Abusive People Tell us What We “Should” Do
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.
Years ago when my son and daughter were in college, about 22 hours away by car, I decided to drive up in the middle of the semester to see them. I was a pastor then, and one fellow in the church decided that he needed to “counsel me” in regard to the trip. He came into my office, sat down, and proceeded to tell me that I had a problem in the area of faith. He said that if I were truly a mature Christian, I would realize that the Lord would have me totally entrust my children to His care, and not take this trip. Visiting them would be – sin.
These are the kinds of incidents that have happened to me over the years through which I have come to know the abuser. I know what it likes to be on the receiving end of a “Christian” who really is totally about his entitlement to possess power and control over others. It is particularly ugly when it parades in a religious facade. Ugly, indeed. And you can feel the ugliness – though usually you really don’t understand exactly what is actually going on, nor why you are feeling what you are feeling.
What would possess a person to do these kinds of things? What was it to this man if I, his pastor, paid a visit to his son and daughter? Concern for me? Hardly. He craved power and control. People like him view pastors, teachers, employers – anyone with some kind of leadership position – as people with power and control. They don’t like it at all for anyone else but themselves to have power. So, they quickly zero in on them. Initially, they try to become your confidant. Your buddy. They crave to be on the inside track, so then they can become your advisor. The issue is insignificant. It can be how you dress, what kind of food you eat, whether or not coffee is served in Sunday School – it doesn’t matter. The issue isn’t the issue. It is merely a pretense to advise and counsel. If he is successful and you take his advice, he has exerted and established his power. If you don’t, then the punishment and accusing and blaming goes into action.
And so it was. I rejected his “counsel.” I was going to visit my kids, and I did. And that was the day this fellow began to really step up his accusations and abuse on me. Ultimately he left the church, and took a few folks with him.
Readers who know abuse, know these tactics well. Most of you have seen it played out in your marriage, and then in the relationships with your fellow church members and family members and friends. Most of the time, the abuser meets with quite a lot of success.
Paul said that we are not ignorant of the schemes of the devil. But it sure seems that many people who profess to be Christians, are. One thing Christian victims of abuse can be thankful for is, they have met the enemy, and they know his ways.