A Cry For Justice

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

Most “Christians” Cave When it Comes Down to Standing With an Abuse Victim

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. (2 Timothy 4:16-17)

And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. (Luke 22:59-60)

If you are an abuse victim or survivor, you know all too well what I am talking about in the article. Namely, that very, very few people (including professing Christians) actually stand firm alongside an abuse victim when standing is going to cost them something. That is when the “come on, just forgive the guy” business starts. In most abuse cases, the abuser holds trump when it comes to finances, influence, allies, health, and power. To stand with his victim means that his loaded deck just might come down on you as well.

And yet Christ has told us quite clearly that if we are not willing to stand with His people, especially when they are suffering or in need, then we do not belong to Him. Listen to Him for yourself:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:41-42)

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (Matthew 25:41-45)

There it is. If a person who claims the name of Christ for themselves will not pay the price required to stand with the oppressed, like an abuse victim, paying the price for doing so right along with the victim, then Christ will reject them on that Day when He comes to judge all humanity.

We have seen this thing in our church over and over and over again as the years have gone by. If it is going to cost someone something to turn away from a wicked man and stop enabling him in his evil, the majority of professing Christians will refuse to do so. And I think that is one chief reason why we have all this distorted nonsense in our churches about forgiveness and reconciliation and so on. Because, you see, if an abuse victim will “simply forgive and forget,” then suddenly all is well and there is no price for anyone to have to pay. Except for the victim of course, but never mind her.

Refusing to stand with the oppressed is, as Christ Himself said in the above Scripture, equivalent to denying Christ Himself. And on this matter of confessing or denying Christ, the Scripture is very, very plain:

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
(Matthew 10:32-36)

Yep, it’s gonna cost to follow Christ. The gospel separates and divides the sheep and the goats. Following Him means we all have to decide just whose side we are on.  Christ is on the side of the oppressed. Are you?

49 Comments

  1. Seeing Clearly

    “whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple” What beautiful words to reflect on. This disciple is one who was paying attention, with heart looking downward in humility. The disciple took the time to kneel with the child, hear her need for life giving water, believed her, and shared it with her.

    That is really all we ask for. For someone to sit with us, listen to us, believe our need is real, respond by going out (to get the water) where others can see that there is a need, returning to us with life giving water. So simply put, we are God’s children, in great need. Like children, we often intuit that things are not right, but can’t put it in words. We just know that we are very thirsty.

    • healingInHim

      A very timely message as I have once again attempted to re-enter ‘church’. Many invitations to join them and worship?? … just don’t share my life; let’s just smile and by all means don’t question some of the heretical teaching because it opens you up to more abuse. This is so difficult:-(
      Carol – I agree. “… we often intuit that things are not right, but can’t put it in words. We just know that we are very thirsty.”
      Very thankful for internet access to a few sound Biblical teachers/preachers.

      • Heidi

        So true in my experience.

      • Heidi

        Church is the worst place!

    • Still Reforming

      Carol,
      You wrote: “That is really all we ask for. For someone to sit with us, listen to us, believe our need is real, respond by going out (to get the water) where others can see that there is a need, returning to us with life giving water. ”
      So true what you write, and yet, once there are problems identified (or divorce – gasp!), we’re like the lepers of the church. That’s how I feel – more than a widow, I feel like a leper. The untouchable.
      No one at church wants to know what happened. No one wants to “take sides.” No one wants details. They all want to be Switzerland and remain neutral. I don’t see any words in God’s Holy Writ about neutrality though.

      • SR. I feel the loneliness at times as well. I became a member of a church about 6 yrs ago and no one has ever really asked about my life. When we attended a new church together about 15 yrs ago, it wasn’t too many weeks before I realized that this minister was a pastor, he would be my pastor. In all of my life, I had never felt that I had a pastor of my own. Of course my ex did not respect him, but because my ex was to come on staff, we stayed for 6 yrs. When this pastor was relocated in my “new neighborhood” some years later, I began attending and because of the pastor, I became a member. He knew my story, but now he is gone. Churches who do not desire to get to know the “new” people” do not grow. On one hand, I think it is sad and wrong. On the other hand, It is a place where I am who I choose to be, not who my ex tried to tell me I am. There is so much more to us than the wounded, struggling, suffering “us”. I take the time to present myself as a “put together” person. I look for the person who is sitting alone to sit by and smile at them. I make a point to welcome visitors. There are those who are always friendly, but have never invited me out for coffee. Will I stay forever? Probably not. I don’t know that I will ever really fit in anyplace. That can be a lonely statement.

        There is one very significant part of this church that has been the primary reason that I have stayed. There is a vital Stephens Ministry at work. I was asked, early on if I would like one of their people to walk alongside me. I was assigned a remarkable woman who prays for me every day. At first we met weekly, then every 2 weeks and now less often as I schedule. She mostly listens and guides very gently. She is compassionate and keeps everything confidential.

        It is tragedy that we, mostly women, are judged harshly by people who have no heart, just a big Bible. Since my divorce, I have tried to navigate the political network within one church in particular. The authorities did not know my past, but neither were they interested in my passion for a certain ministry. I was tolerated, verbally disrespected, told to drop it, and lied to. I left in tact, but hurt and reminded of where I do not belong.

        In my personal life, I have those who stand beside me, but I have no confidence that more than a very few would not cave if they had to confront my abuser. That is a very sad statement.

      • Still Reforming

        Carol,
        Yes, “tolerated.” I know that feeling. That feeling of trying to connect with people, get to know them as family, invest in them, thinking all the while they too are investing in you and connecting – only to find out… it was just “tolerance.” There is no love lost in leaving. How sad. It’s not unlike our marriages really.
        I remember the day it finally dawned on me that my husbands words and actions were intentional. That he was making things up. That he was pretending and lying and it was all like a “game.” That turned my stomach.
        And yet, then many of the relationships in church turned out similarly. Like a farce. Some kind of pseudo “Christian club.”
        “Tolerated.” Isn’t that strange?
        I find that relationships I’m making since both my marriage and church affiliation went kaput – well, I’m still trusting people, but at the first sign of abuse of trust, it’s done. I don’t keep giving the benefit of the doubt over and over as I used to.

  2. rebecca

    This post is so, so extremely good. Thank you, Jeff.

  3. Bitter But Getting Better

    Pastor Crippen This is excellent!! It is exactly why I am bitter: I spent years laboring for the Lord in my church. Answering every call or need their was. I was never a pew warmer!!!!! And as soon as I had this desperate need about my relationship with my husband the leadership were no where to be found. There is a belief in recovery programs that you can’t get bread @ a Home Depot. I finally and sadly left my church, because there was no bread there!!!!

    • healingInHim

      Another good quote: ” … you can’t get bread @ a Home Depot. I finally and sadly left my church, because there was no bread there!!!!”
      Praying for you BBGB.

    • Still Reforming

      Bitter But Getting Better,
      You and me both. What astonished me was not so much that I gave to those I thought my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but that I labored for nearly a decade alongside them, and I thought they would know me by my testimony and my service. That I spent years teaching their kids and grandkids on Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday nights. That we served food together, ate dinners before Wed. evening fellowship together. I thought they knew me. And as one professed to me just before my husband left us (when things really were getting intensely difficult), “No one at church really knows him.”
      And yet….. knowing much of what happened at the end, those same sisters in the Lord (and the brothers I thought were mine in the pastor, youth pastor, deacons) – no one called. My husband left us physically and financially – and we had been dependent on him for more than a decade. (He worked; I homeschooled.) And not one person from the church asked me about it, though I later found out my ex- told the pastor he had left us. Ex-h disappeared from the church, and I continued to serve, until he showed up again at church out of the blue. So we fled. To this day he still attends on Sundays, never serves (but had the gall to wear a “camp staff” t-shirt this past VBS, but didn’t serve – Who knows who provided that t-shirt to him, but someone had to). And yet, he’s welcome. I confess that I’m delighted to leave that church, but with sorrow for the fact that they’re not truly serving Christ. I suppose it was known to me deep down for some time, because I prayed for a change for years. The Lord is teaching me – much via this website – His real truth not just a semblance thereof.

      • Bitter But Getting Better

        Still Reforming- my heart actually hurt when I read your response. You were rejected by your spiritual family. Thankfully God will never reject us!!!! The Lord is teaching me too, many gems of wisdom through this blessed website! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  4. Bitter But Getting Better

    Carol-your comment is beautiful. (That is really all we ask for. For someone to sit with us, listen to us, believe our need is real, respond by going out (to get the water) where others can see that there is a need, returning to us with life giving water. So simply put, we are God’s children, in great need. Like children, we often intuit that things are not right, but can’t put it in words. We just know that we are very thirsty.) God’s precious word says: Psalm 69:20 Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity but there was none; and for comforters but I found none. Debby Boone had a powerful song titled Wounded Soldier. You can find it on Youtube.

  5. a prodigal daughter returns

    The true values of the gospel are upside down from what is so predominantly featured in the vast majority of churches. My prosperity, my ease, my comfort, the advancement of my marriage, my children, my life, my little Disneyland or American dream is what sermonettes promote. In fact, Jesus spoke of servanthood, laying down life and personal desire for the sake of others, loving enemies, being gentle, forgiving, loving, and kind. His followers spoke of the same things James 1:27 External religious worship religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.

    The worldly contamination spoken of in this passage is greed and the worship of the god of self. Those attitudes that turn blind eye and cold shoulder to the poor, homeless, sick, alienated and rejected in our society. Not only does the church not typically truly live sacrificially for the suffering but the add to suffering with their judgment, rejection and indifference.

  6. Brenda R

    There is so much talk about not discussing so much about your beliefs on abortion, the marriage controversy, politics of any kind, abuse and focus on Jesus. I don’t know about y’all but when I speak of these things, Jesus is always in the middle of it. He is the Creator and let us know how he feels about these things. My beliefs come from him.

    “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” I know some abusers that acknowledge….but wait, is there anything that is coming from their heart or have they got the script down.

  7. Bitter But Getting Better

    HealingInHim-Thanks for your prayers!

  8. Still Reforming

    “And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”

    As every single one of us reading and writing here can attest to.

    The bottom line of course is whose side we’re on – Christ’s or the anti-Christ’s. Because if you’re not for Him, you’re against Him, and those against Him are those tormenting His people.

  9. bright sunshinin' day

    Jeff, you are speaking truth and asked the right question…you are reading your Bible…both Old and New Testaments. It’s all in there just as you say. You wrote:

    “Yep, it’s gonna cost to follow Christ. The gospel separates and divides the sheep and the goats. Following Him means we all have to decide just whose side we are on. Christ is on the side of the oppressed. Are you?”

    • Anewanon

      INdeed, here is a perfect OT example… Proverbs 9:7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. This doesn’t mean “don’t stand them down” what this means is “you’ll pay a price – do it anyway.” Right Jeremiah? RIght Ezekiel?

  10. kayE

    As a pastor’s kid I grew up in church. But after I got married my husband prevented me from relating in my own right with anyone at church. No-one, NO-one heard my cries for help. In the end he used physical violence to prevent me from attending church at all. But he kept going along and giving them money. He told them I didn’t want to go. Then he left us, and as a result the pastor’s wife told me I was to attend church separately from my husband and separately from my children. Years and years of mistreatment made me really terrified of church.
    Finally (after several years) I got the courage to try one more church. I knew right away this church was different from all the others. Instead of boasting about the great things they are going to do for God when revival comes, these people were overflowing with gratitude for what Christ has already done for them. They did not know me, but they were so kind to me that I couldn’t stop myself from weeping. I told them how hard it had been for me to come to church again.They replied “You are safe”. “You are one of us now and we will look after you”. When they found out that no-one in the other churches had stood up for me,they were sad and they said,”If it has happened to you it has happened to others as well”.
    Isn’t this the way it should be?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes! Exactly KayE. The way it should be!

    • Still Reforming

      kayE
      You wrote: ” the pastor’s wife told me I was to attend church separately from my husband and separately from my children.”
      This is something I still don’t understand. The women of my former church likewise by and large encouraged me to be silent and submissive, even if mistreated. Your pastor’s wife laid burdens on your shoulders, although you had been abused.
      From the men of the church, I can intellectually understand their buying into a patriarchal system. But the women? I don’t get it. Unless they’ve been so bullied and cowed and indoctrinated over time so as to buy into the role of martyr for the cause.
      Perhaps in your case the wife was also into lording it over the flock. She may have relished the power that came with her husband’s office.

      • healingInHim

        Still Reforming – re: your answer to KayE concerning how the women of the church treat the abused women. I am in the same camp. It is only through remaining in the Scriptures and seeking out sound Biblical teaching and preaching that I was able to see that indeed like you said; “She may have relished the power that came with her husband’s office.”
        So often you will find “a family” who keeps the church doors open regardless of the sins within their own family units. Many elders have been womanizers and the wives allow it just to keep the church so-called operating.

      • KayE

        Still Reforming, your conclusion about a pastor’s wife and power is probably correct. There are definitely women who enjoy the power that comes from their husband’s position.

      • KayE

        Adding to my reply, I also suspect that the pastor’s wife may have been sent to relay a message that really came from the pastor. I suspect the pastor didn’t want to speak alone with a woman who had no husband.

      • Oh yeah, because we all know, don’t we, that when women go to a male church leader to disclose ‘abuse’ they are really looking to seduce the leader! Those dangerous women! They can’t be trusted. They are so driven by their sin natures that they can’t control their lust! (sarcasm)

        And why do some men think this? Could it be that they have given themselves over to lust and so assume that all women do so too?

      • Yes, she may have relished the power that came with her husband’s office. Or she may have simply been so brainwashed by all the legalistic teaching about gender roles and responsiblities in the church and the home, and was finding her solace in comforming to the legalistic box. Some of us who are now out of the fog, can testify that we did that in times past, and that we gave dreadful advice to victims of abuse during that time — advice for which we now repent.

      • KayE

        What I do know for sure is that she contemptuously dismissed me when I said I was getting abused. She insisted it was a communication problem, and it would be solved by couples counselling.

      • when people say “It’s a communication problem”, one way to pull them up in their tracks is to reply “He tells so many lies; how can you communicate with someone when they tell so many lies?”

      • KayE

        I’m sure that wouldn’t have worked in my situation. This man actually admitted to the pastor and his wife that he lied, and that seemed to be perfectly OK with them. I was surprised about that.

      • Still Reforming

        KayE,
        I’m replying to this comment because it came into my email as a reply to me:
        “I’m sure that wouldn’t have worked in my situation. This man actually admitted to the pastor and his wife that he lied, and that seemed to be perfectly OK with them. I was surprised about that.”
        I think I’ve lost in the thread what you’re referring back to specifically, so I’m not sure what you mean by “that,” but I’m presuming “couples counseling”? It never worked for me either. In fact, the comments on this thread about “communicating” reminded me that my first port of call in my troubled marriage was a “communicating class for couples” at a local community college. That went nowhere either, although I met a really lovely woman there with whom I became friends, but it never helped our “communications” in marriage. As Barbara astutely observed, how could it? How are communications benefited when dealing with a liar?
        Re: “this man,” I presume you’re referring to your husband? I had the same thing really when I exposed some lies that my husband told in the home to my former pastor. My pastor flat out said that it wasn’t about the issue at hand, but something else going on, and yet…. my husband was never held accountable for the lies. I don’t know that he was ever addressed about them at all. The last conversation I had with that pastor, he told me, “Well, I speak with (my now ex-husband) about things. I talk with him about stuff.” As if to say he’s handling it. Not very well apparently, but I think the pastor has his own controlling behavior going on, and I thank the Lord daily to be freed from both of them. Birds of a feather they are. Vultures.

      • KayE

        Still Reforming-yes, I was talking about my ex husband.When I said “it wouldn’t have worked”, I was referring to Barbara’s suggestion, that is – if people were told my husband was a liar, they might stop dismissing it all as a communication problem and instead listen to my cry for help. Fat chance.
        So you also encountered a pastor who tolerates lies. I find that really sickening.

  11. IamMyBeloved's

    And so often IF there even is an offer to stand with the victim, is it hinged on whether the victim is going to take the advice and counsel given to them by the ones standing with her. The threat of “go against us and we will not stand with you” may not be said out loud, but defy the counselors and see what happens. Even then, the counsel is usually to remain with the evil and forgive it and reconcile with it or to be a good Christian and let the abuser take advantage of you in the Court system.

    It is also pretty lonely to be in a place where no one confronts you or mistreats you, but never actually says they support you, because your divorce is a sin in their eyes, so you just have to stumble your way through the pain of it all alone. But in the end, these passages actually prove who is right in God’s eyes and who is not.

    I remember sitting in the past “c”hurch and hearing a message preached by the “p”astor there on the Good Samaritan. It was then that I realized they were not the Good Samaritan but were the ones abusing as they walked by, or ignoring the fact that me and my children were bleeding on the side of the road. It was so obvious to me that day what was really going on in that place, that I actually had to laugh. It was ridiculous.

  12. Dodie

    I don’t know what kind of church you attend, but all the ones I have attended take this very seriously. I’m sorry this person had this experience, but this has not been true for the churches I’ve attended. However, they do insist on privacy. Period. Privacy for all concerned. The reason is that people will not attend a church where they feel shame or that they associate with something painful from their past. Every church I know offers counseling, support groups, etc for victims of abuse and also help for the abusers. I hope this person will give other churches a chance. I really hate it when people or organizations lump everyone together by race, religion, or whatever and spread a mantle of accusation over everyone, no matter who they are. That’s very damaging and unfair.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Dodie- be assured that your experience is a rare exception if what you describe is actually true. But though I assume you sincerely believe what you have said here, the very high likelihood is that your conclusions are wrong. I say this not only because of the hundreds of Christians we know who relate a very different account of how their church treated them, but also because of this very curious thing you mention about secrecy. If tgese evils are kept secret from the congregation then how can you or anyone really know how abuse victims are handled there? And where in Holy Scripture are we instructed to keep wickedness in the church a secret? Something sounds very fishy here.

      • healingInHim

        Excellent response Jeff. You are so right about the secrecy.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      Dodie – You said, “However, they do insist on privacy. Period. Privacy for all concerned. The reason is that people will not attend a church where they feel shame or that they associate with something painful from their past.”

      Insist on it how? Maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing with us “how” is that accomplished? What’s the consequence for not maintaining privacy? Who enforces those rules?

      I believe that the next statement you make, is not completely true. I know a lot of people in a lot of Churches who have been hurt and still attend that Church. I also believe that it may be that the leaders of your Church could be using this “privacy” thing as a way to control the conversation at your Church. Also, I find it disturbing that no one is to know about anyone else, because how can you bear one another’s burdens, if you don’t know what they are. I think privacy should be up to the individual involved. It should be their choice who they talk to about their live and who they do not talk to about it.

      I agree with Jeff’s response, that in fact, you really cannot know whether abuse victims are being treated biblically and right, because you have no idea who they even are or what the conversations consist of or what type of counsel they are being given.

      I think you lost me, when you said, “and also help for the abusers”. Why are they even still in your Church, if they are abusing their wives? Perhaps it would help for you to read some of the articles here or the books written about abuse, so you could gain a greater understanding and be a good help to those in need in your Church.

    • Still Reforming

      Dodie,

      Hi. If Every church you know offers counseling, support groups, etc for victims of abuse and also help for the abusers, you’ve been extraordinarily blessed. I really don’t know of a single church I’ve attended faithfully over the last two decades that offers those things. At the time of my own abuse coming to my attention (please bear in mind that in domestic abuse, it’s not all physical, but mental and emotional, including mind games, gaslighting, lying, manipulation, trickery, deceit, and on and on) – at the time I began to get a clue that my husband’s behavior and words were intentional, I was nearly 20 years into the marriage and had already raised red flags with the women of my church, the leadership, and others. Those red flags included making them know I was reading up on passive-aggressive (aka covert aggressive) behavior and sociopathy and had been to three marital counselors (two billed as Christian) over the course of the marriage. I would cry in different meetings now and again and share details of my husband’s spinning the car around with me and our child in it, outbursts of rage, lies, etc.

      By and large my church responded with telling me to be silent and submissive (quoting Scripture) and to forgive and reconcile. Even when divorce was imminent, the pastor told me that God uses divorce to bring about reconciliation (citing God’s own relationship with Israel).

      I don’t know quite to whom you’re referring when you write: “I really hate it when people or organizations lump everyone together by race, religion, or whatever and spread a mantle of accusation over everyone, no matter who they are. That’s very damaging and unfair.”
      Do you mean the people here? I don’t think that’s what targets of abuse who come here for prayer, understanding, counsel, and support are doing. Instead, we are sharing our experiences (which are remarkably common – and before I found this site I had no idea how many people out there were and are going through the same kind of abuse). I don’t even know if I understood that I was being abused because it was so deceptive and wicked. Secretive and two-faced. Jekyl and Hyde stuff. And so, the church buys into it. In fact, my ex-husband is still at the church. (Just last night my daughter brought back to me from his place one of those portrait studio daddy-and-daughter photos, taken where? At the church. For the directory. It’s framed. She said he wanted her to have it here – to remember him when she’s not with him. She said she wanted to bring with her a photo of her alone for me, but he wouldn’t let her. And he wouldn’t pay for any, but those two were free.)

      All just to say that when finally the target of abuse raises her voice for one last time (or maybe the first time) and says, “This is happening to me behind closed doors,” of all places and people, the church needs to stand with her (usually a her, but can be a him). From all of the testimonies I’ve read, it’s more common that the church lets her go (as they did me, in spite of serving alongside me for close to a decade and my husband not serving at all) and prefers to let the abuser remain. In my own case, ostensibly to “love him to Jesus” (a phrase not found in Scripture).

      If I got it wrong regarding to whom you were referring when you wrote about spreading a mantle of accusation, please do correct me and let me know instead who you mean by that.

  13. healingInHim

    Dodie – It’s not a matter of lumping ‘everyone together’ … it is just the blatant sad fact that many so-called Christians are not there for the oppressed and sadly do favor the abuser. Ministries like ACFJ, Cindy Burrell, Leslie Vernick, Chris Mole …. they are all attempting to awaken the leadership.
    If your church is strong then please join the fight and help. Besides being a good example it would be glorifying to the Lord if your church’s leadership met with other pastors and elders and exhorted them to do the same. Praying for the strength and fortitude to do so. Thank you so much for commenting.

    • KayE

      I’ve personally experienced cruel judgement and rejection from something like 20 churches, either through attending them or from people who were active members and leaders in those churches. They represent many different denominations. Those people knew me and had served in church along side me, sometimes for years.
      Some of those churches might say they take abuse seriously, but if the perpetrator is one of them it’s a very different story. When you are treated like this time after time after time, it’s very hard to believe that any church will be safe.

      • healingInHim

        KayE – I hear you loud and clear. I’ve received the same treatment from every denomination offered in my community. I too served to the best of my ability until I could not take the spiritual and marital abuse any longer.
        As I contemplate the rejection of spouse, children, etc and shed many tears praying for the lost; I am so very grateful for God’s faithfulness in leading me to true Christians even if it is via the internet. The Lord knew my needs ahead of time; thankful for His gift of technology. 🙂

      • a prodigal daughter returns

        I believe you KayE and share the same experience. I wouldn’t write about my disgust and disappointment or grieve about it if I had no expectations of the so called Church. Those people meeting together are supposed to be “the body of Christ” and somehow represent Him on this earth. Oh what a long way from doing so. I appreciate this blog because people have the same lived experience. I am encouraged today if my heart wasn’t so directed to the Lord, I’d find those places tolerable. But, because my soul clings to Him those faulty representations of Him are a stench. How they treat the battered and oppressed brothers and sisters that arrive at the doors is how they would treat Jesus himself, they are places I do NOT want to be. Maybe it is lucky that they wouldn’t have us, because ultimately they disgrace the name of Christ

  14. Mandy

    Briefly, I can SO relate to those who spoke of the coolness of ….uh….church ‘friends’….those who looked away, those who never called, the one who said she understood but didn’t have a clue…the pastor (as well as a deacon) who admitted he knew for 18 months that my now-ex husband was cheating on me but did nothing, and I could go on and on, as you all well know. Just saying it’s been 20+ years and it still hurts. My husband and I do not plan to join our current church of 5 years because we both found membership benefited us nothing. Big hugs to us all. We can pray for each other.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Mandy – The thesis I want to write about in another book is exactly what you have stated here. Namely that evil is tolerated and enabled in our “churches” rather than being called out for what it is and expelled from among us. And this toleration is most frequently carried out by the church leaders, followed by the typical professing Christian. Such people are not Christians. Jesus said that those whom He pronounces blessed (Matthew 5) are people who “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” The Holy Spirit cannot endure evil and He is in every true Christian. It is my contention that evil is in our churches like a plague. Wicked people parading as eminent “saints” often actually are the power broker “pillars” of local churches. And this is why the oppressed and downtrodden are treated so cruelly in most churches today. I am a pastor of over 30 years shepherding Christ’s church and I love His Church. But I detest the counterfeit, and the counterfeit is rampant in our time.

  15. Mandy

    Thanks for your reply, Jeff. It is very refreshing and encouraging just to be able to hear from someone who “gets it”. Most people don’t–except, of course, the people who share in this column! Thank you for being a shepherd. You are a rarity. Oh, BTW, when I confronted the deacon about his silence in the face of clear long-term adultery, and I quoted Gal. 6:1 to him, he looked very stricken and said he did nothing because he was afraid of losing a friend (my ex). I said, “So, what am I? Chopped liver?” I next confronted the pastor, and he replied that he said nothing to me because he ‘preferred to speak to the man.’ But he never did that, and made excuses why he didn’t even though he lived just 3 miles away. Hey, Jeff, feel free to use any of my comments as examples in your new book. Blessings to you as you seek to put just the right words into the hands of your readers.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Mandy!

    • Hi Mandy
      could you kindly email TWBTC twbtc.acfj@gmail.com to discuss your screen name? Thanks. you haven’t done anything wrong, don’t worry. We just like to tidy up loose ends and help our commenters keep safe. 🙂

    • Still Reforming

      Mandy,
      I had the EXACT same words told to me, “I prefer to deal with the man.” Spoken to me by the music director after he outright refused to read a prayer request I had related to the abuse in my home. It involved a child, and the director still wouldn’t read it because he “prefers to deal with the man.” When I brought this up to my pastor, the pastor said that “maybe he (music director) is battling the flesh.” It was thereby excused. A few weeks ago when I saw the pastor unexpectedly, he told me that he had at the time considered dismissing “both of us” (I was active in teaching at the church) because “we couldn’t forgive one another.” I have NO idea why that was stated because I didn’t seek the director’s forgiveness about anything. I pointed out to the pastor that although I am no longer at the church, the music director still holds his position of authority, to which the pastor just shrugged. So that malarkey about considering dismissing the music director is just hot air.

      • Mandy

        Still Reforming: Oh, my, I can SO relate to your situation with the music director, the feeling of being ‘cut down’ and ‘put down’, and then the pathetic encounter with the pastor. I surely do hope you’re in a better situation now, and things are going well. Just in case the home situation still exists, I’ll pray for you.

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