Wise as Serpents: Exposing Evil in its Practice (Part 1 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)

From today we will be featuring each Sunday a sermon series that is currently being preached by Pastor Jeff Crippen. The series is titled Wise as Serpents. Jeff preached the first sermon in this series last Sunday at Christ Reformation Church Tillamook. He intends this series to go for quite some time (a year or more).

Anyone who wishes to can listen to the services live on web-stream, at the time the service occurs which is 10.45 am Pacific Time, USA.  The audio recording of each sermon along with its written version (pdf) are uploaded to the sermon audio website the day after the service … or sometimes on the day itself, after the service is over. Instructions for listening to the live web-stream of  the services can be found on the Sermons page of our Resources.

In the text of each Sunday post here, we will not reproduce the entire written text of the sermon. Where we use some exact text from the sermon, it will be in black. Where we summarize some of the sermon, or insert a comment that was not in the sermon, we will make the text grey rather than black.

At then end of the post we will give a link to where you can find the audio and full written version of the sermon, should you wish to do so.


Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men… (Matthew 10:16-17a)

In the years prior to World War II, as Germany under Hitler was re-arming in violation of the treaty that ended WWI, naivety, arrogance, and a fantasy view of world peace almost destroyed England and her allies. Hitler’s efforts were not unnoticed, but the warnings given were not heeded for the most part until the cost of stopping this terror rose to what was ultimately paid – millions of lives lost.

One exception to this naivety was Sir Winston Churchill who repeatedly warned his nation of the impending threat. Few would listen. But one thing Churchill was able to do was to participate in efforts to find a way to detect enemy airplanes while they were still a distance away from England. Germany was obviously building its air force and this is where the real threat would come from.

Churchill noted that when people truly perceive a threat and set their minds to devising a way to meet that threat, incredible things can be invented. And so it was with this thing called RADAR which proved to be a life saver for England in coming years. A small group of scientists and leaders spared no effort to perfect this system of radio waves. Why?  Because they saw the threat. They knew the threat was real. You might say, the enemy was on their radar.

Largely, far and wide, the church of our day does not have evil on her radar screen. Why? Because the evil is not there? Of course not.  It is there in droves. But evil is not on our radar because most Christians do not want to admit of its existence among them.

This new sermon series that we are embarking upon, Wise as Serpents, is a practical theology of evil. By that adjective, I mean that my purpose is to expose evil in its practice. I also mean that our method is not primarily to produce an academic, theoretical, nor philosophical treatise, but rather an experiential and earthy (yet profoundly spiritual) walk in the footsteps of Christ’s people sent out as sheep in the midst of wolves. It is practical truth for practicing followers of Jesus Christ who, whether they fully realize it or not, actually do have a roaring lion on the prowl seeking to devour them.

The sermon went on to give 13 practical examples of evil operating in the church that Jeff has personally seen or heard about in his more than two decades as pastor. In the vast majority of these cases the existence of evil was denied. In some of the examples the evil is still denied by the churches concerned; in others it was denied until Jeff and other brave Christians in the church woke up to it and exposed it.

The sermon then reproduced some comments from the readers of this blog. — Yes; your words are important and highly valued by Christ Reformation Church!

In NO seminary of the Christian church where the shepherds of Christ’s church are largely trained, will you find any training provided on this subject that will in fact be the very weapon the enemy is going to surely use against any true church, any true pastor, any true Christian. None. Evil is not on our radar. Especially, evil in the church among the sheep. And we have no excuse for this ignorance. It is a willful blindness.

It is our purpose in this series of sermons, Wise as Serpents, to remind ourselves and to demonstrate to others that the Word of God is packed full of truth and warnings on this subject of evil, and specifically how that evil will most certainly creep in among us unnoticed, in disguise, cloaked in darkness, intent on extinguishing the light of God’s Word.

Christ commands and calls us to be as wise as serpents in regard to this evil and its tactics, yet to be as innocent as doves in respect to participating in it ourselves.  We must see it for what it is, recognize it when it comes, know its tactics, and stand firm against it.  This is the real practice of putting on the Armor of God and standing firm against the devil so that he flees.

Jude 1:3-4  Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:12-13  These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

And yet, as we heard recently from a woman who works with a secular agency which works with the police to advocate for victims of pedophiles:

I have been in many court rooms in which a church member or leader is appearing, having been charged with molesting or assaulting someone, usually a child or a woman, in the church. And, especially if the person charged is some ‘notable’ figure in the church such as a pastor, the courtroom is consistently PACKED full with church members there to support the suspect. I have NEVER seen a courtroom packed full of people there to support the victim of such a crime. Never.

Now I ask you to consider these things very, very carefully. That is the testimony of a person from outside the church, from the secular world, honestly describing what really happens when evil is found in a local church. What message is that sounding loudly and clearly to everyone about the gospel, about Christ, and about what claims to be Christ’s church?  Here is God’s Word and command to us in dealing with such people:

Pro 28:17  If one is burdened with the blood of another, he will be a fugitive until death; let no one help him.

Proverbs 28:17 (NASB) A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him.

Proverbs 28:17 (RSV) If a man is burdened with the blood of another,
let him be a fugitive until death; let no one help him.

And yet in most cases today Christians ARE helping the wicked and in doing so flagrantly disobeying our Lord’s command.

I do not want to be guilty of these things. I don’t think you do either.

Psa 23:4-5  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.


Audio and PDF of this sermon here.

Go to Part 2 of this series

A list of the entire series can be found on our Wise as Serpents Digest.


UPDATE  Sept 2021:  Barbara Roberts has 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 “Wise as Serpents: Exposing Evil in its Practice (Part 1 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)”

  1. Good stuff. Good stuff. I’m SO grateful that you’ll be posting links to the Sunday sermons for us lazy-bones who, although we may get theology during the week in other ways, fall down with respect to Sunday sermons. I’m SO glad for this weekly reminder in my in-box. Thank you!!!!

    Re: radar and WWII, there’s an enjoyable British series called Foyle’s War (about a police detective in England at the start of the war) in which one episode shows the testing of radar and the “Chain Home” radar coverage over the island. Fascinating period of history, particularly for the Brits who lived a stone’s throw from the invading hordes. (Now they’re letting them in willingly, but that’s another matter.)

    1. Yes, I like Foyle’s War. Like so much that comes from the BBC, I find it addresses honourable conduct and the ethics of good character versus bad character a lot more than most US movies and tele-series. Sorry Yankees, that’s just my opinion. I mean no disrespect to your country.

      1. Barbara,
        I totally agree with you with respect to British and American programming. I haven’t watched television in the US for more than a decade at least. There’s absolutely nothing worthy of viewing – in my view – no matter how many channels are available.
        British series, on the other hand, I find to be engaging, witty, and of higher caliber in the writing and casting departments than their US counterparts. I appreciate Foyle’s War in particular because in that period of history, men and women in society showed greater respect for one another than they do today. I liked the character of Foyle too; He was understated.
        But I digress….
        I initially brought it up because I know it might interest Ps. Jeff since he once was a policeman and is reading now about Churchill.
        And I’m only commenting again to let you know you can critique American television, movies, and media all you want and you won’t get any argument from me. 🙂
        (By the way, I have a list of Aussie movies I love that’s as long as my arm, but I won’t get off on that tangent either. I think they’re very well made and don’t always have to have the ‘happy-ending-all-tied-up-neatly’ that American movies do.)

  2. Thank you so much for this great sermon! I feel inadequate to express the deep gratitude for this teaching — there aren’t words sufficient! At this moment I’m listening to the live stream and attending church in Tillamook by doing so. That is pretty thrilling. I’d prayed about finding a church this morning and God was merciful in supplying this one!

    Thank you to the church in Oregon for sharing their pastor and this ministry. May the words run like a river far and wide and truth bring life to everything it touches. I pray, that to the end of the earth, wherever an oppressed person is being held in bondage to a lukewarm church and a batterer that the truth will set them free.

    The thing about the war we are in is that the enemy is dressed up in the uniform of the allies. Evil that presents itself as kind and loving, an angel of light, is the most insidious and dangerous type of evil. And, as believers, we must, put on the armor and daily understand we are in a fight for the souls of men and the glory of God. We are in a fight against the complacency of the flesh. I read this in my devotionals about Christ’s position towards the complacent,

    Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

    How to you discern a “lukewarm” Christian? They support abusers, deny there is evil in the church and turn a blind eye and ear to the suffering of the oppressed in their midst. These are not the actions of Christ. Let us not be lukewarm ourselves.

    1. Greetings APDR so nice to see you here @ church!!! Blessings to you and your family @ this Blessed time of year!

  3. WHAT OF MENTAL ILLNESS? A person suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD), for example, which may often include narcissism and / or believable denial and / or outright deceit and / or power plays – tremendously difficult, if not impossible, behaviour to deal with. Are we not to pity the sinner with Christ’s compassion and endure suffering with all joy – while maintaining the boundaries wherein we love vs. cease communication and association with a violator? How can you reject a mentally ill person for violating when you would not reject a person whose legs had been blown off by a land mine for not walking / running alongside?

    WHAT OF NAIVETE? A person “blind” / unaware of his or her own motivations can unknowingly engage in transference, i.e. inaccurately imputing his own motives onto another who is innocent of such motives. What’s more, people wanting unity and peace, not disruption, want to believe whatever supports that desire and do not like to question too much or too vigorously. So instead, they tend to readily accept … even false accusations or unfair inferences about another in their midst. Gossip is propelled along because of this.

    WHAT OF DEMONIC INFLUENCE, OPPRESSION or POSSESSION? Some insist even those in Christ can be demonically influenced and even deceived (scripture notwithstanding) and believe evil spoken of here (including mental illness) is to be remedied with deliverance actions (beginning with prayer). We wrestle not with flesh and blood but by principalities and powers – so why not just exercise the authority Christ gave us and banish the demon, saving the person?

    What of all things are possible in Christ – I can do all things through Christ (such as love another who does not love)?

    What of the good shepherd protects the sheep? How does this correlate with us putting on armour of God – and resting in His shalom/peace? Why does Jesus tell us to beware of men – why doesn’t He protect us per the multitude of promises (in Psalms alone)?

    If God IS love (and He is) – the most powerful force that is, was or will be – why doesn’t love conquer all?

    Church IS a dangerous place! That’s why I don’t go anymore, though every now and then I try. Once you’ve survived a wolf attack, you can sense them. I know it’s not healthy to be alone, but I don’t know where it’s safe anymore.

    God help us.

    Thank you for speaking and writing about this.

    1. Survivor – Abusers, who are the people we are talking about, truly evil people, know exactly what they are doing. Someone who is mentally ill to the point of actually not knowing what they are doing (psychotic?) would not fit this paradigm. However, that is the minority of so-called mentally ill people. And in respect to dealing with such a person, it really doesn’t matter. If they are acting wickedly, oppressing and abusing other, then they are doing so willfully. The same is true of demonic cases. You will note in Scripture that the Lord Jesus always called the demonic ones to profess their faith in Him and call out to Him. There really aren’t any cases in Scripture that would bypass the person’s responsibility.

      As to naivete, well, in short term we can be patient with such a person. But eventually they are accountable and become guilty of willful blindness and thus an ally of evil themselves. The Lord Jesus is our model and example. He called evil for what it was and called evil people exactly that, exposing their wickedness.

    2. Survivor,
      I have battled with all the things you’ve brought up and completely understand your thought process. I wanted all the answers to all the questions so that I could refer back to them in times of confusion in order to be able to see clearly at all times without doubts or reservations. But the truth is that this is not how anyone’s life works. Nobody in the Bible had a cut and dried faith at all times without issues or strife. Paul was perpetually putting out fires and although his faith was strong, he still pointed out that his body didn’t always do what his spirit desired. All the greats in the Bible and especially the not-so-greats, struggled at times. It’s one of the many things I love about God’s word now that I read it from the perspective that God had it all written down for us, flaws and all, so that his children could take heart and be encouraged that all people in all times throughout history, weren’t perfect yet God still loved those who belonged to him immensely.

      Struggling with these questions and God is actually good and normal I have found. My struggling with God has always produced greater insight and greater faith in Him although I can whole-heartedly assure you that this was NOT my intention when I started to take things to Him (yelling at him violently is what I was actually doing). I used to be afraid that if I got mad at Him I would be turned into dust because I shouldn’t “test” Him. (This was another form of slavery that was thrust on me–fear, fear, fear! behave, behave, behave! but after many years God has shown me that when I “battle” with Him I am actually taking things to Him, so I’m doing right by turning to Him to seek answers.) I was so filled with anger but didn’t realize it because it was such deep sadness and depression. The adage that anger turned inward turns to depression is true. When we are lied to from birth, whether it’s due to ignorance or outright trickery, those of us with a conscience will be affected negatively if we are never allowed to know or speak truth and it will ultimately destroy us.

      So how to reconcile all these things? There is no pat answer, it’s simply not how God works. He ensures that each of us has our very own, unique life and walk in Him. He brings us to certain understandings at certain times in our lives and he always gives us enough. As you lift up each person in your life to Him, and ask Him to show you the truth about them, He will guide you in understanding how you should react in order to protect yourself and still do His will (these two things are not opposed to each other by the way, but for those of us who’ve had boundary violators as parents or partners, we tend to think they are). He does this for many reasons I’m sure but I’ve found that it actually strengthens me. Why? Because He has been faithful to me always and He has always shown me the truth about people (in time) ever since I started asking Him to do this. I no longer try to fix anyone as this was never my job and was always the job of God. Our job according to Ecclesiastes 12:13 is to “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind,” and when we love others this is fulfilling the commandments as Romans 13:8-10 tells us. It also says that we show our love when we do our neighbor no harm, and when we refuse to allow others to abuse us by stepping away or holding our boundaries firm, we are actually showing love to others. Amazingly beautiful isn’t it? That by refusing to allow others to abuse us we are showing them God’s love and doing God’s will.

      The truth is that those who belong to the Lord will struggle with all the issues you’ve brought up at some point in our lives, to one degree or another. Jesus dealt with all the personality disorders, all the demonic influences and all the mental illnesses and He never denied or shied away from any of it. As Jeff pointed out, Jesus called it what it was and His compassion was reserved for those who were needy in the regard that they knew they needed help. Evil ones and those with a seared conscience don’t want help and only seek to harm and manipulate others out of evil and boredom. There is no truth in them (John 8:44) so they are just marking time and trying to stay busy.

      Although this is already a long post, I want to add some wisdom from Corrie Ten Boom. When she and her beloved sister Betsie were in a concentration camp and were afraid, Betsie pointed out something very profound; that the ONLY safe place is in the Father’s will–God’s will. So although you are afraid (rightly so after much abuse at church) when you do venture out again, pray to God for protection and He will keep you safe. As Jeff noted from scripture, even in the valley of the shadow of death, God will keep us safe.

      And here’s the last thing from Corrie Ten Boom. God has kept this little story in my heart to remind me that he will care for me each minute. I pray it helps you too.

      The Dutch parable of the clock that had just been made and was put on the shelf between two old clocks. One of the old clocks said to the newcomer: “So you have just started out in life. I am sorry for you. If you’ll just think ahead and see how many ticks it takes to tick through one year, you will never make it. It would have been better had the maker never wound you up and set your pendulum.’ So the new clock began to count up the ticks. ‘Each second requires two ticks, which means 120 ticks per minute,’ he calculated. ‘That’s 7,000 ticks per hour; 172,800 ticks per day; 1,209,600 ticks per week for 52 weeks, which makes a total of 62,899,200 ticks per year. Horrors.’ The clock immediately had a nervous breakdown and stopped ticking! But the wise old clock on the other side said, ‘Pay no attention to him. Just think. How many ticks do you have to tick at a time?’ ‘Why, only one, I guess,’ the new clock answered. ‘There now. That’s not so hard. is it? Try it along with me. Just one tick at a time.’ Seventy-Five years later the clock was still ticking perfectly one tick at a time!

      God will show you each truth as you need it when you turn it over to Him. He is always faithful and what’s more, He is always in control. You are loved.

      1. Thanks. But how do I take my pain and struggles to God when I pray I don’t know whether its God speaking or my dad? I hear such negative stuff and my dad was a minister so His God was on my dad`s side.

      2. Hi imsetfree,
        in a comment you wrote on another page of our blog (here) you listed many ways your parents minimised all the verbal abuse that your father did to you. It sounds to me like father was VERY verbally abusive to you, and that your mother minimised how hurtful his behaviour was, rather than saying that his behavior was out and out wrong. Being at the butt end of all that denial and minimizing would be enough to make anyone confused — make them feel unsure about why they hurt so much.

        We believe that anyone who uses verbal abuse to hurt people repeatedly, recurrently, determinedly, and denies that they are doing much wrong, is in fact showing all the marks of an abuser. We also believe that a person who does this cannot be a real Christian, no matter how much they say they are, or how much they read the Bible. A real Christian would recognise their sinful conduct, admit it, confess it, strive to not repeat it, and do what they could to make reparation to the person/s they had hurt with all that verbal abuse.

        I think you parents, esp your Dad, has no real understanding of Christianity, for him to behave as he did so longterm to you and the rest of your family. Sorry if that is too blunt, but that is my view.

        Since I believe this, I also believe that the ‘god’ who your father served was not the God of the Bible. It was more like some god of his own idolatrous making.

        Sometimes people who are abusive study the bible a LOT, but they don’t study it to become more like Christ, they study it in order to find ways they can twist scripture in order to justify their attitude of entitlement and their ‘right’ to mistreat others with impunity.

      3. imsetfree,
        I had similar issues, and I confess that I occasionally still struggle with that. However, at a certain point, I came to the realization that no matter how people represent a religion, it’s not necessarily true to the tenets of the faith itself. That is, I had to separate people from the faith. I realized that whatever my dad said and did wasn’t necessarily what Christ Himself put forth. I had to research for myself Who God is and what Christ said and did and decide for myself what was true and what was not.

        As I did so, I prayed to God to help me understand – to teach me directly – to give me wisdom – and nowadays I still pray that prayer, along with asking Him to help me love Him and obey Him, because I often, often fail. Thank God that in His Son, there is no condemnation, and I cannot fail, because when the Father looks at me, He sees not me but His Son, and that’s what I need.

        So, be gentle with yourself. Pray as you’re able. Sometimes, some days, maybe just one word is all you can muster, and that’s okay.
        I keep telling my own child that she can express herself and her desires and boundaries and if she does so before people who truly love her, they should respect those boundaries. Those who do not, well, that speaks for their lack of love.

        Our Father’s love is so very much greater than human love, so no matter how you pray to Him, I think His Word reflects His tender love for the bruised reed, the smouldering wick. He will not break or extinguish those things, and if His eye is on every sparrow that falls, surely His love sees and knows the pain of His children.

        All this to say don’t chastise yourself for the sins of your human father. We can easily confuse our earthly fathers with our heavenly Father, but it is a good thing that our Lord and our God put Himself in that familial role. We need a good Father, and He is there for His children.

    3. Survivor, your words were so powerful: “Once you’ve survived a wolf attack, you can sense them.” And the stronger I get it seems the more wolves I encounter. It is scary when you don’t feel safe. I am so grateful that we can come to this website and not feel so all alone. Blessings to you!

  4. WHAT OF PAUL? He was a murderer.

    Just asking. The answers may be obvious, but I go from clarity to confusion all the time and am trying to nail down the precise questions. Deception is so bad – mixing lies with just enough truth … or using smoke and mirrors … to obscure and confuse.

    Thank you, again, for talking about these things. Precious, precious hearts.

    1. Survivor – Regarding Saul of Tarsus, later the Apostle Paul. Paul was never an abuser as we define abusers. He actually was zealous for God. You see it here:

      I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, (1 Ti 1:12-13).

      Abusers do not act in ignorance. They know exactly what they are doing and what they are after is “I will be like the Most High.”

    2. Paul, that is, Saul the Pharisee before his conversion was indeed a murderer. He abused the church. He systematically sought out believers in order to imprison them and have them killed. He did this with the imprimatur of the religious authorities, the Jewish religious leaders. He wholly and completely repented of this upon his conversion. He admitted and confessed his evil-doing and was willing to bear whatever social opprobrium he had merited because of his wickedness. He did not shrink from any consequences that might still bear upon him for his past misdeeds. He did not deny or minimize his misdeeds. He did not toy with repentance just for image-management purposes.

      He did not attack or criticize the believers in Damascus for displaying fear of him or for initially distrusting him. He recognised that their distrust was well-founded because his own evil had merited it. And from his conversion onward, he showed immense humility…. but he was not a doormat for the false teachers who were infiltrating the church to wipe their muddy feet on!

      Here is a post you may find helpful.

      A Good Description of Real Repentance

      1. Evil abusers know exactly what they’re doing and that is why it is carried out behind closed doors. Apostle Paul did not do anything behind closed doors which is evidence that he indeed was not an abuser and was zealous for God, though misguided.

        In Matthew 7:6 Jesus warns of the swine that we will encounter… those that can’t control us, then we mean nothing to them and they will seek to destroy and devour us. And in 2 Peter 2 these false messengers are described perfectly with their made up stories. Their fake acts of kindness will be thrown back in our faces:— [they will claim] that we don’t appreciate them when in fact they are the ones seeking to destroy the life and spirit in us that makes us who we are in the image of Christ.

        At one point I used to struggle thinking I need to “stand by my man” because after all this must be mental illness and I entered into covenant in sickness and in health. By God’s amazing grace I have been given a wake-up call. To stay with this abuser and look into the face of evil and allow him to destroy me is the complete opposite of what scripture tells me to do; flee!

  5. And more about abusers and their evil deeds: they come after those of us that are in touch with our creative side and are able to dream for ourselves – we are hated by these abusers. We are obstacles to their insatiable appetite for power. They are more than willing to have a “relationship” with us on their terms. Nothing mutual; superior to inferior; slave to master! So if we give the abuser the control they desire, they are more than happy to keep the “relationship” with us. If not, we become the target of their rage and ultimately their abuse. They “love” only to the level they can derive use of us. Beyond that, they will discard us like rubbish. Not easy to come to this realization, for sure! But when we do, we become wise as serpents, innocent as doves and are therefore no longer victims but overcomers.

  6. I am excited to get this new book. The first book, A Cry For Justice changed my life. I am still amazed at how so many church people continue to support my abuser, but charm and deceit seems to go further than truth and integrity. Very sad and hope more churches wake up.

    1. 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.


      Angie, did you know that Jeff has published a second book? It’s called Unholy Charade [Affiliate link] and you can find it in our sidebar. This sermon series he has just commenced will be eventually turned into his third book.

  7. This is a great sermon series and I am looking forward to the rest. I really wished more pastors would teach of these things, or at least accept that evil does truly exist. It seems like too many churches today are too concerned with how many bodies are filling the pews on Sunday mornings (and giving financial contributions) than on the actual spiritual well-being of those people filling the seats. It almost seems like the ‘c’hurch itself has become narcissistic, too concerned with how it appears, bragging about how many people filled the seats or listed in their membership all the while hiding or denying the evil within. And just like the true narcissist, if anyone tries to point out the evil going on, they turn it around and point the finger back at the one who’s exposing it. They shun, twist the truth and turn others against the one who might be causing a wrinkle in their precious image. They end up making claims that you are the ungodly one for going against them or exposing evil, and the worst part is that they isolate or twist scripture to back up what they are doing.

  8. Pastor Jeff, I read through your sermon and cried through most of it. Tears of recognition! You describe the personality types, I have experienced, perfectly. It must truly break the heart of God to see the church, created to be a place of protection from the storm without, has become a hateful deadly storm itself. But early on in Scripture God shows us in Ezekiel 8 about the truth of what evil is done, behind closed doors. Thankfully He sees all of it and will hold them accountable in that last day when the wheat and tares will be separated. It is a painful and lonely walk amongst abusers. Thank you all @ ACFJ for empowering us to gain strength for the journey!

  9. imsetfree,

    I was searching for a post from this website in order to answer your question and I came upon your comments from another post: Abusers Tell us What our Thoughts and Motives Are – But They Don’t Know
    Many of the questions and struggles you’ve had, I’ve had as well.

    On that comment, you said:

    I relate……….except I know I did have some of the flaws my parents said I had….I couldnt see it at the time though…..I didnt think I was conceited or rude or spoiled…I just felt humiliated and worthless and like they didnt really see me, so I acted up…..now looking back I realise I WAS conceited and proud and pushy..I just never realised it because I always felt I hated myself and was never good enough…so with the Holy Spirit I have to ask Him to help me see myself as I really was- conceited and proud….which is hard for me to swallow….my feelings of self hate were so real (eating issues, self harm, social phobia etc) that I couldnt see the pride in me….so I think [at least for my case, I can only speak for myself] its not black and white…. I was a brat, but because I believed in psychology and new age I believed I had a mental illness and that it wasnt my fault….I now know it was bad behaviour and demons.”

    You might like to check out “Erikson’s 8 Stages of Development” which is a psychological profile of the stages normal children go through as they develop and what kinds of things can happen if the child is not able to positively mature. Many of the things you talk about such as being conceited, rude or spoiled may have been wrongly labeled as such by your parents and were actually normal behaviors that should have been turned toward helping you eventually be your own person. If your parents are the narcissistic people they appear to be, any behavior other than absolute worship of them would have been classified as being obtuse or negative. (Even if you did treat them reverently at all times, they would have still found ways to accuse you of being rude etc. because the nature of evil ones is to accuse.)

    I also suggest you read the article Barbara recommends often, “Honouring Resistance; How Women Resist Abuse in Intimate Relationships,” as this may help you see that your “rude, proud and pushy” behaviors were actually ways you resisted evil’s control over you. You may come to see yourself as brave and strong and this may help you become even stronger in the Lord.

    I encourage you to spend some time and go back over the articles and comments on this website. There are MANY articles about the abuse by pastors and the effects on the children and spouses. Pastor Jeff doesn’t try to hide or downplay any of the evil that takes place from the pulpit and in fact is trying to shine a light on it. It may take time to separate your view of God as an evil punisher to the one from the Bible who actually loves and adores you, but keep giving it all to him. For some of us, journaling has helped us to see the progression of our walk with the Lord. As we read back over the things we wrote a year ago, we can see the ways God has worked in our hearts and in our minds.

    Another long post here but I’d like to thank you Barbara for your response to imsetfree’s comment in the earlier post about the demonic influences in your life and eating disorders etc. I was never told that eating disorders can be a sign of abuse but have found this to be true in my life as well. Satan and his children want us bound up and unable to learn and grow in the Lord, and controlling us with obsessing about our body image is just another way to do this. Evil loves its hidden secrets and loves when it can keep God’s little ones from talking to each other. This website punches evil right in the mouth and runs out the door screaming loudly, “NO MORE SECRETS!” God loves when his children share the truth and while we are living on this earth, evil will need to be perpetually punched in the mouth. Get used to the feeling of boxing gloves or learn to be a bare-knuckler–the choice is yours!

  10. Pastor Jeff quoted:

    Psa 23:4-5 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

    Anonymous commented:

    Struggling with these questions and God is actually good and normal I have found. My struggling with God has always produced greater insight and greater faith in Him although I can whole-heartedly assure you that this was NOT my intention when I started to take things to him (yelling at Him violently is what I was actually doing). I used to be afraid that if I got mad at Him I would be turned into dust because I shouldn’t “test” Him. (This was another form of slavery that was thrust on me–fear, fear, fear! behave, behave, behave! but after many years God has shown me that when I “battle” with Him I am actually taking things to Him, so I’m doing right by turning to him to seek answers.) I was so filled with anger but didn’t realize it because it was such deep sadness and depression. The adage that anger turned inward turns to depression is true. When we are lied to from birth, whether it’s due to ignorance or outright trickery, those of us with a conscience will be affected negatively if we are never allowed to know or speak truth and it will ultimately destroy us.

    I had times when I would yell at God, streams of profanity rolling off my tongue. I, too, feared punishment. The Holy Spirit gently held me, telling me I needed to rid myself of the deadly poisons I had internalized. He told me we were building a new kind of relationship.

    Over time, the foul language sputtered out, and sarcasm became the norm.

    Sometimes, I felt like a rubber ball, bouncing between silence and variations on verbal diarrhoea. The frustrating part was knowing I was yelling at God as though He was someone else, making accusations I can now recognize as pinpointing the abusers’ tactics.

    Maybe I can clarify what I mean…

    Since the Holy Spirit – and with good reason – isolated me, I was playing both the role of abuser and abused. Yelling. Defending. Silent. Sarcastic. Self-harm (physically hitting myself). Belittling. Accusations. Endless accusations.

    I could “hear” what I was saying, could identify the voices, but I still didn’t understand “Why?”.

    God was patient. He listened. He knew – and knows – my hurt.

    No lightening bolts. No punishment.

    Now I can see. Now I can hear.

    Psalm 23:4-5 has become attainable.

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