A Cry For Justice

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

What is That to You? YOU Follow Me!

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.

***

John 21:20-22, “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” (21) When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” (22) Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!””

The Lord Jesus’ words to Peter contain a vital lesson for every Christian.  Namely, that Jeff is the only person who can follow Christ for Jeff!  (insert your own name).  I cannot follow Christ for you, nor can you follow Him for me.  Jesus gives His inviting command to each of us individually.  I cannot even answer it for those whom I love the most.   Not for my wife, or my daughter, or my son.  I can encourage.  I can set the example.  But in the end I must set my eyes upon Christ and follow Him.  I hope and pray that my family and friends will do the same, but they must decide themselves.

When you live with an abusive person, you live for that abusive person.  His goal is to force you, through an arsenal of tactics both psychological and physical, to make him the default setting for every area of your life.  He must be “true north” on your mental compass.  Your planets must revolve around him.  “What will he want for dinner?  Don’t have the radio on when he gets home – he hates that.  Be sure his coffee and his favorite mug (pre-heated) are there as soon as he gets up.”  And on and on.  Things like this, done freely and out of love for a loving spouse are wonderful.  But wonder doesn’t have anything to do with it in an abusive situation.  Except the continual wondering.  It’s all quite intentional on his part.  When you wonder, when you don’t know, when you are always on edge…. your thoughts are given to him.  And that is what he wants.

In a recent article we have been discussing if an abuser can be a Christian.  Trying to see through the fog and deception of his façade isn’t easy.  But, in the end, we must leave him to the Lord and follow Christ ourselves.  After all of the turmoil and chaos, the years of uncertainty, of giving themselves to their abuser’s service, it is my opinion that Christian abuse victims are actually setting their eyes upon Christ and following His call when they ultimately confront the abuse and depart from it.  Ironic, isn’t it?  The very actions that are so often labeled as sin by her fellow Christians turn out to be obedience to her Lord.  “YOU follow me!”

Because in the end, we must turn our eyes away from everyone else, fix our focus upon the Author of our faith, and walk in His tracks.  We cannot follow Jesus while constantly looking back.

Romans 14:11-12, “for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (12) So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

7 Comments

  1. joepote01

    “Christian abuse victims are actually setting their eyes upon Christ and following His call when they ultimately confront the abuse and depart from it.”

    Yes, very true, Jeff!

    At some point, we come to the realization that we are not responsible for the other person’s actions, decisions, nor salvation. We must release them from their covenant vows (that they have repeatedly violated) granting them the liberty to work out their own salvation with God.

    In so doing, we also relieve ourselves of the horrible burden of feeling so incredibly responsible for a situation over which we have absolutely no control. Therein we find the liberty to focus our attention on Christ and whatever ministries He may lead us to…ministries much more likely to bear fruit and reflect God’s glory than the chaotic shell of a marriage which we left.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Joe. I wonder how many believers are holding on and holding on out of a sincere but misguided sense that they are their abuser’s only hope of salvation? Certainly there are many Christians who are happy to lay that load upon them. It is a tragedy to see someone spend away their life under these false notions.

      • joepote01

        Many!

        Actually, speaking from my own experience, I think that is a large part of the dynamics of an abusive relationship. The more irresponsibly the abuser behaves, the more their spouse feels compelled to be responsible…which then allows the abuser to get away with acting even more irresponsibly…and so the cycle continues.

        The innocent spouse winds up feeling this huge responsibility for things over which they have no control.

        Add to that the admonitions from the Christian community to “fire proof” your marriage and it becomes even worse. I remember feeling like no matter what garbage went on that was completely beyond my control, somehow I was solely responsible for making it all work.

        It sounds absurd and completely illogical, but one gets to that point a little at a time over several years…and most of the cliche’ responses from the Christian community seem geared toward promoting that sort of thinking.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Joe – I suppose that psychologists would tell us that there is a kind of co-dependency going on there. Not sure if that is the right word or not, but I do know that because of false, unbiblical teachings in the church, BAD things like co-dependency (I can’t be happy unless you are happy) are exalted as Christlike, sacrificial saintliness. It is anything but that. Jesus was grieved by the rich young ruler, but He didn’t chase after him.

      • joepote01

        Jeff – I’m not sure if codependency is exactly the right word, but I can tell you that one of my milestones was recognizing that I was in a dysfunctional relationship, which meant, by definition, that I, myself, was approaching/responding in a dysfunctional and ineffective manner.

        One of my daily prayers became, “Please, God, keep me from being an enabler. Please, Lord, give me discernment to recognize issues that need to be confronted, wisdom to know how best to confront them, and strength to follow through no matter what the cost.”

  2. Anonymous

    I felt like I have been my spouse’s buffer for years. It was my conscience that we both relied on. Since being apart for several months now, my spouse is exhibiting behavior that he never has before. I believe that since I am out of the way and am no longer his buffer, his true character will be allowed to come to the surface. It wasn’t until I stepped out of the buffer role that I started to understand what I had been doing. Like Joe mentioned, it happened very gradually over many years. Now being free from that role, I realize how exhausting it was.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Sweet freedom indeed! And what an insight — it was YOUR conscience doing the work for both of you because he didn’t have one. Exhausting for sure.

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: