A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — The Deadly Combination of Ignorance and Arrogance

Why do churches pour salt into the wound of those [domestic abuse victims] who are the most wounded?

First is the very real possibility that a given church is swarming with wolves in sheep’s clothing.  No Christians want to believe that this is true of their own church, but God has told us in His Word that there are many false prophets, and thus we should test the spirits.  He warns us that Satan can appear as an angel of light.  The servants of Satan can appear as sons of righteousness.

But even in cases when the people of the church know and love Christ and want to see people be set free from sin, we still see situations in which abusers are protected and abuse victims blamed.  Why would they minimize the abuse and render injustice to abuse victims?

A common cause for a wrong response to abuse is ignorance of the nature and tactics of abuse.  Few Christians understand the ugliness of real abuse and how abuse affects its victims.  When church leaders fail to understand a problem, they cannot deal with it properly.  But despite this ignorance, Christians commonly express a confidence that they have the ability to pronounce God’s word on the situation…

Church leaders have preached on the great doctrines of the faith, even preached them accurately.  Church leaders have taught about marriage and husbands and wives, and even taught these truths accurately.  But this wisdom and teaching has not gone far enough.

Preachers who love God have failed to paint a clear picture of abuse as sin.  As a result, the abuser can easily dismiss the preaching as being about someone else. He can sit comfortably in his Sunday seat, wearing the effective mask of the saintly Christian, confident that his church loves him and will support him if his crazy wife ever tries to talk to anyone about how he exercises his “headship.”

Church leaders have failed to understand the dynamics of abuse and have failed to listen to the words of their sermons through the ears of the abuser and the abused.  Taking Scriptures out of context and applying them without understanding, Christian leaders and the Christian community at large have shown their arrogance and ignorance in counseling victims.

(Excerpt from Pastor Crippen’s book, Unholy Charade: Unmasking the domestic abuser in the church*, p99-100,125)

*Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.

***

If you’ve never commented on this blog before it is important to read our New Users’ Info page because it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog. And if you’re new to this blog we encourage you look at our FAQs. The New Users Info page and the FAQs can also be found on the top menu bar.

10 Comments

  1. Herjourney

    Once you’ve been exposed to abuse in a relationship and have gone through a bible based recovery for DV your eyes are open to the sutle yet dangerous acts of abusers in leadership positions. It’s like your a foreigner in a ungodly place. It’s not the big things abusers may do. It’s the small jabs or word salad they punch others with. It happens to me on a regular basis. Confronting them is risky business! Especially if it’s a pastor or one of his elders. And I might add this. If your a divorced woman trying to take a biblical stand, the stand may even be more difficult. It is however the road God is guiding me to take. Not compromising! NOT going away. Satan hates it.
    God is my refuge and strength.

  2. Came Alongside

    Also of note, a practiced, narcissistic abuser is an actor in his own play. And he is really, really good at it. He draws his audience in with his mask of holiness, (sometimes) his deeds and sacrifices of spreading the gospel, so much so that no one, not even the pastor (at least at first) recognizes the evil behind the mask. As a well-practiced actor who has honed his craft (acting craft? No, more accurately “witchcraft”) sometimes for decades, he knows all the techniques, back doors, emotional seduction that draws the audience onto his stage with him. Notice the word “audience”. Not friends. Those who believe they are friends are merely props in his play and audiences to play to. Once the props/audience’s usefulness is complete, or they recognize what is going on behind the intermission curtain, especially if they go behind the curtain to confront the actor, they understand that they were, really, just useful props or useful audience members, clapping, lauding the actor in the mask, feeding the diabolical script writer wearing the mask. There truly IS a phantom of the opera. Nothing done by the masked man is for anyone’s good except his own.

    Christians who are truly following Christ are often fooled by the split personality of the abuser. Not because we are not listening to the Spirit of God, but because we SIMPLY DON’T THINK LIKE AN ABUSER. The behavior recounted by the victim blindsides us. We don’t knowingly abuse others, so we don’t recognize the traits of an abuser…until we are behind the curtain through our own experiences or walking alongside the victim/survivor.

    Thank you so much, Jeff, Barbara, Ellie and others who have invested so much of yourselves to help the uninitiated and the victims. You’ve opened up the body to reveal the cancer that must be excised. Thank you really isn’t enough. But I do look forward to hearing the Lord say to you each “well done good and faithful servant”.

    • RomansEightOne

      Yes, Thank You Pastor Jeff, Barbara, and everybody involved in keeping this blog going! I very much appreciate your work shining the light on this issue, and your support of victims.

      I think to some degree, people want to be charmed and entertained, as well as desire to maintain the status quo. Therefore, they side with the perp.

  3. A

    Towards the end of my marriage, I rented Fireproof and watched it with my husband. There were so many messages he could have picked up on in that movie. When it was over, he just shrugged his shoulders and said that he got a lot more out of their other movie (Facing the Giants). I was depressed for a week because of this. Traditional marriage help techniques don’t work on abusers because they don’t see anything wrong with their behavior. Those outside of abuse don’t seem to comprehend how that is even possible, so they respond poorly. Btw – within three months of watching that movie I had moved out and filed divorce. I forced myself to watch it, alone, a few years later just because I was tired of it haunting and traumatizing me every time I saw something about it.

  4. Un-Tangled

    I’m really struggling with anxiety/panic attacks and depression this week. I shared information about abuse with someone who was struggling with concerns about a relationship her adult son was in. She asked questions and I tried to answer them with info and with my personal situation with abusive family. I thought she was understanding, but then she wrote:

    “Do well and make peace with your family. Dump psychology – whenever it diverges from sound biblical wisdom. And, here it does. It should set off alarm bells, but we don’t hear them, sometimes; especially when we’re frightened. I know you have a great deal of fear; but sound counsel is to make peace wherever and whenever possible. …You’re a tremendous person who has gotten off kilter with your family; they may not be ideal, but they are still your family.
    And, the same goes for me. We must not encourage one another in our bitterness; but exhort ourselves to purity in love and deed. And reconciliation.”

    I feel so battered by people. Why can’t they ever understand? Are we only supposed to paint smiles on our faces and pretend everything is ok? Are we supposed to live in torment in order to keep relationships with people who mistreat us just because they are “family”? Sometimes I feel as if I am screaming inside and no one hears me.

    • Jeff Crippen

      This person has a very deadly combination – arrogance and ignorance. Not a safe person. She is simply spewing the typical contemporary “christian” party line planks that always end up oppressing victims and enabling the wicked. Most of these types don’t understand because they don’t want to understand.

    • Came Alongside

      I was not the abused…but I walked extremely close to her as the sister I didn’t have born to me. Over the 6 years of rejection, separation, divorce, post divorce harassment she and I both learned there are people one just can not divulge information to. There were people we learned the hard way that had to be blocked on social networks. There were others that we felt the warning ripples in our stomachs, so we kept quiet around them. And, sadly, like the Samaritan who was compassionate and cared for the injured Jew while his own people shunned him, sometimes the secular help available is more compassionate than the off-the-cuff ‘Christian’ lay ‘counselors’, because they have no blinders of or rigid self-anointed restrictions of “this is what a ‘Christian’ should do”. Family can be some of THE worst pain inflicters and self-righteous Christians, who have read the Bible–but not studied it–are right behind them.

      Abused women HAVE TRIED to make “peace”, over and over and… One spouse was not intended to be the sole responsible person for the marriage flying. And a plane can’t fly with only one wing. Forgiveness (not extracting revenge but leaving it up to the Lord) can be a continual effort since offenses from an abuser don’t stop until he dies or has a true “come to Jesus moment”…which is rare since by their actions they believe they are God. Reconciliation is an entirely different animal altogether. Reconciliation requires trust.

      I hate snakes (human or animal). I have shot them point blank, beat them with a hoe until they died in self-defense. Thankfully, none were poisonous, though the areas I have lived have had rattlesnakes. However, I would never attempt to reconcile with a poisonous snake because the only trust that exists between us is that I trust it will bite me the first chance it gets. (I watched my “sister” attempt to reconcile many times with her abuser and she got bitten each time; every encounter for any reason was an opportunity for that snake to bite her and he did…repeatedly.) Therefore I avoid snakes. I will also avoid any person that tries to make me reconcile with any kind of a snake because, knowing my aversion to them, that person would not have my best interests at heart. No where in our Bible does it instruct us to reconcile with evil doers.

      Might I humbly suggest that if this person, or others you are not convinced are safe, tries to discuss the matter again, if possible, a gentle “This is a deeply personal matter. I’m not ready to discuss it at this time.” might be in order? There is no obligation on your part to answer questions, listen to, or take advice from people who are clueless, insensitive, know-it-alls, or have shown themselves to be not on the side of justice but appeasement…YOU appeasing the abuser, of course, nothing having to do with the unlicensed adviser putting themselves at risk of the abuser themselves by standing up with you. If a person is put off by your decision to not discuss the matter, you have your answer instantly regarding if they are safe or not.

      Father, by the power of Your precious Holy Spirit, would You please give our sister unexpected discernment of spirits and of the attitudinal “spirits” of those who would give her unsafe counsel? I ask this so that she will be able to recognize unsafe people and that she would be divinely guided towards those that care enough to truly help. I ask that You bring along side someone who is willing to walk with her through the ups and downs of emancipation from evil. Give her rest tonight, lift the depression, remind her of Whose she is, bring clarity to her mind. In the name of Jesus our chain breaker, amen.

      • Un-Tangled

        II really care about how people who are struggling with abuse and try to help them. I was trying to help my friend. But I find that more times than not, people can’t seem to understand abuse and they condemn the victim for the actions she takes to protect herself or her family. It’s very discouraging, and I wonder if there is ANYONE we can ever honestly share anything with or if we are doomed to just talk about shallow stuff that doesn’t matter, each painting smiles on our faces while we cry alone in the dark. It’s a very lonely existence if we can’t ever be real, but more and more I really would prefer to not have people in my life.

      • Hi Un-tangled. Yes it’s discouraging when we can’t find anyone to talk to in-depth face-to-face without being judged or told what to do. Thank God for cyberspace where we can talk at long distance anonymously, but it’s not the same as having someone compassionate beside us when the tears well up and we just need to cry. 😦

      • Keeningforthedawn

        Came Alongside — there is such wisdom in your post. Also, Un-Tangled, I’m sending you a long-distance cyber hug. I know the feeling. I strongly suspect there are others here, too, who have been exactly where you are. You are a light, and there are those who will do anything to extinguish light and replace it with a false “light” (which really amounts to smoke and mirrors).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: