A Cry For Justice

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

“But King David did it” – A Line We Hear Repeatedly When Some Leader’s Evil is Outed

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.


[July 20, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Recently we had a bit of a go ’round with a fellow who has been a Bill Gothard follower for years. He still wanted to defend Gothard by insisting that we must withhold judgment until “the facts are in.” We maintain that the facts ARE in and Gothard is to be rejected now as still another example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Anyway, this fellow pulled the “King David card” on us and I think it is important that we carefully think through this typical tactic used by people who simply will not admit that their idol is in fact an evil person hiding behind a façade. Here is what he said:

A man [i.e., King David] committed adultery then murdered to cover it up. Pretty bad. In time, God’s prophet confronted the man, he eventually repented and now and for all time, God says “David is a man after my own heart”. And the episode, though destructive short term, did not invalidate all the good that David did before the adultery.

There is sooo much wrong in these words. First of all, it is erroneous to compare someone like Gothard with King David. Why? Because, yes, David did in fact repent. Genuinely. Authentically. We have seen none of this in Gothard, nor do we see it in most all the big name “Christian” celebs and leaders who get exposed for what they really are. What we do see in them is denial, superficial tears, and even more telling, their insistence that since “God has forgiven me, you all must forgive me too and let me keep right on in ministry.” David did none of this. David knew he deserved nothing but death. He knew he didn’t deserve to be king. Furthermore, God pronounced longstanding consequences upon David and his family for David’s sin. Yes, David WAS a man after God’s own heart. And that is the fundamental difference between him and these scandalous icon types we see so frequently today.

So don’t let anyone pull the “David card” on you. Abusers do this all the time, as most all of you know. You have to forgive them, they say, no matter how evil they have been against you, because God forgave David. Well, Mr. Abuser, here’s the catch. YOU are no King David whose Seed would be the Messiah and of whose throne there will be no end. You are not, unlike David, a man after God’s own heart. Unlike David, you do not authentically repent. And therefore, not only does your victim not have to forgive you, God Himself does not forgive you.

[July 20, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to July 20, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 20, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 20, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 20, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]



  1. Tee3

    Yes, my abuser expects to be forgiven every single time. He has only ever apologised once since we got married over 20 years ago, so repentance is not in his dictionary.

  2. Sasanka

    Pastor Jeff, I had to laugh out loud…As far as I thought, my abuser did not cheat sexually, just robbed us blind, exploited for services, abused physically, sexually, emotionally and psychologically …but that did not prevent him from using King David’s example anyways!!! He claimed that this man after God’s own heart was even ‘worse than him’ and still was ‘fine’!!!
    Can you believe it? Their arrogance is truly just like their father’s. Wow.

    I also realized for myself why I was constantly giving him the benefit of the doubt despite all the direct evidence of reality…I was afraid to make a mistake and somehow misjudge him…which would be unjust and hurt my relationship with the Lord. In the back of my head I thought it safer to live this misery than to compromise my integrity with the Lord! I was so busy managing misery and trying not to ‘mess up’, that I failed to hear what Jesus is actually saying to me. Thank you for your never-ending faithfulness and patience with me, Lord. Thank you for never giving up, opening my eyes and saving me… What a Daddy I have. Praise Him forever.

  3. Renewed Spirit

    Question – Romans 7 – but nature each one of us hates God and our neighbour – how does this fit in with abuse. It seems like abusers can really hate the wrong they do.

    • Hi Renewed Spirit, your comment included a link to another site, which we have removed. To understand why, please go to our New Users Info page and scroll down to the section entitled “Including links and resources in your comment”. That explains our policy on links.

  4. M&M

    I think that Matthew 6:14-15 is telling us to forgive everyone, BUT I don’t think forgiveness means relationship or lack of consequence. David was forgiven with consequences and Jesus never became “friends” with the Pharisees. I think forgiving non-repentant people isn’t about “letting them off the hook” but about moving them from “your hook” to “God’s hook”. And it doesn’t always mean avoiding the legal system because you can put someone in jail without bitterness if your motive is to protect innocent people.

    And like to Mrs. B’s comment.

    • ^ Like!
      especially this bit: forgiving non-repentant people isn’t about “letting them off the hook” but about moving them from “your hook” to “God’s hook”.

    • freeatlast8

      M&M…great point. Removing them from your hook, and putting them on God’s hook. I love that and it helps me. Thank you for saying that.

  5. Mark

    “God has forgiven me, now you must also.” This quote comes straight from the abuser playbook. They leverage God and use that leverage point to again gain power over. This form of manipulation is also effective when used on allied children, In-laws, past friends and church people. How quickly they all turn against you insisting you also must forgive because “God has forgiven.” When you don’t, the tag and accusation of ‘hardhearted’ is stamped on you.

    The key reveler of truth in this scenario is as they demand forgiveness because after all, “God has forgiven them.” They take no thought, ZERO, of the damage they caused the ones they have abused. No thought of how their behavior has devalued, caused mental disorder, P.T.S.D., murder with words or worse. No thought how they divorced themselves from their spouse by habitually breaking their marriage covenant and acting violently year after year towards them. None of that past evil sinful behavior matters, the entitled live without consequence. They show no empathy towards their victims because the pain felt and the burden carried by their victims is not a pain felt or a burden carried by them.

    Has God forgiven? I say no. What do others think?

    • surviving freedom

      Amen! And here’s the catch … they demand forgiveness, act entitled to it … believe it is owed to them. They don’t really want forgiveness, though … they want a “get out of jail free card,” they want no consequences, they want to continue in their patterns of behavior without confrontation, they want automatic trust while continuing to lie. The abuser who pretended to be my husband for over 20 years used the forgiveness card to deem me unfaithful, bitter, and to put me in my place. The thing is, I offered forgiveness multiple times (too many to count) and he threw it back in my face every time. Forgiveness to him meant I was not allowed to ever bring up past or present acts of evil, I was not to ever contradict or confront, I was not allowed to express anger, ask for restitution or change, doubt his word, etc, etc. Then when I didn’t give in to all of this … he quickly rallied his forces to let them know just how unforgiving, unloving, bitter, and un-Christlike I was. So abusers don’t even want real forgiveness … for that matter, even though the abuser in my life claimed and demanded it, in all reality, he rejects forgiveness on a daily basis.

      • Mark

        Surviving Freedom, “They don’t really want forgiveness, though…they want a “get out of jail free card”………..
        That is very helpful to me, as well as the rest of your post which elaborates your insight.
        Thank You.

      • freeatlast8

        Exactly! Exactly! Surviving Freedom, you worded my experience so exactly. I’m amazed.

        How do these men think we endured two decades of their behavior if we were not forgivers? How do they think we got up and faced another day, another week, another month, another year of relationship with them without being forgivers? It’s insane.

    • Definitely God has not forgiven abusers who resist having to repent. It is clear that they will go to Hell if they don’t repent. It is also clear that some people will never follow Christ.

      At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.
      (John 10:22-26 ESV)

  6. Mrs. B

    People are so insane!!! What if Gothard was murdering those young women (instead of wicked sexual assault)? Would these same people STILL want his ministry to continue? Would they say, “David killed people!!”

    My goodness. This just goes to show that the church does not really “care” about sexual assault. Just like with the Duggars. Just hide it.

    But God wants to expose it.

    God sent a “Nathan”–but these guys can’t stand to be called on their sin!!!

    It is not the “enemy” that is coming against these “men of God”–it is the will of God.

  7. Barb

    Forgiveness needs to be defined. And we need to acknowledge what God says about forgiveness. Yes, we do need to forgive our abusive people. But forgiving them does not mean there are not consequences. We are told to guard our hearts. And we are to love ourselves. I chose life, for myself and my children, and so, even tho’ I forgave him and gave him and all his “business” to the Lord to deal with, we got out and got safe. And I told the truth.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been thinking about this the past few days (since I saw your post) and it was eating at me because I agree with you that we need to DEFINE what forgiveness is. As I was reading the old posts on this website I came across this and it so helped me!
      Distinguishing Enemies From Brothers, And How We Deal Differently With Each

      I also went to Matthew 6:15 and looked up in the Strong’s and HELPS Word-studies. Here’s some of the definitions: “aphiémi: to send away, leave alone, permit, (a) I send away, (b) I let go, release, permit to depart, (c) I remit, forgive, (d) I permit, suffer. lay aside, leave, let go, omit”

      Letting go is not being against someone. Since I was raised by people without a conscience my entire way of reacting has had to be relearned. These people want to be worshiped, noticed, catered to and anything less than this (to them) means that we are not serving god! They don’t think they NEED to be forgiven but sometimes when they are playing-acting like they are contrite or repentant they insist that we “forgive them,” and in their mind this means we are to go back to serving them and worshiping them so this means we should shut up about their “supposed” sin, and go back to the status quo. They do NOT like when we forgive them by letting go of them–or more accurately–when they no longer have access to abuse us. So to them letting go means we are against them–against god.

      Forgiveness can mean accepting- I accept that some people CHOOSE not have a conscience, and then staying away from them is actually a way of not allowing them to harm me (and so not sin against me, and since I belong to Jesus, from sinning against Jesus). Forgiveness doesn’t mean that I now agree with them or that I accept their behavior as “good.” Thinking about what forgiveness is and isn’t has helped me deal with this and I thank you for putting it out there.

      Here’s what Jeff had to say from the old post, “Let me add one additional thought I have had today about all of this. I will state it in the form of a question: Is un-forgiveness in its essence, that is, by definition, an evil and sinful thing? Think about that. When you hear the term “un-forgiveness / un-forgiving, you immediately sense that it is sinful, right? To be unforgiving is not Christlike. Well, let me suggest to you that such thinking is wrong. Un-forgiveness is not in and of itself a sin. How do we know? Because God Himself is really quite un-forgiving! Yes, He is abundant in mercy. He desires all to come to repentance. He abounds in the desire to pardon. But God is firmly and staunchly un-forgiving when people refuse to repent of their sin and turn in faith to Christ. So un-forgiveness not only is not inherently evil, it is glorious justice in many cases.”

      Again, thank you for making me ponder this so that when I found this old post, it had that much more meaning to me!

      • Anonymous
      • Thanks Anonymous! I haven’t time to read this comment of yours in full now, but will later.

        We have had on our list of Jobs We Need To Do, that we need to create an FAQ section on the blog. One of the FAQ’s would be ‘What is forgiveness?’ We will use what you’ve gathered from our archived posts to help us put that together. Bless you.

        So much to do…. never enough time!

      • Barb

        God gave man free choice, and so, we likewise must give others the free choice about what they do. When that free choice means they abuse you, God tells us many things: guard your heart, don’t be fearing man instead of God, and to forgive them. To forgive someone means you take your hands off their throat, and let God deal with them. It does not mean what they did is now OK. It is not OK what they did, and many times consequences need to be applied.


        I had to learn all about this in the midst of an abusive marriage. You’re right in that [sometimes] the abuser does not want to hear you say you forgive them, because it means they did something wrong, and in their mind, no way. It just brings more mass confusion and abuse if you say it out loud to them. Just between you and God, you forgive them in your heart, . . . for your own sake, and so God can deal with them. …

  8. Innoscent

    This man is obviously totally lacking spiritual discernment and has a twisted and anachronistic interpretation of Scriptures typical of abusers and their allies. With simple common sense and proper reading of the facts, one can come to the truth of the matter regarding David.
    In 1 Samuel 13.13-14 the prophet tells king Saul that another man will replace him “the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.” Here we are given the reason of Saul’s dismissal: his disobedience (rooted in pride and self-confidence).
    David, in his youth, was truly a man after God’s heart i.e. relying on Him always, humble and obedient, a young fellow who wasn’t afraid of a Philistine giant because of his trust in God.

    But later on we see a David operating without his Heavenly Master, certainly NOT after God’s heart, but after his own wickedness when:

    –lying to and deceiving high priest Ahimelech resulting in all the priests and the whole town of Nob being slain, including animals (1 Samuel 21-22)
    –feigning madness before Philistine king Achish of Gath (1 Samuel 21:13) -the very people David and Saul had defeated before including Goliath.
    –in anger about to kill the whole house of Nabal (1 Samuel 25)
    –later on he took refuge from Saul with pagan king Achish of Gath (1 Samuel 27) distrusting God’s protection
    –left town of Ziklag (given to him by Achish) unguarded causing the Amalekites to burn it and take away everybody captive (1 Samuel 30)
    –had the ark of covenant transported in a wrong way in violation of God’s instruction resulting in Uzzah to be struck dead (2 Samuel 6; Numbers 4:15; 7:9)
    –abused his kingly power for self-gratification by raping Beersheba and having her husband Uriah -one his most trusted strong man- killed in battle (2 Samuel 11)

    After all this, David still did grievous sins by:
    –being lenient with his oldest son Amnon’s crime in raping his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13), his sons Absalom (2 Samuel 13-18) and Adonijah (1 Kings 1) who staged a coup d’état
    –requesting a military census relying on his own strength instead of God’s army (1 Chronicles 21)

    Using David’s sinful life as a model of a Christian man is simply intellectually dishonest and only serves to lower down God’s standard of conduct for us Christians and accommodate every species of abuse! Shame on such men taking example on the filthy and horrific premeditations and actions of a man of power who should have been leading his people to God’s way by example. David’s example serves mainly to show us what NOT to do.

    Let’s look instead to Christ, a man after God’s own heart constantly, full of humility and devotion, and truly giving His life to His bride, the Church whom He loves more than His own life! Eph 5:25-27

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: