A Cry For Justice

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

How Many Sins Are Required to Demonstrate that a “Christian” is not a Christian? – ONE!

How can you know if a person who claims to be a Christian, isn’t? Does it take years of watching and testing and waiting? Nope. Not at all. Here you go:

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1John 2:9-11)

One of the greatest sins of the church today is refusing to apply what the Apostle John and many other Scriptures say on this subject. “Oh, well, none of us are perfect you know. We must be patient. The fellow professes Christ and we must think the best of him.” Bleah. Let me paint a picture:

Here is Fred. Fred is a “fine upstanding” member of his local church. Why, Fred even grew up in that church. He “went forward” at the altar call and “got saved” when he was just a boy, got baptized — hallelujah! Fred is on his certain and sure way to heaven.

But…pick one of the following. Just one —

  • Fred is cruel to his family’s animals and has no trouble at all sleeping after stomping a new puppy to death for chewing up a shoe.
  • Or, Fred humiliates his wife in front of others, putting down her abilities and even mocking her “frigidity,’
  • Or, Fred demands his wife tell him wherever she is at all times,
  • Or, Fred makes his wife pay all the bills out of her salary (if he lets her work at all) while he blows his on himself as fun money,
  • Or, Fred throws tantrums of rage when….well, whenever something isn’t to his liking.

How many of these characteristics are required to demonstrate that Fred is NOT a Christian? Any single one of them. Just one. “But hey, we aren’t any of us perfect! How can you say such a thing!! Only God knows the heart.”  How can I know? Because any single one of those wicked patterns of behavior clearly demonstrates that such a person does NOT love others, does NOT love the Lord, does NOT love his wife. It really is quite simple. Oh, and here is the clincher — FRED CAN DO ANY ONE OF THESE THINGS AND THEN GO TO SLEEP THAT NIGHT WITH NO QUALM OF CONVICTION WHATSOEVER. HE WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE FROM HIS HEART. Never. That seals the diagnosis you see. Fred is a phoney baloney “Christian,” a wolf in wool.

Do you understand? Some sins are soooo evidently characteristic of an unconverted heart that it really does not take a genius to diagnose that heart. Doctors, you know, can very quickly diagnose certain diseases or ailments. It isn’t always a big confusing puzzle that has to be sorted out by a panel of specialists. “Yep, there it is. This is what you have.” Boom. So it is with many of the wicked. “Pastor, my husband does such and so to me and….” — No more info needed. Got the diagnosis right here. He is unsaved, he is an abuser, that is what you are facing.

Yet how many people just like Fred are pillars in their local church, Sunday School class teachers, youth workers, pastors, etc, etc, etc ? Answer: LOTS. LOTS. LOTS. More than most Christians even want to know.

Really. For all the talk about “winning souls for Jesus” and “evangelism to the world,” many, many visible local churches have these wicked ones right in their midst and refuse to look, refuse to see, refuse to do anything about it which is a flat refusal to obey the King of kings!!  And the King knows it. And the King’s wrath is easily and quickly kindled against it.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1Peter 4:17-18)

***

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32 Comments

  1. Fantastic! Amen. Thank you.
    Dont know why the church cant see whats going on under their own noses…
    Makes me think that their are more wolves in the church then we care to think..

  2. Anon2

    Nailed it! I never felt like I had an advocate of any kind in my life even when I was going to church. It was always as you all say, stay and every kind of scripture was used to back it up. And I did stay for decades and I began to think God only cared about my abuser. But after reading this site and many others I slowly came out of that lie. I am now out of my abusive marriage but I went home to my original abusers in order to relocate to that part of the country. I thought I could handle it temporarily. Not the case. A lot of us were originally set up to be victims from childhood.. I was immersed in old painful memories of past abuse and almost overcome but too it all became clearer what had happened to me to set me up for an abusive marriage. God does bring good out of bad. I know it is very common at first to go from one abusive situation to another as I did. But we can gain wisdom and strength from it with God. He is always with me.

  3. keeningforthedawn

    This is a fabulous way to cut through the “brain fog” so prevalent in the Church. Because of the mentality described in the post, Christians have stopped exercising discernment, and their spiritual muscles have become weak (I know — I was one of them!)

    A few months ago, in a ladies’ church group, I was asking for prayer for wisdom in dealing with an extended family member who is a serial adulterer, but is an active member of his church, sings in the choir, talks the spiritual talk, etc. One of the leaders said, “Well, you can’t really know his heart. Maybe he’s sincere about his faith when he’s in church.” I honestly didn’t know how to answer that. Thankfully, this post has brought me much more clarity.

  4. J

    My question: If Fred’s wife grows to hate him after all of that, does that mean she, too is not really a Christian? Because that is what people I know would say, they would say yeah he’s bad, obviously, but if his wife grows to detest him, to hate the sight of him, to be filled with anxiety whenever he is around, instead of patiently “loving” him through all this, subjecting to it despite how unfair it is (because we are supposed to love our enemies, you know) They would say she is also not a Christian then.

    • Jeff Crippen

      J – That’s a good question. Such perversions of truth are regularly spewed at victims, aren’t they. This stuff you describe here is particularly evil because it is marked by the cunning, lying nature of the devil. Christians, like the Lord Himself, hate evil and evil doers. Here are some examples-

      The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
      (Psalms 5:5)

      I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
      (Psalms 26:5)

      I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
      (Psalms 31:6)

      In fact, to NOT hate the wicked as the Lord does is to fail to reflect His nature which the professing Christian claims to have via the new birth.

      So we should hate the wicked. Now, that does not mean that we take vengeance upon them or try to do “eye for eye” pushback on them. We leave vengeance to the Lord. But showing signs of PTSD when the evil one is around is no sign that a person is not saved. It is a sign that they have PTSD!

      Virtually ALL of the abuse victims I have ever known, who ARE Christians, hated the evil their abuser spouse perpetrated on them and yet under it all they really wanted to love him. Like Christ who was grieved when the rich young ruler walked away. You might say that the Christian, like God, has a kind of “love/hate” thing happening in regard to the wicked. We hate what they do and in one sense hate them, desiring to have nothing to do with them. But at the same time, we grieve for them.

      The trick is to not be overcome by that grief, guilted falsely by it, and then sucked back in by the wicked.

      Finally, I would ask any “counselors” laying the accusations you describe on a victim – “so, you are saying that if your husband or a relative or family friend or even a stranger kidnapped and raped and tortured your little girl, you would patiently love him through all of his trials when he is caught?”

      • Daffodil

        I see this so clearly now, though it was hard for me to accept that my first husband was abusive. i didn’t know his angry words and clamming up were verbal and emotional abuse, but it was, and Jeff, yes, I know my real enemy is the Devil who blinded, bound, warped and twisted the man when he was a small child, and my heart feels grief for him because of the blindness and hardness he lives within (NPD). Sometimes it’s been all I can do to keep going, knowing where he will likely spend eternity, because I did and do love him, and yet I have to surrender that to God and try to pray without crumbling to grief and PTSD.

        Sadly, many Christian friends have told me to “just get over it,” but now I know that advice is toxic. Can we purpose instead to just surround others with non-judgmental presence and love when they face abuse and the aftermath?

        My second husband died as a result of manslaughter, and one things I was able to do, thanks to God, was write a post for the local Homicide Survivors support group speaking out what the victims of violent crime and abuse would like to say if they weren’t silenced into “being nice”: the true justice we need is what we may never see, we have to live with injustice and go on in spite of grave injustice, and we need people who will honestly say,”I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through, and I won’t presume to tell you how to handle it, but I’m here for you as long as you need me to be.”

      • You are an articulate advocate for victims. Good for you, Daffodil. 🙂

      • Daffodil

        Thank you so much Barbara. My one desire is to see God get the glory in all of my life, and if I can speak up for others who feel they can’t speak for themselves, then thanks to God for His sustaining grace.

      • Karen

        Amen. Thank-you Pastor Jeff for this comment.

    • J

      In fact, they would probably say that he has a sin problem, but she is the real unsaved one, since she is honest about her feelings but men like Fred would never come right out and say they hate their wife, their actions would show it, but they would profess to the end that they loved her, as abusers often do.

  5. Un-Tangled

    It makes sense to us because we understand. However, that verse is so often twisted so that WE are accused of “hating our brother” because we choose to have limited or no contact or divorcing. We are accused of being unforgiving, unloving, ungrace-filled, and hating. Abusers are so slippery and can gain allies.

    • Jeff Crippen

      To some degree I just let those scripture twisters wallow in their ignorance.

      Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
      (Matthew 15:12-14)

      • J

        Oh. Thank you, I posted my reply before I saw your reply, those are good answers to mull over.

  6. broken not shattered

    I think because of what I’ve gone through with my husband, I have temporarily lost my sense of being a Christian, because I have doubted myself so many times and have lost my temper due to his gaslighting and confusion. I saw the article and immediately thought, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and have been angry because of what my life has turned into because of him. I’ve cursed, I’ve blown up at him because I couldn’t take it anymore, I’ve not been in the best mood, and I’ve lost plenty plenty of sleep due to his sulking and pressuring for sex. I thought, maybe they’re talking about me.

    But I think as I read it a second time I better understood it and what you all are saying. I am alone here, except for my children. I have no one. My family is far away and they don’t quite understand what I go through. My church family is no more because they were and are part of the problem, which is the reason I left. I feel that because my rising awareness of the injustice they did has caused me to be angry and a bit bitter and un-trusting of others, and wary of churches…because of this I feel that people don’t believe me or take me seriously or understand the depth of what I’ve experienced.

    • Lea

      >and un-trusting of others

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with learning from experience, and holding off trusting until you have a reasonable belief that a person can be trusted.

  7. cindy burrell

    Thank you, Pastor Jeff, for this simple, straightforward piece. Isn’t is amazing how something so clear can be so grossly perverted, misappropriated or ignored? And innocents are harmed in the process. (sigh)

  8. Nicole

    This describes my ex husband to a T. Other than the puppy stomping, he’s done all of those other things listed and has absolutely no remorse. He’s one of the soundest sleepers I’ve ever met- no conscience I think. He was an elder, volunteer and Sunday School teacher at our church for many, many years. The church elders tossed him out of all leadership positions once I told them about his behavior. I am blessed with a great church family that stands up against evil! I detest my ex’s evil behavior but very much wanted to love him and see God change him. It hasn’t happened yet and may never happen. In the mean time, he is not allowed to come near me. The anger I have for him is righteous and justified and I am pretty close to fully forgiving him.

    • KayE

      My ex did all these too. He didn’t kill the puppy but he was cruel and hurt it, and he left other pets out in the cold to die. Yet I was the one who got excluded from church. My ex was made very welcome. He was made especially welcome when, even though he was still actually married, he took his new woman to a course for new Christians. It makes me really angry that the church leaders who supported this still think they were doing some kind of evangelistic good thing.

      My children witnessed a lot of abuse and they were actual victims of abuse.
      They also witnessed the way that these oh so holy Christians took the side of evil.
      My children will now not go near any church.

  9. A

    Great post. I met my abuser helping with kids club at church. He put on a show at church and acted completely different at home. I finally reconciled in my mind that he isn’t a true Christian when I thought about how much he lies. And lies about stupid stuff where he has no reason to lie. His entire life is a lie. So, he is just like his father, the father of lies. And, even after divorcing him, I don’t hate him. I have to establish pretty severe boundaries with him because we have a child together. I mostly just feel sorry for him. He’s miserable and the only person who can’t escape from him, is him.

  10. seekeroftruth

    Here’s the thing that irritates me: for a long time Evamgelicals have attacked Rick Warren for inviting Barack Obama to his church for World AIDS Day (since Obama is pro-choice), for being overly friendly to Muslims (probably compromising Jesus’ being the Only Way to God), and inviting Dr. Oz to his church (since Oz isn’t a Real, True Christian[TM]).

    However, on another blog a commenter mentioned Warren said that women should remain in abusive marriages…silence from the heresy hunters!

    Also, John MacArthur was pretty silent on the abuse scandals a few years ago, but had an entire conference on how evil the Charismatic movement is.

    The cynical part of me is beginning to wonder if the powers that be in the church do not care about abuse victims.
    😦

    • Hi seekeroftruthweb — welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment 🙂

      We share your cynicism. We hope and pray that more in the church will wake up and start really caring about abuse victims, but it’s an uphill battle. Part of the reason it’s an uphill battle is that there are many abusers in the church masquerading as godly people, and they have a vested interest in discrediting victims and keeping them isolated and intimidated into silence.

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

  11. healinginhim

    Thank you for presenting the truth.

  12. Gothard Survivor

    I doubt my comment makes it into print, but i think saying that if someone is cruel to animals or demands to know where his wife is is unsaved is adding to scripture. I want the abuser to have the same mercy that i get– and i believe God grants him that too.

    • Hi Gothard Survivor
      Did you notice that in the first example you raised, Jeff didn’t just say “cruelty to animals” but “cruel to his family’s animals and has no trouble at all sleeping after stomping a new puppy to death for chewing up a shoe.” Cruelty to his own family’s animals for no good reason, and with no pricks of conscience afterwards.

      I guess we could imagine a situation where someone was cruel to animals but there were extenuating circumstances. For instance, many of the drivers of horse-drawn cabs in London in the 19th century were very poor, and in order to make a skimpy living and keep their families housed and fed, they might have had to overwork and underfeed their horses. They might have felt bad about the horse’s suffering, but in their straightened circumstances they had little choice. But that is not the scenario Jeff was depicting.

      In the second example you raised, Jeff didn’t simply talk about “a man who wants to know where he wife is” but “a man who demands his wife tell him wherever she is at all times.” Can you see the difference? Sometimes a man may quite reasonably want to know where his wife is — for her safety, or for making arrangements of their mutual life together. But Jeff was talking about a man who demands to know where his wife is at all times.

      And a bit further down in the post, Jeff used the phrase “wicked patterns of behavior”. Patterns, not just a once off or a few occurrences that had extenuating circumstances.

      I agree with you wholeheartedly that I want the abuser to have the same mercy from God that I get. And the Bible definitely says that God’s mercy is available to all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We are not saying that an abuser cannot obtain that mercy. But as you know, we affirm what the Bible says: repentance and faith is vital. God’s mercy is free, but the sinner’s repentance and faith is absolutely essential if the sinner is to receive that mercy.

      All Jeff is saying is that the wicked can often be recognised by their behaviour and there are some kinds of behaviour which very clearly reveal a wicked heart, and such people are definitely not Christians. God’s mercy is offered to the wicked but it is only applied to the wicked if the wicked person repents and comes to saving faith.

  13. StandsWithAFist

    I just had a flashback. Seriously.
    I had buried it, but this triggered 2 memories of my abuser being cruel to my precious animals, despite my clear instructions & warnings.
    Oh. Wow.
    How did I miss that? I see it now. I see it.
    And actually there was a third incident, with her own dog.
    Lord have mercy…the fog is thick sometimes.
    thank you Jeff

  14. Amy

    This is so spot on! My husband actually saw this on my Facebook feed yesterday and while I was in the kitchen getting coffee started reading it to me. When he got to the end he said, “That sounds familiar, huh?” in reference to my abusive ex and my former church.

    And to think this scripture, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness” always made ME feel guilty because of having angry feelings toward my ex for treating not only me, but our two sons with such hate. I remember once saying to him after one of his hate-filled rants at me, “I wish you just LIKED me.” He just walked away.

    And twenty years later so did I.

    And thanks to God I’m with a wonderful man who loves to read your blog! And not only loves me, but calls me his best friend.

    • And the fact that your new husband is very happy with you just goes to show that in the first marriage, you were not the problem!

      Pleas pass on my thanks to your husband for reading and supporting our blog. 🙂

      • Amy

        Thanks, Barb! I’m grateful every day the Lord brought this man into my life and has allowed me to see without a doubt how truly abusive my first marriage was.
        🙂
        And my husband loves this blog and whenever he sees it on my Facebook news feed, stops to read it. He almost always turns to me and says, “that sounds familiar, huh?” LOL

  15. BreatheAgain

    Thank you for this post. It is very clarifying. H. has been behaving better lately, and I know it’s likely mostly because he knows I will have him leave if he does not. But he still is often teasing my pet. I plan to go on a short trip soon and I am not at ease leaving her here without me. I might spend the money to board her while I am gone. I feel so annoyed that I feel like I have to monitor him whenever he is around my pet. And he claims to be christian so it is so frustrating. It should not be this way.

  16. J

    Since we are all being perfected, if Fred were confronted and handled his issues appropriately e.g. remorse, repentance, restitution, taking personal responsibility and changing, do you think he could then be considered a sincere Christian?

    • Hi J, if Fred were to do all those things, it would suggest he had been genuinely born again and so could be considered a Christian. In our observation and experience, that almost never happens. Remorse doesn’t really count as that word connotes something that falls short of the repentance-that-leads-to-saving-faith. If there is true repentance unto salvation, Fred will KNOW and HEED the Holy Spirit’s prompting that he must make restitution. If others have to egg him every step of the way, the chances are he is not genuinely converted.

      You might like to check out our FAQ page What if the abuser is repentant?

      And welcome to the blog! 🙂
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      I changed your screen name to J as a precaution for your safety. If you want us to change it to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

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