A Cry For Justice

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

Why Does He do That? – The Fundamental Motivation of the Abuser

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:11-14)

I believe I have written before on these verses, particularly on verse 12, but I am compelled to write again.

The first part of the title of this post is familiar to most all of you — “Why Does He do That?” — as it is the main title of Lundy Bancroft’s wonderful and foundational book that has helped so many people learn what they could not learn in their churches. Namely, abusers abuse because they have a profound mentality of entitlement to power and control and feel fully justified in using whatever tactics they must to obtain and maintain that self-deifying power.

But let me suggest that Scripture tells us there is perhaps an even more basic answer to the question, “why does he do that?” And it is this —

The wicked hate the righteous with a murderous hatred simply because their own deeds are evil and their victims are righteous.

Darkness despises light because the light exposes what the darkness hides. Light breaks the power of darkness.

The liar despises the truth because the truth robs the liar of his deceiving power over others. Liars hate the truth because they are liars and the truth is truth.

The world hates Jesus Christ because the world is antichrist, and Christ is King of kings.

You see it here in the words of the Psalmist —

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalms 2:1-3)

Why do the nations rage? Because the Lord is the Lord and they are not.

I have absolutely no doubt that the murderous, destructive hatred of the abuser (especially the kind of abuser who claims to be a Christian) rages against his victim simply because she is righteous, and he is evil. In the world today, even in and perhaps especially in the West, domestic violence and abuse are perhaps THE leading form of persecution against Christians.

Listen to it once more –

We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:12)

Understand? Why does your abuser abuse and hate you? Why? Because he is evil. Because you are not.

And it really requires coming to grips with all of this in order to begin to see the blinding, deceptive, fog cast by the abuser begin to fade and lift. He is evil. Not difficult. Evil. Not damaged by his childhood. Evil. And no matter how skillfully he constructs a disguise of holiness, inside there is a wicked, evil heart that hates all good.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

Further Reading

Wise as Serpents:  Cain is Still With Us Today (Part 5 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)

“Reconciliation” With an Abuser is the Twilight Zone

Thursday Thought — New Resource items on Sexual Abuse and Pornography

We have added four new items to our resources pages: Sexual Abuse and Training Materials.   These items are for women who discover their partner is using child exploitation material.  The new items are listed below with a brief explanation.


These three resources are from secular sources

Rosie Batty’s discovery of ex-partner’s child porn charges

Rosie Batty, former Australian of the Year and Domestic Violence campaigner, talks of the trauma she experienced when she discovered her ex-partner had been charged with accessing online child abuse material at a library.  His child pornography charges are a lesser-known part of Batty’s tragic and well-publicized story.


A peer support forum for ‘affected partners’ – people who are affected by and concerned about the child abuse material viewed by their partner, husband or family members.

PartnerSPEAK Research Report

In 2015 PartnerSPEAK partnered with Dr Marg Liddell and Professor S. Caroline Taylor, AM to do research exploring the experiences of and impact on the non-offending partners of people involved with child exploitation material.  This published research is the first of its kind worldwide.


This resource is a Christian site –  much like G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment)

Church Protect, Inc.

Church Protect began as a result of Jimmy, one of the founders of the organization, finding out that his father, a former minister, is a pedophile.  Jimmy Hinton, along with Jon Uhler, started Church Protect to help churches combat child sex abuse.  Their mission is protecting, equipping, and supporting churches to prevent and report abuse while meaningfully helping those who have been impacted by the trauma of sexual abuse.

A Common Tactic of Abusers is to Try to Alienate the Victim’s Allies

“I understand that you are giving _______ counsel and I want to talk to you.”

I have received that kind of message many times over the past few years. A message on our church answering machine. An email. A note. I never answer these messages because I know what they are about. They are attempts by the abuser to place doubt in my mind about the victim. Just think of it. A person actually contacts me, thinking that I am counseling their target.* The abuser actually expects that I am going to talk to him about his spouse!! Hello? I would not even be free to acknowledge that I have spoken with them or not, let alone provide any details!

Sometimes these calls are really a not-so-veiled-threat — “I know and I want you to know that I know.”

And sometimes the abuser’s attorney will even call and want me to talk to him. Can you believe it? I mean, I know that all they are after is more information that they can use against the victim. Never return those calls either. I think that some attorneys will call simply to imply that “you better stop talking to her or else.” Or others may even be trying to find out where the victim is.

And then you have the abuser’s “pastor” who will phone me, sometimes repeatedly, asking me to please, please telephone him and talk to him. Really? At best such a pastor is duped by the abuser and even quite likely a full-blown ally ready to eventually ex-communicate the victim. I have, I admit, wished at times that I could put a string of special messages on our answering machine. “If you are _____, please press “1” for a special message just for you.”

Very rarely, but once in a great while, I will be contacted by a pastor who really does want to help an abuse victim. How do I tell the difference? Because this kind of pastor has heard about our ACFJ ministry and has expended some effort to hear what we are saying and seriously consider it. The most telling way I can identify such a pastor is that they have taken the time to read our books (at least one of them anyway). Then they will ask for advice or they will ask a question or two and really listen to my answer. But once again, these kind are rare.

But most typically, by threat or by deception or some other manipulative means, the wicked types typically contact the friends and allies of their victim in order to intimidate them, or to place doubt in their minds about the character and truthfulness of the victim, or effect some other harmful goal.

We know. And we won’t be returning their calls. I don’t care to have a conversation with the devil.


*Note: I do not actually give professional counseling in this blog or in other settings. I will state my opinion, answer questions, direct people to resources. I will give my opinion about whether a pattern of behavior is abusive or not, but I will not give technical legal advice (other than “call the police”). And whatever my opinion may be, I know that decisions must ultimately be made by the victim.

We must be done with Harlequin or Mills & Boon romance notions of love

I (Jeff) have never read a romance novel, but I have watched a few movies of that genre—the Jane Austen type I suppose. Austen’s novels are way better than the pulp romance novels because she exposes more than one wicked character: she depicts how people can get duped by the wicked, and how they can resist the tactics of the wicked.

I’m talking here in this post not about novels by authors like Jane Austen (Barb says there is no author as good as Jane Austen, though Charlotte and Anne Bronte come close) but about the kind of novel which comes from imprints like Harlequin or Mills & Boon, or the *princess* stuff written for girls. Formulaic page-turners that are really just pulp.

We must never take romance novel ideas into the realm of abuse. You know the notions I am thinking of –

  • He changed and they all lived happily ever after
  • In the end, all of her friends awakened to the truth
  • The moment she saw him, she was smitten and taken by his spell

Once again, you all can probably do a better job than me adding to this list, but you get the point.

Why did this subject come to my mind today? Because recently I was speaking with a smart, talented, really nice gal who has been targeted more than once by abusers. She is just coming out of the fog and growing wiser and wiser as to the reality and nature of abuse. Her worst enemy has been her “nice” parents and being brought up in a typical “nice” church, receiving really no true wisdom and instruction about evil, evildoers, the typical tactics of evil, and so on. The nicer and kinder and friendlier such a person is — well, as many of you have told me — your Christianity set you up to be the mouse in a room of cats.

And one of the recurring and in some ways most traumatic things that has happened to her, like so many victims, is the “counsel” and “love” she has received from her, you guessed it, family, friends, and fellow church members. The one that was fired at her recently was this:

  • “Oh, Jane, please just go back to him. I talked with him at length and he really loves you. I just know that he has a soft spot in his heart for you.”

See it? Just what does “a soft spot in his heart” mean, anyway? The thing is meaningless. It is common, but it is empty romanticism. It totally ignores all of the abuser’s ACTIONS (wicked deeds of abuse carried out over years) and gives him a total pass because he has this “soft spot” in his heart for the victim.

Somebody has a soft spot alright. A soft spot in the head!

Think of it. A soft SPOT in the abuser’s heart is an admission that THE REST OF HIS HEART IS AS EVIL AND HARD AS STONE! So he habitually has carried out all this evil abuse—but there is this one little spot, way, way, way back there in the depths where you can’t hardly ever see it, that loves the victim. Have you ever heard such nonsense in Scripture? Of course not. A human being either has a heart of stone or a heart of flesh. Not a mixture.

Actually, scripture does talk about this… and it shows that ‘soft spot’ in the abuser for what it really is: just another abusive tactic the abuser employs to wheedle his victim back into his web and to manipulate the victim’s family and friends to wheedle her back on his behalf.

Judges 19:1-3 CEV  In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a Levite staying in a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim acquired a woman from Bethlehem in Judah as his concubine. But she was unfaithful to* him and left him for her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah. She was there for four months. Then her husband got up and followed her to speak kindly to her** and bring her back. He had his servant with him and a pair of donkeys. So she brought him to her father’s house, and when the girl’s father saw him, he gladly welcomed him.
* LXX and Old Latin: was angry with him
** literally, speak to her heart

That wicked Levite ended up doing the most bloodthirsty wicked act of male violence against woman that is described in the whole Bible. And he then manipulated eleven tribes Israel into carrying out even more bloodshed, and more violence against women. Could such a man possibly have spoken with true kindness to his female partner? Could he have had a soft spot in his heart? No. He was designedly and skilfully destructive ever step of that story, it’s just that his destructiveness was mostly covert. In fact, we can’t even really say he had a soft spot in his brain. His brain was as sharp as knife in carrying out every choice he made in that narrative.

His speech was smoother than butter,
But his heart was war;
His words were softer than oil,
et they were drawn swords. (Ps 55:21)

So when some soft-headed romantic comes along, giving counsel and instruction on a topic they know NOTHING of, and pull this “he has a soft spot in his heart for you” business, let me translate for you what that person really is telling you:

Yes, I know, he has done some horrible things. He demeans you in front of people. He likes to destroy the things you love. He humiliates you sexually. He isolates you economically and socially. BUT BECAUSE HE HAS THIS THING, THIS SOFT SPOT IN HIS HEART, YOU ARE BOUND AND OBLIGATED TO IGNORE EVERYTHING ELSE HE HAS DONE TO YOU AND RUN BACK INTO HIS ARMS WHILE THE ORCHESTRA PLAYS AND THE SCREEN SHOT OF “THE END” COMES UP.

You see, we all need to start calling people on the carpet when they pull this on us. They need to be confronted with the fact that what they are saying is worse than meaningless and that in fact their real motive is to prevent their own world from being shaken. Pastors don’t want their record of “no divorces in this church” broken. Some parents would rather see their own child stay married to a wicked spouse just so the Christmas holidays aren’t ruined. And they all need to be brought face to face with their selfish motives.

Watch or read romance novels if you will. Barb heard of one woman in a very demanding job whose work involved helping victims of domestic abuse. She said she read Mills & Boon every night to switch off and get to sleep. But never, never, never bring fiction into real life. Fiction gets people killed, deceives, and enslaves.


Related items:

The Levite’s Concubine — a YouTube presentation by Barbara Roberts

Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

Emotional Abuse, the movie “Tangled”, and a Revealing Comment

When we want to see good in everyone — a lesson from Pride and Prejudice

A Peaceful Life — part 7 of Ecclesiastes sermon series by Ps Sam Powell


A Peaceful Life
by Ps Sam Powell
Ecclesiastes 5:8 – 6:12 KJV

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.

10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.

15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?

17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.

20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:

A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.

If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.

For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.

Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.

Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?

All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?

12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?


Listen to the sermon by clicking on the link above.

Update on Lundy Bancroft’s Webinar — Why Does He Do That?


For those of you who registered for Lundy’s webinar which is based on his book, Why Does He Do That?, you may be like Barb and me, who have listened and are re-listening to the presentations while actively taking notes  because we want to remember all the top-notch information that he is presenting.  I was able to relax a bit when I found out, and we want to remind you also, that at the end of the series those who registered for the webinar will receive links to all four of the presentations to add to their video library for keeps!

And for those of you who wish you had registered – good news!  Due to the number of requests asking to join the webinar series late, Lundy has decided to keep registration open.  Yes, that means you can still join for the last webinar scheduled for Wednesday, March 22nd, and you will receive links to replay the previous webinars that you missed.  Details on how to register late can be found on his website – here.

For those of you who are debating whether it is worth the $59, I have listened to three of the four presentations and I can answer a resounding, “Yes! It is worth it!”