Some Other Arenas of Choice for Abusers
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.
Today I have been thinking about the mentality and tactics of abuse as they are found in other areas of our lives besides marriage. We have already talked about how domestic violence abusers put on a Christian façade at church, and the other ways they operate in extended family settings. But there seem to be other settings besides the home where other abusers primarily choose to work their evil sorcery.
All abusers share certain similar attitudes. They all crave power and control and have a huge sense of personal entitlement. I think that they are all sociopaths, or close to it – lacking a conscience. They all use very similar tactics. But I am wondering if some of them choose to operate on victims in other places besides the domestic setting – or perhaps in addition to it? Primarily, I am thinking of the church. The local church is the arena in which I have met most of the abusers I have known. And while I suppose they had their victims at home (they are very good at hiding this), they also find victims at church. (Others might find a victim in the workplace. Do some reading about bullying and mobbing in the workplace to learn more about this).
Books have been written about spiritual abuse in the local church but this is a field I have not read much about. I know that abusers and unrepentant, grossly sinful people whom we have had to discipline in our church over the years would accuse us of being guilty of spiritual abuse. But I think that a person experienced with the nature of abuse – its mentality and methods – would be able to sort those false charges out. What we are talking about here is usually someone in leadership in a church who uses his position to gain power and control over others. Isn’t the treatment that most domestic violence victims receive from their church leaders as example of that spiritual abuse? “Look here now, sweetcheeks – you need to submit to what we are saying or else.”
Here is a pretty good scriptural example, in addition to the one in 3 John about Diotrephes —
2 Corinthians 11:19-20 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! (20) For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.
I must say that churches who are teaching and enforcing the “Permanence View” of marriage and divorce and remarriage are guilty of spiritual abuse. Yes, I charge them with it. They teach that there is NEVER a reason for divorce. And if a person divorces, then they cannot remarry until their ex spouse is dead. No divorce. Not for the most wicked abuse. Not for adultery. Never. And I know of one church – an evangelical, Bible type church – in Missouri that enforces that position with church discipline if it is breached. Run, I say! Run for your lives!! And never look back.