A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — A True Christian

What makes real Christianity different [from every other religion]  is the transformation that has taken place in the life of the one who has personally come to Christ.

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Salvation in Christ changes our eternal destiny, but it also changes much more. True salvation changes the very essence of our personhood.  Understanding what a true Christian is will revolutionize how we deal with abusers.  A true Christian is:

  • Once an enemy of God, one who is now His child who loves Him (I John 4:19; Galatians 4:4ff)
  •  A new creature, a new man, a son of God (II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1ff)
  • One who has God’s law written on his heart (Hebrews 8:10-11)
  • One who has been taught by the Spirit of Christ (Ephesians 4:20ff)

In an abuser — with his utter self-centeredness and justification of his wrong actions, his lack of love for others and mindset of entitlement — all of these characteristics shout out loud that it is impossible for him to be a real Christian. Scripture clearly states that a person who lives for entitlement, power, control, and justification, is not in Christ, and Christ is not in him. (Romans 8:5,9; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Ephesians 2:10)

If an abuser is treated as a real Christian who simply falls and struggles rather than as a person who has never known Christ, then the victim and other Christians will be confused about what it means to be a Christian.  They will be led to think that abuse does not represent the abuser’s true character, when in fact it does.  The abuser himself will be escorted on his way to hell with his church’s glib assurance that he really is a child of God. 

[from Jeff Crippen’s Unholy Charade; Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church*, pp152-3]

 

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12 Comments

  1. Sarah

    I’ve often thought of how much we don’t “love” the abuser but instead pat him on the back…, we don’t say no more we just say what act can you play for us? We don’t take into account that the victim actually wanted this person to get healed, instead we scream you’re hard hearted! We trust the abuser but not the victim… we enable to abuser to strike again and don’t love him enough to say no more

  2. Debbie

    As I am learning throughout my healing from reading this and other sources, many abusers are Narcissists who therefore have a lack of empathy. Since this is the case with my ex husband and father of my two children, one of my grown children is exhibiting some of these tendencies. I am very concerned about whether she can be truly saved.
    My question is: is it possible for God to heal and save my child? In reading your post above, I am not sure. It’s fairly easy to apply this principle to my ex, but heartbreaking to think it may be applicable to my child. What have I done? I wish to God I had gotten out long ago, before so much damage was done 😦
    I stayed 32 years, even though I was desperately unhappy and in despair from the first year, but I was taught my happiness didn’t matter (it was so much more than mere unhappiness I now know). The marriage was all that mattered. How can I help my children? One is abusive and the other is the target.

    • Song of Joy

      What you are going through must be very difficult. I’m the daughter of an abusive father (was abusive to my mother and all of us siblings). Our situation was long-term and it has affected all of us in harsh ways for decades, even though my mom divorced him after we reached adulthood.

      What I can offer in way of perspective, based on our painful family experience is this…understanding the root (evil) and dynamics of abusive behaviors and attitudes is essential for making wise choices on how to interact with family members. You obviously are already moving in that direction. Children can turn out to be incorrigibly abusive too, and that is a tragedy. But sometimes in the wake of a traumatic childhood, they develop a maladaptive life philosophy or they fall under the spell of the abusive parent and “harden” toward the loving parent and siblings, causing all kinds of relational problems and stress. This can go on for years. I would like to think there is still hope for your daughter. If she was not a bully when she was a child, you have even more reason to hope. But don’t let hope cancel out using caution when dealing with her.

      Looking back, on our experience, what has been most helpful to me:
      Focus on self and what can I control, define my values, boundaries and goals.
      Maintain personal dignity and composure, be deliberate in thought and actions.
      Drastically lower my expectations of others and outcomes since I can’t control that.
      (not lower my boundaries, but lower my desires for their good will and better behavior)
      Accept that the other person may not want the same loving relationship that I want.
      Continue to relate at the level that does not damage myself or contribute to the harm of others.
      Pray with patience for the long term.

      There isn’t really anything you can do to modify your one daughter’s behavior toward the other daughter. But you can give the abused daughter your blessing to set her own limits on her sister, and to allow her to exercise her own boundaries, without making her feel like she must have a close relationship with her. God bless.

      • Debbie

        Thank you Song of Joy. Your words are very encouraging. I have been doing those things and praying. Blessings to you.

    • Hi Debbie, I encourage you to not be hard on yourself for not leaving earlier. No doubt you were doing what Christian-ese told you to do and your motives were good, you were just mis-taught. ((hugs))

      Here are some posts from our Children and Extended Family category, which you might find helpful:

      Teaching Children The Ten Commandments Of Character

      A child who was allied to the abuser but then came back to the non-abusive parent — a post by Cindy Burrell

      Defiant Boys: one mother’s story of the problems of parenting after domestic abuse

      Parenting after Separating from Your Abusive Ex — by Dr George Simon Jr

      Restoring Relationships With Estranged Children

      • Debbie

        Thank you so much Barbara. I will check out those resources. This blog continues to be a bright light to so many who have suffered in darkness.

  3. layla1111

    These abusers ARE “utterly self-centered”, almost satanically so. I was thinking today about how my ex-abuser who abandoned me and his son some mos ago, went for about 2 years getting so angry whenever my son had an event the next day, would throw a hissy fit and then refuse to go. It was like he was so angry that our son would be the focus of attention (even if he was just one person among many in the event) instead of him and he couldnt tolerate it. At one occassion for my son which was very important and he couldnt just throw a fit and not go he engineered a situation where he pretended to lose me so that he could walk across the enormous stage and all eyes would be on him right as the event was beginning! To this day I dont understand do they just have the compulsion to be the center of attention and respond with rage when the focus is on anyone else? So immature. It is like they are toddlers! Still to this day cant wrap my head around it!

    • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

      I wonder if that is why my ex could never seem to find time to go see my kids in theatre. He was always coming late or leaving early.

  4. sheisovercoming

    This really hit home. My daughter struggled as an older teen with this confusion over how a real Christian could live like her father did. Follow this up with secondary spiritual abuse and extended family rejection, and she struggles with Christians and God. It is painful. One child is following in the abusers footsteps, and this is the most painful thing of all. Thank you Song of Joy. Your perspective is helpful..

  5. Lost

    I need help. I have questions I need to ask Jeff C or Barbara or someone like that but I can’t do it on here for safety.

    • Lost, our email addresses are on our ABOUT page. See the ABOUT tab at the top (or the side? if you are using a phone) of this blog.

      I know you have had poor experience with shelters in the past, but I suggest you try that route again. There is one difference this time: you have found our blog so you now have (a) Christian teaching which will help you get out from the fog of all the false teaching which you have been under from the Uber-Evangelical Church Authoritarian Patriarchal System, and (b) a large cyber support group of other survivors.

      You say that the shelters didn’t help in the past because you were so ‘stupid’. You are not stupid, but you have been in the fog and morass of bad teaching. It is not your fault you have been in that morass. It is so WIDESPREAD in the churches that most church goers think it is true Christianity. But it’s very flawed in many of its teachings, particularly the way it teaches marital roles, submission, forgiveness, repentance, long-suffering, and such things. And how it ignores or downplays the presence of EVIL in the church.

      So, this time, you have resources which can help you be more wise in regards to abuse and the tactics of abusers and the wrong-teaching of the ‘c’hurch which so greatly enable abusers. That is the difference this time around. Am I making sense? Do you agree? Feel free to disagree if you like!

      Here is the HOTLINES page of our Resources. https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/hotlines/

      Also, this is horrible to face, but maybe you might want to consider leaving the kids with him while you escape for your own life. I know, it’s really really hard to contemplate, and I’m not saying you should do that. I’m just tentatively offering things for you to think about.

      • Lost

        Makes sense…I see it everywhere now. Even in christian counseling too.

        Leaving him with the kids has crossed my mind as my only way out. And running for my own life. Craziest and most heart breaking thing a mom could think of much less do but he literally hates the air that I breathe and makes sure that he’s over the top for the children’s affections. He makes sure that I have to compete just to be in their daily lives and I’m a stay at home mom! You see because it has to be all about him. As he’s said he can’t stand having to consider me in decisions, etc. He feels controlled. Ironic, no?
        Now I wonder why his dad left his mom bc his mom is JUST like him. I wonder if living across the country and taking the kids for the summer is best eventually.

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