A Cry For Justice

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

The Trap of Assuming Everyone is “Good”

I have had the opportunity recently to watch an ongoing debate (to put it lightly – “war” is probably a better word for it) between professing Christians. I read what they write and listen to them speaking, and I have observed something that just makes me shake my head in amazement. There is an unwritten tradition, a rule if you will, that says that in the church we all must speak “nice” to one another. After all, so goes the assumption, we are all Christians and therefore we are all “good.” Oh, someone here and there might get off track and be mistaken, but we must never stop believing that their motives are good. That’s the thinking, you see. And so in these battles you see the participants calling one another “brother” or going on at lengths to be sure everyone knows that no matter what they say, they don’t doubt the heart of their opponents and everyone just loves one another.  In such settings, it is an absolute no-no to speak of an action or a motive or a person as being evil.

And that, I am proposing, lays fertile soil for the wicked to practice their wickedness unmolested.

You see, the fact of the matter is that the Bible tells us over and over and over and over again, in both Old and New Testaments, that we MUST be on guard against the enemy. We are warned repeatedly that the devil is out and about, prowling around, sending his secret agents in amongst us in the church in disguise. He brings false doctrine, he abuses people, he lords power and control over them, he works to bring us away from Christ and into bondage. You know the classic warnings about wolves in sheep’s clothing, right?

So why is it that we are required, it seems, to never ever call a wolf out? Why is it that we talk a lot in the church about wolves and how we must be cautious, but we never are? We are required to function and speak and write as if wolves in the church are an extinct species, or at least so rare that most of us will never see one in our lifetime?  Why is that? It is because we simply think too highly of ourselves and because we are entertaining unbelief in Christ’s Word. Throw in the incredibly deceptive nature of the wolf in wool and you have the blind leading the blind.

Not everyone in the visible church is good. Let me say that again. There are wicked, evil, counterfeit “Christians” in most every local church. They are not rare. Some if not many of them are church leaders. They are like a household fungus which, if not combated continually, will always crop up amongst us.

Do not call them good. Do not use “nice” to them. Do not proceed in your dealings with them based on the assumption that they are real Christians, brothers or sisters in Christ, who have simply gotten off course. They are not. All you need do is read, for instance, Paul’s letter to the Galatians or his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and as you read think carefully about how Paul describes these wicked ones who had infiltrated these churches. Paul does not make nice with them. And you all know well that our Lord Jesus Christ didn’t either – “Woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!”

So let’s stop being naively nice. Let’s call wolves what they are. Let’s be wise as serpents in discerning evil, and innocent as doves in regard to its practice.

 

29 Comments

  1. Reaching for the prize

    But Jeff, we have called out the evil. It is us evil wives who don’t submit to our husbands/churches. We are prideful, controlling, wanting to usurp our role as baby makers and makers of crafts. We make noise about somehow being abused and our husbands aren’t respecting us or our boundaries. (Oh wait, men want respect and women want love.)

    We all know that males are the more honest gender. And they *always* have the best of intentions. So they must show respect to each other. Men in the church would *never* be disrespectful or dishonest.

    Men are good and women are wolves.
    Women just aren’t

  2. Thank you Pastor Jeff for this reminder that clearly shows we are not to percieve everyone as the same.
    Thus we are to be wise in choosing whom we can trust. (Guarding our hearts)
    Scripture gives us many warnings about wolves in sheeps clothing, and not throwing our pearls to swine as they will trample them only to turn on you again.
    And even how the evil cant rest,- unless they have caused someone to fall.

    We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves by dealing appropriately with people of different charactor in wisdom.

    2nd Samuel 22: 26-27 describes the way our Lord deals with people of different charactor.

    To the faithful you show yourself faithful,

    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

    to the pure you show yourself pure,

    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.

    Yes, even the Lord deals with the devious shrewdly.

  3. Suzanne

    Another great article. Thanks, Jeff. If only our churches would awaken to the truth of this!

  4. Debbie

    I call that an environment of denial – the same environment that allowed slavery to continue in America. An environment of denial produces a schizophrenic-like condition that creates some of the most severe dysfunction ever.

  5. Arguably, the most commonly misused verse in Christendom today, “Judge not lest ye be judged”! If it isn’t quoted, it is at least the underlying view of way too many. We all want to just get along and not offend, even though God’s nostrils are very offended at what happens within the “c”hurch!

    • healingInHIm

      Thank you Pastor Jeff for posting this. Warning of the wolves has had me shunned and labeled as being judgmental.

    • StandsWithAFist

      Yes, and how often these pious people conveniently forget that “judgement begins with the house of God”! 1 Peter 4:17

  6. Searcher

    I have come to be very cautious of some of the people in my church .
    They act holy and say holy things but what they do and how they treat you is another story. They want to use your faith against you , at times. They may want you to go into a business deal with them that will be financially damaging to me and my family. They may actually become angry when you stand up for yourself .
    I know that abusive people often seek cover in the church. It pains me that pastors are often incapable of spotting these wolves in sheeps clothing. A narcissistic abuser is difficult to help. A major aspect of their disorder is their inability to comprehend how detrimental their behavior is to their family . These people are downright dangerous. I knew a guy like this. He had me fooled . The church was fooled. Well, some members continued to support him even when the physical abuse allegations were made and substantiated.
    Many vices thrive in the church. The first person that I ever saw with a split lip , bruised face and black eyes was a church member friend of my mom’s. Her husband , a Sunday school teach had beaten her up. We need to call things as we see them. The transgressor suffers also. He/she exist in their own fantasy world and they never attain the wholeness that our families deserve.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Searcher – This is real wisdom you are stating here. Excellent. I agree totally.

  7. Anonymous

    1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    It took me a long time to allow myself to do this all the time. When I’m doing Hebrews 13:2, Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it, I don’t FORGET to test every spirit. When I’m practicing Matthew 19:19, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself, I’m still testing all the spirits. We don’t shut one off in order to fulfill the other. When the Holy Spirit lives in you, this is His job and he loves to do it. Most of us have been so conditioned to “love” others but denied the right and the need to do what it says in 1 John 4:1. But once you allow yourself to have discernment and to listen to the Holy Spirit and to act on what he shows you, your life will change. If most of us had been trained or allowed to do this throughout our lives we may not have ended up in the horrific relationships we find ourselves in and we might have fewer unpleasant ( who am I kidding, a lot less EVIL) people swarming around trying to steal our minds, hearts and souls.

    What we do once we identify an evil one in our midst is highly important too. Romans 16:17, I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. KEEP AWAY FROM THEM. Knowledge about evil is necessary and essential and as you practice by allowing God to intervene in these relationships by letting him deal with evil ones “issues,” it will help you learn to trust him.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anonymous – Does it not just blow you away? I mean, the Bible is soooo clear on this and yet most of us have been taught to forget about the evil and just welcome everybody who comes along. That is false teaching, and it is just plain dangerous. You are very wise.

  8. Innoscent

    The ‘tolerance’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘unconditional love’ stuff is just another subtle sophistry of the Devil. It has come through the ‘psychological gospel’ to make us forget that we are waging a war! The apostle Paul suffered much at the hands of his own Jewish peers and throughout his letters he kept warning and alerting about FALSE apostles, FALSE brothers, FALSE workers, FALSE prophets, FALSE christs. Has the word FALSE been erased from most of Christendom’s Bibles? O but some will accuse us of being on a witch hunt… and be unloving… etc.

    This year they are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of 1st world war which ended in 1915 with many commemorations at monument sites where one can read “Lest We Forget”. And us Christians we forget there is an even more enraged enemy who knows his time is short. Shouldn’t it be now the time to be giving the trumpet in Zion a clear sound?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Innosent – What you said! Thank you.

    • yes, thank you, Innoscent!

  9. StandsWithAFist

    Sadly, I had to yet again stand my ground with my DH who cannot seem to accept that his mother is not nice, but is evil and destructive and unrepentant.
    She is “not nice” personified.
    I have been no contact for over 3 years now, and he recently wanted me to go visit her with him so she could “apologize”. (You know, the fake kind, the “love bomb” kind, the “I don’t know what I did but I’m sorry so just get over it already” kind.)
    I declined.
    He criticized me for telling some friends the truth about her, accusing me of “gossiping” and being no better than her.
    Thanks to this site I was able to respond by saying that if I speak of her, I am telling the truth, not gossiping, therefore I am NOTHING like her.
    I also reminded him that there is no fellowship of light with darkness, therefore, I cannot violate my own faith in God’s word when it clearly tells me to avoid her, stay away from her, or else I participate in her evil deeds. This I will not do.
    It is incredibly challenging to stand firm like this when my own husband is pressuring me to “be nice”.
    I told him that I cannot and will not be nice with an unrepentant, intrusive, destructive, malicious wolf pretending to be a sheep.
    I will not pretend that she is good when she continues to make crooked the straight path of the Lord.
    I will not give her access to our son because she repeatedly threatened to undermine me to him & alienate him from me. She thinks she is entitled to him, & has repeatedly said “I am not sorry”. This is also evil.
    I don’t know what else to do but to stay grounded in the truth & be armed to the teeth to push back in that truth.
    It is hard and it hurts to think that his loyalty to her is greater than his love for me, but I cannot betray my faith and trust in God Himself.
    Sorry, but I had to let this out. I love my husband but I am also incredibly sad.
    It never ends. I am forever the scapegoat, but thanks to this site the fog has cleared and I am strengthened.
    Sad but strong.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Good job! We have had to take that position with two relatives over the years. The result was that our family enjoyed peace.

      • StandsWithAFist

        Thank you, Ps. Jeff. It means so much to be affirmed. This blog is literally saving my life.

    • SWIF, your example is an inspiration to me. Thank you.

      • StandsWithAFist

        Right back at you, Barbara.
        As I said, this blog has saved me in so many ways. I am so grateful.
        Sometimes I feel I am an “interloper” of sorts, since my abuser is not my spouse but a family member.
        Yet…abuse is abuse is abuse. It took me a looooong time to call it abuse. It takes a long time for the fog to lift, to see and think with clarity.
        I am so grateful for you & Ps. Jeff and twbtc and Ellie & Megan & so many others.
        To have a voice that is heard, valued and affirmed is beyond words. My language is beggared to describe what that is like.
        Thank you all for this ministry, this clarity, this beacon, this affirmation, this balm.
        Like a long drink of fresh, cool water to a parched and weary soul.
        I am not crazy.
        Right?
        I am not crazy??
        I am not crazy!
        I am NOT crazy.
        I AM NOT CRAZY!!!!
        Thank you from my marrow…..

      • No, StandsWithAFist, you are not, Not, NOt, NOT crazy!! 🙂

      • StandsWithAFist

        Tears. Just…weary tears. Thank you.

      • SWIF, I don’t see you as an interloper. I rejoice that we have you here, because people who have not been abused by spouses but by other family members will find a lot of identification when they read your comments. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      StandsWithAFist – I hear you … I’ve lived it and yes, this ministry and several others have finally set the record straight. I’m still in a bit of a fog but I am thankful that much Scripture has been untwisted to know that fake apologies from spouse and family are not an attempt to have true peace but a fake peace. Ha, this is made worse when the ‘c’hurch criticizes you for making your in-laws look bad:-( Praying for you.

      • StandsWithAFist

        Thank you, and I too pray for so many here.
        Blessings….

  10. Sarah

    “So let’s stop being naively nice.”
    Thank you, Ps. Crippen and your timing is freakishly accurate. I have a relative whose “naively niceness” is being abused and twisted by folks who chose to continually and habitually commit the sin of psychological abuse (stalking, harassment, gossip, rumors) AND who is excellent at rationalizing their behavior.

    Although I have not cut this naively innocent person out of my life, I know not to share information with her. A lifetime of victim behavior is not easy to overcome and, I pray, for her eyes to be opened, yet her heart not hardened, when that awakening occurs. I will be the first to hold her hand and wipe her tears when it does. ❤

  11. Godith

    I have a friend from Russia, and I guess things are different there. She is appalled that Americans let their children do sleep-overs at friends’ houses, and that Christians so willingly open their homes to overnight hospitality to near strangers (this with regard to home schooling groups for conferences, etc.). I think she is absolutely right and I’ve rethought my positions on this. What do you think?

    • Jeff Crippen

      I think she is a wise person.

    • Hope

      I agree with Pastor Crippen. I never allowed my children to go to or have sleep-overs when they were little. When they were in high school I allowed their friends to come to my house but not my children to theirs. Because most people thought I was “whack-o” they allowed their kids to come over. I may have been wrong even in that, but it’s what I did.

      I have a family horror story of a “Christian” family friend abusing my sister-in-laws 3 kids over a period of years – the parents never knew. Until, that is, one of the then late teen kids told. It ruined my sister-in-law’s marriage and life for all time, up to today at any rate. The kids turned out fairly well, 2 Christians out of 3, but not at all the life anyone would have chosen for them. This is why I allowed no sleep overs.

      The moral of my sad tale is to agree with Pastor Crippen, the wolves are everywhere waiting to devour, and you have to be oh so wise where your children are concerned. I do not feel wise, but I work on it, and this obvious experience really helped me when my kids were younger. (They are grown now.)

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