad you have found us and so glad you have got away from the abuser. Jeff Crippen is the pastor at Christ Reformation Church, Tillamook, Oregon. You can find his email address at the About tab at the top of this blog. If you can’t get to Oregon, you can always listen in to the church services live at Sermon Audio. Go to this page on our Resources page for instructions about how to do it.

      We embrace you and your son. There are many people here, fellow survivors and their true supporters, who will understand and empathise with you. Hugs from Barb.

    • And by the way, Sunshine: It is not your fault. You are not to blame. You are right in thinking that you were abused and in danger. How can I be sure of that, going only on the little you have told us? Because I’ve heard from hundreds of survivors of domestic abuse and I know the way they speak, the way they express their feelings, and what they feel like when they are in extremis, as you are. So I am totally confident that you are a victim and you are not to blame for what happened in your marriage. Blessings and hugs :)

    • Jeff Crippen

      Sunshine – you may email Jeff directly at swordtrowel@gmail.com Wonderful that you found us, and yes, the things you are reading here are very true.

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