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.
[September 28, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
When I come home, Sadie (yellow lab) and Sasha (black lab) are excited. They race out to meet me. They hang out with me while I work on sermons or blog posts. They love to go in the “truck” for a ride. We have to be careful with certain words – “truck”, “ball”, or “go” – or things get pretty wild. The highpoint of their day is going to the woods to run or jump into the river. The highlight of their evening is to lay in front of the woodstove when my wife and I are in the living room. They hang out on the back porch, until one of us comes out. Then they romp and play and seem to have smiles on their faces. In other words, they just like being with us. To whatever extent a dog is capable of it, they love us.
I wish I had a whole herd of people-friends like that. I don’t mean that they would chase my truck or do dog-things, but simply that we could have a whole lot of people who just like to be with us. Because they love us. I think that this is one reason that abuse victims often tell me that one of the real solaces in their lives is or was having a pet. Animals can be real healers for traumatized people. Abusers know this — and this is a great evil. Abusers often are cruel to animals. I bet that if I asked and they could share, many readers of this blog would be able to tell stories of not only being comforted by their pets, but of the cruelty shown those animals by their abuser(s). Abusers, like the devil, hate what their victim loves, and anything or anyone that loves the victim.
The body of Christ is supposed to be something like Sadie and Sasha. I think that the real body of Christ is, but it is getting harder and harder to find. You know the theme song from the old TV show, Cheers [Internet Archive link]1? Cheers isn’t a church, but I have often thought that a place like Cheers is kind of the church of the unsaved man. And in some ways, it is a better fellowship than many professing Christian churches —
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they are always glad you came.
Friends. That is what we need. People who love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, mind and soul, and who love us. People you can be yourself around and still be comfortable that they won’t reject you, accuse you, judge you, or mess with your mind. They won’t abuse you. They love you.
Maybe tomorrow I will try to envision my whole congregation as a bunch of Labrador retrievers, sitting in the pews, smiles on their faces — “Give us a treat, pastor! We love you!” Fortunately in most cases, I know that they do.
1[September 28, 2022: We added the link to Wikipedia’s page on the TV sitcom, Cheers. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]
[September 28, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to September 28, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to September 28, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to September 28, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (September 28, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
10 thoughts on “Friends”
You know, though, the Apostle Paul was a real friend to the people who knew him, but that friendship went much further than just enjoying being around them. He longed for their spiritual best and was willing, at times, to wound them and hurt their feelings in order to provoke and teach them what it really meant to walk in repentance, to walk in the Spirit, to know Christ. I know what you are saying and I long for that kind of relationship as well. Don’t know how much we will have of it on this side of the grave.
Probably only small tastes of it – you’re right. To genuinely love someone in a sinful world means having to speak truth, and sometimes that causes fallout. However, what makes all the difference between genuine friends – in a relationship based upon the love of Christ – is that when correction or admonishment are given, the recipient can receive it because they know the one giving it really loves them and has their welfare at heart. Judging one another in that sense is a good thing and produces growth. Yes, Paul’s model of ministry is the right one and he had plenty of grief most of the time. Few real friends. Gives us still another reason to look forward to the New Heavens and New Earth. Thanks, Larry.
Thanks, Jeff, this really struck home. My abuser didn’t enjoy “just being with us” – myself and our children. We regularly endured the silent treatment (sometimes for weeks) and his vehement declarations that he “hated weekends”, because this was the time the children and I were home. This type of treatment by a person who is supposed to be your best friend is dehumanizing. The victim often times has no friend to turn to because she is forced to live an isolated life. The church is clueless and / or too busy to reach out to someone in such pain and isolation. I pray that you and others in this ‘virtual church’ will continue the good work of shining the light on abuse, and that together, we can help equip others to befriend victims of abuse.
Robin – we included some information in our book, A Cry for Justice [Affiliate link], about the silent treatment as a common tactic of abuse. It is incredible that someone could actually dish out this type of treatment for weeks. Think about what kind of a mindset that would require. The silent treatment is dehumanizing because it is treating victims as if they were non-persons, or dead. It also keeps victims focused upon the abuser, and that is what he wants. No one with any functional conscience at all could ever do this to another person for very long. We’ve all tried it I bet, but we don’t hardly get past a day, if that long, until conviction sets in.
Yes, the church is clueless for the most part. Imagine if you sought help from a pastor or Christian counselor. In most cases they would conclude that the two of you have a “marriage problem” that is due to “non-communication”. “You will just both need to learn to communicate better.” “The man has to understand more clearly the needs of his wife, and the wife the needs of a man.” But all the while, what is the real reason? He is an abuser. Probably a sociopath with an entitled mentality to power and control. This is something that Christians just don’t seem to fathom is possible. And then, if you decide to separate or divorce – well, you are sinning because you just don’t want to work hard enough on your communication difficulties.
On my website you can find Jenny’s Story: Domestic Abuse from a Dog’s Perspective. [This link was corrected to reflect the new ACFJ URL. Editors.]
It was sent to me by a survivor who doesn’t feel safe to disclose her identity. The dog obviously loved her mistress, and feared the abuser.
I could truly relate to this message, Jeff. Maybe that is why I am so comfortable and protective of my pets. They don’t hurt me. I don’t have to prove myself to them because they love me just because I’m me.
God bless you, Jeff, because not only do you have understanding on this matter – but you are not afraid to voice it. You don’t know how much that helps.
That’s great, I am really glad that you are being encouraged here, as I am. I do feel fear sometimes, when attacks come – but as one of the ladies in our church said this week – any time we speak out about evil we can expect opposition. I also don’t have to suffer anything like most of our readers have gone through. The Lord has given me just enough of a taste of it over the years though that I can pretty fully understand what the victims experience. For 25 years I saw no point in all of the abuse I met with as a pastor. It has only been now in these last 3 years that I am beginning to understand that the Lord was preparing me for this ministry. Blessings on you, Marianne!
Jeff, I’m sure your cat Tobasco loves you too. 🙂 My kitties love me just as I am, as Marianne states about her pets. I would miss them terribly if I hadn’t taken them with me.
Thank you, Jeff. I can really relate to this post. My cruel former husband didn’t have any time for me so I relied on my dog for friendship. I loved my dog and prayed that he would live to an old age because I needed him. He died at 16 years. People ridiculed my attachment to my dog and I am experiencing ridicule again with my current dog, but she has given me so much joy and she loves to be with me and makes me feel needed. She looks at me with such love in her eyes, something I never experienced with my former husband. She has been a real comfort to me.
I thank the Lord for animals, especially dogs when I think of how much they help people in many areas of our lives. A pet provides so much comfort to a lonely person. A pet probably can’t understand much of what we say but it comforts someone who is lonely or grieving to have that animal to talk to about their problems. Their pet gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Since leaving my former husband I have also been blessed with a godly Christian woman who has been there for me while I was going through a very traumatic time in my life. She sold her house in the city and moved to the town where I was living but she didn’t understand why she wanted to move there. I believe the Lord sent her to me to be a support and we have since become close friends.
Understand completely. I mean, who is a better human being? A faithful pet, or the abuser?