A Cry For Justice

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

Thoughts from Psalm 56 for this Lord’s Day

To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.

What can flesh do to me? All day long they injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil. They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life. For their crime will they escape?

In wrath cast down the peoples, O God! You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
(Psalm 56:1-13)

If you are a Christian, that is to say, if you know Jesus Christ by being born again through faith in the gospel of Christ, then know this: God is for you. Though every evil human being on this planet be against you, God Almighty is for you. This means that He sees it all. He hears your every cry to Him. He knows every detail of the wicked enemy who works to destroy you.

And He is keeping track of it. Every detail. Every syllable. Every lying glance and every conspiring thought. He has, as the Psalmist says, kept count of your tossings and put your tears in a bottle.

In this present day, there are many, many abuse victims whom we just cannot help. I mean, we cannot go get them, whisk them away, set them up in a new house and provide for them in a safe, guarded place. We all wish we could. But we cannot. Sometimes perhaps, but most of the time, no. Some will get completely free. Some will escape but still have to be taunted by the wicked one. And some never escape. Some, as grievous as it is to say it, perish. They are killed.

But this is not the end. Oh no. God still has the evidence in His heavenly chamber. He has the records. And on that Great Day to come, He will bring it all out. Perfect, eternal justice will be effected then. What can man do to me? Kill my body, but that’s about it. Torment me for some years, but not forever. That Day is rushing at us at terrific speed. Christ is going to be revealed, and then the play days of the wicked will be over forever.

Victims and survivors – be encouraged. What can man do to you? Abusers, tremble, because you are going to find out what God can do to you.

35 Comments

  1. MeganC

    Oh, so encouraging. His justice cannot come soon enough . . . .

  2. Miss understood

    So encouraging, such understanding, so thankful when I am about to faint from weariness, I can read something like this and have hope. Thank you.

  3. Heather

    Thank you, Jeff. We all need this reminder. It helps us to carry on in spite of betrayal, Abuse, pain, crimes against us, etc. Even our physical lives are in His hands. We are not meant for this world. We endure while here. We live and love and learn, until the day we see Him face to face.

    I’m always encouraged by the strength and courage you have from Him which spills out over the rest us.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. healingInHim

    Thank you, Jeff. Commenters before me have already stated it all so well. Thank you also for the exhortation from the pulpit:-)

  5. Jesus said, “If you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”
    He also asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?”
    Those who persecute and harm Jesus’ sheep, are persecuting and harming Jesus Himself. Good post. thank you.

  6. Brenda R

    This was such an encouragement to me this morning. My pastor has been preaching through the Psalms and has never once said anything about abuse. So many just don’t see it. What I really want to do, is what you say we can’t and I know it is true: free each and every abuse victim. It is so encouraging that no matter what man does to us, they do it to Jesus and he will not forget.

  7. Anne

    I’m in the thick of trying to extract myself from my situation of over two decades. Yesterday while driving to the grocery store – someone drove on my tail and then zoomed around me in anger – speeding in a residential area. I prayed for a police officer to “get him.” I am so enmeshed in my own galling circumstances – and it seems as if the wicked just get away with everything – and the Church aids and abets. Why? Why? Why? It’s so backward. And it never seems to end. Everywhere I turn is just another dead end. It’s a bad dream you can’t wake up from. I needed to read this. I’m camping out in Psalm 71 and 73, too, this week. The Psalms are what keep me in survival mode emotionally and spiritually. I’ve been lurking on this site for a long time and devour every post as it comes out. This place is like an oasis against a burning landscape.

  8. Seeing Clearly

    You message refreshes a picture in my mind that God gave me a long time ago. Resting under a huge shade tree are all those abused; past, present, future. Of course, Jesus is resting beside each one of us. All land surrounding the cool shade is burning sand of the most arid desert. This is where all abusers stand, tormented, scorched, wanting, once again, what isn’t theirs; shade, refreshing, and Jesus. Thank you.

    • Jeff Crippen

      He’s coming Anne. He is coming

      • Seeing Clearly

        Anne, I know it doesn’t feel cool, refreshing, and shady. But that is where you are with Jesus sitting beside you, weeping, with you. We are sitting with you. You are not alone, tho it seems that way. Ask God to open your eyes to see hope. That is what I pray for you now. A dear friend told me that she prayed often, ‘God, lift me above it’.

  9. So encouraging! Part of the courage to move forward comes from people who DO UNDERSTAND abuse as God does, as David did, and bring cups of cold water to those who need it, to the hurting! The hope presented in this post that God is for us and collects our tears in His bottle, is coming with His records, is a balm of healing! Thank you, Jeff, for this message!.

  10. laurie

    Much needed, thank you!

  11. Still Reforming

    There is a balm in Gilead – and you just applied it. Thank you. (This reminds me of a most excellent movie about two victims of abuse – mostly about one, but another is shown in it as well. One manages to escape; The other is delivered another way. It’s called The Spitfire Grill. It really tells the story well of an abused young woman and how people just don’t understand what the abused person’s life is like. Anyway, she sings part of this song, “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole…” at one point. It came to mind while reading your post.) Thank you for understanding. That means the world to the wounded out here.

  12. Valerie

    Thanks Jeff for the encouraging post. It was a balm for me as I realized the truth of what you wrote- that God has seen even the “dirty looks” of the abuser. I tend to think about the bigger issues of the destructive things my husband has done to me over the years but it is in those moments of the silent treatment, the icy stare, refusing an embrace and the thousands of hurtful things he has done that has added to the weight of the pain on a daily basis.

    I have been particularly weary recently as it seems my unrepentant husband continues to “win” through the divorce. So many times in the Psalms we read “Why does evil persist??!!” Yet my prayer for my abusive husband is that he will come to repentance and submit to God before he leaves this earth.

    I, too, have found untold comfort in the Psalms through this experience. As in Romans 8 It is through often through them that my heart groans to God when I have no words to express my weariness and pain.

  13. thepersistentwidow

    Jeff, This is a beautiful post. The abuse that you lived through was not in vain. God used those experiences to mold you into a unique pastor who brings comfort to abuse victims. You really understand. Thank you for your ministry to us.

    • thepersistentwidow, I so agree!

  14. Barnabasintraining

    Thank you, Jeff. Amen.

  15. anonymous

    I needed this reminder, that God stands with me and knows, REALLY knows what is going on, even to the point of gathering our tears. thank you for this post-it blessed and helped me more than words can say.

  16. survivorthrivor2

    Thank you for this reminder. So often, even though spiritually and intellectually we know God is for us, we get drug down by the sheer weight of all we have endured for so long. Looking back, before I knew what & who I was dealing with in my husband, I was in a fog of sorts, going through the motions and not really living and loving and just pretending to enjoy life, but not really. I didn’t really even read my Bible. I had watched my husband read it all the time, and he made sure I knew he was reading it, how much and how long and how spiritual it made him. It disgusted me to the point of not wanting to read it for fear of looking like him! I have tried to go to Pastor after Pastor and each time I have been disregarded, disrespected, and dismissed because my husband is such a wonderful, spiritual guy! The very first Pastor I ever went to and told that I was an abused wife, and so were my children; the very next week that Pastor asked my husband to be a member of the worship team! What? How? Why? It took every bit of courage I had to even go to him, and when I did, my worst fears were realized, I shrunk back into my dark, loveless, painful existence and hid. I was afraid if I spoke of it again or pushed the issue of his abusiveness I would be blamed and I would be taken away from my children – and then they would be left with him! I couldn’t chance that, so I retreated. All the Pastors who wouldn’t listen or help me & my kids are still in close proximity, I have had daydreams of writing a brief note (don’t have a clue what I would say) to them individually and send them a copy of the book “A Cry For Justice” in hopes it might open their eyes and possibly help other women. Thank you for reading my words…..finally I feel someone is listening and cares.

    God bless you!

    • welcome,survivorthrivor2 🙂

      Not reading the Bible because your abuser did it so ostentatiously it gave you an aversion to doing it . . . I’ve never heard that before, but I can well believe it!

      Isn’t it amazing how they invert every single little thing!

    • healingInHim

      Dear survivorthrivor2, YES; ACFJ does listen and they care. I continue to pray for this ministry because of their passion for showing the true Gospel of Jesus Christ by educating and encouraging the vulnerable according to His infallible Word. Don’t give up on the purity of the Word just because wolves have twisted the Scriptures. Blessings and praying for you and your loved ones.

    • Jeff Crippen

      survivorthrivor2 – As we have said many times, the “Christian” abuser is the worst kind of abuser. It is very encouraging to hear that you are coming out of that fog and seeing what he is in reality. And those pastors! Oh man, reports like yours still raise my ire. I mean….to KNOW that a guy’s wife has just reported him to be abusive, then turn right around and ask him to help lead the church in the worship of God! This is why I often tell people, “I am a pastor and have been for over 30 years. I know of a good pastor here and there. But I want to say that all in all, I don’t like pastors. I liked police officers better when I was one of them. At least when things started to go down, you could count on them. Not so with pastors.” That sounds so negative, I know, but that is how I feel and it is because of the wicked things that I have seen pastors do in not standing for people like yourself. Be assured that the “worship” offered in that church where your husband is, is putrid to the Lord. Many blessings on you in Christ. We are very glad you are here with us.

      • Not Too Late

        survivorthrivor2’s post brings up the conflictual feelings about being a Christian survivor. You hang on to the Lord because He heals and nourishes you, but you can’t trust His people, the church. You live in a place where you can’t stand the behavior of Christian bystanders who look the other way and so-called Christian leaders who are abusers in their private lives. Church is not the same experience any more. It’s no longer the safe place you once believed it to be. You sing about being one in Christ but you know that you don’t trust the people sitting in your pew.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Not Too Late – I really believe that what is happening in this kind of experience you describe is that we are immersed in false churches filled with counterfeit Christians. I know that is astounding, but really how else can we explain the oppression of the oppressed that we see in these places? I think that the gospel has been so compromised that Christ is not present. This is discouraging on the surface of it, but as we think it through it is an encouragement. Why? Because it tells me that these wicked things are not being done by Christ’s true people.

      • Thanks Jeff, I have had the same ire for this particular so called Pastor for a long time. I think I forgive him, but he was a real winner. Before I married the N, I was engaged to another man, he sort of swept me off my feet, looking back I was very vulnerable at that point in my life and confused about Christianity in general. We did some marriage counseling with this same pastor and I can’t even remember what we spoke about but it was very minimal. I found out much later that he had been married 3 other times! I was to be wife #4! I actually found out from his step mom. I called off the wedding although lots of preparation had already been done. But, my gut told me that this was not right, he should have told me himself. I heard later that this pastor knew about all his marriages & divorces and when asked about why he hadn’t told me, from another pastor on staff, he replied, “She has a good head on her shoulders, she’ll be fine.” I was furious! But, unfortunately I was so busy trying to survive all the other church people crucifying me for calling off the wedding, I had no strength or wherewithal to deal with him. The church has failed it’s own for as long as I have been a believer! Sad, but true…

    • Valerie

      Survivorthrivor2,
      it makes my stomach churn when even to this day my stbx leaves the bible open along with all kinds of Christian books. It is perverted to me. I think about the God I love and fear and it makes me nauseous if my abuser believes that the God I know gives him a hug and condones his behavior. (I know this isn’t true but it makes me sick to think that my husband could deceive himself to that extent).

      I remember well that fog of cognitive dissonance where what my sanity told me was true was the opposite of what he and others were telling me. It leaves the body feeling as though it were being torn in two.

      Good to find you here and “talk” to you again. ACFJ is a place of refuge.

      • Hi Valerie, I am replying because I have changed my name on here. I needed to be more anonymous, so take note so that we don’t lose track about keeping in touch.

        I have just recently thought about your comment regarding one’s own love of Jesus and how although no one is perfect, we have a commitment to God that is real and true. It says in scripture that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I cannot even fathom acting in such a way to a fellow believer, as we have been acted upon by these abusers. Who, as I understand it, knowingly and calculatingly perpetrate evil and hurtful acts on those they profess to love! It is frightening indeed! Where is the fear?

      • Hi survivorthrivor2, I’ve changed all the places on the blog which mentioned your previous name and have made them all into your new name. 🙂

        I did this with not just your comments, but with all the replies to your comments where the replier had mentioned you by name.

    • survivorthrivor2

      I’m sorry, I meant “A Cry for Justice.”

      • Jeff Crippen

        I fixed it, survivorthrivor2.

  17. Katy2

    Thank-you Jeff, for this Biblical reminder from God’s Word. May He richly bless you.

    • Hi Katy2, welcome to the blog. I hope you don’t mind but I changed your screen name from Katy to Katy2, because we have another Katy here.
      bless you 🙂

  18. Katy2

    Hello Barbara. I am so very thankful to have been led to this blog and Katy2 is just fine with me. I listened to your You Tube video “The Levite’s Concubine” yesterday and enjoyed the teaching you presented in a different way. Great lesson!

    I have learned so much in the short time I have visited here and appreciate all of you and the support offered here; it seems like a genuinely supportive family. May our LORD protect and bless all of you.

    • Thanks Katy2. I’m glad you found my Levite’s Concubine teaching helpful. I put a lot of time into preparing that talk.

  19. Finding Answers

    Barbara Roberts commented 1ST SEPTEMBER 2014 – 4:19 AM: “Isn’t it amazing how they invert every single little thing!

    Since I started reading the ACFJ blog less than one year ago, I have learned how much all my abusers inverted every single thing, including those things which remained hidden until my walls crumbled just over one year ago.

    The Holy Spirit has led me every step of the way, through uncharted territory, mapping new landmarks.

    Psalm 56:3-4 English Standard Version (ESV)

    3 When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.
    4 In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?

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