How to Ruin Your Credibility
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.
Victims of abuse have an uphill battle when it comes to being believed. Most of you know this from firsthand, hard experience. Many times your churches, your friends, or your relatives are less than eager to come to your aid. That is wrong, and one of the purposes of this blog is to work toward righting it.
But let me explain to you how a victim can do some real damage to her case. Quite a few years ago, a woman came to me, sat down in my office, and said “I am going to divorce my husband. I have already filed the papers.” Boom. I knew nothing of any problems in the marriage. This was the first I knew of it. Now, I will admit that since that time I have learned a whole bunch about abuse, and if that woman came to me today there are things I would do differently. Instead of asking her to show me in Scripture how she was justified in divorcing him, I would ask her to tell me what had been going on to lead her to this point. In this particular case, I believe it was verbal abuse. She may well have had grounds for the divorce, but we didn’t get that far.
Shortly after her divorce, she took up with another guy. He wasn’t a Christian. And on top of that, she conducted herself in an immoral manner with him. She wasn’t at all shamed about it and the church she was attending then did nothing about it.
Now, as I have have learned about abuse, I have gone back over cases like hers in my mind, wondering about how I would handle them differently now than I did years ago. As I said, there are some things in this particular woman’s case that I would approach differently now. Maybe she did have a sound case for divorce. But you know what? She really hurt her credibility with me and with others when she rather quickly tied up with this other guy and conducted herself in the manner that she did. Yes, she could well have been emotionally starved and weak and so on. But this kind of thing does not help a victim’s case at all and I would like to caution all of our readers. There are probably not many ways that you can more effectively harm your credibility with your church, with the courts, and with your family and friends than rushing off into some ill-advised and even un-biblical relationship.
So take care. Trust the Lord. Obey Him and glorify Him in all that you do.