A Cry For Justice

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

Abusive Tactics: The Claim to Know Our Thoughts

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.

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1 Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

In the course of my experience with controlling, abusive individuals, I have learned the hard way that a favorite tactic of such people is that of telling us what we are thinking and what our motives were for doing something.  This has happened to me many times and I am sure it will resonate with our readers.  You do something or say something and in an attempt to control you and/or instill self doubt and false guilt in you, these kinds of people will then announce to you why you did it.  This is impossible of course.  And yet we often fall for it.  Oh, and the motive the abuser attributes to our action will never be a good motive.

Once many years ago my wife and I purchased our home.  After the deal was closed, an individual who professes to be a Christian announced to me, in front of others, that the reason I had chosen that particular home to buy was because I wanted to get away from people.  He made this statement in a negative light, trying to get me to doubt the purity of my motives and also to cast me in a bad light in front of the others.  In fact, we purchased the home because we liked it and got a good deal on it.  Of course he was also implying that I had not consulted him before making the purchase, as he would have disapproved of it.  Abusers are notorious boundary trespassers.  As if myself or anyone needed his permission! But these kinds of statements, this so-called mind and motive-reading, works to cause us to doubt ourselves and our actions, thus making us easier to control.

  • You cooked this kind of meat because you know I don’t like it.
  • You said that just to put me down in front of the children.
  • You were trying to hurt your co-worker when you said that.

Another time, and this time the abuser was a woman, I decided it was time to end a Bible study that I had taught for some years in a neighboring community.  I had good reasons, but this woman didn’t see it that way.  About one year later, she said to me (and really, right out of the blue, as it didn’t relate to what we were then talking about), “You know, Jeff, when you decided to stop the Bible study you were just taking the side of people who didn’t want you putting your time into us.  You really hurt me and I will always remember it.”  She then moved on seamlessly with an entirely different topic.   These kinds of pronouncements about our motives and thoughts are designed to control us, to instill doubt and false guilt in us, and to hurt us.  They also tend toward the purpose of trying to make us turn to the abuser for approval before making any future decisions.

Still another such incident involved an individual telling me how I was thinking about someone else, how I was acting toward them, and what my (sinful) motives were in doing so!  It is amazing how much confidence such people can display as they make these accusing pronouncements to and about us!  “I know. I know what you are thinking.  I know what your reason was for doing/saying that.”  Oh really?

We must learn not to fall for this tactic.  In particular, Christians must understand that we are a mystery to the natural man:

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. (16) “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

We are not judged by anyone.  That means that we are not understood by the world.  Christ is in us and at work in us.  He is causing us to have His mind on everything.  No one who is outside of Christ is going to understand us.  And it is a very common ploy of the enemy to interpret what we say and do, and then condemn our motives.  Don’t believe it. Don’t yield to this wicked scheme.  Enforce your boundaries and stop such trespassing.  “You need to stop. You do not know what my thoughts and motives are.  I will not permit you to pretend that you do.”

Acts 6:9-11 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. (10) But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. (11) Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”

No, not blasphemy.  Truth.

49 Comments

  1. Joey

    This was a favorite tactic of my ex. He had me second guessing everything I did. Then, when that was finally over after 13 years, I had someone I thought was a friend do the same thing! Neither one of them have any influence over me anymore, and though I grieve their loss, I am glad they are gone! I realize now that they were talking about their own motives, not mine!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      That is very interesting, Joey. The old “log in the eye” syndrome. What they see in you, supposedly, is their own motive/log. To the impure, everything is impure. Thanks.

    • Mine too, Joey!

  2. Such a common tactic.

    By the end, the estranged claimed he ‘knew’ what ‘everyone’ was thinking because he ‘was such a good judge of character he could tell just by looking.’ I asked, ‘so nothing I ever say makes any difference at all? Because you can read my mind?’

    He said he knew me better than I knew myself and therefore could ‘read’ me. So no– he never listened to anything I said.

    He started lots of his sentences with ‘I’ll tell you what you’re thinking.’ Close cousin to the ever popular, ‘I know what you’re thinking’ but with the added insult of implying we were too stupid to figure it ourselves.

    The man thought he was god. So crazy making.

    • Jeff Crippen

      And in Christians circles the whole evil operation can be given a “pious” facade quite easily. After all, aren’t we supposed to hold one another accountable and admonish one another and so on? And aren’t we supposed to be humble and listen to a “brother” when he or she comes to us and “for our good” wants to point out our sins to us? Of course, all of those things, when done in genuine love for us and out of love for the Lord and for His truth, are very healthy things. But they are prostituted and perverted by evil people for evil ends.

  3. It’s so strange-this just happened to me, but with my “best friend”- I am still reeling from her attitude and presumptuousness. She told a mutual friend that the reason I wasn’t going to the homeschool dinners was because I was offended by something this mutual friend had said to me at Christmas time! She told me she felt like she needed to tell this woman so we could “clear the air”- I told my friend that I didn’t appreciate her doing that, especially since that isn’t the reason I am not going and that I am not harboring a grudge against this lady for something she said months ago. It was just so weird that this friend would do this-but I have felt her attitude towards me changing since I left my husband, even tho she knows our history and has even shed tears on my behalf-now she has become this other woman’s champion and for some reason seems to think it’s me against this other woman and my friend has to defend her.
    When I told my friend all of this , she didn’t apologize or anything, she just stated that it was good that now she knew my reasons for not going. What????
    I know my husband did this, but there are so many memory gaps concerning our marriage, that I can’t pin any specifics right now.

    • Jeff Crippen

      It really is a means of a person pretending to be God, isn’t it? If someone can convince us and others and even themselves that they know our thoughts, then they are immediately vastly superior to us and must be consulted by us at every turn. This is exactly what wicked cult leaders do to their devotees.

    • Jodi, could your husband be behind this web of lies and misinformation? Could he have been sowing lies into the minds of your friends, to make them overly ready to believe untruths, distortions and exaggerations of the facts? The behavoiur of those two women seems too weird to be attributable just to them. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it smells a little like ‘abuser’ to me. Not that I know what they are all thinking, of course! LOL

      • I wondered that myself Barbara, with no real answers. She told me early on in my separation that he had tried to contact her by email at one point a couple of years earlier when i was going through an “emotional breakdown”-to tell her to take me out and have coffee or whatever-she said she never answered him because she thought that was weird and that we already did go out and have coffee. So, based on that, I guess I assumed that she wouldn’t entertain anything from him. But her behavior in general towards me since all of this certainly has changed.

  4. Little Miss Me

    How do I know that I’M not the one doing this when I say/believe he’s motivated by and doing things for power, control? Isn’t it the same thing for me to believe that he’s manipulative as it is when he says that he knows MY motivation for things?

    • Jeff Crippen

      I was thinking about the same thing, LMM. Here, I suggest, is the answer. “You shall know them by their fruit.” You can conclude evil motives when the habitual fruit-bearing of someone’s life is evil Evil fruit proceeds from an evil root. Evil actions proceed from an evil heart. But what the wicked, abusive person does is take a tree that is bearing good fruit and calls that fruit evil, and even claims that the root is evil. He calls good, evil. And he calls evil, good. So this is all to say that we can indeed look at an abuser’s life and observe evil. THAT is why we attribute evil motives to him. In his case, this is not how he operates. He takes someone who is doing good, bearing good fruit, and he then claims that it actually comes from an evil root/motive. But as Jesus said, a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, not can a good tree produce bad fruit. The abuser claims just the opposite. So we side with Jesus!

      • Little Miss Me

        Thanks, Jeff. I suppose that part of the answer is also the crazy-making that it causes me when he does that. I also don’t tell him that he’s being manipulative (though I think it and tell people I trust), for that would be something that would obviously bear bad fruit!

        One of the things he used to do that drove me nuts early on – I’d be sitting, reading or watching TV or whatever, and he’d come into the room and say “What’s wrong?” If I said nothing was wrong, I’d have to work very hard to get him to believe it, and in doing so, something would immediately become wrong. So after a while, him asking me “what’s wrong” would trigger a streak of panic in me. I tried to explain to him why, that I’d prefer he didn’t presume I was upset, and that he ask “Is something wrong,” and believe me when I say no, instead of trying to convince me that I’m really upset (which is upsetting).

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for this reply! I was wondering the very same thing as LMM. This now makes complete sense and really exposes the level of evil involved. I just read how an abuser can bear good fruit, but because he is not Christ’s that fruit is not born by the truth of the Holy Spirit, but by common grace that exists in and for all mankind. Thank you for this addition!

  5. Anonymous

    My ex not only used this tactic with me, but he would also attach a “sinful” motive to other people’s behavior (particularly my family members) in an attempt to distance me from them.

    • Mine did the same: attach a sinful motive to other people’s behavior. But it was doubly confusing because one day he would be talking about how nice that person was and how much compassion he had for them because of what they were going through, and the next day he would go into a nasty rage about how that (same) person was “only on the make for money and was out to use everyone” (us) for all they could get.
      The compassionate streak was so believable it was really hard to compute which side of him was the real one: the compassionate side or the money-scraping, envious side that imputed the same money-scraping motives to everyone else. For a long time I saw the envious side as an aberration, not the real him. And I am sure, to this day, that he believes his compassionate side is the real him. LIke Lundy Bancroft says, some of these men believe their own lies.

  6. One thing that some people know is that a very easy way to contol a situation or manipulate it is to put the other person on the defensive. They assume three things: (1) that you will be taken by surprise and unnerved by the accusation, (2) that you will begin to scramble mentally to defend your actions, and (3) that you will not have the courage to face them directly, then and there, with the ungodliness of their accusation. A good study in this can be found in the way that Jesus Christ answered such accusations and accusing questions. For example: Mark 7:5-8.

    • “that you will begin to scramble mentally to defend your actions”

      Which, of course, takes the focus of discussion off of them and their actions…which is exactly what they wanted to do.

      Good point, Larry!

  7. Nora Dirkx

    I follow what you are saying, Jeff. I have read about what you are saying before. I have lived under such tactics. Yet, my introspective nature (coupled with the scrutiny I’ve been under by living under such tactics, I am sure) causes me to try to be fair to the other. I know I have endured tremendous abuse but I do not want to also dish it out either. In your example you make these statements:

    He made this statement in a negative light, trying to get me to doubt the purity of my motives and also to cast me in a bad light in front of the others. . . . Of course he was also implying that I had not consulted him before making the purchase, as he would have disapproved of it.

    What I wrestle with is how are these statements you make any different than what you say in your first paragraph about what abusers do? I do not ask this in any animosity!! I am dead serious!! I am not pointing fingers at you or the situation. I need to know in my own heart that I am not doing to my abuser what he is doing to me by pointing to him and labling him and his behavior in the abuse category but somehow my judgement is not abuse. Am I not also telling him his motive if I if say he’s trying to get me to doubt my motives and cast me in bad light etc.
    I really, really, need clarity on this. Do you follow what I am getting at?

    o.k. before I went to send this, I read the other comments and see that you address this briefly. I would welcome any further thought you have developed to expound on this. Especially, there’s the added item that I have gathered from reading a bunch of other things on this site that you seem to imply that the abuser cannot be a believer. Is that what you are getting at in your response concerning bad trees/bad fruit? Can it be said that all or even most or even many caught in the sin of abuse are not true believers? Can they instead be whom is mentioned in I Cor. 5 as a reviler, extortioner, involved in (self)idolatry? When I went to the Bible to search for terms that described what my abuser was doing (i could not find the word “abuse”) these are the behaviors I have come to the conclusion the Bible uses to describe what is being done to me.
    Thanks.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Sorry to take so long to get your comment posted, Nora. I thought it was already there. Since you wrote it, there has been more discussion pertaining to your question. And yes, we do conclude that the abuser, as we define him/her on this blog, cannot be a Christian. A person who is characterized by habitual seeking of power and control, being justified in their mind about all of the tactics they use to gain this power and control, is totally antithetical to the Scriptural definition of a real believer in Christ. Are there Christians who, in their sinful flesh, sometimes pull of an abusive tactic toward another person? Yes. We have all done that. But then we felt the sting of conviction and were driven to repentance. That doesn’t happen in the abuser.

    • Dear Nora I totally understand what you are getting at and how painful this self-doubt and self-scrutiny can be. Thank you for articulating it so well, as I think it goes to the heart of the dilemma that victim-survivors face. Can I label his behavior as bad or wrong’? Isn’t that just like him criticizing me? How can I tell the difference?

      I have been through this myself, time and time again. It was one of the conundrums that stopped me from disclosing his bad behavior to bystanders. And when I eventually DID disclose to my church (after having been to the Court to request a protection order) I refrained from strongly accusatory language because I didn’t want the church to think I was being nasty and accusatory, when those were the very sins I was attributing to my husband. You can see how this sends the victim into a tail spin, and eventually into a black hole where even if she does ‘cry out for justice’ from the bottom of the black hole, she thinks no-one will hear or believe her. I felt like I was living in a hall of mirrors, and every time I dared label my abuser’s behavior as un-Christian, I was looking at myself in the mirror and feeling all the fingers pointing back at me, accusing me of being un-Christian.

      How can we extricate ourselves from this? It helps to hold on to facts. For example:
      Who lies, him or me? He lies; I tell the truth. When he tells the truth he tells only a portion of the truth and omits certain important things from the account, so his account is a distortion = a lie.
      Who re-writes history, him or me? He re-writes history; I don’t change my story. Although I may tell my story in more detail as I remember more bit of it, the basic events and sequence of my story don’t change.
      Who did property damage, him or me? Him.
      Who takes better care of the children, him or me? Me.
      Who forces the other into doing sexual things they don’t want to do, him or me? Him.
      You get the drift, and can continue to build your own list based on your abuser’s particular conduct. None of these questions are asking about motive or intent, they are simply examining the conduct of each person.
      After you’ve listed the bad behaviors of the abuser, you can then draw reasonable inferences about what intentions and motives are behind all that bad conduct. And it’s reasonable at that point to ask “What does he gain from behaving that way?”

    • Yes Nora, 1 Cor 5:11 lists the sins of abusers.
      Reviler: every abuser is a reviler, because every abuser uses verbal abuse.
      Extortioner (some versions translate this as swindler) = one who takes by force: this means not only physical force and obvious threats and stand-over tactics, it includes coercion, denial of liberty, theft, including theft of personal dignity and integrity, subtle threats, double-binds, mind-games, and all the other ways abusers enforce or obtain compliance from their victims.
      Idoalter: the abuser puts himself first, above God and every one else. Even if he fawns and acts humbly, in his heart of hearts he puts himself first.
      Drunkard: excessive use of alcohol, but by extension any substance abuse.
      Sexually immoral: not only adultery and porn, but forcing the spouse into sexual things they don’t want to do.
      Greedy: covetousness and grasping, not just for material possessions but for abstract things like adulation from others, elevated status, being better than others, competitiveness run wild.
      And what does 1 Corinthians say?

      But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13 ESV)

  8. Two thoughts on this, based on my experience:

    First, it is impossible to have a rational discussion with someone who beleives they know more about my thoughts and motives than I do. I can either agree with them, or I can walk away. Attempting a rational discussion is an exercise in futility, because everything I say will be countered with, “No, you don’t…”

    Second, guilty people tend to project guilty motives onto other people. So, if your spouse continually accuses you of wrong motives, with no basis….there’s a good chance they’re guilty, themselves, of those wrong motives…

    • That’s right, Joe. I have a rule of thumb that usually what the abuser is accusing his victim of, is more or less what he is doing himself. For example, in once case I know of, the abuser accused his ex of having lesbian tendencies. But he had virtually admitted to her, during the marriage, that he had had homosexual desires for his younger male relatives.

  9. Little Miss Me

    Larry – that’s another area where it gets confusing for me. Not being able to actually read his mind, I’m not sure he would actually know he’s assuming these things. Therefore, he can argue that there’s no evil intent to his actions. He doesn’t mean to hurt me, but for some reason he kept doing it in spite of my objections (because I didn’t object or explain myself in a way that he understands).

    And it’s true that he hasn’t done some of these things for a long time, but after I was so conditioned to not speaking up for fear of this type of “you’re just thinking this way” response (or other negative reactions to what I say), he didn’t need to. And now that I’m leaving, he claims that he’s an innocent victim because I “could have just said something.”

    This was the mobius loop of twisted logic that I’ve been in for far too long.

    • LMM, You must learn to read the actions instead of the words. Consistent careless indifference to you, your requests and your emotional welfare is abuse. Everything else is just words. My explanation comes from much experience over many years.

      You do not need to read anyone’s mind. Read their behavior. There you have the truth.

      • Little Miss Me

        Brilliantly simple. Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        “Read their behavior”.

        Very true, but that is hard to do accurately, especially when the abuser so cleverly disguises his actions to appear good. Just as the proverbial wolf dresses in sheep’s clothing, so the wolf disguises his fruit as “good”. It is after the first bite that the poison is released, but could be years before the poison is detected…

        It was not until after I completely separated myself from my abuser, set clear/strict boundaries, and, under God’s direction, started to educate myself regarding abuse that I was able to begin (and I say “begin” because it is an onging process for me) to think clearly and thus correctly interrupt his actions.

      • You are correct that this can be a challenging exercise. I should have noted that it is not at all easy. But it is still true, I believe, that the best hope of understanding what is going on is to mentally strip away the words and look at the behavior, its’ impact and consequences, and work from there. For sure if one is just beginning to realize what is going on, she/he will still be carrying some confusion. But much of the confusion comes from the words that do not match the actions.

      • I agree, Larry!

        All the anger, blaming, deception, tears, remorse is very confusing. Until one starts to realize that the behavior is not changing.

        It doesn’t matter how sorry someone says they are, how angry they act, how much they blame others, or anything else. Repeated and intentional infliction of deep wounds on someone they have sworn a solemn oath to love, honor, and cherish, is abusive and unnacceptable behavior.

        Focus on the behavior, and don’t let them distract you with the lies, excuses, and blame-shifting.

  10. cindy burrell

    I think most abusers actually enjoy churning up chaos like many described here. They enjoy making their victims feel foolish, inferior, insecure and overwhelmed with confusion. An abuser can simultaneously appear so charming and social to the rest of the world that when we see him in action – and others’ responses to him – we question whether we really are the problem and keep our secrets so that our perceived inadequacies aren’t exposed. And they know what they are doing. How insidious is that?

  11. Pippa

    Oh, wow, Pastor Jeff, I do not remember ever reading the first sentence of verse 11.
    Ditto all, ex told me what I thought, how I felt, told me he knew I was wrong when I denied doing things he accused me of…finished my sentences for me, completely in error 99% of the time, I might add–but it added plenty of confusion. Said he knew me better than anyone else knew me.
    Here’s an interesting twist–after many years of virtually silent agony, I spoke increasingly frequently at the end of the 33 year non-marriage my complaints about the wrongs perpetrated on me…the numerous sexual and emotional adulteries, the financial and emotional abandonment, the physical, verbal, emotional (including social–lying about me to others) abuse (actually still never spoke about the sexual and spiritual abuse). Then I wrote it and presented it to the courts and to him, giving examples of the grievances…In the divorce papers I also said that he accused me of the things that he had done. He was required by law to answer in 30 days. After 60 days (knowing that our courts never stick to this law) he answered and accused me of most of the things I had listed that he had done..just as I said in the papers he would do. A few months later, he said to me, with a hint of a smirk on his face “I still don’t know why you want a divorce. Could you just tell me?” After another few weeks, one of my friends says that she was at our hairdresser’s and the hairdresser says to her “Did you hear that she asked him to leave and wouldn’t tell him why? He was devastated.”

    • Jeff Crippen

      He will be devastated on that Day when Christ reveals every word, every motive, every secret of the heart and all will be exposed in blinding truth and light. What a day that will be! Thanks, Pippa.

      • Pippa

        What a day of rejoicing that will be!

    • Whenever I hear a story of about a man whose “wife left him without any explanation,” bells start ringing in my head. Yeah, it might happens sometimes when a wife goes of with her adulterous lover. But in many many cases, I’d be willing to bet it was a case of domestic abuse – the wife had been telling the guy for years what her grievances were and he had just been choosing to ignore them.
      It makes such a good pity-card when a bloke says “My wife just left me, out of the blue, no explanation!” I know a pastor in this town who describes his marriage breakdown that way. He told me the story to my face: I think there was a smirk hiding below the surface, but at that stage I hadn’t yet developed the experience-honed antennae to perceive it clearly.

      • Little Miss Me

        Mine actually used to tell me that he was always afraid that I’d leave him with no warning. Even then, years ago, I thought “If there’s no warning it’s just because you’re not paying attention.” He’d say this during arguments where I’d be telling him my grievances.

      • LMM, that’s creepy.
        Mine used to tell me “If we ever split up, I won’t go after your money.”
        I would reply “Don’t talk about us splitting up! We’re together till death us do part. I don’t want to even consider the idea of us splitting up. It frightens me that you even bring it up!”
        He’s stuck to his ‘promise’ in the case: he hasn’t gone after my money. But that’s probably because he knows he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in court as he brought no assets into the marriage, never got a job, and used up a fair bit of my money during the two years the marriage lasted.

      • That happened in one of my past churches and the poor lady ended up being disciplined and ex communicated because she refused to reconcile. Her kids were a mess after that and the church had us believing she was terrible. Now, I wonder…

  12. Pippa

    Yep, Barb..ditto again. “I don’t want anything. I don’t need anything. I live simply,” he says. “I don’t spend any of the money you make. You are doing it all for yourself.” He didn’t eat the food that I earned the money for, went grocery shopping for, cooked? He didn’t sleep under the roof? Etc,etc… Now he prefers pilfering when he comes by to see the son. Always something else gone. I don’t say anything. So finally, he took the coat wall rack and nailed it to the outside front of his house so that I would see it when picking up and dropping off the son. (Was actually a distant Christmas gift from him to me.) Still haven’t said anything. Would like to move to Australia or somewhere equally far!!!!:)

    • If it was safe (which it probably isn’t) I would love you to make some kind of sardonic quip about his pilfering. Maybe you could choose five items that you wouldn’t mind him pilfering, and set them before him saying “You can select what you pilfer this time from among these five items!” Let him blush, if he can; he probably can’t, given he has no conscience.
      We have to find ways to laugh about this stuff, don’t we? Otherwise we’d go round the bend. (and we’ve had enough of thinking we are going crazy already, haven’t we?)
      You’re welcome to move to my town in Oz, Pippa! I could put you up till you find your feet. Wish the family court in the US would let you leave.

      • Pippa

        It just wouldn’t bother him a bit. Another bit of ammo to use to say I’m nuts for saying he’s taking things. Especially if anyone else heard. He has never blushed. Might be better to stash some extra things in his back pack if he were not looking. 🙂
        I would so love to run…family court in my county would most likely allow me to go and take son if I had a job offer elsewhere that I could show was better than what I have here (and that would be possible). But would probably anger the teen and would be leaving the oldest and the grandchild. I do think about moving near enough to visit oldest monthly. But not until I’m more recovered. (But I do like the fantasy of being on the other side of the Earth and appreciate the offer!)

  13. Kay

    I totally identify with this discussion. It is healing to read about others having the same experiences of abusive behavior. Once in a while, I still question my motives for leaving the man who abused me – I know that comes from 32 years of being told what my motives were for just about everything! I appreciate
    all who share here; you help me alot

    • Jeff Crippen

      Kay – it really does help, doesn’t it? And it is really amazing that the abusive claim to “Know” our very thoughts and heart motives is one that still so effectively confuses us and lays all that doubt and guilt on us. To convince another human being that you know their very inner life and thoughts is to try to convince them that you are God and thus control their entire being. It is exceedingly wicked and evil. It is the same as Satan saying “I will be like the Most High.”

  14. Pippa

    It is the same thing repeated throughout time. Satan lies (twisting bits of truth in seems to be one of the most effective, deceives(has to involve another), and places himself as God. He has a limited bag of tricks but it seems like more since it’s placed in different “pots.”

  15. Pastor Crippen, In one of your DV Sermons you discuss answering the question “Do I need to paint you a picture?” Which one is that? Do you recall? . Thank you, Marie

    • Jeff Crippen

      Marie: The first sermon in the series preached on July 25, 2010 — Sin Exposed by the Light of Christ — has these paragraphs in the opening portion. Maybe this is the section you were thinking of? —

      Last year, I began to ask myself if there might be some way that we as a church could become wiser in respect to the deceptions and schemes of the enemy. That is to say, I was asking the question “Are there some typical, characteristic, common warning signs that will help us more clearly and more readily see the enemy when he comes to us disguised in sheep’s clothing?” Why was I asking this question? Because over the past years, this church has been assaulted numerous times (as has any true church) by divisive men, by men trying to introduce false doctrine, by men like Diotrophes who craved to be first in the church, and so on. And we expect that there will be more attacks in the future.

      Now, at this point, you are probably asking – “Well, we have the Bible. It is sufficient for everything. Why look any place else?” And you are absolutely correct – the Bible is completely sufficient to make us wise with God’s wisdom. And in all the reading that I have been doing, inevitably as I discover some more things about the psychology and methods of sin, I find out that sure enough, these very things are indeed in the Bible – but I had not seen them nor really understood them yet. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for the Church to have older members who have served Christ for many, many years – because we grow in Christ’s wisdom and understanding as He teaches us through the years – often in the “classroom” of life.

      For example – we have already heard this morning that one deed of the flesh is jealousy – that another is sensuality, and so on. But just what do these sins look like? Are they always really that easy to recognize? And I can tell you, they are not. Sin, by its very nature, is a lie. It is deceptive and dark and crafty. The serpent in Eden did not appear to be such a threat to Eve.

      So, when the Bible tells me that I must be on guard myself against the sin of jealousy or coveting or idolatry, I need to spend some serious and prayerful time thinking about just what these kinds of things might look like – how they might even be functioning in my own life and me remain oblivious to them. I need pictures painted! I need illustrations. I need “for examples.” And so do you. This is one of the great purposes of preaching in the church –

      • Proclaim the word
      • Explain the word
      • Illustrate the word
      • Apply the word

      • Thank you for the prompt response. I will listen to that one again and see if it is the one. Your sermon series got me (is getting me) through the darkest period of my life. Do you have a facebook group?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Marie – VERY glad that you were helped by the sermons. That’s wonderful and very encouraging to us. I don’t have a facebook group at this time, but we may have to talk more about getting one together as we have had a couple of requests recently. Thanks again and blessings on you in Christ.

  16. Pastor Crippen ~ please let me know if you do. I know of many that would appreciate it.

  17. That was the one, Pastor Crippen. Thank you so much as I really wanted to post it again today!! God bless your mission.

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