A Cry For Justice

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

Abuse and Denial: The Blind Eye of “Nice” People

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.

***

Acts 20:28-30 ESV (28)  Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (29)  I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (30)  and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

Years ago when I was a brand new sheriff’s deputy, I was assigned to guard a prisoner in a hospital.  In a fit, he had smashed his hand into a concrete wall at the jail and had to have surgery.  He later, in another tantrum,  pulled the surgical wiring out and the surgeon told him he was just going to have to live with a crippled hand!

While I was guarding him, we handcuffed him to the hospital bed.  A nurse came in, old enough to know better, glared at the handcuff, and asked me in a growly tone – “Is that really necessary?”  I told her it was.  She didn’t believe me.

People deny evil.  Well, until it comes calling at their own door.  I wonder what that nurse’s attitude would have been if it was her own daughter whose face this wicked man had smashed (he was incarcerated on felony assault charges).  She may have been a nice lady had I known her in other circumstances, but at that moment when she was living out the denial of evil, she was anything but nice.  She was, in fact, an ally of evil.

Wickedness exists.  There is a devil.  Human beings are capable of and indeed commit vicious acts of violence against the image of God every single day.  Their throat really is an open grave.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.  As Paul warned us, even in the church (perhaps especially in the church) wolves are on the prowl.  Satan as a roaring lion is lurking just outside the door waiting to pounce.  Why in the world do we think these things aren’t true?  Do we accuse God of exaggeration?

Truly nice people do NOT deny evil.  Good people hunger and thirst for righteousness and look forward to justice being done.  Nice people do not selfishly isolate themselves in a fantasy land like the Emerald City of Oz (where even the wicked witch sauntered in sometimes).  But so often the Christian church acts like a mob of munchkins dancing around the good witch Glenda, singing Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead.  No, the witch is not dead!  Not yet.

Essentially every single Christian victim of abuse who I have talked to tells me the same thing.  Christians – all of these nice people in their churches – intentionally turned a blind eye to the evil that was being done to them when they asked for help.  And then, an odd thing happened (which, as it turns out, is really quite logical).  The nice people turned nasty.  But not against the abuser.  No, they turned their guns on the victim for daring to rock their dreamland.

Good people do not deny the reality of evil.  Good people are not naive about the tactics of the enemy.  Good people rise up in anger against evil when they see it.  Good people mirror the image of God, who Himself does all of these very things.

All of this is why, quite frankly, I don’t like “nice” people.  They won’t ever have your back.  You can’t trust them.

Matthew 15:14 ESV (14)  Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

40 Comments

  1. Amen and Amen! Thank you Jeff.

  2. Jeff S

    “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” -Baudelaire

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yep! Or maybe even that he is really a nice guy, greatly misunderstood!

      • Laurie

        😉 Angel of “light”

  3. Jeff Crippen

    I just thought of another example of the same kind of denial. One time my wife and I were walking on a trail in Alaska. After we had been charged by a moose a month eariler and the only thing that saved us was my handgun that I used to fire warning shots, I always carried a weapon. Alaska is beautiful but it is not user-friendly. The area we were walking in could easily have grizzlies. Anyway, I carried a shotgun on a sling over my shoulder. We met some other hikers and they looked at me with a scowl of disgust. I had apparently violated their pristine concept of nature at its finest. How ignorant and unpleasant I must be.

    Just last week a hiker in the Denali area in Alaska got munched by a grizzly. Ignoring the policy to stay I think 1/4 mile away, he advanced (as pictures on his camera showed) to within 50 yards. Teddy didn’t like it and killed the guy.

    So many professing Christians are just like this. Mention evil, take steps to protect the flock against it, expose it and admit it is there, and you get the scowl. The bear’s feast goes on.

    • Song

      Sounds like another post in the making. To me, this is a very valid subject to discuss, the subject of prevention and protection. I am so thankful for finding your blog, Jeff!!!

  4. My oh my, what an excellent post. Thanks! People need to be shaken out of their denial. Look evil square in the face and acknowledge it. It won’t kill you to do that and it may even save your life.

  5. This post reminds me of John Eldridge’s book “Wild at Heart” which I read a few years ago. In it, Eldridge makes a distinction between a “nice guy” and a “good man.”

    When my wife and I were dating, she once referred to me as a “really nice guy.” She was a bit confused when I corrected her saying, “I’m not a nice guy, but I strive to be a good man.”

    There really is a difference. In the heat of battle, I don’t want a “nice guy” covering my back…I want a good man.

    • Absolutely Joe- I married a “nice guy” and he turned out to be a sociopath. I’ll take a good man anyday!

      • Amen!

        …and I am very thankful for the good woman who is my wife!

        My comment wasn’t meant to to have any sexist slant…the book I referenced was written specifically for men…

        Thanks, Jodi!

      • Terry

        I did the exact same thing. I mistook passivity for kindness. Not a kind bone in this man’s body. What a horrible mistake of a lifetime to make.

      • Hi Terry
        you will probably like our post that is coming up this Tuesday, about the Stockholm Syndrome. 🙂

    • Song

      You have such profound insight, and I am thankful you are publishing your experiences.

    • Song

      You have such profound insight, and I am thankful you are publishing your experiences.
      This appearred on another post before you. It was meant for you, but it also applies to the other poster.

      • Song, I’m not sure your comment was meant for me…but thanks! Any insights I may have are directly through God’s grace and for His glory…certainly not due to any brilliance of my own…

  6. Jim

    This is very discouraging to think, but it matches my experience. And it seems to be true for most of the history of Christianity.

  7. jesse Gienger

    Only two choices on the shelf, seeking God or seeking self. In a past of seeking self i have been used by the devil and been the victimizer. Praise God that he can change people however, and that he disciplines those he loves, and will bring back those who really are his. Repentance should never demand terms, It should just be thankful for the opportunity to be forgiven. And I thank God that I am forgiven. Sin separates however, and does have consequences. Praise God For the eternal Sabbath rest where there will be no more sin or separation and will be able to unite in worship of our Lord and savior.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Jesse! Good words:)

      • jesse Gienger

        I love and miss you all! hope your doing well:)

  8. Anonymous

    Amen, for another good post. Being in the midst of people who are calling “evil” good, is very confusing. I have learned that real godly love, always calls “evil”, evil. When we abide with evil, we cannot abide with Jesus. We have to make that decision and the decision we make determines whether we are confessing Christ or confessing ourselves and the devil. Our life is a constant “profession”. We cannot truly be loving anyone, including Christ, if we call evil good.

  9. cindy burrell

    Great post! So many people whom I believed would be my supporters – pastors, court mediators, family members, friends, fellow believers – were quick to assume that my abuser couldn’t possibly be as bad as all that. Like the evil man chained to the bed, it’s easy to presume that someone is harmless when you haven’t seen them in action. So you stand there dumbfounded, and the ignoramuses walk away feeling incredibly self-righteous!

  10. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  11. I love that reference to the Munchkins. I must re-read the Wizard of Oz.

    And yes, the nurse at the bedside of the handcuffed patient was a great image too. It actually reminded me of how once, when I was nursing, I saw a patient who was a prisoner and being guarded by a corrections officer sitting at his bedside. I remember glancing at the officer and seeing his stony hard face and thinking “He’s scary!”

    But I bet he was stony and hard because that was the way he had to be with that prisoner. He knew the guy was evil. As a nurse, I was in my default ‘compassion’ mode and saw the officer’s hard face as repellant. But looking in hindsight, I can see his hard face was probably highly appropriate.

    Just like I did as a softie-nurse, the church frowns at the Corrections Officer, the person who says: “This prisoner must be handcuffed; this abuser must be excommunicated from the church and treated as the wicked and dangerous evildoer that he is.”

  12. Rebecca

    Alright, so just when I thought my vision was clear, Jeff you have clarified even further what happens around us as victims. The difference between nice people and good people. Excellent post.

    …”all of these nice people in their churches – intentionally turned a blind eye to the evil that was being done to them when they asked for help. And then, an odd thing happened (which, as it turns out, is really quite logical). The nice people turned nasty. But not against the abuser. No, they turned their guns on the victim for daring to rock their dreamland.”

    That’s it…how dare ‘you’ rock our world. And, nice people don’t want to have to look at their own dysfunction or skeletons in the closet. So the backlash or disdain intensifies.

    Have you read The Hunger Games series or seen the movie? It’s not what I thought it would be. What it is, is a powerful display of injustice, what happens when nice people become calloused to evil injustice, when the evil oppress the weak, but then what can happen when one person takes a stand. The people of the Capital are sort of like the Munchins (and nice people in the church) ….happy and content as long as their world isn’t rattled…yet totally choosing to turn a blind eye to the monstrosity of the Games. My 12 yr old daughter and I have both read the books and seen the movie. She gets it- injustice. I encourage her to be the Katniss of her age.

    • This goes against everything I used to believe and have been taught, but it seems to me like the nice people are in churches and the good people are outside of them.(understanding that none are good-no not one)

      • Laurie

        My sentiments, exactly….:/

    • Jeff Crippen

      Rebecca – No, I haven’t seen that movie but I will have to check it out. There is another book called Watership Down. It’s about rabbits. The domesticated ones are fed and well-off, but every so often one of them goes missing (to the dinner table of the farmer). It’s been a long time since I read it but that same mass denial is there.

    • “nice people don’t want to have to look at their own dysfunction or skeletons in the closet”

      One of the nastiest comments I had was from one of those very ‘nice’ people who had her own skeleton in the closet. She verbally attacked me apropos of nothing during the coffee time after a church service, with her husband sitting right by not saying a word. I was flabbergasted. But I knew where she was coming from, because she had once confided to me that her father had molested her when she was a child, and she didn’t like thinking about it because it brought up so many “un-Christian'” feelings.

  13. Laurie

    Wow…This is a really good post. I was thinking about the man you hand-cuffed to the bed, the spiritual analogy of that. You were acting under the authority of the County, to protect the man from himself and protect any others that he might hurt. Yet you were dogged for your actions…they were good, right actions and you had full authority to do so. In fact, you would have been shirking your responsibility if you had failed to take the preemptive measures that you did. I can see all kinds of spiritual applications of this…taking the measures that our Authority, Jesus Christ, tells us that we need to, and being reviled for doing what is right.

    Very thought provoking….

    And you are right, the whistle-blower in the relationship does, indeed, get the guns turned in his or her direction by the “nice” people…btdt (been there, etc….)

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Laurie. Actually yes, it is the victim who stands with God’s authority in these cases and issues the divine whistleblowing!

  14. anonymous

    I have a situation that happened today, and because it involves a person of rank where I work, I will stay anonymous. He seemed to be a nice guy, but I had heard he embarrasses employees with criticism in front of others. I had my guard up since hearing that, but today I saw it happen. He came right through a room and sharply rebuked one of the employees, and cursed too. Now this employee is a macho looking man, but his face turned beat red, and he I know he could have cried. I was so embarrassed for him and the couple of ladies there were upset. Not only was it completely unprofessional, but it was cutting. I’m sure the employee will carry that scar.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Wouldn’t we like to talk to that employer’s wife? Abuse in the workplace is a whole other aspect of the thing, isn’t it? Abuse, in the end, is ALWAYS about the abuse of POWER. People with power using it for their own purposes to use and hurt the powerless. Bosses, dictators, spouses, parents, church leaders — anyone with power. What you saw at your work is a chief reason that we read about employees going to their workplace and going “postal” and people getting killed. They aren’t justified of course, but if your boss does this kind of thing to the “wrong” person, look out!

      • anonymous

        Jeff, it’s funny you say something about his wife. The fact is he HAD a wife. My neighbor knows this man, and once told me that his wife did him wrong, however it’s obvious what she had to live through. I’ve been grieved over what happened. It seems there should be accountability. I deal with some rude people, but there is a distinct difference between that, and a personal affront. I can deal with rude. I cannot deal with nice when from out of nowhere, they stab you with words.

  15. This is definitely my experience. The abuser ALWAYS wins. ALWAYS. I have ended up with breast cancer, thyroid cancer, lost my house, and even gave custody of my ten kids to my abusive ex because he was killing me. Now the 20 year old and 18 year old are begging me to call child protection services. I am being operated for recurring breast cancer in two days. The church kicked me out when I asked for a divorce even though they had recognized the need for separation after twenty years of abuse. So hard. And so hard for my kids. I no longer believe in god or the church. My kids are dealing with substance abuse as their father provides alcohol and I think other “stuff” too. The church turned a blind eye to this for years. And with books like Debi Pearl’s out there, women who are experiencing abuse are further condemned as the cause of the abuse. The church in all this???? Strangely absent after kicking me out because I no longer wanted to “try to make it work”.

    • So sad for you and your kids. 😦 😦
      Can you get your older kids to ring CPS themselves? They are quite old enough to make such a report.
      The church needs to face up to the heinous wrong it is doing!

    • Laurie

      I have heard of this stuff before…are you in a “Plain” church? Or were you?

      Man, this is hard stuff. I know it seems like they always win. And I know you no longer believe in God. But God is not the church.

      Long time ago, I told my mom that I knew what the problem with church was…it has people in it. If it weren’t for the people, there would be no problem. I always thought that God can’t control them, so that’s the issue. But actually, God WON’T control them, and that is their downfall in the end. Because they make wrong decisions and judge whom God has set free.

      Hope that your surgeries go well, that you are soon cancer free, and that your children are swiftly delivered from your ex.

      • Laurie, can you tell me what a “Plain” church is? I’ve never heard the term. And thanks for your comments that are so warm and encouraging to other readers.

  16. no name please

    Barbara, most times I forget you’re on the other side. I think Laurie might be referring to an Amish or Mennonite church. At least that is what I think when I hear the term. They call themselves the “plain people”

  17. Tanya

    Wow so good to hear the truth being spoken! Thank you! and AMEN

    • Hi Tanya, welcome to ACFJ. You might like to check out out New Users tab at the top of the blog, as it has tips that may be useful to you.

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