A Cry For Justice

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

Your Church Needs to Stink

One of the most common scenarios that Christian domestic abuse victims relate to me is that after they have asked their church for help with the abuser, they have not been believed.  Then, after a characteristic progression of events, the victim determines that she must separate from and/or divorce her abuser.  At this point a great injustice is done. The victim is labeled as the culprit because she is perceived as the one who ended the marriage.  The abuser, successful in his work of gaining allies, is actually perceived by many people as being the victim.  The abuser, in the end, remains in the church while the victim has to depart.  We are not exaggerating this claim, as many victims will testify to.

We should see people leaving our churches.  But we must take care that it is the guilty and not the innocent who are departing!  If you know much at all about the mentality and tactics of abuse (see our post on Abuse 101) then you know that abusers very typically exhibit Jekyll/Hyde behavior.  They wear a mask.  They put on a façade. And when they choose the façade of Christianity, they are particularly deceiving and dangerous.  Therefore, a healthy, true church will be a place where this masquerade is exposed, where darkness has Christ’s Light shined upon it, and in which ultimately the abuser will no longer be able to hide.  He must repent, or he must flee.

1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. (2) Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Do you ever see people leaving your church?  We have experienced this many times over the years, and often when it happens, other people can be thrown into confusion.  “Why did so and so leave?”  The assumption is that someone has done something wrong, offended them, or something of that nature.  And I suppose that charge is true.  We have done something to offend them – we have proclaimed and lived out the gospel of Christ.  The cross is an offense.  Darkness hates the light because the deeds of darkness are evil.  Christ’s people are a stench of death to those who are perishing  –

2 Corinthians 2:15-17 “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, (16) to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (17) For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

The town I live in stinks!  It is a cow town.  I grew up around cows, but even for me the smell around here gets really rank when the farmers spread manure on their fields that has “cooked” in storage for a long time.  The old-timers say “ahhh, that’s the smell of money!” (thinking of the grass this rotten stuff will grow!).  That’s how it must be when an abuser in disguise comes to our churches.  A healthy, genuine church, in other words, will stink to the abuser.   Try as he might, he has to plug his spiritual nose and eventually depart.  He can only fake it for so long.

So, we ask you – does your church stink to evil men?  Is it a life-giving aroma to victims?  Or is it the other way around?

3 Comments

  1. PEARL

    1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

    They will use this to say that the victim is the unbeliever and therefore leaving the church when in all actuality they have forced the victim to leave while shielding the abuser. Seriously, that is why I am reluctant to leave, not because of an abusive husband but that my church, because I do not believe their doctrines will force me to leave.

    • Yes Pearl, we understand. Many of our readers here have found that when they reported the abuse to their church, and begged the church to do something about disciplining the abuser, the eventual result was that the victim left the church and the abuser remained there in good standing. Some victims were excommunicated by their church, some just got to the point where they decided to leave because of all the mistreatment they received.

      So leaving an abuser often entails leaving one’s church as well. It’s a big thing to contemplate. But in the end, if that church won’t support the oppressed victim, it is not a real church at all.

      So many of our readers wear their ‘excommunication badge’ with pride.

  2. Finding Answers

    From Pastor Jeff’s original post: “A healthy, genuine church, in other words, will stink to the abuser.

    The local agriculture where I live stinks far, far more then the local c’hurches.

    Whenever possible, many victims / survivors find the safest, healthiest route s to go No Contact.

    Unfortunately, the No Contact sometimes includes God. The victim / survivor leaves their faith behind with their ‘c’hurch, believing God is with their ‘c’hurch. The victim / survivor leaves their Bible behind with their ‘c’hurch, believing the Bible is with their ‘c’hurch.

    Oftentimes, the journey back to God is made without the ‘c’hurch, without the Bible.

    Slowly, slowly, the journey is filled with words…is filled with the Word….is filled with God.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: