A Cry For Justice

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

Secrecy and Abuse: Hiding From God is Never a Good Idea

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.

***

Joshua 7:1 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.

After their defeat at Ai in which 36 of their own men were killed, Israel was bewildered.  They had just enjoyed a great victory at Jericho and the town of Ai should have been a breeze to conquer.  It wasn’t.  As Joshua pleads to the Lord, he hears the reason for it all:

Joshua 7:11-12 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. (12) Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.

Achan had done it.  After being exposed by a divine lottery drawing, he fessed up:

Joshua 7:20-21 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: (21) when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

As I studied this passage, I don’t think I stretched the application of this Scripture as it struck me that this business of hiding evil that is among us is the very thing we do when we intentionally refuse to deal with sin either in our own lives or in the life of our church body.  We all know by now that the common way of dealing with abuse (and, unfortunately, with all kinds of sin) in our churches is to do what Achan did.  We bury it.  Sin in a sense is “devoted” (corban) to the Lord.  The proper handling of sin is to take it in open confession and genuine repentance to Jesus Christ.  And where there is unrepentant sin, we do the same so that the Achans can be exposed and if necessary, expelled.  But so often this is not what happens.  The sin is buried and lies supposedly concealed among us, right in the very floor of our tent.  God sees it.  God knows.  And we wonder why we cannot stand before our enemies.

Christ holds us all accountable when sin is tolerated and hidden in His church:

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

Revelation 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

Notice carefully – “I have this against you.”  Against the entire church.  It was the same in regard to Achan’s sin.  “But the people of Israel broke faith…therefore they cannot stand before their enemies.”  Wait a minute!  I thought Achan is the one who stole the tapestry, the gold, and the silver?  Yes, he was.  But God holds His entire church responsible.  One man’s sin is not entirely his own sin.  Our sin affects others in a big way.

And so, here we are in regard to this whole issue of widespread domestic violence and sexual abuse hiding in our pews.  Hiding in plain sight, really.  The thing is being buried.  Victims are being discounted and the evil being done to them is being minimized and dismissed.  Scripture is being twisted to justify our refusal to dig up what is hidden and effect justice.  Can we really be surprised then that the Lord’s blessing is not upon us today?

Victory at Ai eventually came, but only after Achan’s stolen and hidden evil was rooted out in the sight of all Israel.  It is long past time that we got out our own shovels and began to dig.  What evils are buried right at this moment in the living room of some supposed eminent “saint” among us?  Victims will tell us, if we will listen to them.

Hiding from God is never a good idea.  In fact, it is always a very bad idea and nothing good ever comes from it.

13 Comments

  1. I hope you dont mind this I am reblogging very inspiring thanks God Bless

    • Jeff Crippen

      Go for it! Thanks much.

  2. Unfortunately, the unspoken and spoken law in churches and the greater ‘Christian” community is that Matt. 18 is not applicable to husbands- woman are taught that our husbands should be allowed to sin without repercussion or confrontation-that to confront is lack of respect and submission-so his sin gets hidden, covered, excused,denied-.
    Of course the other unspoken and spoken rule is that whatever the husband does is always the wife’s fault anyway.

    • Jeff Crippen

      It has to be an unspoken law because everyone really knows that it is not God’s law! Where does the idea that Matt 18 does not apply to husbands come from? Not from the Lord! You are right though. Women are indeed taught that husbands can sin with no consequence because after all, wives are to submit no matter what. And as you say, if a man commits adultery for instance, it is the wife’s fault because she should have been more __________, whatever. Or she “pushed his buttons.” Sadly, she often believes this and wears a mountain of false guilty for decades.

  3. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog and commented:
    It must be human nature but when we get into trouble we all tend to hide from the one who can help the most.

    • Anonymous

      I think part of the tendency to hide is that we are taught false things about God, from false pastors, or our abusers, who try to manipulate and control the wives by telling them how disappointed God is with them, for not submitting to their husbands and loving them and having a desire to “nurture” their abuser, and help him not to sin. I think this can cause long term damage and may cause victims to think twice before asking this so described brutal God to help them. After all, the wives have most likely heard that God expects them to stay with the abuser and take it, because it is His will for them.

      Another excellent post!

      • Jeff Crippen

        Anon: You are right on! Thank you very, very much.

  4. O love your comments, Jodi and Anon. One unspoken rule, layered over by another unspoken rule or two, a quick wave of your magic wand – ‘abracadabra’ – and “POOF”… all the wrongdoing of the husband is gone!

    “O foolish Galatians; who has bewitched you?”

  5. May

    So how do we avoid becoming suspicious of our brothers and sisters in the church?

    • Dear May, rather than think “I should not be suspicious” you might like to re-label that feeling and call it “being discerning”. Discernment is a very godly quality.
      And by the way, whenever there is a “should” in our heads, it’s worth examining that “should” to see if it is based solidly on biblical principles, or whether is is out of balance with the whole counsel of God. Most scriptural precepts need to be weighed and balanced by other scriptural principles. Even “thou shalt not kill” is balanced by the O.T. provision for execution of capital offenses. Most pastors do a pretty poor job of teaching their people how to do this balancing, but it’s not all that hard once you start applying spiritually informed common sense to your interpretation of scripture. We need to think – use our minds – when we read and apply scripture, not just mindlessly echo the pre-digested aphorisms that so much Christian teaching seems to consist of these days.

      • Anonymous

        Love both the answers!

        Just to add – May, I think there is no need to be suspicious of our brothers and sisters, especially if by that, one means to speculate and impute evil motives. However, there’s no need to be naive and think evil isn’t lurking either. It means we face the truth (God is truth, and the truth always sets one free), however ugly it may be. And the ugly truth is that evil does lurk and try to hide from the light. But the more light is applied, the more we flush out evil. Suspicion doesn’t have to be a part of it: evil will surface, and if we are not ignorant of it – if we know what it looks like – we will see it. It won’t be a guessing game.

    • Jeff Crippen

      May – Suspicion as a word has a negative connotation, doesn’t it? Certainly we don’t want to have to come to church and examine everyone and assume they are all up to no good and hiding it:) But on the other hand, we need to be wise and we need to not be naive. As Larry has mentioned in regard to repentance so often in other articles, what we watch is people’s fruit. And we need to. But the visible fruit of a person’s life is visible and objective data. If, for example, a person who is in our church actively seeks out age-inappropriate relationships with young people when he or she is much older, or shows other common warning signs that are often associated with sexual abuse, then we are not being paranoid, but wise. And that wisdom means that at least we would take proper precautions, not necessarily that we would immediately run to accuse. Often the secular world is wiser in regard to such things than Christians. That should not be. Thanks very much for your good question.

  6. Finding Answers

    Writing through the descending fog…

    There will come a time when the lifetime of abuse I experienced will be made public. I do not know how or when God intends this to be revealed, only that the “Achans” will be named.

    Naming names is Scriptural… the topic is the subject of other ACFJ posts.

    Still stuff to work through until then, but “Achan’s” tainted hoard is not going to last.

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