This is a sermon delivered by Jeff Crippen at Christ Reformation Church. (link) It presents a realistic view of the abuser who has persisted in abuse without repentance for many years all the while claiming to be a Christian.
“The Perilous Danger of Hypocrisy – the Path of the Reprobate”
October 26, 2014
Sermon Text: Psalm 115
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 44:6-20
Hebrews 12:14-17 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (15) See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; (16) that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. (17) For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
This morning I want to speak to you about a very sobering topic which everyone who professes Christ must be warned about. Let’s state the thesis this way:
“If a person persists in walking the path of hypocrisy long enough, if a person who professes Christ is in fact professing a lie, following a “Christ” of his or her own imagination, that person (like Esau) will end as a reprobate, their eternal destiny sealed, and repentance no longer possible for them.”
Psalms 115:1-8 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! (2) Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” (3) Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (4) Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. (5) They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. (6) They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. (7) They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. (8) Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.
This past weekend as you know I was in Indianapolis for a conference on domestic violence in the church. When we deal with this subject, we necessarily deal with hypocrites. With people who wear a façade and masquerade as Christians when in fact they are children of the devil. They honor Christ with their lips, with their outward actions, with their mannerisms and glances. But their heart is far, far from Him.
The abuser is defined as:
A person who has a profound sense of entitlement to the possession of power and control over others and who feels fully justified in using whatever tactics are necessary to achieve and maintain that power and control.
In essence, the abuser is a person who declares – “I will be like the Most High.” He or she sees himself as deity, as God.
And these kinds of people wear disguises. They creep in among us. They are wolves in wool. They are enemies and they are in local churches often in positions of authority, successfully deceiving others into believing that they are eminent saints. All the while they spew their evil upon their spouse and children behind the scenes. They bully others in the workplace if they can.
Now, as I said, when we deal with the “Christian” abuser (who is no Christian at all), we are necessarily dealing with this matter of hypocrisy. The subject is brought to our minds and we must consider it. Now, the abuser is not the only kind of person who travels the path of hypocrisy. In some ways, for a time, all of us have been guilty of wearing a pious mask, behind which we hide our sin. But Christ will never permit His true people to keep wearing that mask. He effects repentance in us and strips the mask away, showing us our sin, and impelling us to turn from it.
The hypocrites I want us to focus on this morning however are not possessed of and led by the Spirit of Christ. They are not, therefore, Christians. Furthermore, if they continue to travel the highway of hypocrisy far enough and long enough, they will come to a sign that we might say reads – NO U-TURN. their destination? Hell. Some have already reached that no-return point, as Esau did. I trust no one here is traveling such a path, but I am bound as your pastor to warn you against it, and to equip you to recognize it and warn others who may be headed down Broadway approaching the “no-return” point.
Psalm 115 – Worship Them, Become Them
Listen once more to this sobering truth about those who create a false god, the very thing the “Christian” hypocrite does –
Psalms 115:1-8 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your Faithfulness! (2) Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” (3) Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (4) Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. (5) They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. (6) They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. (7) They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. (8) Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.
Here the Psalmist is pleading with God to act for His glory against His enemies. He calls upon his own people to place their entire trust in the Lord –
“Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.”
In contrast, consider the false gods of their enemies:
- Their very substance is of this creation – silver and gold. Created materials are their essence.
- They are fashioned by man’s own hands. The “creator” is created by the creature! Idols are, therefore, inferior to man!
- Idol gods cannot communicate with us
- Idol gods cannot see us or our condition
- Idol gods lack the capacity to smell the stench of evil or the aroma of righteousness, as can the living and true God
- They cannot act because they have no ability to act. No hands, no feet. False gods must be served and cared for by man.
- They are incapable of emotion or of sympathy or anger.
Now, here is the punchline – Those who make them become like them. Those who trust in them, become like them. This is an inviolable principle – if you have created or are worshipping a false “Christ,” then you are in process of becoming like that false god. You are becoming blind to the glory of Christ and deaf to His Word. When the gospel, when the Word of God is proclaimed to the hypocrite, it eventually becomes the same as preaching to a man-made, dead statue. Once that happens, there is no U-turn of repentance possible.
Listen to it in Isaiah –
Isaiah 6 – The Gospel as Judgment to the Reprobate
Isaiah 6:1-10 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. (2) Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. (3) And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (4) And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. (5) And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” (8) And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (9) And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ (10) Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
What would it be to come to a point at which the good news of the gospel becomes a ministry of condemnation to you? Here is Isaiah – don’t miss it – sent out to preach, and here is the message he is commissioned with:
“Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.”
His mission is to preach this message and thereby by means of the Spirit of God harden the hearts of the people, render them deaf and blind so that they cannot understand, cannot hear, cannot repent and be saved. Make no mistake. Isaiah is a missionary! But his mission is once of making these wicked people deaf and blind by pronouncing God’s judgment upon them. Why? Because they had persisted in creating and worshipping idols –
Isaiah 29:9-16 Astonish yourselves and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink! (10) For the LORD has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers). (11) And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” (12) And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.” (13) And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, (14) therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” (15) Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” (16) You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
This is the hypocrite you see. This is the person who has passed the “no return” point on the road of hypocrisy. What has he done? He has “drawn near” to the Lord with his mouth, but in fact his heart clings to a false god of his own making. Thus the Word of the Lord becomes gibberish to him and a message of condemnation that effects even more hardening of his heart. All because in his wickedness, such a person regard the Potter as the clay. The thing made (the creature) insisting that it is the Creator, and not God.
Now remember, these people to whom the Lord is sending Isaiah with this ministry of condemnation, hardening, and blinding, are the covenant people of God! They are “religious” people who make the claim to be the Lord’s chosen, yet they reject Him and embrace false gods. Therefore this sin of hypocrisy is effected within the visible church! This path is one which, in order to travel, requires an outward display of “Christian” religion. There are, therefore, people in local Christian churches who are growing harder and harder to the gospel every time they hear it proclaimed. Every time they whip off some Scripture to impress someone. While the abuser is not the only class of person who fits this mold, he certainly is a prime example.
Are you playing a game and calling it Christianity? Are you putting on a show but in fact your heart affections are not for Christ at all, but for this world and for yourself? Then you are on a perilous path which eventually will take you to that NO U-TURN point. And all that will happen to you here each week, or every time you pick up your Bible for some self-serving purpose, is that God’s powerful Word will harden you even more against Christ, make you more deaf to His Word and more blind to His truth.
Remember what Paul said earlier in 2 Corinthians about the gospel –
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, (16) to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
Listen now to what I believe is this very same theme described by the Apostle to the Hebrews:
Hebrews 6:4-8 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, (6) and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. (7) For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. (8) But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
What do we do in the church, in this church – with people who evidence this very kind of evil? The kind of person who oppresses others and has done so for many, many years without repentance and who at the same time wears this façade of godliness? What do we do with a person who has been in our midst in the church, who has heard the regular preaching and teaching of God’s Word in truth, who has partaken of the Lord’s Table and has made a profession of Christ in baptism, who knows the gospel is true, that Christ is the Son of God and died on the cross for our redemption – yet all he produces is a crop of thorns and thistles and misery to others?
While we do not know with certainty when a person is reprobate – ie, if they have actually reached that no U-turn point on the road of hypocrisy – we can and in fact must treat them as such. They are not to be among us. There is nothing more to be done for them. The Holy Spirit has actually done a work in them to the point of showing them the glory of Christ, yet they trample Him.
Notice once again that this sin described here in Hebrews can only be committed by someone in the visible church who claims to be a Christian! Therefore it behooves us to be aware of this rather common evil, to not be duped by it, and to put it out from among us. AND to be certain that WE are not traveling that same path.
1 John 5 – Someone to not Pray for
Here is still another Scripture that I conclude is addressing the very same evil –
1 John 5:16-18 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life–to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. (17) All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. (18) We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
This has a background in Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 7:8-16 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. (9) Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, (10) and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’–only to go on doing all these abominations? (11) Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD. (12) Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. (13) And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, (14) therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. (15) And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim. (16) “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.
Jeremiah 11:11-15 Therefore, thus says the LORD, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. (12) Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. (13) For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal. (14) “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. (15) What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds? Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult?
Jeremiah 14:10-12 Thus says the LORD concerning this people: “They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the LORD does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.” (11) The LORD said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. (12) Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”
See it? Here are people who have tasted of the heavenly gift. People who claim that they belong to the Lord. People who praise Him with their lips. But they do not obey Him. They do not love Him. And behind the scenes they worship idols and work their evil on others. Over and over the Lord had warned them and called them to repentance, but they rejected His calls. They have reached the no U-turn marker in the highway of hypocrisy. And God tells Jeremiah not to pray for them. This is the kind of person 1 John is speaking of.
While the Lord is longsuffering, His patience is not infinite. God does judge the wicked and there is a time when He withdraws from them and lets them go to their destruction. He removes His Spirit and they are left in their own darkness. The blackest darkness is that which awaits those who have received, and rejected, the greatest light.
Matthew 11:20-24 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. (21) “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (22) But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. (23) And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (24) But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
Therefore WE must not act in an ungodly manner by denying these truths. The Lord can save anyone, but He does not. We must not claim that Christ welcomes everyone into His church to be among His sheep. He does not. There are people who are not to be among us, and they are evidenced by lips that “honor” Christ but a heart that does not love and obey Christ. Such people who have persisted over time in this hypocrisy evidence themselves to be travelers on the road to hell. They are the hidden reefs who cause others to stumble, and they must not be allowed to continue in their façade.
May the Lord reveal each one of us to ourselves as to who we really are and protect His church from evil.
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.
30 thoughts on “The Abuser as Esau – A Sobering and Freeing Truth for Victims”
Powerful and humbling. Ps Jeff, your sermon causes me to search my own heart. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps 139:23-24). It also reminds me that God is holy, and though He is patient and forgiving, His very nature demands that His true children “…serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Ps 2:11).
Your sermon is a loving one. Church leadership that refuses to exercise godly discipline which may lead to repentance for known abusers is not only disheartening, but also shows a lack of understanding of WHO God really is and what His Word really says. It is not loving to wear the robe and literally walk abusers to hell by telling them “all is well” and “peace” when there is no peace for them. Woe to the many blind guides who fail to divide or handle God’s Word correctly…there is much blood on their hands.
The truly wise person will live and speak truth boldly and lovingly in an attempt to warn sinners and turn them from the error of their way and save their soul from hell fire. “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19). Many a spouse has removed herself from the abuser not only on the grounds of covenant breaking, but also with this hope, to save a soul from death, not only her spouse’s soul, but also her children’s.
These are the sermons needed everywhere. It’s scary to have a reprobate mind. I don’t recent my soon to be x, but I don’t feel the desire to pray fir him either. I wonder if God has turned him over to a reprobate mind? I mean God has warned him for years in dreams and he still hasn’t repented.
Thank you for this post, in all its wisdom & clarity! Just yesterday, my pastor said “never give up on anyone” & I was screaming inside “that is NOT scriptural!!” I am so grateful for the scriptures & prophets you referenced, and also the reality that, while we correctly believe in the infinite grace & love & wisdom, et al., of God, His “patience” is the one thing that is NOT infinite. Even God limits His patience toward the rebellious & those who erect idols in His place. Amen, Ps Jeff. Bravo, Brother.
A sobering message indeed.
Excellent, excellent, excellent!
The other danger that lies within here, is that victims can become so entrenched in the abuse and the abuser’s patterns, that they themselves can become in danger of entering into a confusion that causes them to doubt their own standing in Christ and with the help of twisted theology concerning marriage, begin to believe the lies the abuser propounds upon them or the twisted theology brought in by false teachers and / or well meaning Christians. Victims must do the right thing also and not play with fire here. Prov. 6:27 – “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?” ESV There can be real spiritual danger for a victim attempting to stay in an abusive situation.
IamMy…I must have been writing my post as you posted yours. My post is below and it follows with what you said:
(shortened version) Victims become so entrenched they themselves can enter into confusion that causes them to doubt their own standing in Christ. YES YES YES I know I am saved and that I love Christ so much, but because of my ex’s constant condemnation telling me I can’t possibly be a TRUE Christian because I divorced him, I did wonder if I would be punished like he said I would. I know lots of divorced people,though, and I am not seeing anything that looks like punishment falling on them…unless it comes later on Judgement Day.
I hate to read anything my ex sends me anymore, and I don’t even care to talk to him because his words can send me in to a tailspin, even now as I am finding truth. Will it always be this way? I am a smart person (said humbly, not in pride). Why am I so easily drawn in to his way of thinking? He can say things that sound pretty legitimate, but usually it’s laced with scorn, criticism, condemnation, judgement, sarcasm, etc. Even so, I can be drawn in. What is going on with that?????!!!!!!!!
You are easily drawn in, because you have been trained and brain-washed by the abuser. Of course it sounds legitimate – just like satan’s words to Eve! See my post below your last comment that I wrote to you. Hope it helps. It will not always be like this. You are just in the midst of coming out of it all and the fog is still pretty dense in Escapesville.
My ex sees me as the reprobate hypocrite. I have gotten dozens of message from him about this. He attacks me at the core of my being as a Christian by tearing me apart with unkind, unloving condemning messages for separating from and eventually divorcing him. I have questioned myself so many times asking, “Can this be true? I surely don’t see myself the way he sees me, and neither has anyone else in my world around me told me any such things like this. Can I be so blind? After all, he has been my husband for 25+ years. Maybe he is right?!?!?!”
Before my recent divorce, my ex would text and email me regularly that I have a hard, wicked, evil heart for tearing our marriage apart with my own two hands. He chided me for continuing to go to church because he says I am now a hypocrite for divorcing and still going to church (he says this to our kids, too), and that my church and its leadership is a farce for approving of my decision to divorce. The church did not “tell” me to divorce. I take full responsibility for it. However, I am comforted to know I do have people who supported me with prayer and encouragement through the horrid process. I am sad to read so many posts relaying the difficulties others have in their church bodies regarding divorce.
Regarding my ex and his stand that I am the reprobate, he says I am in the highest form of denial he has ever witnessed. He says God will refuse the worship of those who REFUSE to obey Him (my divorcing him is disobedience to God’s Word), and that I am an instrument of Satan and have blatantly turned against Christ’s commands. He says I am wicked and that God says so in Matthew 19. He warned me God would punish me for divorcing him (my ex), which is a sin. Even after the divorce, he wrote me that I have turned against God and disobey God’s Word. He says I will pay a price for my rebellion. He says God’s Word is not opinion but pure authority, and when God says He hates divorce, it declares to God and to all that I do not believe His Word. Then ex told me good luck with my rebellious, self-righteousness before God. He says God told me and my children to honor the authority God has assigned to him (my ex) and to examine my pitiful record to His Word. Then he ended with God bless you!
Never once in the past almost year has my ex come to me in sorrow for anything. Everything he says to me is full of condemnation and judgement. He thinks he has the right to say these things because I am now blind and can’t see the truth and God is using him to warn me that I am standing near the pit of hell for this awful thing I have done.
I sure wish one of you who is more wise to abusive tactics would talk to him. With this kind of verbage coming from him, I dread to think what it would be like going back under him. It was bad before, but now……
I saved 3 letters I wrote to him from over the years of our marriage addressing his bad behavior…he guilted me in to throwing away the many others I gave him (Love does not keep a record of wrongs, ya know.). When I start to doubt whether I did the right thing in leaving, I am comforted to read these 3 letters that lovingly, gently asked him to examine his behavior and to seek help for the sake of our whole family. I begged him to get help one last time last December, but he once again refused to me and also publicly in a message he sent out to many people after I left. I tried many times to get him to listen, but he wouldn’t hear or see or act. He sounds much like the reprobate you write about in your post.
We each think it’s the other.
TB- It isn’t you. His tactics and mentality reveal all.
TB-this is all part of the abuser’s crazy making that he does. This all is so familiar. I am currently writing a post on this topic. Just know, that the abuser’s goal in doing this is to weaken you and cause you to run from God instead of to Him, all in an effort to get you to return to him – as he considers himself and has made himself as a god. In the best interpretation of Scripture, God never says that He hates divorce. We know God hates the sin that causes divorce (several examples of that given by you that your abuser is currently and unrepentantly throwing at you).If your abuser was a godly man, he would not be making these godless threats to you. Consider, if he was truly a godly man concerned for the soul and the welfare of his godly wife, would he be acting THIS way? Answer: No.
You are not going back under him, because he is not repentant and will destroy you and cause you to come to the point where you really do believe it is you. His goal is to weaken and destroy, as is the goal of all power and control freaks aka abusers. We have learned NOT to talk to these kind of people, as they tend to try to suck everyone into their false and deceptively twisted world. Just stay focused on the Scriptures and pray for God to reveal His truth to you about your situation. Coming out of the confusion can take time. Also, try to remember that there is no rational reasoning with an abuser. He needs professional help. Hope that helps some.
And does he tell others that he has no idea why you left him? 😦
Pastor Jeff, This message really hits the nail on the head.
Thank you for bringing this refreshing message to a spiritually dry and barren land, thirsty for this truth that- if taken to heart, can and will set captives free..
The abuser himself stops at nothing to achieve his ultimate goal of power back over, including using the victims “own conscience” against her- to keep her bound to him.
Towards the end of an abusive relationship, one of the final things that remains intact is the victims own belief in God.
So it is little wonder why the Abuser uses the victims own belief in God as one of his his final weapons of warfare. “Hath God said?” He questions, and twists to manipulate the victim back to him. This is spiritual and psychological warfare at its most cunning.
Oftentimes the abuser gains support in his ultimate goal of power over with the help of a pastor and a deceived church..
My Ex-pastor pulled me aside one day after talking to my abuser, and told me that he feared for my eternity. ( talk about being duped!.)
But I knew what they “both were doing”, and refused to let “them guilt me” back into what I knew was a total sham of a relationship.
Stay strong TB, Power over another person in a marriage is not a unity that brings Glory to God.
On the contrary, it will destroy the potential of the victim spouse, as well as the children caught within this destructive cycle.
Praying for your strength and healing.
So true! And many of these abusers believe themselves to BE God so the victims (in the abusers evil mind) are sinning against them.
It’s often all that we have left–our belief in God–and the abusive spouse has only that to work with so they try like crazy to get us back under their authority by going after our last defense, and the church often joins in as a sort of battering ram. Super evil!
I am amazed at how timely it is for me to read this post and the comments!
TB, you summed up so well what many Christian women experience once separated or divorced: “Regarding my ex and his stand that I am the reprobate, he says I am in the highest form of denial he has ever witnessed. He says God will refuse the worship of those who REFUSE to obey Him (my divorcing him is disobedience to God’s Word), and that I am an instrument of Satan and have blatantly turned against Christ’s commands.”
IAMB’s, you spoke truth that sets women free from the abuser’s attempts to enslave: “Just know, that the abuser’s goal in doing this is to weaken you and cause you to run from God instead of to Him, all in an effort to get you to return to him – as he considers himself and has made himself as a god…You are not going back under him, because he is not repentant and will destroy you and cause you to come to the point where you really do believe it is you. His goal is to weaken and destroy, as is the goal of all power and control freaks aka abusers. We have learned NOT to talk to these kind of people, as they tend to try to suck everyone into their false and deceptively twisted world. Just stay focused on the Scriptures and pray for God to reveal His truth to you about your situation. Coming out of the confusion can take time. Also, try to remember that there is no rational reasoning with an abuser. He needs professional help. Hope that helps some.”
I couldn’t believe how this nails things. Ever since he “really got saved” 3 years ago, the abusive letter have increased, and especially the use of scripture. Just last week it was I John 2:11, making it clear that I am the one hating and walking in darkness. I don’t hate him. It is just so sad to see someone so blind and hurting so many people around him. But, he tell others I am the hard-hearted wife that is ruining our marriage. I am in so much pain I can’t respond even if I wanted to, and having the Bible I love so much used as a baseball bat against me can be so hard to deal with. I surround my little area with verses and songs God has given me, and they help me to not go reeling off into his crazy-making world. God loves me, God loves me, I am His and He is mine. “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; Make no tarrying, O my God.” Psalm 40:17
Jeff: this post has me pondering the elderly “Christian”, whose abusive behavior is excused precisely b/c they are elderly. I am not talking about those with dementia or senility, but those so-called Christians who are unteachable, unloving, unholy, ungrateful, unrepentant & abusive in speech & conduct, and whose pastors give them a pass, saying things like “well, the ‘aged brain’ is inelastic, so it’s unlikely they CAN change”. (I actually had a pastor say this to me.)
I don’t recall that Paul said in 2 Tim 3:5, “avoid people like this—unless they are elderly!” Furthermore, these same “aged-brain” people are perfectly “elastic” and capable when it comes to managing bank accounts, changing wills and beneficiaries, threatening to disinherit anyone they cannot control, addictive, “shopaholic” spending on clothes & beauty salons, driving their own cars, “doing lunch”, etc. In other words, they have created false gods, idols, unto themselves, and worship those idols rather than the God they say they love. Thus, they “produce a crop of thorns and thistles and misery to others”, which is why they are miserable to be around–and has nothing to do with being old and aged! (Many are in better health than I am!).
Have their hearts have been hardened by the very Holy Spirit who desired to transformed them? Is it possible, even probable, that the cranky old person at church is not a victim of their advancing age, but rather, is a rebel, an unrepentant reprobate whose heart has been hardened by creating idols of silver and gold, and has become like those uncaring, inanimate created things? That they missed the U-turn? If so, why are pastors so reluctant to call them out on it? Why is this hypocrisy coddled and excused? Why aren’t our “seniors” being held accountable? Why is this acceptable for ANY age? Believe me, I am empathic toward the elderly (having spent many years as a RN) but there are some in the church who harm the cause of Christ, and cause many to stumble, and then blame you for it.
It suddenly occurred to me that it’s not just “old age”, but it is as you have said here: unrepentant, hard, hypocritical hearts. Do you agree?? And what then should we do?
StandsWithAFist- These are really excellent observations. I agree completely. The fact is, we become what we worship. Step by step we become like the god(s) we revere. And if we are worshiping a false god, an idol of our own making, we will become like it – eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear. As to what to do with such people, the Bible’s instruction to us is the same no matter what age the person is, young or old. Admonish them, point out their sin to them, call for them to repent, and if they will not they are to be put out of the church. Doing nothing and letting them continue in our midst in their wickedness is rank disobedience to our King and it is cowardice.
Thank you, Pastor Jeff. If the pastor[s] won’t do it, then it IS cowardice. And grievous.
Oh, and StandsWithAFist – your thoughts here throw a whole new light on senior citizen ministry, do they not?
Jeff, I had to leave the Spanish Ministry and return to the English Service because there is a senior couple who practice hate, lies and division among the saints. The minister and other friends among them kept giving the excuse that they are old and already set in their ways. I held on to God’s word in 1st Corinthians where Paul addresses such “Christians” and says not to even sit and eat with them.
Oh my yes! Because the question then becomes: what to do with the pastor who will not put them out? That same pastor all but endorses their idolatry, thus perpetuates the evil—the evil that they cleverly re-name as “ministry”. The pursuit of holiness is exchanged for the lie that they are too old to expect such holiness or reverence for Almighty God. Hebrews 10:26-31 says,
The LIVING God! Have they no reverence or fear? Hebrews 12 :10-13 goes on to say we are disciplined by Him so that
It seems to me that the “senior ministry” has forgotten that the elderly still need to repent & be healed, that the “weak and feeble” CAN be strengthened. It’s just easier to ignore these warnings & blame it on aging, believing the elderly are “entitled” to bad behavior. Those same pastors will incur a stricter judgement, don’t you think?
Yes, they will indeed face a stricter judgment from the chief shepherd. And many of them will be revealed as false shepherds who never belonged to Christ at all.
This is indeed sobering. I think it has been 30 or more years since I have heard a preacher bring up anything about the reprobate. There was a time when it was mentioned often. There is so much flower and not enough Lion of Judah preached these days.
Excellent message. Hits very close to home for me and I’m still praying he isn’t to the no u-turn point. I’m going to pass this on to one of my pastors.
Thank you for the work you are doing!!
Such eye opening things on this site. I was a victim as a child of abuse, as was he from an evil childhood, as was his father and we believe gererations before that. I now care for him in his extreme old age, and happily say we are united in Christ now. He has truly repented of his past, and has worked mightily for many years to repair the damage he caused for us as children and to my mother. Believe me, I hated him with a passion, but wouldn’t leave home until I saw his change was real, and my mother smiling. He was told, by my mother, that his behaviuor must be genuinely reflected in how he treated the grand kids, or I could keep them from him.
Oh, the mark of the abused…I am wondering if I will be believed, or be considered delusional writing this now, I am 60, free, married with adult children and have a career. I’m truly me so I must say what echoes true…and how the slightest tinge of abuser in a person sends my mind spinning and groping to grasp the truth,,mum said I seemed to read people very well, and I know I do. So few true abusers change, but both my brothers, and al the grand kids see a hurt, tired old man trying to make right wrongs from decades ago. We discuss the past and work through why some things happened, and how, he asks could he have been Christs and behaved badly..weii….I don’t know, but I can see no self pity, just a strong desire for right.
You see, I passed some of that behaviuor onto my children, hardly aware until I heard myself one day, saying something mean. Oh, the pain and shame at that moment, the revelation that I too, was walking that path.
From that moment, I used my past to fight my future through Gods strength. Yes, I nearly got caught in that trap, but now I help those in the same wicked tangle. Nothing like feeling the pain to help others. I’m not sorry for myself, but am so glad my vow to Christ to seek healing and change for my family has been true. I can love my dear old dad now rather than repeat the pain. To see him wither and die without recognition of his years of good, after bad would be awful, empathy only works when true repentance and change takes place.
Gee, I ramble 🙂
Thanks Hilary! Your story is a rare one. Bless you.
The idea of a reprobate; honestly, this helped me breathe a sigh of relief. Perhaps that shows my own calloused heart towards this person, but it honestly makes sense.
No matter what I say, this person seems to be completely deaf and blind to it all. I can be screaming out in pain, and anguish and he literally turns away trying to plug his ears and assert his own blamelessness.
If it’s true, and someone can be so wicked and detestable in the sight of God, that the Lord has blocked him off from hearing the truth; that would be such a weight off my shoulders. That would mean there is a reason that nothing I say is registering; and that I do not have to fight anymore. That there is nothing left to prove.
And, if anything, I wish him all the best for the rest of his life here; because it seems like when the time comes, things are not going to be so great for him, since he’s chosen to refuse admission of guilt and cling to his own seared conscience.
I wonder if it’s beneficial to continue praying for someone like this?
Dear Sophie, it sounds to me like you are coming out of the fog! The fog is lifting, the mist is being evaporated, the cloud is clearing, and you are seeing more and more truth. Praise God!
I hope that doesn’t sound condescending of me. If it does, please say so. 🙂
Here are some of our posts which I think you will find helpful:
Have I prayed enough? – a question often asked by victims of domestic abuse
To pray for our abusers… or not? (we don’t need to pray for the sin that leads to death)
Lord, Do Not Forgive Them, For They Know Exactly What They Are Doing
And here is our tag Praying For The Abuser.
You can browse all our tags in the top menu.
Amen, Pastor Jeff!
And a shout-out to all who commented.
Much to process.
I keep praying I am not the reprobate, that I still have ears to hear, that my heart is not made of stone.
A thought on those who write of the aged / seniors / elderly. Could it be the unspoken, underlying – perhaps unconscious – “teaching” is “Respect your elders.”?