A Cry For Justice

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

If you Are a Christian, then You Practice Hatred. Really!

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.


The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

Oh you who love the LORD, hate evil! (Psalm 97:10)

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalms 139:19-24)

You cannot fear the Lord and not hate evil. In fact, Solomon says that the fear of the Lord IS (put an = sign here) hatred of evil. Evil does not exist in disembodied form. Evil is in and practiced by people. Thus Solomon says that the fear of the Lord is hatred of evil people. Yep. Really.

Still not convinced?

The Psalmist in Ps 139 puts it right out there. He prays that the Lord would kill the wicked. He tells the wicked to get away from him, stay away from him, and not to darken the door of his house or church again. Who are these wicked? They are the ones who speak against the Lord willfully and maliciously. They are the ones who take His name in vain – that is to say, who put on a facade of “godliness” but in fact hate God.

The Psalmist’s attitude toward them? He loathes them. He detests them. He hates them fully and completely. They are his enemies.

AND THEN THE PSALMIST PUTS HIS HEART RIGHT OUT THERE BEFORE GOD AND PRAYS THAT THE LORD WOULD SEARCH HIS HEART FOR ANY EVIL IN IT!! What does that tell you? It tells us that hatred of the wicked is righteousness. So get this, and get hold of it firmly – this means that the evil grievous way that the Psalmist wants the Lord to find in his heart so he can repent of it, cannot include this hatred of the wicked. In fact, I would argue that at least one of the wicked ways found in so many people’s heart is their failure to hate the enemies of the Lord.

Now, in most churches the wicked sit in the pews quite comfortably. Unchallenged. Oh, they might hear about external sins – you know, the kind the Pharisees love to point out. But their real, ruling, dark, hidden evil? Nope. It lies unmolested in them. They feel welcome in their pew.

And here is my main point in question form. How is it that so many professing Christian churches do not seem to hate those who hate the Lord? The abuser sitting in his woolen outfit Sunday after Sunday is a prime example. You see, one mark of a genuine Christian, the kind whose heart truly has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the Christian who knows Jesus Christ and loves His Father and His Word, is that such a person hates those who hate the Lord. And they want nothing to do with them.

So why do we meet so much opposition when we announce to Christians and pastors and church members that the abuser must be put out of the church? Why have they not themselves picked up on the existence (eventually at least) of Satan’s minions sitting among them?

Pretty good question, right?


  1. Allison

    What do you say to people who ask about why you left your former spouse, Church, or organization? Do you tell them it was for reasons of abuse and lack of repentance on the part of the perpetrator(s)? Do you warn them of the evil person? What about backlash from the abuser?

    • Valerie

      Allison, in my experience you only tell as much as would serve a positive purpose. Some will use your words against you and invalidate your experience to the point that you are better off keeping the details at minimum. It doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s best interest to protect people from the truth, rather it is using discernment as to how much truth each person is capable of receiving. The limit being when their response begins to negatively affect your healing. I tend to think of it in terms of levels. For instance: My husband didn’t treat me well. I had to leave my church because it became to difficult for me to stay = level 1. My husband has narcissistic personality disorder and was never capable of loving me. My church acted wickedly toward me and did not follow biblical principles when dealing with my abusive husband = level 10. (these are my own ideas and not necessarily the correct level assessments)

      Each person I encounter is assessed a level based on my knowledge of them or on a preliminary level 1 statement. I’ve had times where someone starts talking about abuse on a level 1 statement so I know that I can discuss level 10 issues with them. Its about the listeners level awareness of abuse and willingness to learn. Again, I’m not saying we should shield anyone from the truth but for my own healing I’ve had to practice discernment in how much truth to share before it becomes detrimental to healing. If we try to force truth on a person who shows unwillingness to hear it can become casting pearls before swine. Someone may be capable of learning a level 8 statement but if I start out there then they may shut down and I have ruined a chance to bring awareness to them. Sometimes those levels need to be worked up to.

      I have found it wise to consider the backlash that you speak of as well. Only you know what he is capable of and what you risk by being open about his abuse. There is a very real possibility of backlash that may or may not be worth being open about what he has done. If you are going through the divorce process my personal opinion is to keep as low as possible. You don’t need more drama and issues to deal with particularly at that time. Keep in mind the abuser is likely painting you in a bad light to people so your integrity in your truthfulness will be the best thing to counterbalance his slander. If he is calling you bitter or crazy then using highly charged words to describe him or the abuse to someone unfamiliar with abuse will only sound bitter and crazy- no matter how true it is. :-/

      • bright sunshinin' day

        Wise words, Valerie! As you said, it is important to exercise discernment in what we share and to whom because some are swine and will use the words shared to “…turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6). To protect the pearls of truth from being trampled, mishandled, and twisted (and therefore used against a target of abuse) and to protect one’s healing is crucial.

        You said:

        “Again, I’m not saying we should shield anyone from the truth but for my own healing I’ve had to practice discernment in how much truth to share before it becomes detrimental to healing. If we try to force truth on a person who shows unwillingness to hear it can become casting pearls before swine. Someone may be capable of learning a level 8 statement but if I start out there then they may shut down and I have ruined a chance to bring awareness to them. Sometimes those levels need to be worked up to…Keep in mind the abuser is likely painting you in a bad light to people so your integrity in your truthfulness will be the best thing to counterbalance his slander.”

        In addition to exercising discernment re to whom/when/what pearls of truth to share, as someone once said, “…a good defense [against abusers and their allies] is a well-lived life!”

    • KayE

      I think you have to adjust your response to the person asking the questions. If they show they are genuinely interested and care about you- and they are going to keep things confidential- then I would tell them as much as they are willing to hear. But that sort of person is rare. Most people don’t really want to know, and some of them will unexpectedly take the abuser’s side. Unless I have good reason to trust someone, I’m very careful and give polite answers which just hint at the real story.

    • Hi Allison, welcome to the blog 🙂 Other readers have replied very well to your question, so I don’t think I have much to add to their suggestions, other than give you a link to an article of mine which you might find helpful:

      Unhelpful Comments by Well-Meaning People: A coaching clinic for victims of domestic abuse and their supporters

      Also, I encourage you to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • another idea: when people ask “Why did you leave your former spouse?” you could respond to them first with some questions of your own: “How much do you want to know? Do you want a brief answer or a longer one?”

  2. Herjourney

    I agree with this teaching.

    Quick question.
    The enemy is here in the USA.
    What do we do as a believer to stand against evil people?
    The shootings in Oregon by a God hating man.
    Good Example
    Does the believer have biblical authority to take that evil persons life?
    If so, where does Matthew 5:44 fit into what is coming to America?
    Do I have a right to kill my abuser?
    Just a question
    Some victims want to see their abuser dead.

    • Hi Herjourney, the blog family is not just in the USA. We have many readers from other English speaking countries, and even a few from non-English speaking countries.

      Do you have the right to kill your abuser? There are various principles in the Bible that speak to that question.
      In the Bible, capital punishment is to be done only after a properly conducted legal process.
      And in the Bible, self-defence is a legitimate defence against the charge of murder.

      Now, legal systems in modern times have been grappling, without a lot of success thus far, with the question of how and under waht circumstances self-defence is a leglitimate reason or justification for a victim of DV to kill their abuser. Some jurisdictions have tried to forumlate laws that allow victims this plea. The problem is, that whenever such laws are passed, abusers try to use them to justify their killing of their victim-targets, and thus get off with reduced sentences. . .

      But I am not a lawyer, let alone an expert in legislation around domestic violence, so my observations here are only what I’ve gleaned from my reading in the field.

      • Herjourney

        Thank you for this info.
        The legal system was of great help for me.
        When choosing a lawyer.
        Please do some homework.
        I had a go getter. The court admired the stance that was projected in the difficult court hearings. My abuser did not like my attorney. Not did my kids.
        As to the abuser who has lied his way through the system . He will eventually show his dark side.
        The children caught in the middle are the ones who at times refuse to believe the crime was his fault.
        Even with evidence.
        Denial is a coping tool.
        In reality it protects the one who who has been hoodwinked.
        It also can be an emotion the devil uses to blind the victim.
        Strongholds can be broken.
        Being a truth bearer
        and a prayer warrior.. Are necessary.
        Waiting on God is not easy.
        Trusting God while healing has been a process.

  3. Anonymous

    I have an answer to the question. It’s that a lot of these pastors and professing christians are not even truly regenerated themselves, or even worse, harbour their own wickedness, such as calling good evil, and evil good and not protecting the fatherless and widow (including spiritual widows), defending or freeing the oppressed.

  4. Valerie

    Thank you, thank you for this! I have told many people in recent years if you are a follower of Christ then you need to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Not that we should be focused on hatred but that response should coexist in our zeal for the Lord.

    I appreciate what you pulled out of Psalm 139 in that David speaks of this hatred and then asks the Lord see if there is any offensive way in him. I have read that chapter many times and never put those two together.

    Many people scoff at the idea of hating anything and being godly yet the principle is something we practice daily in our human relationships. If a person acted cruelly toward a family member or friend of yours, you (as a non-abuser, that is) feel a natural protection toward your friend or family and therefore would not want to associate with that person. How much more with God?? When we love God…really LOVE Him, not just for what He does for us but for who He is and when we get a glimpse of His holiness and what that means, then how can we comfortably look the other way when someone tramples His precious name? The more you treasure something the more you want to protect it.

  5. bright sunshinin' day

    What is the definition of “evil” and an evil person?

    Some refuse to label an abusive person as “evil,” but rather will label him/her a sinner, misguided, wrong, one who chooses destructive ways…but not evil. God’s word indicates that there are degrees of wrongness/sin…not all sins are equal in weight…as the “blackest darkness” is reserved for those who have tasted the goodness of God (perhaps like those in Jude who masqueraded like a Christian), but then rejected Him. They knew better than perhaps the person who never heard the gospel…

    How does one cross the line from being a “normal” sinner to being an “evil” sinner?

    • Here is a link to the entry “EVIL” in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology
      Evil [Internet Archive link]

    • Hi bsd, you asked a big question there! Wooh!

      I’d have to do a word-search for ‘evil’ throughout the whole bible to make a good answer to your question. Maybe Jeff can give you a brief answer. He’s much better at being brief than I am!

    • Still Reforming

      Bright Sunshinin’ Day,

      Just off the top of my head, I’d say that when we consider God’s thoughts as higher than our own thoughts and His ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8), He doesn’t “grade on a curve” – that is, He doesn’t group sinners as “normal sinners over here and evil sinners over there.” His holiness is so incomparable and unfathomable to we who live in mortal flesh that any sin is not acceptable to Him – hence the absolute need for Christ.

      When God divides sheep from goats on judgment day, my understanding is that all who are in Christ and therefore His sheep are on one side – and sinners who have rejected Christ are on the other side. “Normal,” “evil,” and however else we who are still in flesh may divide up sin isn’t found in Scripture, I don’t think. Sin to God is sin, but those of us in Christ, though we still wrestle with our own flesh, have His down-payment of the Holy Spirit in us and therefore can rest in Him.

      I don’t think it’s helpful to think about sin as this sin is normal versus this sin is evil. Sin is sin, even though we who have lived with abusers know this hidden evil masquerading as righteousness to be a very particularly heinous evil – and I think it incumbent upon us who have lived it to call it out, acknowledge it, speak it, and decry it.

      I imagine that as many different ways as there are to sin are about the same number as how many ways there are to cross the line from “I’ll just eat this cookie and mom will never know” to “I’m going to kill her.” The number of ways are as individual as the number of people ever alive, I imagine (multiplied by the number of their sins – in other words… innumerable; There is no singular answer to “how”).

      I don’t mean to say that each sin is all the same per se, because certainly acting out on thoughts costs more to a victim and there were different punishments to Israel for different sins, but…. I’m just saying that qualifying sins gets murky, especially when you consider that Jesus equating lusting a woman in one’s heart with adultery. That’s why it’s not just one answer, I would think, to your question. God’s Word tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

      (I do hope this helps in some way. Sometimes I tend to blather on and when I multi-task, as I am this moment, my thoughts can get jumbled. 🙂 )

    • M&M

      Hi, BSD and SR,

      When I read about “normal sinners” and “evil sinners” I think of the difference between having a conscience and not. However, I agree that I don’t know where to draw the line because I don’t see people in 2 boxes. I see them as being on a continuum with varying sensitivity levels in their conscience. Some are on the extremes of highly sensitive or no conscience, but I perceive a lot to be in the middle. When I hear “all sins are the same to God” I think it’s true in terms of all needing salvation, but not true in terms of consequences. God acknowledges that some sins are more hurtful to His creation than others. Judas committed the “greater sin”. So are there many levels of sin or one? I feel there are many levels regarding the amount of destruction to others but one level regarding being “short of the glory of God”. In computer terms, salvation is a single response field and effects of behavior is a multiple response field.

    • Valerie

      This link might also be helpful. This article was previously linked in ACFJ FB page.

      • bright sunshinin' day

        Valerie, thank you for highlighting Leslie Vernick’s article on an evil heart – it really helped me understand the difference between an evil heart and an “ordinary” sinner’s heart. I believe abuse (using ACFJ’s definition) stems from an evil heart.

  6. KayE

    It is a really good question, why don’t pastors and church members recognize the abusers in their midst? And why is this especially so in those churches that take pride in being conservative? The more liberal churches are better at both holding abusers to account and providing safe places for victims. I’m genuinely wondering if that means they have more real Christians in them than the so called “bible-believing” churches.

    • KayE, I think that some conservative churches have been so hijacked by abusers and Hard Patriarchs that the gulf between their ‘bible-believing’ rhetoric and their actual practice is virtually unhealable — unless God does major surgery and a total system flush!

    • Still Reforming

      Your comment reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan. He described a priest and a Levite passing by the person in need before a “cross-breed” actually met the victim’s needs. (Samaritans were a group despised by pure-blood Jews, because Samaritans were Jews who intermarried with Gentiles who had occupied parts of Israel during the Babylonian captivity, if I’m not mistaken.) Anyway, sure sounds like what you described with respect to conservative versus liberal churches. I’m not sure I’d like the doctrine espoused by more liberal churches, but I know that I loathe the practices I’ve experienced at the hands of the patriarchal conservative church I formerly attended for years.

  7. M&M

    If 2 scriptures appear to contradict, how does one know which is more important to follow? Because Matthew 5:44 says to love your enemies and the Psalms above say to hate them. I know that love isn’t opposed to accountability and self-defense, but it is opposed to hate……I think……????

    • Hi M&M, it’s not a direct answer to your question, but this post touches tangentially on what you asked so you might find it a bit of a help.
      The perspicuity of Scripture, and how some put a grille on the view

    • Here’s another post that may be helpful.

      I left him because I loved him (by Ellie)

    • Jeff Crippen

      M&M – that’s a good observation and question. The best thing to do is look at Jesus. We know that He perfectly obeyed and exemplified the Word of God. In fact, He was and is the Word of God. Consider how He dealt with those who hated Him – those who were His enemies. He confronted them. He told them they were guilty and that they were hypocrites and that they would perish in their sins if they did not believe in Him. Christ, His Apostles, and His Prophets all had the same kind of true and hard words for the wicked. At the same time He did not seek personal vengeance on them while He was here. And I think that this is what the Matt 5:44 text is addressing. We don’t go out and kill our enemies in order to get vengeance, but we leave that to the Lord. We can even pray for them. BUT, and here is where so many people today go wrong and make life more miserable for abuse victims, we can still HATE them and their evil. That is to say, we recognize it as unrighteousness and we acknowledge that they are in fact our enemies and enemies of the Lord. It does not mean that we are going reconcile with them.

      • 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.


        and hating what the enemies do, and telling them it is hateful, is in fact a way of loving them. For if they heed that warning, they may come to humble and genuine repentance and saving faith. But if they don’t, they are going to end up in hell. It is showing love to that person to warn them that the way they are going is headed for hell!

        Of course, we do this as appropriate to each individual. I’m not advocating we should do hellfire-and-brimstone preaching at everyone.

    • Valerie

      Scripture never contradicts scripture so if we see two texts that seem to contradict then one of our interpretations is wrong or needs to be read in light of additional texts for clarification. For instance- scripture telling us whatever we ask for to believe we have received it. We know that this doesn’t mean how it appears at face value by taking other scriptures into account to clarify that text. Similarly what is necessary for salvation- some texts say simply to believe, while others say to believe AND repent. The belief texts aren’t untrue, but additional texts clarify what is meant by that text. Proverbs 26:4-5 seems to contradict itself but upon further reflection we see we should not respond like a biblical fool when you answer a biblical fool.

      I interpret the love/hate passages in relation to whether they are my enemies or God’s. Any righteous indignation is to be directed toward how this person has trespassed God. If I seek my own vindication it is self-centered. I’m not saying scripture calls us to not care or notice if someone offends us but its a matter of keeping perspective. Am I defending God’s cause or my own? As I interpret scripture I read it as saying, “err on the side of love while practicing discernment”. We also can have a misinformed notion of what it means to love. Christ is our example. Loving someone may be delivering a casserole or it may be holding them accountable and no longer being in their presence in hopes that they come to repentance. Christians are good at making casseroles but not so good at making disciples sometimes.

    • M&M

      Hi Barb and Jeff,

      When you define “hate” as recognizing unrighteousness and stating the consequences of unrepentance then there’s no conflict between that and God’s love. It’s when I define hate as the opposite of love that there is a conflict. When it is defined as the opposite of love then it can’t be right to hate the person, but it can be right to hate the behavior. When it’s defined by recognizing unrighteousness and stating consequences then we can be “hating” and loving the person at the same time in the way that Jesus loved the Pharisees. I think we are in agreement on everything except the definition of “hate”.

      • Fair enough, M&M. This has been a worthwhile discussion. 🙂

      • M&M

        Thanks, and to be fair I don’t know if there are differences of definition between Hebrew, Greek, and English. I’m only reacting to the definition in English, which is not the original source.

      • Still Reforming

        M&M –

        I think that’s a worthy point – that the meaning of hatred in the original languages may carry with them nuances that aren’t translated into the English. One of my major pet peeves with the contemporary church is that the word “love” is bandied about without much thought.

        When the word “love” is spoken from the pulpit, the pastor may mean one thing, but each listener is interpreting according to each one’s own definition of what “love” looks like/feels like, etc. So likewise, perhaps “hatred” could carry its own burden in that regard.

        That said, I think quite often of the verse “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated” (Romans 9:13) whenever I hear how we are to love, love, love more. So many churches love to talk about love, but completely ignore any Biblical reference to hate or just gloss over it. And yet, here’s God telling us that He hated Esau from the womb, before Esau was yet born or done anything wrong. (That’s the thrust of Paul’s argument there, actually, supporting the doctrines of grace and God’s absolute sovereignty.)

        Oh, how the churches love our abusers. Although not specifically related to my abuser, in the last church in which I set foot I heard a leader say from the pulpit how we have to pray for the Charleston, South Carolina shooter (who killed 9 Christians in a church earlier this year). Not a word was said about praying for the loved ones of the victims.

        I think churches today focus far, far too much on “loving” without giving consideration to what that means and completely ignoring any text of Scripture that deals with hatred or evil. In my estimation that is a twisted and dangerously naive stance of the mainstream church.

  8. My husband accusses me of hating him alot. I am so angry with him for the damage that he has done to me.

    Yesterday i said to a friend i hate him.. i didnt even feel bad about saying that. I hate what he and my children have done to me. I hate the pain, the abuse, the anxiety, the people that have done this to me.

    Today i realised that after an event that happened 6 months ago with my husband i havnt been the same. My anxiety is acute at the moment as i attend a support group and realise the incredible damage i have suffered.

    Anger is what drives me… it dosent come up much… it is buried.. i need to get in touch with it because it will help me to walk out the door.

    Im taking steps to do just this… started packing things away and clearing things out ready for the day i will be free

    • The sermon I heard this morning was on the healing of the man with leprosy (Luke 5). The pastor talked about how leprosy attacks the nerves in the skin. The nerves become dysfuntional — numb. This means that if a leper cuts or scratches that part of their body which is numb, they feel no pain. And if the cut gets infected and becomes septic, the leper still feels no pain.

      When Jesus healed the man who was covered with leprosy, it was an instant healing. Think about this from inside the skin of that man. One moment he was numb in most of his body. The next moment he had full feeling in all his nerve endings. I can barely imagine what that must have been like! His mind must have got so used to most of his skin being numb and then suddenly his skin could feel everything: the breeze, heat or cold, the feeling of the ground under his feet and the clothes against his body. . .

      Loves6, I completely understand that you are feeling acute anxiety at the moment. Might it help to think about the parallels between your feeling and the healing of the leprous man? Possibly some of your acute feelings are related to the fact that you are becoming less numb.

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        That is a fascinating analogy Barbara!! Well said.

      • KayE

        I like that analogy a lot.People don’t understand why sometimes I get so distressed now about things that happened a long time ago.It’s just that I finally feel safe and I don’t have to resort to constant dissociation and denial just to get through the day. When the pain starts coming back it does mean healing is starting.Recovering from an abusive relationship is not like getting over a normal breakup.

      • loves6

        Gosh thats a good way of looking at it.
        The feelings are extremely painful !!!!! Have to take anti anxiety tablets as well as anti depressants… im so scared of having a breakdown

      • Valerie

        Great analogy Barbara! This is how I felt when I finally was able to call what my husband behavior ‘abuse’. With this validation the levy broke and all of the anger I felt for years- but didn’t feel justified for having- needed to be expelled from me. I wasn’t full of hate or anger but I never got angry before…never….so to feel it at all was a bit overwhelming.

        Loves6, in my case what caused me more anxiety was years and years of my husband’s brain washing by telling me I was mentally and emotionally defective in many ways. When some of these new feelings started to surface I had him on my shoulder still telling me there was something wrong with me. His voice penetrated my thoughts even when he was not in my presence. I felt like the mess he claimed I was. But the more time I spent away from him, the more I saw that I was, in fact, a fully intact human being. When I believed the things my husband said about me it only increased my anxiety which in turn made me feel more crazy which increased my anxiety….you get the picture. You are not what you fear you might be. (I hope that makes sense…remembering that has helped me to stay grounded.) You are not anxiety driven, crazy, a mess…you are being exposed to those things. They are around you but not in you. Coming to terms with the truth that people have not been who you thought they were is also a process that taxes the mind. It is sensory overload, but it does get better. The trauma you’ve experienced is very real.

        The good news is that you don’t have to do this in your strength or wisdom. God has you. He will guide you out of this war zone and into green pastures. Hugs to you Loves6!

      • M&M

        A similar analogy is that cleaning the wound hurts more than getting the wound, but is necessary for healing.

    • Still Reforming

      I am praying for the Lord to give you the strength to do what you need to do and the Godly wisdom to understand why you are doing it – and how it is for His sake. To not walk with evil. To not honor evil or let it have its way with you. I’m praying for your peace of mind, strength, resolve, and clarity from the Lord. You are not alone.

  9. IamMyBeloved's

    This: “Evil does not exist in disembodied form. Evil is in and practiced by people.”

    So I guess that does away with “love the sinner – hate the sin” type of theology. Right? As if sin will be sent to hell, but not the sinner.

    And this: “The Psalmist’s attitude toward them? He loathes them. He detests them. He hates them fully and completely. They are his enemies.”

    And thereby, God’s enemies as well. To me, this means that those who likewise hate us, are God haters as well. Jesus said that if they hated Him, they would certainly hate us, because His Holy Spirit is dwelling in us. I think that was what was very hard for me. The abuser convinces you that you are the one who is wrong and evil, all the while he really hates you, because you represent Christ. This is one of the dangers of abuse. How the offender ends up causing the righteous to question their faith. In the OT, anyone who tried to take you away from faith in God was to be put to death.

    It can take a long time to come to the place where one realizes that the tables have been turned. So while the abuser turns this all around, claiming Christ and telling you that you are the one who is evil and not of God, the truth is that he wouldn’t even be doing what he was doing, if he were of Christ – at all! But I was so easily made to feel guilty by my abuser, that I believed his words and it ended up causing me to wonder what was wrong with my faith.

    This is why being told to love the abuser (ie evil) is all wrong. It goes against the very nature of God to love evil. Yet, that is what I am hearing. I am told that the OT teaching about our enemies no longer exists and that the NT teaching – “love your enemies” applies now. But isn’t that interpretation the same as loving evil and loving those who hate my God? My understanding of loving my enemies, through Bible reading, is to do them no harm. No repaying evil for their evil. Pray for them. But unless I am mistaking, I do not see where the Bible tells me to embrace them or let my enemy into my home or to live with them and be pals with them. They hate my God. Why would I want anything to do with anyone who hates my God? That means they have to hate me too!

    Just reading through this post makes me see the twisted deception of the enemy. He sends those who hate God, to fake that they love Him, just to try to get those who truly do love God, to end up hating Him. I suppose this works in some instances. I know many who came away from their abusive marriages, not even able to read God’s Word or pray or who like me, had to force themselves to read and pray anyway, because my faith was not dead. Not yet. I was like Paul when he says that they despaired even of life because they had been so persecuted. But being persecuted for Christ, is still very different than being abused by someone you should have been able to trust.

    I have now recovered to some degree and I find my faith to be even stronger than it ever was, because I have known somebodies -ahem- who were able to help me see the truth about abuse and that I was not the unrighteous one. I have seen how faithful my God has been to me, even when I was too afraid to leave and cleave only to Him and trust Him. I cannot even imagine what could have happened to my faith, had I not had those somebodies to help me and instead had believed the “p”astor who embraced evil and abuse and wanted me to embrace it as well.

    Excellent question and excellent post! Very helpful!

    • freeatlast8


      WOW WOW WOW. I can relate to every word you wrote. I may need to read this a few times! Especially this:

      It can take a long time to come to the place where one realizes that the tables have been turned. So while the abuser turns this all around, claiming Christ and telling you that you are the one who is evil and not of God, the truth is that he wouldn’t even be doing what he was doing, if he were of Christ – at all! But I was so easily made to feel guilty by my abuser, that I believed his words and it ended up causing me to wonder what was wrong with my faith.

      YES YES YES. I, too, questioned my faith. Ex told me I could NOT be a believer and that the Lord saw me as wicked and evil for dishonoring him (ex) as my head and my authority by divorcing him. I had to wade through Scripture to ensure I was truly saved. It was actually a good thing, in that I became desperate for the Word as never before. I, too, thank ACFJ for validating my experience and helping me to see that even divorce cannot separate me from God.

      And I also agree with this other bit you said:

      Just reading through this post makes me see the twisted deception of the enemy. He sends those who hate God, to fake that they love Him, just to try to get those who truly do love God, to end up hating Him.

      That is an amazing statement and observation. My ex told me about salvation just before we got married many years ago. I received Christ at that time, but it was many years before I embarked on my own personal walk with Jesus. As a married couple, we did not pursue Christ together in any meaningful way. I really thought, and still do think, my ex is saved, but is not spirit led. Someone else said these kinds of people are called carnal Christians. They are saved but not Spirit filled.

      Pastor Jeff, is that even possible…to be saved but not Spirit filled? To be a carnal Christian? It sounds like an oxymoron to me.

  10. Valerie

    Freeatlast8, a few verses that indicate this is not biblical:

    If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. Romans 8:9

    Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

    …that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. John 14:17

    I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20

    Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. 2 Cor 1:21-22

  11. Innoscent

    Solomon concluded that there is “a time to love and a time to hate.” (Ecc 3:8) And Paul admonished the Romans to “let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” 12:9.

    IamMyBeloved’s mentioned the “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin”, which also came to my mind at reading Jeff’s excellent post. It is one of these false dichotomies that pervert the word of God. If we took it to its logical conclusion, then we’d end up loving Satan but hate his sin… No way!

    • M&M

      Wow, I never thought of applying that phrase to Satan-definitely not!! I used to hear that phrase and think about how God loves us but hates our sin-so it’s true in some contexts. However, as you said it definitely doesn’t apply everywhere. Perhaps we could say, “love the sinner only in ways that don’t hurt the victims of that sinner” or some other modified version.

  12. Valerie,
    My abuser would impliment continual psychological torture on me while I was with him, so as to try to cause me to be “off balance”, so I would also doubt myself.
    It seemed like there was always something that was going awry in my home that kept me preoccupied in trying to fix problems all the time.
    I finally realized that my AH that was indirectly or directly behind it, and it was his lack of proper response to problems that made them worse.

    But there is a scripture in 1st Corrinthians 5:11 that kept my vision alive, to make strides to ultimately break free, which also describes the charactor of an abuser.

    1st Cor 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

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