A Cry For Justice

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

Divorce as Exorcism

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.

***

Luke 13:10-16 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. (11) And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. (12) When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” (13) And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. (14) But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” (15) Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? (16) And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

This weekend the thought came to me about how similar divorce from an abuser is to having a demon exorcised from you.  Anyone who knows abuse –its mentality and tactics — understands that it is a torment and enslavement that really has to be in some ways similar to being oppressed or possessed by a demon.  Maybe the only difference is that the demon is inside the victim and the abuser is outside.  Well… even the abuser worms his/her way inside the mind eventually.

And then I began to think about how Jesus ALWAYS dealt with people who were oppressed by demons.  He set them free.  Can anyone find anyplace in Scripture where Jesus told the person “it is My Father’s will that you remain possessed.  Remain in the condition you are in and trust the Lord”?  Good luck in that search.

Notice the responses of the Jews to Jesus setting this woman free who had been oppressed by a “disabling spirit” for 18 years.  They represent the same kind of mentality that we are seeing in the current religion of the Pharisees in our churches.  They don’t glorify Christ for setting her free, they land all over him for healing her on the Sabbath.  That is precisely what we are seeing today when we are telling these victims “you have God’s approval to divorce and leave your oppressor.”  Here come the Pharisees, all angry and shouting at us because we choose to see these people set free.  “You can’t do that!  God hates divorce!”  Yada, yada, yada.  They are blind leading the blind.

How many Christians today who refuse to acknowledge that God permits and even blesses divorce for abuse would not treat their dog the way they demand that abuse victims must continue to suffer.  Hey, that’s the very thing Jesus told those Pharisees — “You guys treat your cows and donkeys better than you treat this daughter of Abraham!”  Those words condemn many Christians and pastors and church leaders today.  “No, I am sorry, you must go submit to your husband and pray for him.  You cannot leave your “marriage.”  Now, excuse me, I have to go home and take my dog to the vet.  He’s been suffering from fleas something terrible and I don’t like to leave him on his chain too long.  That would be cruel.  Good luck with your marriage.  We sure will be praying for you.”

75 Comments

  1. Oh my! I am gasping for breath! You sure hit that nail square on the head!!! I’m putting a link for this on my Facebook page. Again, thank you so much for standing in the gap for us and not being afraid to speak the truth!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks! Glad to nail it:) In fact, I believe that Jesus’ deliverance of demon-possessed people is proof fully sufficient to justify divorce for abuse.

  2. Kay

    Beautifully explained! Thank you.

  3. Don Johnson

    I think your explanation adds useful info to be better able to see the coherency of Jesus as a teacher

    • Jeff Crippen

      Don – We run into lots of Christians, even pastors, who seem to think that God is illogical and irrational. I don’t mean mystical, I mean more….that His ways of doing things should never be expected to make sense to us. I think this is a real trap and unbiblical. Yes, God’s ways are past our finding out – what theologians call the incomprehensibility of God. But God’s thoughts correspond to our thoughts. It is the unregenerate mind that sees the cross as foolishness, not the Spirit who indwells the believer…

      1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”– (10) these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (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. (12) Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. (13) And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (14) The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (15) 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.

      Therefore, it IS valid to ask ourselves if our interpretation of Scripture is consistent with the ways and teachings and character of Jesus. If we conclude that the Bible forbids divorce for any reason, for example, then we must ask ourselves if that is rational when examined in the light of, as I think you are calling it, the coherency of Jesus’ character and teaching.

      • Barnabasintraining

        Therefore, it IS valid to ask ourselves if our interpretation of Scripture is consistent with the ways and teachings and character of Jesus. If we conclude that the Bible forbids divorce for any reason, for example, then we must ask ourselves if that is rational when examined in the light of, as I think you are calling it, the coherency of Jesus’ character and teaching.

        That’s pretty much what I did and why I came to the conclusion I did about God’s view of divorce for abuse. it is simply incongruous for Him not to approve of that given the other reasons He allows it. This the one sticking point no argument against divorce for abuse can overcome. In order for that to work they would have to either change the essential nature of abuse or otherwise show how abuse fits into to the vow to love, honor, and cherish. It is clear how adultery does not fit into the vow to forsake all others and it is clear how wrongful abandonment does not fit into til death do us part. And most Christians affirm divorce when either of these vows is broken (which takes divorce per se out of the arena of breaking the til death do us part vow). But it has never been shown, nor do they seem to think it must be shown, how abuse fits into love, honor, and cherish. Somehow, God goes off the rails on this and we are suddenly not supposed to ask questions about this strange departure.

        God has given us the Spirit of a sound mind. It is not sound to fail to ask these questions and site God’s inscrutability as the reason we won’t go there.

      • Song

        “But God’s thoughts correspond to our thoughts.” Yes, I agree! This is a very powerful statement that, in my experience, doesn’t get talked about enough. “It is the unregenerate mind that sees the cross as foolishness, not the Spirit who indwells the believer, not the Spirit who in dwells the believer.” I agree again!

  4. Debbie Prce

    Bondage or What the Bible speaks of “Peace that passes all understanding” I am glad that I got out of the ‘bondage” that I was in! Thank You, Jeff for Your Insight!! Freedom and Blessings are so much better that abuse.

    • Debbie Price

      I was meaning to say that ” Blessings (being not abused) & being set free(away from my abuser) is Great!! and a Peaceful Life!!! I Thank God that I was able to get away and start a better life for myself & I want to encourage Others who are being abused to do the same for themselves and for them to know that it can be a better life for them also.

  5. Bethany

    Thank you for this. I know it definitely feels like demon possession and then getting exorcised and seeing for the first time in a long time.
    I have had some of my Christian friends express this feeling of inconsistency when studying about abuse and divorce. “How can the Jesus we know and love ask anyone to live with an abuser and not want them to get out?”

  6. MeganC

    Wow!! Well-put! BOOM! That’s the truth right there . . .

    • Song

      🙂

  7. joepote01

    Very good parallels, very well stated, Jeff!

    Satan uses covenant to enslave. God uses covenant to liberate, bless and enrich.

    Abuse truly is Satanic…and very similar, in spirit, to demonic opression/possession.

    Thank God, our Redeeemer lives!

  8. Martin

    This is a great post, Jeff. As you know, demonic possession hits close to home for me. Having spent so many years under demonic influenced bondage, I’ve given a lot of thought to the word bondage in Biblical text.

    Jesus Christ announced his mission statement early in ministry: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus’ ministry reveals, as you comment, that such liberty was extended to bondage related to demons in this world. Believers are to be set free.

    The word bondage, as opposed to liberty, comes up clearly in divorce context. Paul declared an allowance under certain terms, stating “the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases” (1 Cor. 7:15). The word used here for bondage (doulos) literally reflects the position of bonded servant. It strikes me that this word is a very important word – used over and over again in Biblical context to state the proper relationship between Christ and the believer. Christ is Lord and believer is His doulos.

    The importance of the Lord and doulos relationship can be seen in the epistles as Paul, James, Peter, Jude, and John in reference to themselves each claimed to be the doulos (bonded servant) of Christ (See Romans 1:1, James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, Jude 1:1, Revelation 1:1). The desire of every heart felt Christian is to be doulos to Christ.

    When a demon enters into an abuser, the goal is to usurp the role of Christ in the life of the victim. Just as the Devil desires to be worshiped, the demon demands control. When abusers begin enjoying their relationship with the demon, the situation becomes dire for the victim. The result, Satan elevates himself to control over the relationship, demands to be Lord, and the victim must serve no one else. Satan declares, “I am lord, you are my servant!”

    I’ve known many victims of abuse who were often told by their spouses when and where they can go to church, including myself. This, in my opinion, is further evidence of demonic control in the abuser striving to steer the victim away from sources of deliverance.

    Believers are of their own free will bonded to Christ, and Paul wanted to assure them that no other bondage (demonic or otherwise) should intervene.

    • Song

      “The word bondage, as opposed to liberty, comes up clearly in divorce context. Paul declared an allowance under certain terms, stating “the brother or sister is not under The word bondage, as opposed to liberty, comes up clearly in divorce context. Paul declared an allowance under certain terms, stating “the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases” (1 Cor. 7:15). The word used here for bondage (doulos) literally reflects the position of bonded servant. It strikes me that this word is a very important word – used over and over again in Biblical context to state the proper relationship between Christ and the believer. Christ is Lord and believer is His doulos.

      The importance of the Lord and doulos relationship can be seen in the epistles as Paul, James, Peter, Jude, and John in reference to themselves each claimed to be the doulos (bonded servant) of Christ (See Romans 1:1, James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, Jude 1:1, Revelation 1:1). The desire of every heart felt Christian is to be doulos to Christ.”

      Martin, I will have to respectfully disagree with you that the desire of every heartfelt Christian is to be in doulos (in bondage) to Christ, as I don’t want be in bondage to anyone any more. I don’t believe my relationship with Christ is founded on my bondage to Him as a servant, nor do I see it as benefitting my relationship with for me to see myself as a bond servant to Him.

      • Martin

        Song,

        God in heaven does not want you to be in bondage to any human being, any more. He is your Deliverer, Redeemer, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification. Most importantly Christ is not just anyone, He is the sovereign Lord and God.

        The Bible says Christ is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). If he was not sovereign Lord, His power would not be sufficient for all the wonderful gifts, including salvation of your soul. If we accept that before Him [and Him alone] every knee should bow and tongue confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11), then we should also accept that we ourselves will one day with bended knee declare before Him that He is Lord. He is Lord, we are His subjects. We cannot change that immutable Biblical fact.

        Often times out of a fear to trust after a painful hurt, people resist submitting to Christ as Lord in their lives. I know in my case there was years of frustration and resentment toward God as my family suffered at the hand of my spouse. It is hard, when you’ve been hurt by someone so close as a spouse, to imagine a bondage that will deliver you, hold you, comfort you, carry you, and love you eternally. Those are all eternal promises of our Lord. Those who submit to Him, understand all this power in their lives sooner than later.

        When I submitted to Him as Lord, it opened a window of deliverance beyond anything I’ve ever understood, including removing a demon possessed spouse who was abusing my children and me. Well beyond theological argument, for myself and my delivered children we can imagine no better way to live. We are so grateful to be servants of the one and only Lord of all.

        I pray that all victims will see the glory and power of the Lord unveiled before them as they trust their lives to our eternally loving, redeeming, providing, and delivering Lord. There is no better way to live.

        There are several Biblical counseling resources on the role of Lordship in counseling. One such resource with a balanced approach would be Larry Crabb’s book – Effective Biblical Counseling.

        For whatever I may have misunderstood in your post – or misstated in my own – I pray forgiveness. For wherever we disagree, I pray peace. For your fellowship in Christ and on this blog, I pray great thanks.

      • Song

        Martin,

        I’m very happy that you and your children are no longer in an abusive situation with your spouse, and have found a place in your faith in Christ for which you are grateful. What a horrible situation for you and your children to have experienced.

        I respect your opinion that you believe the proper relationship between Christ and the believer is one of Lord and bond servant. When you follow that up with “The desire of every heart felt Christian is to be doulos to Christ,” you have now included and spoken for me, and I don’t share your opinion. I approach my relationship with Christ from the stand point of friend, as He no longer calls me servant (doulos).

    • Laurie

      How about my ex sweet talking our church counselors who were appalled at his horrid behavior into telling me that I needed to back away from my relationship with Jesus so that my husband, who was my “head” could draw closer? My knowledge of God and scripture intimidated him and he didn’t feel like he could lead me, so, word for word folks, “You must decrease so he can increase.” I tried it, Jesus was NOT happy about it. Yet He forgave me and rescued me from myself and my stupidity! And again I say, WHY OH WHY DOES HE LOVE ME SO?!?!?!? But…I’LL TAKE IT!!!!!!! Love you, Jesus!!!!!!<3 🙂

      • Barnabasintraining

        telling me that I needed to back away from my relationship with Jesus so that my husband, who was my “head” could draw closer

        It appears a new record has been set. I believe this is THE most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life.

      • Laurie, wow. . .

      • To be clear, I am speechless at the church counselors saying that.

      • Martin

        Laurie,

        To be clear, I am speechless and totally agree with Jeff S.

      • joepote01

        Wow!

        Yep…this is it…a new high in lows…

        I thought I had heard scripture twisted, abused, misused, mistranslated and misinterpreted before…but this one takes the cake!

        Where would one even begin to explain to someone so blind as to say such a thing?

      • Song

        Wow! Ditto to all the responses above.

      • Laurie your story is indeed a cake-taker! But I have a more moderate version of the same thing. When I separated from my first husband for the final time, our daughter was ten years old. Since she was five, I had been routinely reading her a bible story or a portion of Scripture every night at bedtime.
        The elders took him (homeless man) into their houses and he naturally told them stuff from his point of view. One of the elders then ticked me off for how I’d been reading the bible to our daughter each night. The elder said that my actions made my husband feel inadequate, and at least I should have been reading the Bible to her in her bedroom, rather than in the lounge-room where he was watching TV. I was flabbergasted. When I found my voice, I managed to reply that I HAD been doing her Bible time in her bedroom, until it got so cold in winter I chose to do it in the heated lounge-room. I’m still astonished to this day that the elder would have criticised me for that.

      • Song

        Barbara,
        That was quite a ridiculous thing for that elder to say to you. You said it well when you said “false Christians and their Pharisaic churches (synagogues of Satan).”

  9. Lynette D

    Its sad that in churches the demons get more mercy than the oppressed.

    • And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7 ESV)

      All will be yours… including the mercy and favor of false Christians and their Pharisaic churches (synagogues of Satan).

      • Song

        Oh, Barbara, you said it…you went there…oh my…Good job!

    • Song

      Yes, you are right. It is sad.

  10. Jeff Crippen

    What if the widespread evangelical church has been over run by the “sons of Sceva”? I refer of course to the following Scripture-

    Acts 19:13-20 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” (14) Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. (15) But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” (16) And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (17) And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. (18) Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. (19) And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. (20) So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

    This would mean that those who are failing to recognize the spirit of oppression and bondage that abuse victims are under are devoid of the Holy Spirit and thus the evil spirit overpowers (dupes) them. I don’t mean to go to the demonic here to explain all abuse, but I suppose to some degree I am using it as a metaphor (more abusers however may well be empowered by the demonic than we realize). Why is it, so many of us ask as we scratch our heads and try to understand, that what should be so clear to someone who is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, is absolutely invisible to them? If the account of the sons of Sceva has any application here, it means then that when we start recognizing the evil, dealing with it biblically, and putting it out from our midst and setting its victims free then maybe, just maybe, the fear and power of Christ will become known far and wide and those who are now in bondage to the evil one will come to Him in repentance and faith?

    • 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.

      ***

      This would mean that those who are failing to recognize the spirit of oppression and bondage that abuse victims are under are devoid of the Holy Spirit and thus the evil spirit overpowers (dupes) them.

      We need to mull over this, it is profound. I think we all have some apprehension of what we are up against. And maybe we don’t want to utter it out loud too much. But I can see us exchanging glances across the room.

    • Jeff, this basically terrifes me (not your post, but the current state of the church). My attitude toward all of this was that the church leadership clearly would know how to deal with oppression and I, as a layperson, didn’t have to have it all figured out. Now I see this isn’t the case and it’s shaken a lot of foundations. So many teachers and viewpoints I’ve trusted have come into question. I hope that the light soon shines bright in the darkness.

      • Jeff Crippen

        I know exactly what you mean by this feeling of terror. The implications are that the “church” is in a darkness akin to pre-Reformation days. I can understand ignorance of abuse initially preventing a Christian from understanding what the abuser is doing and what the victim is going through. I was in that boat myself for awhile. But does not Christ promise that His Spirit of truth and Spirit of error is in us, that every single Christian has been taught by the Spirit of Jesus, and should therefore — no, WILL therefore be able to discern truth from error, light from darkness, as the Holy Spirit teaching us through the Word of God reveals the truth? So then, why aren’t so many professing Christians able to see it? I was. And believe me, that ability didn’t come from me. No one taught me. The evil came my way. It took a long while, but eventually the lights went on. And so it has been for most all of our readers here as well.

      • Jeff, is this a typo? ” But does not Christ promise that His Spirit of truth and Spirit of error is in us, …”
        I’m not getting what you said. Surely we don’t have Christ’s Spirit of error in us? Christ does not have a Spirit of error.

      • Jeff, the thing I don’t understand is how the church has been blind to so much oppression in the past- everyone oppressed Capernicus, including Luther and Calvin- and then there was slavery, which we still feel effects from. Sometimes I think God must allow our great “heros” to have fatal flaws so we don’t confuse them with Christ- but as you say, what about the Holy Spirit? And why do churches that go so far as even denying the deity of Christ get this right while evangelicals get it so wrong? Is it a lesson in humility?

        I cannot help but bring up 1 Corinthians 5 again:
        It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 ESV)

        Yes, this example is sexual immorality, but “of a kind that is not tolerated even among the pagans” is such a powerful line. How disturbing when we get this stuff wrong and others get it right!

        In the end, I am terrified and confused on a worldly level, but I’ve also found I live less in fear of disappointing men and have a greater desire to find the heart of God. God is always moving, isn’t he?

      • Laurie

        The Bible tells us there will be a great falling away just before Jesus returns…and it has to be set pretty high for it to fall that badly. Babel is being built and calls itself the “Church” but it will fall. And God will call His own out from it before it does. On this we can rest.

    • MeganC

      I don’t know if this will make me seem like a strange lady . . . but my ex husband told me that when he was a young man (by young man, I mean 11 years old), he would beg Satan for pornography. He told the Enemy that he would worship him, do his bidding and so on, if he could only get his hands on more pornography. It always fell into his lap. He mentioned it to a pastor once and the pastor told him that he need “help from a brother” to rid himself of these afflictions and my ex told him “I’ll just wrestle them out.” It was then that I realized that this sin/demonic oppression had become his “friends”. He didn’t want them gone. And this is a man who was “called by God” to be a minister. And he was/is highly charming.

      • Megan, that description of your ex reminds me very much of the novel “The Visitation” in which a character turns to demons to be his “friends” and the evil totally consumes him. He goes on to thoroughly ruin peoples lives along with his own, being very charming and a pastor.

        I only mention it because the picture was so vivid in the novel, and it sounds like you lived it. The image makes me shudder- I am so sorry you had to endure that.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Jeff S – was that novel by Peretti?

      • MeganC

        Thank you, Jeff. That is very affirming. And I read that book years ago. I will pick it up and re-read that part. I am so glad to be free . . .

      • Yes, it’s by Peretti.

    • Martin

      Jeff, this is a great line of reasoning which sheds light on the great weakness in our churches today – virtually no church maintains sobriety and vigilance even though Peter clearly prescribed those virtues as essential to Christian spiritual health (1 Peter 5:8).

      I find it interesting to reflect on Calvin’s church discipline. Church leadership, through church discipline, ensured a sober and vigilant congregation and a proper defense for the church. Today, do you know of any truly sober and vigilant evangelical congregations? I don’t know of too many. Good entertainment and a pleasing experience are the order of the church day – church discipline is old fashioned to the modern evangelical churches. Consequently, evil abounds and everyone rejoices in grace while the Devil’s foothold grows larger by the day. Christianity wanes while Islam, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witness all rapidly expand.

      Don’t you think if more churches promoted a truly sober, vigilant, and disciplined approach to Christian life then the Devil’s foothold would be thwarted? Do demons run amok because we’ve invited them in with our complacency?

      • I agree Martin, but at the same time, we need to be aware that Calvin’s church did not always get it right, and in particular, made a very grave error in the way it handled domestic abuse. See appendix 15 in my book, where a Christian noblewoman wrote to Calvin asking for his church to give her safe refuge from her murderous Catholic husband, and Calvin refused to give her refuge because he claimed she hadn’t tried hard enough to demonstrate her faith to her husband.

      • Song

        Thank you, Barbara. I so appreciate your care and wisdom.

      • Laurie

        Yet if you are not careful, the rituals of being watchful can become judgmental and self elevating…now is the time to walk with Jesus. Really great sermon on this by Paris Reidhead–ten shekels and a shirt. Highly recommended.

      • Martin

        Thanks, Barbara. That’s a great reminder regarding Calvin’s church.

  11. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog and commented:
    If you know someone in an abusive relationship you should read this article by Jeff Crippen

  12. I’ve had internet problems for a day and have been missing this discussion as it unfolded. I missed so much! I miss you all so much!

    Like Megan, I’ve been a little wary of mentioning the demonic on this blog, but I’m glad it’s come up. I think it is a very important part of the picture, and I want to thank Jeff Crippen for making it the topic of a blog post, and for everyone embracing the discussion here.

    I agree that the activity of the demonic kingdom is both a metaphor for abuse, and a real contributing factor (though not the only cause) in many actual abuse scenarios. Quite a few survivors have told me how their abuser, at his worst moments, would have ‘dead eyes’ like no-one was there, or eyes that were blazing with the darkness of pure hatred. And many of us survivors know that phenomenon of our abusers suddenly switching to an abusive outburst, flipping in a microsecond from seemingly ‘normal’ grouchiness, selfishness or laziness, to a TNT explosion of unbelievable proportions. We may sense, at those times, that we are dealing with more than just the abuser, something evil and sinister and other-worldly is right there with him, in him, threatening us, spewing its hatred at us, trying to terrify us, destroy our faith, stop us going to church, incapacitate us, destroy us. People talk about the extraordinary physical strength of people who are in unrestrained rage. The police sometimes encounter this; there was a case recently in Australia where 4 or 5 burly police officers testified that they could not hold a deranged man down because he had superhuman strength. What is this, if not demonic power?

    On the question of the state of the so-called evangelical church, I too am very worried. We have all this edifice of buildings and members and ordained leaders and parachurch organisations and people who think they are Christians going to regular services and Bible studies and prayer meetings and conferences . . . and it seems like so many of them are pretending the Emperor is wearing glorious clothes, whereas in fact he’s blind and naked.

    • Yes, Barb! I think we were posting at the same moment because I hit post comment and then yours appeared. My husband always had extreme strength for his size. Other people often commented on it. And, it was like someone flipped a switch. It did seem as though his eyes literally changed color, darkened. I’m reading your post and shaking my head, saying, “Yes, yes! I have seen that!”

      • Laurie

        one eye would dilate huge and the other would shrink, fluctuating back and forth at ten second intervals, the voice going from crying to demanding to purring to crying to pleading…my children say they saw his eyes completely black, no whites, no color. And I often wondered, God, do I have to submit to a man who is tweaked by the devil? Is that not, in essence, submitting to satan in the end?

  13. WARNING: POTENTIAL TRIGGER! GRAPHIC!

    Megan, it doesn’t make you seem strange at all! I was planning to share a thought already because of some of the other comments, but yours really solidifies my desire to share this. The very first time my husband attacked me was about a month into our 16 year marriage. He came home late from work, and I was relieved he was home, glad to see him. I started walking toward the door, smiling. He threw the door open, practically ran toward me, grabbed me by the throat and started shoving me backward. He choked me while shoving me through four rooms. He finally slammed me against a bedroom wall, still choking me. He head butted me but didn’t pull back. He shoved his head against my forehead very, very hard and in a deep and strange voice said, “I’m going to blow satan out my @$$&*#!” He then collapsed onto the bed and immediately fell asleep. I called an older woman friend who attended a Pentecostal church (I guess I thought they knew better how to deal with demons! LOL), and she said that he was possessed. She told me to lay hands on the door and pray over him. She was going to lock herself in the bathroom at her job and pray. As soon as I started praying there was a knocking sound in the pantry. It happened every single time I tried to pray over him that day! My Pentecostal friend said it was a “distracting spirit.”

    Fast forward almost 17 years to last winter. A new woman came to my DV support group. They had placed her in the safe house. She had a drug and alcohol background and looked rough. She had been beaten badly. When she shared her story though, what really seemed to freak her out and scare the most was that it was the first time this guy had attacked her and as he did he ripped open his shirt, beat on his chest, and said, “I am satan.”

    I have heard similar stories way too many times now to think that the behavior of violent men stems from anything but demonic possession.

    • Dear ANewFreeLife, thanks for sharing that, and for the trigger warning too. These things are important and need to be told. We are not crazy. This stuff happens.

    • Bethany

      ANewFreeLife- Thank you and everyone else who uses the Trigger warning. It is a very important part of the site that has helped me a great deal. I make it a point to minimize my screen and pray before reading any posts with a trigger warning and I find that it works wonders to help me look past the feeling of dread and flow of memories and be able to learn from others stories.

  14. Song

    Anonymous, I’m so sorry for what you and your family endured at the hands of your father. You are wise to go at a pace that is comfortable for you.

  15. Song

    Jeff, I really appreciate this. I believe I’ve tip-toed around this idea for awhile, and you have found a way to verbalize my thoughts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  16. Lynette D

    After reading all these comments about possession, which makes a lot of sense, I thought of a scripture reference- “Don’t give the devil a foothold”. So I believe by not confronting abuse we are doing exactly that. It makes me wonder if this is part of the reason the church doesn’t have the power it should. We are allowing evil to move forward.

    • Martin

      Lynette,

      AMEN! Well said!

  17. A Non A Mouse

    WARNING THIS MAY BE A TRIGGER

    Wow, this has really hit home. My abuser got angry one night after I went to bed. I believe he was in the office viewing pornography. He came into the bedroom after I was asleep and told me he was going to take what he wanted. He jumped on me and started to rape me. I told him “NO” but he continued. I struggled to get away from him, but he was twice my size and I was scared to kick him off in fear that he would really hurt me. He then grabbed my neck and was strangling me. As he was strangling me he was growling, with what I would consider a demonic/evil sounding growl. It was dark, but if I could have seen him I’m sure his face would not have been human. When he did get off of me he pushed me onto the floor. As I sat cowering on the floor, I was praying. He growled at me “Your God can’t help you”. Tell me that’s not demonic.

    • Well to state the obvious: it sure sounds demonic to me, a non a mouse.

      I’m going to say some things that are very obvious but it never does any harm to remind ourselves of these wonderful truths:

      The growled assertion, “Your God can’t help you,” is a lie direct from the father of lies.
      I think the devil is really furious about the fact that God can and does help his own. God loves us so much it is not possible to put into words how much He loves us, and how He makes provision for our welfare, safety and joy in Him (1 Cor. 2:9). And although in our small human selves we are powerless against the onslaught of hatred from the devil, in Christ we have Christ’s power, authority to command and rebuke the enemy.

      I know it sounds a little corny, but sometimes I have found it helpful to say out loud: “I speak off that lie from the enemy. I rebuke any demonic being that wishes to use that lie to keep its hooks in my mind. I command you to leave. Lord Jesus, please take away the fear and the sting of that memory, and pour your peace into my mind. Thank you Lord, thank you. Amen.”
      (or words to that effect)

      • Martin

        Excellent Barbara! In Christ we have victory by prayer in His name! I really have found Mark Bubeck’s The Adversary to have many such useful prayer recommendations along with tons of great Scriptural support.

  18. Anonymous

    My dad used to tell my mom that her God couldn’t help her either ! Or he would say , where is your God now ? ” after he would do something awful . I had totally forgot about that until reading your story a non a mouse . I am so terribly sorry for your suffering . Abuse is horrendous and ruins a person systematically .

    • Jeff Crippen

      This thing of abuse, especially if the victim is a Christian, is probably far more commonly rooted in demonic hatred for Christ than we all might realize.

      • MeganC

        Absolutely agree.

  19. Thank you Anonymous. How awful that must have been. I can understand it took years to deal with that memory. (((hugs))) to you, and to your mom and your siblings as well, if they want them.

  20. Joyce

    Thank you for bringing up the demonic. And yes, divorce would be like deliverance but not as long as my husband still has any visitation with our kids.

    I felt my abuse was very demonic. It was like my husband had two personalities and one was extremely evil. He would flip back and forth. I would watch to see which one he was at any moment. My children could see it too and we all lived in fear beyond reason. We could feel it before we would see it. We only saw the bad personality the last 2 years we were with him. My youngest has said “Mama I see yellow eyes looking at me out of Daddy’s face.”

    Yes, I felt it was hatred for Christ, in fact I felt it was an anti-Christ spirit. He would get enraged if he walked in on prayer or Bible study I would have with the kids. He would get especially enraged by any mention of demons…

    I just want to say, that even if it is demonic, the person is still responsible for his actions. I watched God give my husband chance after chance to get help. Out last pastor even had years of experience with casting out demons and made a tremendous effort to get close enough to him where he could help him. When the pastor finally tried to address something with him, my husband attempted to shut down his church. My husband’s behavior may have been fueled by demons but I believe the malice that directed it had to do with his own heart.

    • ” … even if it is demonic, the person is still responsible for his actions. …My husband’s behavior may have been fueled by demons but I believe the malice that directed it had to do with his own heart.”
      Joyce, this is correct theology. Satan had entered into Judas when he went to betray Jesus to the Jewish leaders, but Judas was responsible for his own actions:

      “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
      (Matthew 26:24 )

    • I also watched God give my husband chance after chance. God spoke to him one day while he was at work, with the kind of perfect mixture of stern reproof and concern that only God can deliver. My husband was so impressed he went and got some paper and wrote down exactly what God had said to him, and came home and told me that evening. He said God had told him to ask me how I wanted him to treat me. I was so shocked I almost fell over! This was my answer, “Treat me with respect, and don’t swear in front of me.”
      It wasn’t like a gave him a long list of things to do. Just two simple requests. But he didn’t fulfill them. It was same old same old after a day or two.

      And when he was charged over criminal matters about three years later, I watched God give him chance after chance to tell the truth to the court (i.e., plead guilty). He prevaricated repeatedly, putting off entering a plea by using all sorts of delaying tactics in court, and then he finally pled ‘not guilty’. God had certainly given him many chances, but he would not take them.

      Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:24-25)

      • Bethany

        My husband did the same thing in court. He stayed in jail for over a month becouse no one was going to post his bail and he refused to enter a plea and then when he did finily plea he plead “not guilty”. He was found guilty by the courts though and was ordered to go to DV classes (which he has yet to go to) and to stay away from me and the children for 3 years!!! God is GOOD!!

    • MeganC

      Joyce — I could have written all that you just wrote. My son spoke of yellow eyes, as well. And the flip-flopping describes exactly what my ex would do. And he had many chances to get help — many offers. I am so sorry for what you have been through. 😦

    • Song

      Joyce,
      OMG! The yellow eyes! I’ve seen those in my husband during one of his tirades! I’ve never heard anyone else talk about seeing yellow eyes, or a yellow color in someone eyes. Thank you for sharing that bit. It so validates what I had experienced. His eye color has always been light brown color, but about 2 years ago they changed to dark brown. It was during the time when I was becoming more resistive to his manipulative behavior and his was “turning up the heat”. It’s very creepy, and no one believed me when I told them his eyes changed color… not our Christian friends who professed to have had the gift of discernment and the ability to set people free from demonic influence, not even his Christian doctor, who said eye color normally doesn’t change in a person.
      Thanks again, Joyce for sharing that.

      I’m so sorry you and your children are having to go through that. I agree completely with you that the malice is about his own heart and he is responsible for his behaviors.

  21. Anonymous

    Yep , my dad also had yellow eyes that looked like they were going to pop out of the sockets because they were bulging so much .. My dad would spew spit out of his mouth as he was screaming too . It was absolutely terrifying . He was so manipulative that I was always in some sort of confusion as a child .. I still have trouble with this , all these years later .

  22. Seeing the Light

    I know this post and comments are almost five years old now, but I have been having some thoughts again about the role of the demonic world in our home. I’ve been married for over two decades and my health began to fall apart almost as soon as I accepted his proposal. In truth even before the proposal, as we began to spend more time together in our youth, I found myself feeling depressed and low where I had not before. Once we were married, my whole life took a turn for the worse. It has been one health complication after another – odd things, strange things, things going wrong for no apparent reason when I visit a health care professional.

    I know his family had a history in witchcraft and a cultic religious that I won’t name for identification purposes. I keep wanting to get a leg up and try to get my children and me out of here. I know that without full custody he will make all of lives miserable through the children and visitation. I just can’t seem to every see clearly and each effort I make at gaining strength seems blocked in such a way that it just doesn’t even make sense anymore. I have up until now blamed everything on my complex-PTSD and my health having broken from the abuse, but the obstacles that keep popping up are not of my own making. If they are oppressing or possessing him, does that mean they have free access to harass the children and me – and me especially in my health? I pray and pray for deliverance and look for what God would have me to do, but it’s two steps forward, two or three steps back – sometimes I can hold just enough ground not to lose more, sometimes I lose more. How much ground are they allowed with us due our connection to him? I don’t know if anyone knows the answer to these questions. I see that Martin had written of demonic bondage while with his ex-wife.

    • Hi STL, you wrote:

      If [demonic forces] are oppressing or possessing him, does that mean they have free access to harass the children and me – and me especially in my health? I pray and pray for deliverance and look for what God would have me to do, but it’s two steps forward, two or three steps back – sometimes I can hold just enough ground not to lose more, sometimes I lose more. How much ground are [demonic forces] allowed with us due our connection to him? I don’t know if anyone knows the answer to these questions.

      I think you are right – no one except the Lord Himself knows the answer to these questions. And personally, I would not trust anyone who claimed to know the full and total answers to your questions. I have had quite a few experiences of demonic forces and demonic attacks myself; many years ago I read and studied about it a fair bit, in order to try to understand my experiences and the experiences of some other people I knew. But I came to the conclusion that while some Christians claim to have all the answers regarding the demonic realm and how it can affect human beings, the ones who claim to have all the answers generally turn out to be pretty flaky and/or controlling types of people.

      But while it may not be possible to know the exact answer to your questions, I think it is reasonable and pretty logical, given what you’ve described, for you to be thinking about whether and to what extent the forces of darkness may be affecting you and your situation. Complex-PTSD is indeed real, and health issues are real when reliable doctors have diagnosed them as such… but it is also true that there are consequences for sin and some of those consequences (I’m speaking here about the sins of your abuser) are very profound. And the devil and his demons like people to stay bound in sin and the effects of sin.

      To some extent (maybe a very great extent) your husband has by his repeated sinning given himself over to the evil one and thus allowed demons to influence and motivate and drive him. How much ground that gives the demonic to have over you I can’t say. Certainly it might help to ask God to guide you in how to pray in this regard. And I will pray for you too.

      My personal experience, from when I was dealing with demonic attacks in my life since I became a Christian, is that it didn’t help me to get into a pothole of worrying about the ‘legal ground’ that demons may or may not have in me because of the sins I had done prior to my conversion or the sins that had been done to me and by me prior to my conversion. Those sins, in my own particular case, were sexual abuse (done to me), serious sexual immorality (done by me), bulimia and drug abuse (the sin of greed) and my having gotten into the occult and various pagan & New Age beliefs. I remember feeling particularly terrified when someone said to me “Every person you have ever had sex with — you have a spiritual connection with that person.” Because I’d been very promiscuous, that was a horrifying thought to me and it could have driven me into a pothole of constant worry and fear. To avoid that, I found it helpful to focus on verses that speak about:

      Resisting the devil and demolishing the arguments of the evil one (James 4:7; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; Eph. 6:11-17)

      Christ’s victory and the believer’s assurance in Christ (1 John 4:4; Is. 54:17; Rom. 8:37; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Thesss 3:3; Zech. 4:6; John 10:10; Romans 8:31-39; Psalm 91:1-4)

      I hope that doesn’t come across as a Pollyanna-ish suggestion to you. I am not in your shoes and I don’t have the health problems you have, nor am I living under the fearful darkness of your abuser. If what I’ve said seems irrelevant to you, just trash it.

      Here are some posts which you may find helpful:

      Domestic Abusers and Demonization

      Dealing with a spiritual stronghold

      Matthew 21 with poetic licence

      Abuse as an Attack on Marriage by the Evil One

      Signs of the Dark Kingdom

      My Own Private Dexter: Insights into the Psychopath – by Deborah

      Wise as Serpents: Christ is Risen and Satan is Thrown out of Court

    • KayE

      I used to worry about this stuff, a lot. I think Barbara is absolutely right in saying that we cannot really know all the answers. I used to have books from my pentecostal days about how to deal with the demonic etc. But I tossed them in the garbage. For myself, I’ve found it best to stop myself focussing on the very real evil forces against me, no matter whether they might be human or demonic, and instead keep looking to God as my protector and deliverer. I’ve find the Psalms a real lifeline for this.

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: