A Cry For Justice

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

The Abuser’s Evil Demands for Secrecy

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.

***

One of the common tactics that abusers use on their victims – ESPECIALLY if the abuser is wearing a “Christian” mask – is to pervert God’s Word to deceive and control his victim.  Two of the most common of these distortions of Scripture are:

  1.  “If you ever talk to anyone about what goes on in this house, you will be sorry!  God hates gossip and slander and He requires you to obey and respect your husband.”
  2.  “I know that I am not perfect, but sometimes you just push me too far.  Besides, I am trying and I am making good progress.  I am changing.  You need to forgive me no matter how many times I blow it.  God says we are to forgive each other 70 times 7 and that we are to love even our enemies.  Surely that means you need to love and forgive your own husband!”

Let’s address the first distortion in this article, the second is addressed in “The Abuser’s Evil Demands for Forgiveness”).  The charge that the abuse victim is guilty of gossip and slander against her abuser if she ever tells anyone what he is doing is very common, especially in a Christian environment.  I personally have had THIS wicked tactic played on me more than once by guilty, controlling, abusive men and women who desire to operate in secret.  I don’t play their secrecy games anymore.  I’m on to them!

Gossip and slander are sins because they violate the second table of God’s Law which is summarized by “love your neighbor as yourself.”  These sins of the tongue are motivated by an evil heart whose goal is to injure the reputation of another person.  Gossip and slander can consist of TRUE or FALSE reports about someone.  In the case of a TRUE report, the evil stems from a heart’s desire to present that report in a harmful, hurtful manner.  The heart’s motives are the real issue here.  Gossip and slander always proceed from a motive to cause harm to the victim or to exalt the slanderer in some way.

In contrast however, announcing from the rooftops what the abuser is doing to his victims is not gossip or slander.  It is motivated by a desire for justice – a hungering and thirsting for righteousness.  It is the exposure of things done in darkness by the application of the light of Jesus Christ.  It is telling the truth where lies and deception have existed.  THIS IS NOT SIN!  It is right in every way!

Let me prove this.  Consider the following Scripture (which is proving to be one of my very favorites lately) –

2 Timothy 4:14-15  “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (15) Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.”

Now, think very carefully about what the Apostle Paul is doing here.  He is writing to Timothy, announcing to Timothy what Alexander has done.  Paul even warns Timothy to beware of Alexander himself.  Are we going to say that Paul is guilty of gossip and slander against Alexander?  Hardly!  What Paul is doing here is RIGHT!  Notice that Paul does is not motivated by a desire for PERSONAL revenge, but he does DESIRE justice and he leaves it to the Lord to effect that justice.  (And remember that these New Testament letters were intended to be read to the churches!  Timothy was not the only one then who read Paul’s warning about Alexander – can’t you hear Alexander screaming that this is gossip and slander against him?)

We could give countless other examples from Scripture of the very same thing – of the righteous telling other people about the wicked evils of abusive men.  Have you ever considered how often the Bible names names?  Just a few verses earlier –

2 Timothy 4:10a  “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”

Is that a terrible, slanderous thing to say about Demas?  No!  And again –

1 Timothy 1:19b-20  “By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (20) among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

Zing!  Two more guys publicly exposed!

And consider the matter of church discipline.  What happens when a person refuses to repent after being confronted with his sin by witnesses?  The thing is told to the church!  He is put out of the church.  Is that gossip or slander?  Obviously not.  It is righteousness.

Let me make this statement so we get hold of it very, very firmly –

“If Christians and pastors and local churches have been guilty of anything in regard to the evil of abuse in our midst, it is most surely NOT the sin of gossip and slander about the abuser.  Quite the opposite.  We have been guilty of covering for him, often yielding to his deceptive distortions of Scripture by which he lures us into believing that announcing his sin would be sin on our part.  This has been a powerful and favorite deception of the abuser, and we must reject it.”

Therefore, to victims of abuse, I say TELL!  Tell someone.  BUT be wise and be careful in doing so in order that your safety is not compromised.  You are NOT guilty of gossip or slander or disrespect toward your abuser.  TELL about the awful things he has done to you.  As you do so, and as you read and learn more about the nature and tactics of abuse, you will be set free from his deceptive spell.

16 Comments

  1. Marianne Lordi

    Thank you, Jeff. You have made this so incredibly clear. It is funny how ‘spiritual” the abuser gets when he is accusing his spouse of not being “Christian”!

  2. UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.

    ***

    Another great post, Jeff and Anna!
    I’m curious: you wrote: “I personally have had THIS wicked tactic played on me more than once by guilty, controlling, abusive men and women who desire to operate in secret.”
    Is Jeff saying that, or Anna? If it’s Jeff, I’m wanting to know a bit more.

    Can you give any more details about those experiences you’ve referred to? We victim survivors are familiar with “Demand for Secrecy” tactic when it’s used to try to stifle our complaints about our partner’s abuse. But I’m interested to know how the scenario works when the “Demand for Secrecy” tactic is done to a pastor in his leadership position. I’m trying to picture it, but I’m finding it a little difficult.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Barbara – Good question. I will try to explain how it happened to me. Matthew 18, or rather, a perversion of it, is the favorite proof text of this kind of abusive tactic. This is of course the process of church discipline, which begins with the offended party going personally to the offender. Abusers in a church environment like to use this to prevent the one they accuse as having offended them from telling anyone else about the abuser’s accusations. They will often come “in private” to share “concerns” and then launch into their mindgames and accusations. They invent their own facts, and utilize typical abusive tactics. Then, if the accused tells anyone else, they are doubly guilty because they have gossiped and slandered after the abuser came in “confidence” just as Scripture “says.”

      I have observed abusive people enforce a code of silence on their families. They tell their victims that to ever talk to anyone about “what goes on in this house” is sinful gossip and slander. Openness is a threat to abusers, and also in ways to their victims (because of fear). So they work, through their influence in the church, to enforce that same code of silence upon everyone, and they particularly punish – through accusations of gossip – anyone who comes too close to revealing them. This translates into a false and unbiblical thinking about exposing evil in the church. Anyone who speaks out about it is deemed guilty of what is supposed to be God’s truth about loving one another by not gossiping about them. In contrast, the truth of Scripture is quite clear – we are not to be respecters of persons, but we are to fear the Lord alone. The Apostle Paul, and even Jesus Himself, along with the other Apostles and the Old Testament prophets ALL named names and they did it openly. Alexander the coppersmith did Paul much harm. Timothy is to beware of him. That’s naming names. The Apostle John announced that when he came, he would deal with Diotrephes who was wickedly abusing the people in his church. Jesus publicly denounced the scribes and Pharisees. John wrote, in his letters to the 7 churches of Asia, about people in some of those churches that needed to be put out. Those letters were read publicly in the church and EVERYONE knew exactly who John was talking about!

      Obviously, abusive people don’t like this at all. And one of their tactics to squelch it is to make accusations of gossip and slander. I have fallen for it more than once, and I have even (this was really STUPID) apologized to such people on occassion, falling victim to the false guilt and blame they so convincingly lay on us.

  3. That’s interesting Jeff. So you were ‘approached privately’ by an abuser who subtly criticised you or undermined you, but when you told another person about the conversation (even your fellow elders) the abuser lambasted you for breaking confidence.
    This is interesting: the abuser loves to use step one of Matthew 18 to drop his verbal faeces into your lap, but as soon as you try to use step two or step three against HIM for having dropped faeces on you, he will screech “You gossip monger!”

    Not being in leadership, my experience has been more like this: I’ve had a problem with church leader(s) and have spoken to them privately as per step one of Matthew 18. They reject my concerns and (after my patient and persistent attempts to get them to address it have failed) our ways part, since I can’t stay under that untrustworthy leadership. Then I go to a new church and, in trying to explain to the new pastor what led me to leave the previous church, I tell the truth. Then I’m accused of not having followed step one of Matthew 18 with my previous leaders.

    Reflecting on your comments Jeff, I’m thinking that the entire church needs a thorough-going teaching about how to utilise the four steps of Matthew 18:15-17 while simultaneously keeping mindful of the “name names” principles (for which Alexander the coppersmith and Diotrephes are prime examples).
    We are so naive about all this. Rarely do we see any Christian who models it correctly.

    When should we go for the jugular (name the Diotrephes), and when should we just follow the steps of Matthew 18?
    Is naming the Diotrephes forbidden if we’ve only done step 1 of Matthew 18?
    Is it forbidden if we’ve done steps 1 and 2, but not step 3?
    Are there times when we can just ignore Matthew 18 and simply name the Diotrephes right up front, before wasting any more time or allowing him (Diotrephes) to run rings around us with his weasel words? If so, what are those times?
    Are church leaders the only ones who are allowed to name Diotrephes, or can others do so?
    I could go on an on. It’s such an unexplored field of teaching.

    And most of the teaching I’ve read about Matthew 18 and church discipline is written by pastors and leaders. Very little is written by or for the ordinary believers in the church. One dilemma that is rarely addressed is: What does the ordinary believer do if he or she has tried to follow Matthew 18 but been ignored or stymied by church leadership?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you, Barbara. Yes, the church is in a mess in these matters. This confusion goes far in enabling the abuser who is hiding behind a Christian facade. I will post a new blog article on this so the readers can easily see it.

  4. “If we are sharing information that would warn the other sibling of her most recent behavior ( she likes to lie to try to get everyone fighting against each other ) is this gossip ?”
    No, I would not call that gossip because your were sharing information not for malice or selfish ‘entertainment’, rather, you were sharing the information with those who needed to know it, and those for whom you have a duty of care. That is not gossip, it is proper care and concern for justice, safety and protection of the vulnerable.

  5. With abusers, they don’t heed admonishment, reasoning or confrontation. Separation from them, distancing oneself, setting up walls against them, is generally the only way to deal with them. And it’s not always achievable, but it’s worth heading in that direction, and not feeling guilty for doing so! As you say, everything you’ve tried hasn’t worked. One definition of insanity is repeating over and over again something that hasn’t worked, and expecting it to have a different outcome next time.

  6. Annie

    Quote: “I know that I am not perfect, but sometimes you just push me too far. Besides, I am trying and I am making good progress. I am changing. You need to forgive me no matter how many times I blow it. God says we are to forgive each other 70 times 7 and that we are to love even our enemies. Surely that means you need to love and forgive your own husband!” End Quote.

    The circumstances of this comment were when I was letting my abuser know that I do not accept his false ideas that he accuses me of and that I care more about what God thinks of me than I do about what he or any of my family or friends think of me vis a vis abuse.

    I was astonished, though I should not have been, that my abuser then said something like…you have no power to change me, God is sovereign and He’s in control of that. To which I said that I know that is true, but “you have a will.” He had nothing to say. It didn’t occur to me in the moment that he was actually accusing God for his not changing. So, there you go, with all due respect—if they falsely accuse God and Christ, I should not be surprised that they do the same to me. Amazing!! Just amazing!!!! That an abuser would accuse God of this. It seems like blasphemy.

    • surviving freedom

      The abuser in my life also attempted to blame God for the way he is, but he did it in a way of playing the victim, he was feeling so sorry for himself after I confronted him about ways he was being still being abusive. First he attempted to deny it and professed that he used to be abusive but wasn’t anymore, then he made excuses and minimized, then he blamed me … after all of those tactics didn’t work … he cried, claimed he was trying so hard but just couldn’t help it and said … “Why did God make me this way?1?” I almost couldn’t believe it, then he wanted me to comfort him … but instead I just said “God didn’t make you into an abuser … you did!”

      • Annie

        We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried!!!

    • Anonymous

      It just goes to show you that they NEVER take responsibility for any of their actions. When others no longer accept their evil, lies and abuse, they are left with blaming it on God. Who does it sound like? It’s sounds like their father the devil. Woe is him. Boo hoo. HE should have been the most high! HE should be catered to and worshiped! But the devil, like his children, are never satisfied because like one of the words that describes them in 2 Tim 3:3 they are “irreconcilable.” This word is used only once in the Bible, and in the Greek and HELPS Word-studies it means,

      “implacable, not to be bound by truce; áspondos (an adjective which is the negation of spondē, “a libation-sacrifice” used for making treaties and covenants) – properly, unable to please (placate) someone; implacable; without a treaty or covenant; of things not mutually agreed upon, e. g. abstinence from hostilities.”

      THEY ARE UNABLE TO STAY WITHIN A COVENENT. THEY WILL NEVER BE RECONCILED TO THEIR SPOUSES OR TO GOD. AND THEY ARE UNWILLING TO ABSTAIN FROM HOSTILITY. THEY WILL NEVER PLEASE GOD OR ANYONE ELSE — THEY DON’T WANT TO! (This should have been their dating profile.) Yet we were never forewarned against these evil ones and then when we unwittingly marry them, we are forced to try to maintain the covenant of marriage — even though this goes against God and is unbiblical because THEY are against God and are an anti-Christ.

      Your husband was right when he said that you have no power to change him (although it sounds more like he was accusing you rather than saying that only God has the power to change him). And when he said God alone is sovereign he more than likely meant that HE ALONE is sovereign and there will be NO CHANGE without HIS authority! Agreed! God

      ….gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:28)

      Because God knows that

      They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Romans 1:29-31.

      Ah, the truth and reality about EVIL are no where NEAR as sexy or heart-touching as good old-fashioned TRUTH AND REALITY!

      • Thanks Anonymous, I appreciate your adding pertinent scriptures and word studies into our comments threads. 🙂

  7. Finding Answers

    Pastor Jeff wrote …….. “If you ever talk to anyone about what goes on in this house, you will be sorry!……….

    The concept of “love” can be twisted in a similar fashion.

    “Family” becomes a false idol, protected at all costs.

    The “gossip card” is played using snobbery, contending “only lower class people talk about people”. (People are classified by whether they talk about people, things, or ideas.)

    Same game, different false idol.

  8. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    I once experienced someone in higher authority over me in a children’s ministry covering up a terrible case of a husband abusing very young children, the two teens and his wife. The people who ran the ministry knew of it years before I found out.

    Once I got a whiff of it (sadly by a child’s simple foetal curl reaction in shaking fear and afraid eyes during one of my kids’ clubs after I’d playfully tickled the back of his ear). The sister in law was with me helping knew and I asked what was going on?

    They went and reported it right away and were moved to a safe house of which were godly people we knew and lived well out of town. They knew I would not stay silent or cover up. It was time to speak up again.

    In a few days I met and spent a long time talking and praying with the family in the safe house. especially counselling that little guy and praying long with him, covering his dreams, with the blood of Christ. He had terrible nightmares of his dad coming to get him. He was torn with a dad now suddenly buying very expensive toys and turning up at school to turn them from saying anything. Thankfully he never had any again. God had answered prayer. The mother always remembered me preaching and speaking of my sister who was prayed for the same when younger and having terrible nightmares. To this day she has weirdest craziest dreams and so funny but no nightmares.

    It was so sad then I learned that it had been reported to my overseer years before and he had covered up.

    I did my own digging for truth and was met aggressively time again by that man trying to find out all that I knew. Trying to trip me up and trick me into revealing things, but I learnt from past experiences never to betray a trust etc . It was none of his business.

    As soon as he found out I had known and where they were, I was given sneaked question after question. But I had known now of his involvement or lack of. He was frightened of this. I could easily have blown his ministry. I in no terms made it clear I was angry at the way they were handled in the past and certainly it should never have happened. I later found she had had no help and had also went to the local pastor and he too covered it up.

    In my eyes they abused those kids and mother further. I found out the whole family circle was riddled with abuse, going back generations.

    Why did he cover up? – to save his “precious ministry” and Christianity having what he thought of the finger of non Christians pointing at them.

    I was disgusted — how selfish and stupid. I said surely people would more respect you for your stance against sin.

    He was nearly mobbed for expressing this view at a conference the ministry gave a good while before. An expert doctor on child abuse was giving a presentation. Women in front of me had to be held as they were triggered in anger.

    I had warned them of that and lots of counsellors would be needed. We were walking into a minefield that I believed knowing my country and abuse in past in many families close to me. He was aggressive with me as I gave my thoughts in preparation talks for the conference. I now know why I got such abuse of “who do you think you are, who of our group is abused! we have none like that!” making me out to be a terrible overreacter.

    However I had observed and had my suspicions of many just by the way they conducted themselves but I had no clear indication at this point. I did not want us not be prepared to properly and truly minister to people. It materialised I was right, and plenty came forward and at least three had to be held down as they went mad at his reasoning.

    Still the silence prevailed until I found out with this case and enough proof of many years of ongoing abuse going, inc being awoke and held at knifepoint just to get a cup of tea in the early hours of morning.

    Sadly it goes on with many a ministry not just church fellowships. One day they will ‘reap that reward for evil’ on judgment day.

    Needless to say that couples ministry never really flourished I wonder why?! Those who replaced me stayed a very short time.

    The spirit of God sits like a dove in many places with its wings folded and head tucked in as in shame.

    This picture was once given after a dream a member had to my church. I know why! Sin grieves the spirit of God, He folds his wings and will not approve or be part of “their ministry”.

    They act in self power but little of true works of God are achieved with true Power and authority. It is all a facade! As scripture says one day they will come claiming “Lord Lord did we not do ….. this in your name!” And he will disown them and say “Depart from me I never KNEW you!”

    Woe to anyone who engages in cover up. I am frightened for you if you do not repent.

    • Hi Now Free, sorry for the delay in publishing this comment of yours. For some reason WordPress sent two of your recent comments to the Spam folder. This happens sometimes… the WordPress platform is pretty good at detecting spam comments but sometimes it sends good comments to spam. I have just retrieved your three comments that were in the Spam folder. This is the first one. I’ll look at the other one soon.

      This comment of yours is superb. May we run it as a stand-alone post as well?

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  1. The Abuser’s Evil Demands for Secrecy – by Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood « The Cross Is All

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