A Cry For Justice

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

The Abuser Appears in Proverbs Once Again

Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are fervent lips with an evil heart. Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. (Proverbs 26:23-26)

It takes the Lord’s wisdom to understand His wisdom! That is to say, the wisdom given to us in Scripture, as in these verses from Proverbs, very clearly lay out the character and tactics of the abuser. And yet we don’t get it. That is, until we experience abuse. This is why I have said over and over again that if pastors and church leaders and Christians really want to become wise, study the nature and tactics of abuse! Such a study will turn the black and white in to blazing color.

Every abuse victim knows exactly what these verses are talking about. Abusers LOOK LIKE a fine glazed vase, but in fact are just clay. Their LIPS make them look soooo holy and pious, but in fact they have an evil heart. Proverbs then goes on to tell us that every wicked person, every person who hates, DISGUISES his evil heart and hatred with the words that spew from his mouth. He turns on the charm. He speaks “graciously” in certain circles. DON’T BELIEVE HIM!  That is the instruction and wisdom of God’s Word here. Because in fact, for all of his “gracious, Christian, holy” talk, his heart is full of abominable evils. Proverbs says “seven abominations” which I suspect is a literary device that means evil is all there is in his heart. But most churches and Christians and pastors are not heeding this command. They ARE believing the wicked man.

He covers his hatred (his true nature) with a disguise that deceives, HOWEVER (and this is vital for us to get hold of) “his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.” What does that mean? I suggest to you that it means this: When the church is the church, when the church is truly the assembly of people who are in Christ, when the church is the pillar and support of the truth of God’s Word, then wicked deceivers will be found out when they try to creep into the church in disguise.”

But wait then…

Wicked deceivers are very, very often NOT being exposed in the assembly, are they? I mean, just ask our readers here at ACFJ. Are abusers being exposed? No. The norm is that they are enabled in their continued deception.

So what does that tell us about the condition of so many local entities today that call themselves Christian churches?

I will let you answer that question.

 

15 Comments

  1. Seeing Clearly

    Thank you, ACFJ, for your relentless pursuit to open the eyes of the sleeping church. Like a slide show, I see numerous photos of experiences of abusers siding up with a pastor, offering tickets to a hockey game, invitation to an expensive restaurant, invitation to hunt on their wooded landed, on and on. Sometimes the abuser joins in the activity, sometimes the abuser allows the pastor to take his wife out for the dinner so the abuser’s generosity spills over even in his absence.

    Next, the pastor hears the subtle lies, innuendos, hidden agenda from the generous abuser. ‘But their LIPS make them look so holy and pious’. His ears have turned deaf to the evils of the abuser’s heart, for certainly this nice, generous man could not possibly be an abuser. Each time he disregards the truth, the pastor is deadening his own heart to truth. And at some point, I wonder if this pastor will be able to discern lies for what they are because his heart is so full of lies that it seems like truth to him.

    Sometimes, these abusers are church hoppers. They come to a church with wrong motives and then, when things are no longer going their way, they blame the church for their needing to depart. Shortly thereafter, they set out to infect the next church with abuse/evil, and on it goes.

    Just now, it is making sense to why I was not, as the pastor’s wife, comfortable with the generosity of certain people. They moved too close to the pastor, too quickly, with too much. My intuition told me they were clay, not a fine glazed vase. But for many, many years I did not know what to do with my intuition. Truthfully, a kind, gentle pastor’s wife was not given much credibility any way.

  2. cindy burrell

    The proverb shared paints such a vivid picture of the abuser’s design to deceive. The Scripture is pure validation from the word of God and a powerful reminder of the need for Spirit-inspired wisdom. Too often, out of a desire to not be judgmental, we may receive people whom we should be scrutinizing. That may seem harsh, but I think we can all recount a situation with someone where everything in us screamed “danger,” yet we overrode that warning out of a desire to assume the best of him or her, only to realize later and to our regret, that our initial instincts were correct. God provides us with spiritual armor, yet we choose to lay it down, leaving ourselves and others around us vulnerable to division and attack. We must take it up again and remember what it means to be vigilant.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Great words Cindy. Right on. Thank you.

    • bright sunshinin' day

      Yes, Cindy. Vigilance. We are called to “…stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

      As Jeff said, “It takes wisdom to understand His wisdom.” This Spirit-filled wisdom (verses a worldly wisdom) is a gift from God given to those who seek it (Proverbs 2) and it enables one to discern good from evil. With this God-given wisdom, we can begin to learn to spot abusers and as Cindy said, “we should be scrutinizing” them, which simply means examining closely. As Christians, we must learn to scrutinize and judge rightly (John 7:24) – situations and people – lest we be deceived and thus robbed of the freedom Christ has called us to (Galatians 5:1).

  3. anonymous

    This truth spoken in Proverbs beyond all doubt parallels with the sheer horror in living life with an abuser and needs to be viewed with great sober-mindedness. Once we see the evil therein we MUST be willing to face it with great courage. Those choosing to remain in slumber, remain in self-denial OR, adamantly refuse to take action are they themselves running with a pack of wolves. We have choices; the do-nothing people ought to be having sleepless nights while probing deep down into their own hearts. Run with this pack and you are one of them, even if at the very least choosing to enable evil rather than to expose it – the exact OPPOSITE of what we are warned about and commanded to do. God will NOT be mocked.

  4. Better Equipped

    I”m curious, we understand that intentional abusers are evil at heart. This tells me the deception and lies manifested from such a person is ultimately ruled and led by Satan. The Bible tells us that our warfare weapons are not of flesh or blood but have divine power to abolish strongholds, arguments, and every pretension that sets itself up against God. Has anyone to testify about any circumstances where they have applied the above ‘warfare plan of action’ on behalf of the abuser and have witnessed God do something as a result?

    • Over the years, Jeff Crippen and his elders at Christ Reformation Church (Tillamook, Oregon) have dealt with wicked people in that church. Some of those people who were doing wicked things left of their own accord once Jeff stood up to them. Some of them did not leave until Jeff and his two good elders put them out of the church; and when Jeff and his good elders had done that, they told the congregation what they had done and why.

      The wicked individuals I’ve alluded to above were not necessarily expressing evildoing by spousal abuse (though some of them may have been doing that too). As I understand it, their primary sinful patterns were other kinds of sins: bullying of church leaders and church members; lying and manipulating to undermine the godly leaders; secretly teaching distorted and sub-biblical doctrine in unofficial home groups; showing immense pride in their ‘christian image’ and that of their family, while defying all calls for them to admit their deeply sinful character defects; controlling certain ‘programs’ in the church, such as the music program; sexualized abuse of someone in the church who was not a member of their own family. Those are a few examples.

      Jeff’s church has a much smaller congregation than it did in the days when the wicked were warming the pews. But it is a church free of the undercurrent of suspicion, fear, false blame and false guilt that is the inevitable corollary of Pharisaism.

      And hardly any of the people who left or were put out of Christ Reformation Church have shown any signs of repentance.

      Jeff may wish to add to or tweak what I’ve said.

  5. Better Equipped

    Than you for clarifying.

    • Hi Better Equipped, I changed your screen name to ‘better equipped’ before publishing this comment. When you submitted the comment you’d given a name which might identify you. We advise you not to do that as it is very unsafe.

      🙂

  6. Valerie

    I remember when I first read this selection of scripture after I became aware of the name for what I had been experiencing for many years- abuse. I cried as I read it. It felt like God comforting me as though He were sitting next to me talking to me. With this passage He validated what I had been experiencing. He showed me through His word that He knew what I was experiencing. I was nearly hysterical to those around me asking “Don’t you SEE it??” with regard to my husband’s abuse. But they only saw the glaze covering. His glaze appeared to be clear so others thought he was transparent in his behavior. 😦 But those who refused to (want to) see what I described showed they had no framework for the deceiver who disguises himself with graciousness.

    The other part of this text that stood out to me at that time was using the word “hatred” to describe what is within him. Even when I realized it was abuse I still made excuses for him in thinking that he was just troubled or a myriad of other justifications in my own mind. But hatred was the only word to adequately describe the motivation behind how he treated me on a daily basis. God’s love is powerful but so is the devil’s hate. Praise God that our loving God is more powerful than our enemy!! 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Another sober reminder of the fate for those do-nothing people, those enabling whereby helping wicked abusers is found in Isaiah 31. “HE Will rise up against the house of the wicked, against those who help evildoers”. “…both will perish together”. God does fight our battles yet also calls us to be active participants, but he does better than that, he clothes and equips us for that what he has called us to do – shed light on darkness!

  7. kind of anonymous

    That there is something entirely missing in most churches these days is obvious. There is no sense of holiness, godly fear or awe for one thing, no sense of God’s presence. The church we go to is full of very nice christian people who are respectable and attend church regularly and would be quick to assume the best of others as scripture says. We were praying with the pastor once and i remember praying for him that he would please God and not man and that should he ever get into a pressure situation with people that God would protect and strengthen him.

    Now I didn’t mean that he was in the habit of being a people pleaser at all but just that sooner or later that sort of pressure would come to bear on him as it always does for anyone taking a stand for God, and that I was asking for God’s protection for him when that sort of warfare happened. I had the distinct sense that as sincere as this man was, he really thought there was no possiblity that such a thing could happen to him or his church; I mean everyone is so godly and so nice. Just so sincere and so nice. But is that what holilness is? So what is making christianity so insipidly nice, kind but toothless and without real power and holiness?

    I suspect perhaps this generation that I am a part of has such a watered down gospel that we are without power and yet we think its the real thing. Perhaps many of us have never met the sort of person who would find common ground with the apostle Paul. I cannot think off the top of my head of anyone who walks in such humbled, reverent awe and gratitutde that their life radiates holiness and God’s presence; yet this should probably be the norm for a genuine believer. I know people who sincerely love the Lord and do their best to obey Him. But there is a definite lack of contact with the holy for sure. You know it when you encounter it because its result is that we wind up on our faces; we don’t remain casual or matey with God when we truly encounter Him. How many times have any of us seen a congregaton on its face? We are I think too much of this world and don’t realize it. Today grace has come to mean that God tolerates sin and is still obliged to walk with us even though there is poop strewn about the camp; as if holiness and obedience to His word is a legalist hang up from the OT. Paul did not seem to have this mentality at all.

    This could be part of why there is such a fascination with the Amish people today; these people live as if they believe that their commitment to God should touch every aspect of how they live, dress, act, and they don’t try to fit in with the world. Whether or not individual Amish folks are born again i cannot say without knowing them. Sadly some of them have come to think they are missing something just as some in the world are realizing the world doesn’t satisfy it just amuses, addicts and cheapens. But suffice to say the church is handing the world what is already has and it isn’t satisfying or real. When God’s boundaries get moved and watered down, His presence doesn’t go with us, though the average evangelical thinks grace means no matter how we live God is obliged to show up becase two or more are gathered in His name.

    One doesn’t return to the Lord until he has noticed that he no longer has the fellowship and presence of the Lord. The only way to notice is for someone to faithfully uphohld the word of God in terms of what is actually teaches,and for people to encounter the holy (as opposed to the watered down gruel of motivational christian pep talks sprinkled with bible verses so common today) and to place a high value on prayer and intercession. Can’t remember which preacher it was, Spurgeon perhaps, but the account was that he was giving some higher ups a tour of the church; one of them asked about the church’s heating plant; the preacher showed them to a door; “here is this church’s heating plant” he said and opened the door to reveal a group of people on their knees praying as they did regularly and faithfully, for God to give power for souls to come to salvation. “That is the source of the heat and power in this church” was the preachers explanation to his visitors. How many churches today even have regular seeking prayer or pre service prayer? Without the presence of holiness, various forms of evil and vice do not stand out as anything out of the ordinary. Scary

    • Jeff Crippen

      Couldn’t be said better!!

      • anonymous

        I can comment on the Amish and tell you there IS a real awakening in the Amish community. Many ARE coming to faith in Jesus Christ and as a result are being excommunicated from their churches (good thing) !! Women are attending Bible studies but labeling them “tea parties”, lest they will come under the wrath of the bishop. Same is true for the men who are getting “underground” help for the same addictions and challenges others face outside the Amish community…they are experiencing the power of the Gospel and coming to faith in Jesus in droves! Amazing!!

  8. kind of anonymous

    Wow that is awesome to hear, though sad that their bishops are excommunicating them when they could bring life to their worship services and community. A friend of mine tells me that there are reports of Muslims having dreams of Jesus speaking to them and getting saved as a result.

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