A Cry For Justice

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

Thoughts on How Seminary Training Can Easily Produce Gnat Strainers and Camel Swallowers

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! Matthew 23:23-24

Way back in 1980 I was pumped about studying Bible and theology. I took a summer course in Old Testament and I was hooked. For the next three years I worked as a police officer at night and went to graduate school during the day. It was rough, but I was compelled to go on and in 1983 I earned a Master of Biblical Theology degree. Shortly thereafter I was a police officer on Friday and a pastor in Montana on Monday!

A bit over a decade later we moved back to the vicinity of the same seminary and I resumed my studies, eventually earning the standard degree for pastors, Master of Divinity. Two of my favorite courses were New Testament Greek and Old Testament Hebrew. I had 12 years of life experience as a police officer, a bachelor’s degree in biology, and two Masters degrees from the seminary. And guess what?

I was in no way prepared to be a pastor.

Oh sure, I loved to teach and preach Scripture and help people understand God’s Word and grow in Christ. I really wanted to lead unsaved people to Christ as well. But all in all, the thing was absolute misery. Infighting in the church. Grumbling. Rank worldliness in church members. Egos. Craving for power and control. You name a sin and it was there, big time.  And plenty of shots came my way I can tell you.  I remember one congregational meeting (I dreaded those) when I sat off to the side and watched and heard people arguing heatedly over how much I should be paid (and mind you, the missions agency we were with paid the large majority of our salary anyway!).  This was Christ’s church?  I guessed it must me.  It’s all I had ever known in “church.”

There is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom. I had knowledge, but I had very little of the wisdom that only the Lord gives. And largely, this godly wisdom which the Bible says is so precious, is not taught in seminaries. It is not really even spoken of in seminaries, or in our churches. Because for godly wisdom to be discussed and taught, the teacher must first possess it himself. Most do not. A few may. But certainly only a few. Oh, knowledge, sure. Facts. Doctrines. Data. This is important and it is all communicated in detail in Christian academia. But wisdom?  Nope.

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth– Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:1-7)

Wisdom, if you will continue on through Proverbs, is largely about discerning between good and evil.  It is about knowing that what you see is evil or good. Wisdom from the Lord enables us to know righteousness and unrighteousness. Here is a prime example:

Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house.

And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.” But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.

Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'” And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.”

And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice. (1 Kings 3:16-28)

THIS is wisdom. Solomon knew evil when he saw it, and he knew righteousness when he saw it. He knew how godliness operates and how ungodliness is treacherous. Solomon knew that there are evil, wicked people who do evil, wicked things. And that is wisdom. The Lord gave it to him.

Oh, I knew full well from my police years that there are bad people in the sense of being crooks. Lawbreakers. The bad guys who were always trying to steal and rob. But what I did not understand is that there are many, many other kinds of even more evil people who are church members, police officers, pastors, medical professionals and others who will never end up in prison. Yet they are wicked to the core. They are sociopaths, psychopaths, and abusers. They appear to be fine, upstanding pillars of the church and popular with everyone. But their methods are evil and dark and hidden and destructive. And they are in just about every single church in the world. Make no mistake. These kind are NOT “Christian brothers and sisters who are just ‘difficult’ people, who have ‘anger issues,’ people with whom we must be oh so patient.” No! They are evil. These people who work to destroy lives. Who wear such a “wonderful facade of saintliness” yet who work in their very nature to drive the righteous out of a local church. This is evil. These are agents of the enemy. God’s Word tells us so. His wisdom enables us to see it.

Very few pastors, very few professing Christians, very few theologians today possess wisdom. And as a result, taking seminaries as an example again (same thing happens in churches), aspiring pastors are taught the jot and tittle of Scripture. They study the original languages. They write detailed papers on this verse and that doctrine. They diagram the sentences of the Greek New Testament, circling the participles and their antecedents, noting the gender, number, and case of nouns and the tense, voice, mood, person and number of the verbs. They are told to strive to arrive at the real meaning of the biblical author so that they apply the verse properly. I did all this.  I can do all this. But I can also tell you that without godly wisdom, all that will happen is that in this minute straining out of Scripture’s words you will only end up sorting out the gnat and then turn right around and swallow the camel. That is to say, you will end up totally missing the real Spirit of the text and inevitably you will teach a legalistic, man-made tradition that you think is the Word of God, but is not. You will tell an abuse victim she is stuck for life in her marriage. You will think she is the problem. You will give the disputed baby to the liar.

Wisdom in a sense is only taught by the Lord, though it certainly can be described to us by people who possess it. And one of the primary ways the Lord teaches His wisdom to us is by taking us through difficult and hard experiences in life. I came to have wisdom about abusers and their tactics because the Lord allowed quite a few of them to target me over the years in my pastoral ministry. Even then it took a long, long time until — I suppose kind of like the Lord leaving Moses in the wilderness for 40 years and then calling him to lead His people out of bondage — there came a point when I was reading a book on sexual and domestic abusers and FLASH! The lights came on.  “Jeff, THIS is what has been happening to YOU in your churches all these 25 years!” I saw it.  I could see the evil and I could see the righteous. How could I have been so blind?”  The answer of course was, I had to be trained in righteousness and in the knowledge of the Lord. He had to put me through the flame so that I could see the fire for what it was.

I have found that if a person like myself were to address a group of pastors, or if by some miracle I was asked to speak on the subject of abuse at a seminary, there would be shock and silence. That is to say, when professing Christians do not possess God’s wisdom, His wisdom seems like foolishness and unpleasantness to them.  They do NOT want to hear it. The evil is all around them, in their very church pews, yet they cover their eyes and do not want to see it or hear about it.  Some of you read the comment left at this blog a couple of weeks ago where a lady said that in her church cases of abuse are properly dealt with by keeping them secret from everyone because, she said, it is just too unpleasant for many people to hear about. A church like that could properly be called a ship of fools. Because godly wisdom simply does not exist there.

If you have been brought through the flames and the floods of abuse, then you resonate with the things we write about here at ACFJ. Why? Because the Lord, through the wilderness years of your abuse, has taught you His wisdom. When we say that there is evil in most churches today, you do not mock us and dismiss us as crazy people. Because you know it is true. You know what evil looks like.

And THAT, is a very good thing.

 

35 Comments

  1. Joyce

    Jeff, thank you for this!! It is so true!! Wisdom is Spirit-breathed and unless we possess it from the Holy Spirit, we will never fully know what it is and how to use it. Wonderful!

  2. Still Reforming

    It’s true. It’s all true what you write, including that this wisdom of knowing evil for what it is – in spite of the difficulty of the experience – is a gift from God. Before I finally understood better what was happening in my home, it was in many ways as academic as the studies you describe, necessary that they be. But boy does the suffering of Scripture come alive all the more having lived a fraction of it in the abuse. It’s like taking the Bible from black-and-white to color.

    One of the verses that instructed me as to the necessity of discernment is in Proverbs. (I read this in one of Tim Challies’ books, if you’re familiar with him.) “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” These verses, found in chapter 26, vs. 4-5, really meant a lot to me, because I had to learn when it was wise to answer my foolish husband and when not to. Although those seem to be contradictory at face value, the parallel verses really teach that there are times when it’s appropriate and times not appropriate to answer a fool. Eventually, I never answered the fool if alone in our home with him. Now, I have to deal with him, but better from afar. And best in writing.

    Interestingly, the very verses you cite about Solomon’s wisdom with the two prostitutes arguing over the baby were used by one of my now ex-‘s allies at my former church when the ally taught an adult class for five nights at Vacation Bible School – and on what topic? Wisdom. (I sat in the class because I was at that church since my ex- still attends there and wanted our child to go to VBS, so I took her on my nights.) I asked this ally if he could spare me a few minutes one night after dinner, and I told him how Solomon listened to both parties, granting each audience before arriving at his decision. I barely got another word out before I was told by this ally that he wasn’t taking sides in my divorce and he walked away from me. I saw this ally just yesterday in a store with his wife and both of them refused to look at me when my child greeted them. They walked right past me and muttered something about “I guess everyone has to eat.” (We were in a grocery store.) It hurt. Still does. My eyes sting just at the thought of those words. I don’t know quite what to do about the pain and sting of such rejection from those I formerly thought my church family, but I pray, and I hope someday it will pass. Even this I thank God for, but I confess I don’t yet know why; I just know that I should because His plans are better and higher than my own.

    I can see through reading this website and the expository teaching walking us through Scripture how true what you write in this post is. From the pedantic knowledge (important though it is) to the application of that knowledge in either wise or unwise fashion to the great lack that exists in the church today – which I find particularly lamentable – all of what you write here is glaringly true to me.

    I am grateful for this post. My daughter and I discussed (again) last night how many good things God has done and is doing through this trial. (She had a particularly difficult and painful medical visit yesterday, and that too would not have happened without this trial.) She herself brought up the verse “Do not be surprised by this fiery trial that has come upon you,” and I told her that there are so many things that I would never have realized without the trail – not least of which the knowledge that a Christian could divorce and that it would be okay and even good.

    I’m also grateful for God’s teaching me that even though I’m not in a church now, it’s okay. I’m glad my daughter is learning that by observation and discussion too – even though of course we both want to be in a good church again some day. (She attends my former church with my ex-, but she’s recognizing bad teaching already.) She said to me last night, “It’s not church or a marriage that are the right things. They’re just things. They’re not important like God is.” Losing both marriage and church is forcing me to focus on the real relationship with Christ and my dependence on Him. My daughter keeps talking about trusting God, and I tell her very often how I thank God for the wisdom He’s given her.

    I thank Him for the ministry at this website too. I hope that God uses it to awaken His true church to the evil in her midst and the responsibility she has to reject it.

    • ” But boy does the suffering of Scripture come alive all the more having lived a fraction of it in the abuse. It’s like taking the Bible from black-and-white to color.”

      YES!

      and your daughter continues to inspire me with her straightforward sayings. please give her a hug from me. 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you for the truth you continue to make known. I heard Allistair Begg say in a sermon he met a man who studied money; he studied the real dollar bills so that he would know the counterfeits. He knew the real ones so well that the counterfeits would never get past him. Through my wilderness of abuse God has indeed given me wisdom to see righteousness versus unrighteousness and good and evil for what it is.

    • Hi Anonymous
      Welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment!

      You will notice that I changed your screen name to protect your identity. If you want me to change it please let me know. My email is twbtc.acfj@gmail.com. Also, may I draw your attention to the New User’s Page found on the top menu bar. It gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

  4. Denise

    Great article. I’ll be passing this around.

  5. Anonymous

    Falling into the trap of thinking that because others have tales of woe about their abuse, that these people now have understanding, empathy or wisdom toward others who are in the same situation, is another aspect of wisdom that can be painful and soul destroying.

    I was reminded of this recently while at an appointment. The woman helping me found out that I was in a educational program at an institution that was known for it’s abuse, unreasonable treatment of students and overall underhanded and devious interactions. (This is an absolutely accurate portrait of the program.) She then went on to describe in detail the abuse she’d endured while she’d attended there years before, and it was clear that it had a huge impact on her life (as abuse should). But when I brought up how the current regime was abusing us and how they were destroying quality people, she had no empathy, was angry that I should try and steal any attention that she felt she alone deserved, and got down right violent in her demeanor. This is a typical reaction from one who has no conscience. It is only THEIR abuse (perceived or real) that matters, and although they love a good audience of people who have similar knowledge so that they can really invoke the deeper emotions in them, they are utterly selfish in their understanding and they care nothing for other abuse victims.

    The two women with the child that Solomon judged for in the verse used in this post is a good example of this. The one, like all those without a conscience, cares nothing for the loss or potential loss of the other woman or the baby, even though she herself has lost her child and should have deep compassion and understanding of the depth of this loss. Nope. If she can’t keep what is hers or if she isn’t getting all the attention and empathy that others have to offer, then everyone else should have to lose too. But really, she doesn’t care about anyone except herself and if she can abuse someone else while taking another person’s life (the infant’s); that’s just whip cream with a cherry on top!

    Jeff, thank you. Thank you for not being destroyed by evil and coming back stronger and stronger. Living with this wisdom, and the road it took to gain it, is so hard; and I’m just grateful that you continue on. Thank you.

    • kaycee

      Hurt people hurt people. If we do not allow God to come and heal the hurts of our hearts we end up bandaging them with bitterness, anger, self reliance and such. It sounds like your discernment is growing and wisdom is being attained. May God strengthen you in your studies.

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      It has been a shock to me as well to observe that those that expected empathy when they were abused turn towards other victims and tell them to “buck up” or “quit being a victim” or some self help jargon that doesn’t acknowledge the brokenness and devastation of other victims. The lack of empathy and entitlement that only their pain matters can seem pretty narcissistic which makes me wonder if everyone claiming to be abused actually was. I’ve known perpetrators that rolled out a sob story about their victimization to garner sympathy and create a red herring about what was actually going on. Fruit lets you know the truth about people.

      • Yes, PD, and another form this takes — I’ve know a victim of Chilhood Sexual Abuse who kept her pain and trauma suppressed (she admitted to me that her father had abused her but didn’t tell me any of how she felt about it; she told me that if she talked about it, it made it worse).

        She ‘seemed’ to be comfortable with her chosen way of dealing with this trauma. But she wasn’t actually comfortable at all, because once when I was weeping and talking about a recent trauma that I had suffered, she turned on me and said in a really catty voice, “You’re not the only one with problems, you know!”

        It was like a barbed fish-spear had hit me out of the blue and I was struck speechless. I knew, instantaneously, that she was speaking out of her own place of unhealed affliction from the CSA. And because she’d chosen not to work through her own trauma, it made her bitter and envious towards people like me who did choose to work through their trauma.

        Sigh. I had no fellowship with her from that day forward, except the most stilted civilities.

  6. kaycee

    “If you have been brought through the flames and the floods of abuse, then you resonate with the things we write about here at ACFJ. Why? Because the Lord, through the wilderness years of your abuse, has taught you His wisdom.”
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sometimes I ask why, actually I ask almost daily. I, too have graduated from Seminary and actually married my abuser from there. We did have some professors with godly wisdom and they talked often about discerning evil in others and in yourself. I relished these truths but when it came to my own life I lived through 16 years of wicked abuse before I left. Being so close to the evil and just trying to make the marriage work was hard. I have many of experiences of my husband being wicked and abusing but also many experiences of God healing and restoring my heart. Yes, going down this pathway has given me a voice and authority to speak out and to help those who need to escape as well.
    The way I view evil and righteousness has grown not only from my life experience but by this website as well. It has helped me clarify truths that God has showed me. It has helped me have the resolved needed to walk this path. It has given me hope that I have not been “stupid” and that others have also experienced years of deceit and abuse. I hope and pray that the authors of this website are a catalyst for God’s great deliverance of his children in awful relationships.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you kaycee! We all continue growing in the Lord’s wisdom, don’t we? It is amazing how the Fall and sin have clouded the mind, and Christ is the great Savior of our entire being, mind, body, soul. The New Creation has begun. What is it going to be like to live in a new world in new bodies totally freed from evil?

  7. Isurvivedabuse

    What a great post!
    When you have looked evil in the eye..
    and know the tactics of the enemy!
    Then you can fight the battle with the sword of truth.
    Here is to all who have tasted a bit of evil..
    Stand on the rock!
    He won the war!

    • Hi Isurvivedabuse,
      Welcome to the blog and thank you for your encouraging comment!

      You will notice that I changed your screen name to protect your identity. May I draw your attention to the New User’s Page found on the top menu bar. It gives tips for staying safe while commenting on the blog

      Again, Welcome!

  8. Friend of Target

    Pastor Jeff, thanks for another great post! I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to check Pastor Powell’s My Only Comfort website lately. His most recent post is also on the Solomon/baby passage & is excellent!

    • Yes indeed, Ps Sam Powell’s post is excellent. Here it is:

      http://myonlycomfort.com/2015/07/10/our-desperate-need-for-wisdom/

      • Still Reforming

        Thank you for that link. Ps. Powell brings up an excellent observation about the second harlot that I had never before considered, and that is this:

        “You normal mothers out there, if you accidently killed your baby in the night, would you mourn and weep and cry out to God? Or would you simply get another baby and pretend like nothing happened?

        “A normal mother does not simply steal another baby and pretend it is her own. That would take a tremendous hardening of the heart.

        “If (the first mother)’s story is correct, then (the second mother) also has no concern whatsoever about the grief she may be bringing to those whom she previously thought of as friends. (The second mother) is entitled to a baby, she is entitled to win, and if this causes tremendous grief to those around her, that’s not her concern.

        “In this day, we have a word for these kinds of people: They are sociopaths.”

    • healingInHim

      I had read Pastor Powell’s post and have been familiar with some of his past sermons because of ACFJ’s recommendations. After reading the post I thought I would catch up on what Pastor Powell was preaching. Discovered his series on Malachi. I was blessed. He deals with the “God hates divorce” issue quite nicely.
      Thankful for “the remnant of pastors” who get it.
      Pastor Crippen – this is just such an excellent post. Even though I was already witnessing questionable teachings within the ‘c’hurches; it was the lack of true empathy for abuse that opened my eyes. It took years, though of going through the flames, like you say, before I had to admit that this can’t be The Lord’s church.

      • Still Reforming

        HealingInHim,
        I fear I have been very foolish indeed over the years regarding this matter of the church. I have heard and witnessed things that didn’t strike me as what I would expect from blood-bought, Spirit-filled, redeemed “Christians,” but I too went along with it – because if one rocked the boat, it was received as being unloving, unmerciful, unforgiving, etc.
        To think that there are many, many churches out there like this – it’s grievous, and yet…. how often did Christ confront the leaders of the temples and those in authority – the scribes, lawyers, and Pharisees? Seems like His run-ins in which the harshest words were given were with men such as this.
        Indeed, it feels like a long process awakening to such facts in one’s own life.
        I appreciate the needed reminder of Ps. Jeff’s here that it is only of the Lord that we receive such awakening and wisdom. We can read the Bible over and over, but it is the Lord Who illumines.And knowing Him makes all the difference – like the difference between reading a resume, interviewing a person, and then actually getting to walk and work alongside someone. The personal knowing that surpasses the head knowledge.

      • Thanks for the kind words. I’m on vacation camping on the Oregon Coast now. It’s quite lovely. My series on malachi was an adult Sunday school class so it is more extemporaneous and less formal than my sermons.
        I would strongly recommend a thorough study of the minor prophets to get a good grip on the way wicked men abuse and how God deals with it. There’s nothing new under the sun.
        See you all when I get back.

      • Still Reforming

        Thank you, Barbara, for linking that series! Woo – I’m so excited! I know what I’m listening to today. I’m going to download this series to my mp3 player too. Woot! You made my day.

  9. a prodigal daughter returns

    Thank you, this is one of those jaw dropping posts that leaves me in tears of gratitude. The truth refreshes the soul. The passage comes to mind, when Jesus spoke to the religious law keepers Matthew 21: 43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

    I fell on the stone of the Word of God and of Jesus as a result of the abuse in my life. I fell asking for mercy and forgiveness and help and rescue and my self will and hard heart was broken there. The rock of offense that demands our all. Those that rely on the praise of man, popularity with this words pompous, sanctimonious, self righteous religion, or non-religion masquerading as tolerance to everyone except believers and Christ will be ground to powder when He returns

  10. Debbie

    Since early 2013 when the light when on in my head that what I had been suffering from for 30+ years was terrible abuse, my life has been wrought with the most piercing, gut-wrenching pain I have ever experienced. It is worse than any grief of lost loved ones and there really is nothing that even comes close to the severity of that stunning realization-not even the horror of, nor the aftermath of rape.
    There are still times-almost daily-that I have to force myself to go on, to remember I am a beloved daughter of God. I didn’t want this “wisdom,” nevertheless, I do now and I share with any who will listen. I know it is valuable knowledge, but I cry out in agony to God for understanding that never comes.
    I just keep reading and seeking for light.

    • Bitter But Getting Better

      Debbie, I’m so sorry that you have suffered this. It is heart breaking! I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it but God’s Word says He is near to the broken hearted. My heart aches for you as you pass through these deep waters of pain. I will keep you in my prayers dear one.

    • Still Reforming

      Debbie,

      My heart breaks for you. I pray for the Lord’s comfort on you.

      When I read your words that the light went on after 30+ years of abuse, I realized that although most if not all of us here know exactly what you mean, so many in the world wouldn’t. They wouldn’t understand the insidious nature of evil that disguises itself as light.

      Waking up from the abuse – both in the home and from the professing church – is like a death. No one marries thinking they’ll be abused. No one enters a church thinking the same. Then to realize that what one has committed to for years if not decades or one’s entire life was a lie – something one thought was alive never was. Not what the motions and words and actions on the outside portrayed. Sometimes it feels like being a character in an existential play of surrealism.

      Jesus was a man of sorrows and is well-acquainted with grief – His and ours. I’m praying for His own hand upon you. Do not stop crying out for understanding; The Lord tells us He gives wisdom to those who ask. Stay here and read and drink of the wisdom and comfort provided here. There’s a community here who understand and want to come alongside you. You are not alone.

      • Anne

        “Sometimes it feels like being a character in an existential play of surrealism”

        YES!!!

        That’s it exactly.

    • freeatlast8

      Debbie, in my personal time with the Lord recently, he spoke to me. I was lamenting my former lack of wisdom and discernment over all the things that have happened in the past. Here is what he said to me:

      Don’t despise your former lack of wisdom. I open up the pathways to wisdom in my time. You are on a journey and I am your guide. I lead you down paths of my choosing. You are along for the ride. I share with you as you surrender and follow me. I have access to every reserved and restricted place. I have all authority to take you in deeper behind the no trespassing signs. These places are not accessible to the ones who are not abiding in the vine. Your abiding gives you freedom and privileges to my secret places, where I store up wisdom and give it out to those who press in an venture on to find it. It is a life-long quest, and a journey. With each expedition, you blaze new trails and take new ground. Each day on the path with me is progress. Together we forge on.”

      This word has encouraged me to keep moving forward–not looking back like Lot’s wife with regret, or longing, or trying to resurrect something that never really was.

      Jesus will guide us into all truth if we truly seek him with all our hearts. I was not seeking Him with all my heart for many years. Instead, I was seeking to find a way to make my husband happy through my own self effort.

      Each day of my new life is a journey with Jesus. He is my head, my leader, my guide. It is amazing the trails we have already blazed together that have nothing to do with my marital status. Instead, they have everything to do with understanding who I am as a child of God. I was lacking so much understanding of this one thingin my married years, that there is no way I could have been a better partner to my husband. I am realizing my now ex-husband probably does not have this wisdom or understanding for himself. If both of us had known the things in our married years that I have come into awareness of post divorce, we would probably be a healthy, happy couple today.

    • freeatlast8

      Welcome aboard, Debbie. We are all on this journey together. Years of mess will take time to repair, but Jesus has given me loads of wonderful wisdom in just the past year and a half. His healing restores what was lost and his gains are leaps and bounds in the right direction. Don’t fall into despair and discouragement. Yes, it will happen, but take those thoughts captive to Jesus immediately…and press on…keep moving forward with him. Here’s a comforting hug…(((Debbie))).

  11. StandsWithAFist

    “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven!” Matthew 16:17

    Seminary (flesh & blood) produces gnat strainers. Only the Holy Spirit can produce wisdom.

    Amen.

  12. Debbie

    Yes, it is true. We do know what evil looks like, and we are able to identify it in homes, in churches, in the community, and in the world. We can watch the events that are going on in the world right now and accurately say “that is evil and Christians better wake up and take their heads out of the sand or that evil will take us out.” We have learned that evil has an aggressive nature and that it requires an equal or greater aggression to confront it. We have learned that pacifism is unrealistic and, in actuality, opposed to peace. Silence and inaction are the same thing as consent. Think of all of the people in Hitler’s Germany who remained silent, knowing about the atrocities that Hitler was committing. In an attempt to preserve themselves, they made themselves participants. Yes, to hear about abuse and choose to ignore it because it is unpleasant makes the hearer a participant in evil!

  13. IamMyBeloved's

    Love this and love this ministry! The wisdom I have found here, Ps. Crippen, is the wisdom of God and it has set me free and given me the deliverance found only in Christ. As you well know, I have suffered abuse in the “c”hurch and you know the damage that abuse had done to me. But, in God’s mercy, grace and love, He used it to bring wisdom to me and teach me Who He really is, and what His true Church really looks like, and to bring judgment to those who were doing the abusing.

    I have learned so much through all of this and am glad that God has been glorified not only in my being set free from abuse, but for all the others here, who have likewise encountered the true God and have been set free as well.

    Would love to attend that speaking engagement with other pastors/churches, if it ever comes to pass. God sometimes singles people out for ministry. Sometimes we have to stand alone in order to stand for God’s truths. But I hope others will eventually see before it is too late and while there is still time to help a victim of abuse be set free from the abuse and to know and be taught by those Churches, that it is not God’s will that she be abused or stay in abuse but that she be taught how much she is loved by God instead.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Iam!

  14. Debbie

    God bless you all for taking the time to care and encourage me-and of course this ministry! God has soothed my heart these last couple of days and brought kind people to minister His great love.
    In my spirit He is showing me it is time to forgive because it has been holding me back. I have been so angry and I don’t want to feel like that anymore. Your kind responses confirm what I knew and that’s such a blessing!

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