Wise as Serpents: What Does Evil Look Like? (Part 7 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)

I saw that my abuser has the same spirit as a murderer. But he is well able to hide his murderous intent. If anything bad was to happen, he wouldn’t care less except about being caught, and no one would suspect him. He fools most people with his appearance of being a good, responsible and reasonable person, but it is a complete façade. Most of the time he managed to keep the dark side of his nature invisible from me too, but occasionally the mask would slip. Then just for a few seconds at a time I would see the evil grin, the look of pure selfishness and greed, the contemptuous hatred, the expression that seemed demonic. Even now I’m not sure what he’s capable of, because his real self is so hidden.

He is all about control. Most of his methods are clever and covert. It’s only when people stand up to him that he becomes aggressive and angry. Eventually I came to realise the whole problem could be summed up in that one word, control. In hindsight the signs of his true nature were present very early on, but I didn’t know how to make sense of it all. They aren’t necessarily the things that people warn you about. He didn’t hit me and he didn’t order me around, at least not in the beginning. He didn’t have addictions or mental health problems. He wore a suit and tie and had a good job. He was a church Elder and he gave elderly ladies a ride to church every Sunday. I met him through friends who are beyond reproach.

When I first met him I asked around to see what people thought of him. The reports were glowing. There did seem to be one or two people who didn’t like him. But I found I couldn’t get to talk to those people, they kept their distance and they weren’t willing to talk. So I thought any problems must not be that important. I realize now that the people with bad reports were afraid of retaliation for speaking out. It was a sign of ruthless and wide scale impression management.

At the start he was often pleasant, but just occasionally he would fly into a rage for no reason at all, and blame me. None of this ever happened in front of witnesses. An important sign I missed was that he never took responsibility for anything, he was never sorry for anything. Everything was always someone else’s fault. Because of this behaviour early on, I tried to back off out of the relationship. But he seemed to see that coming and manipulated me into staying involved. After a while I realised that my circle of friends had got dramatically smaller. I was discouraged from meeting people and from following my own interests. It was all done by deceit and manipulation. I felt confused and tired. I knew something was really wrong but I didn’t have an explanation. If I ever raised these problems with other Christians, they reassured me that everything was alright. So I just got wound up tighter and tighter in the abuser’s web.

It was never a normal relationship. The abuser was not a normal person. He was never not controlling, he was never not telling lies, he was never not prepared to be physically violent if other methods failed. The only way to prevent this kind of abuse is for people to learn to identify controlling behaviour at the very first sign. And most importantly, to recognize the real evil behind that behaviour.

Something good has come out of this. I’ve taught these lessons to the young people in my life, and they are spreading the message. They’ve already been able to help and rescue some of their friends. That’s something very good.
(Comment by KayE on this blog, survivor of domestic abuse.)

“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  ESV)  [Emphasis added.]

Jeremiah knew of these things all too well:

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD.  (Jeremiah 23:1-2  ESV)

“Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD.

In the prophets of Samaria I saw an unsavory thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”

Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with bitter food and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land.” Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.'”

For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly. “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.

“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?  (Jeremiah 23:11-27  ESV)  [Emphasis added.]

Identifying marks of Evil

As we have seen these past few weeks, evil always comes on the scene right on the heels of truth. We see it here in this account from Jeremiah. Chosen as God’s prophet, Jeremiah faithfully announced the Lord’s Word to the Jews, and very quickly he was plagued by these false prophets and lying priests. Prophets and priests. The “church” leaders of the day! Notice that their tactic to gain a hearing was to tell the people what they wanted to hear – no disaster shall come upon you. And so it is today. Evil flatters. Evil does not call the wicked to repentance, but pronounces them to be righteous. Evil denies the Lord’s coming judgment of sin.

Notice also here the energy of these evil prophets. I did not send the prophets, yet they RAN. And they claim God’s authorization for themselves. Most often the agents of evil in the church are the most zealous, the most “sacrificing,” the apparently most energetic of anyone in the entire church. In the church. Remember, we are learning that evil most often shows up among God’s people, working to deceive them.

How do you recognize evil? It is soooo deceptive. Listen to Robert Hare describe the psychopath. Remember, evil always comes to us in a person. Evil is not some disembodied non-personal “dark side of the force.” It always comes in flesh and blood. What do its emissaries look like? —

[Evil] is often witty and articulate. It can be an amusing and entertaining conversationalist, ready with a quick and clever comeback, and can tell unlikely but convincing stories that cast itself in a good light. [Evil] can be very effective in presenting itself well and is often very likeable and charming.
(Robert Hare, Without Conscience [Affiliate link], The Guilford Press, 1993, p. 34. I have altered Hare’s pronouns here to apply his description of the psychopath to what I call “evil” people.)

See it? This is vital to get hold of. Evil is very often the most charming, “likeable” man in the room. The most “saintly” fellow in the church. I recommend to you that there are many, many, many of these flatterers in pulpits and pews today. In contrast, how do you suppose Jeremiah, God’s true prophet, looked? He wasn’t widely perceived as the most likeable saintly fellow! He was the seen as the scumbag bigmouth they threw into the well in the courtyard.

NOTE: We need to frequently remind ourselves as we are learning more about evil and its tactics, that the Lord Jesus Christ is Victor over evil. There is a danger here of forgetting that. Evil is everywhere in this world today and it is everywhere in local churches in its disguises. As I hear the true stories every single week, and really most every single day, of how evil lurking in churches victimized and oppressed the innocent, and how its agents are enjoying fame and comfort and large followings, I know that we must guard against sliding into hopelessness. And a real remedy for us is to remember regularly that Christ sees it all, just as He saw it in the “church” when He was on this earth:

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  (Matthew 6:2-5  ESV)

Understand? These hypocrites were and are in full view of the Lord’s eyes. He knows and He sees and He is going to repay.


We know that in His very essence and being, God is love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  (1 John 4:7-8  ESV)

It is not surprising then that Scripture repeatedly identifies love as the Christian’s badge.

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  (1 John 3:11-15  ESV)

Jesus said the same:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35  ESV)

And again:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matthew 22:36-40  ESV)

What does love look like?
And what does a person look like who does not love others?

Love has empathy. Evil is devoid of empathy.

It is one thing to speak of loving one another, or of not loving one another, and still another to truly grasp what love or its lack looks like. A fundamental quality of love is empathy.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:2  ESV)

Empathy is that emotion, that aspect of love, which enables us to do what Jesus says fulfills His Law – bearing one another’s burdens. Let me call on Robert Hare and then Scott Allen Johnson for some assistance here in helping us learn what empathy looks like, and what its absence (evil) looks like. Hare deals in his work with psychopaths, but do not make the mistake of assuming that these type are mostly locked up in prisons. Nope. They are quite commonly around us and in churches as well, parading as “saints.”

Psychopaths, says Hare, are egocentric, without remorse, have shallow emotions, and are deceitful, and these qualities, he says, are:

closely associated with a profound lack of empathy (an ability to construct a mental and emotional ‘facsimile’ of another person). They seem unable to ‘get into the skin’ or to ‘walk in the shoes’ of others, except in a purely intellectual sense. The feelings of other people are of no concern to psychopaths.  (Without Conscience, p. 44.)

This lack of empathy is a very commonly noted quality in the accounts of victims of evil. Jesus made note of it in regard to the religious leaders of His day:

And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”  (Mark 12:38-44  ESV)

No empathy for these widows, you see. Quite happy to exalt themselves and even take from the widows and not be bothered about it at all. This is evil.

Now, you might be thinking something like this right now, “Ok, there it is. Evil is recognized by its lack of empathy. I can watch for that.” But let me warn you, a lack of empathy and therefore, evil, is NOT easy to see. The thing is very, very deceptive. No doubt the people thought these hypocrites in Jesus’ day were pious, great, godly men! But they weren’t. People missed it. They didn’t see it for what it was – EVIL. No one dreamed these “holy ones” were the devil’s children. But the were! So it is today with us.

An example from my personal experience:

Over the years as a pastor I have had to deal with many wicked people. So have many of you. In the last few years, I came to a realization. The “lights came on” you might say, and I realized that I had been largely blind to evil, specifically, it’s quality of an absence of empathy. We have had many very difficult situations dropped into our laps in this church over the years. Myself, the Elders, and many of you experienced it and these situations were nothing that any of us asked for. Yet, there it was. And we had to deal with it and face it the best we could. The Lord sustained us and preserved us through much criticism, attacks, and accusations.

I remember some years ago after still another one of those very unpleasant meetings when we had to deal with people and their sin and we received the typical, even hateful, accusations. “You did this. You didn’t do this. You never….” and so on. And I was sitting in my office afterwards after having to hear all of that sort of thing again, when it was as if a switch was thrown in my head – one of those “light bulb” moments – that allowed me to put things in proper perspective. And the realization was this: in all of this turmoil and heartache, in all the grief of having to make decisions and tell people things they didn’t want to hear, and in having to call people out in regard to their sin, never once did we experience empathy from these accusers. Not ONCE. And that really struck me, not because it enabled me to feel sorry for myself, but because it hit me that this was so incredibly wrong. But I hadn’t seen it before. It was right there all along, but I had been blind to it.

Evil, you see, and those who are its agents, are very deceptive. They accuse and guilt and shame in such a way that YOU think YOU are the problem. But I came to realize that something was seriously out of order in the evil ones we had to face. Namely, to state it once more, that never once were they ever heard to say anything like: “Wow, this is an incredibly difficult and painful situation that you have been put in and it must be very, very hard for you. I can’t imagine having to go through the things that you have had to deal with.”

Sounds logical, right? Common sense? Empathy. But evil does not empathize. And when you realize that what you are facing is a vacuum of empathy, be assured that you are looking at the face of true evil.

An example from the author Scott Allen Johnson:

Scott Allen Johnson gives some excellent and wise observations about evil people and how an absence of empathy evidences them as such. Let’s keep this in biblical perspective. Scripture, you see, gives us statements like this:

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.  (1 John 3:14  ESV)

But what we are working to bring into more clarity is, just what does this love look like? And what does an absence of this love look like? These things are not as easy to see as we might think. As Johnson mentions “abuse,” insert the word “evil.” And where he speaks of “empathy,” think of “love.”

….Abusive behavior as a rule demonstrates the lack of empathy.

There are three characteristics of empathy that I believe are important to demonstrate genuine empathy. These aspects are cognitive recognition, emotional connection, and behavioral demonstration….

Cognitive recognition refers to the understanding [of] the definition and concept of empathy….understanding the concept of being a victim, that is, to appreciate what victims of abuse experience…. [A basic ability to grasp a fundamental idea of empathy.]

Emotional Connection refers to experiencing and being able to identify with the guilt, shame, and fear that the abuser’s behavior has caused his victim….an understanding the possible consequences of behavior….

Behavioral Demonstration refers to practicing what you preach. This means that you will do what you say you will do and behave in ways that live up to and demonstrate your beliefs, morals, and values…. [Repentance, we would call this.]
(Scott Allen Johnson, Physical Abusers and Sexual Offenders [Affiliate link], Taylor and Francis, 2007, chapter 10.)

Johnson continues and lists a large number of behavioral indicators that demonstrate the presence of empathy (love). The absence of these indicators is a sign of an absence of love. Namely, of the presence of evil. Notice as we look (paraphrasing) at just some of this list how deceptive evil is in regard to these things and how very often in the church, professing Christians distort Scripture to put the burden back on the shoulders of the innocent.

  • Love (empathy) allows the victim to vent and to recount the evil that was done to them. A lack of empathy simply wants the victim to “quit talking about it and move on.” People who do the latter habitually over the course of their lives are, plainly, evil. If they are parading as Christians, they will use such “pious” statements such as “if you were really trusting the Lord with this you would stop dwelling on it.”
  • We have all failed to show empathy toward someone on occasion in our lives, but a person with empathy will ultimately acknowledge their sin, admit what they have done, and take full responsibility for it. Evil, however, evil people (who do not love) blame the victim, make excuses, rationalize their behavior, and choose to repeat it all over again. That is what not loving looks like.
  • A person who lacks empathy and thus evidences an evil heart, often apologizes quickly. Do you see the deceit in this? The evil person, the one whose heart is devoid of empathy, expects (after this quick and glib apology) the victim to forgive and forget, and the evil one then rushes the victim’s recovery process with a “get it done now” attitude. (How many times has such wickedness hidden itself behind a “Jesus commands us to forgive” distortion of Scripture?)
  • Evil, an absence of empathy, becomes irritated when confronted and held accountable for its actions.
  • An evil heart devoid of empathy frequently gives ultimatums to the oppressed. “If you don’t do….I will….”.
  • Where there is a heart empty of empathy, you will often find the tactics of working to turn the victim’s support network against the victim.
  • Evil habitually engages in double standards, expecting one thing from their victim while not holding themselves to the same standards.

Johnson actually provides a much longer list than this, but this sample gives you a clearer picture of what genuine love and a lack of it look like. The deception can be remarkable. Do not be duped.

Is this person demonstrating the love of Christ as evidenced by the presence of genuine empathy for others? — If the answer is “no”, and if the answer remains “no,” and this absence is characteristic of a person you are dealing with, then you are most certainly in the presence of evil, no matter how “righteous” its disguise.

The Beauty of Christ’s Empathy for Us

Here is a hands-on real-life example of true empathy in action:

My light bulb moment came six months after the new minister (who loved God more than people playing politics) became visibly angry as I told him what had been going on for the past decade and what the responses of the “establishment” ministers had been throughout my ordeal.

A teacher at my kids’ school had been noticing me every morning as I brought my daughter to her kindergarten class. She actually left her class in the care of her assistant so she could come to my home. She rang the doorbell and, when I came to the door, asked that I forgive her if she was minding my business but she was very, very concerned about me.

I was completely surprised; I wasn’t able to recognize in myself what was obvious to someone else (not having received validation in my family of origin after a circle of boys sexually assaulted me when I was around 7 years old. The invalidation and abuse continued in my dating relationships, then in my marriage and in the church. It doesn’t end until you can see it for what it is and name it and end its presence in and interference with your life.).

She asked if she could arrange for a social worker to come and visit me. I said OK. I could tell she cared for me, so I trusted her, even though I was oblivious to the politics and dangers in the world. (I learned years later that our church was classified by some as a cult.)

The social worker came within the hour, sat down at my kitchen table and asked me a lot of questions and wrote things down on her forms and notepad. She then told me I needed to go to an office with the city right away and speak with a social worker named __________.

I did – and this woman was so gentle and kind. She asked me a number of questions as we talked briefly in her office, then she said, straightforward but very gently, adding that she wanted to make sure I understood what she was going to say: she did not believe I would survive if I stayed in this relationship.

It was like her words had somehow made these heavy steel clockwork parts grind open (that I didn’t even realize were locked around my mind / awareness) just enough that I could sense the truth and gravity of my situation for the first time. I was in very deep water and would soon drown. My vision was like that of the blind man after Jesus touched his eyes and asked him what he saw and he said men walking around like trees – though it wasn’t yet clear, it was nevertheless a degree of sight.

I left that night for the women’s shelter with our three children and one garbage bag with whatever they thought was precious and with what I thought we would need….
(Comment by Survivor on this blog.)

All those years, this lady had been in a “church”. But before that new minister came, the place was devoid of the love of Christ and that was evidenced by their lack of empathy.

The Lord Jesus Christ is characterized by empathy, and if we want to know if our thoughts about who God is are accurate or false, then this is a very good place to begin. How did Christ respond to people who were downtrodden and suffering? What was His reaction to the arrogant religious leaders who oppressed such people? As we answer those questions from Scripture, we find that we are seeing God truly:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  (Hebrews 1:1-3  ESV)  [Emphasis added.]

Don’t be fooled by evil. Don’t let the evil one’s emissaries deceive you.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie — just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.  (1 John 2:26-29  ESV)


Audio and PDF of this sermon here.

Go to Part 8 of this series

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

[September 25, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to September 25, 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 September 25, 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 September 25, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (September 25, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


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.


15 thoughts on “Wise as Serpents: What Does Evil Look Like? (Part 7 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)”

  1. This has been a wonderful series, Pastor. So many truths to chew on. This Scripture jumped out at me because it was said to me numerous times dealing w/ Christians:

    Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

    They would say: “We are called to bear one another’s burdens and we will be with you.” The first 3 or 4 times I heard this my heart would leap for joy in anticipation, only to never hear another word from them. It is the same as James 2:16 [Paraphrasing.]:

    Go and be warm….

    Jeremiah is one of my favorites in the Bible. I tend to cry a bit. You say:

    He wasn’t widely perceived as the most likeable saintly fellow! He was the one seen as the scumbag bigmouth they threw into the well in the courtyard.

    Good thing for me to remember. It is hard to be continually hated though.

    I do have a question? The Bible talks often and so do you about flatterers. What is the difference between a flatterer and someone who tries to be encouraging?

    1. I do have a question? The Bible talks often and so do you about flatterers. What is the difference between a flatterer and someone who tries to be encouraging?

      Hi Bitter,

      While I’m sure Pastor will be providing a thorough answer to your question, I thought I would visit the dictionary and see if that could provide some thoughts. According to Merriam-Webster:

      to encourage: to make (someone) more determined, hopeful, or confident
      to flatter: insincere or excessive praise (especially that given to further one’s own interests)

  2. Twbtc, thanks for the reply. I am going to do a little more digging tomorrow w/ the help of my “Strongs”. Thanks for sending me off in the right direction!!!

  3. My ex learned buzz words by being with me and by being in counseling. He would throw around empathetic buzz words, talk about Jesus’ judgement (on everyone else of course), and how to pull on others’ emotions. It took me years to figure out that there was a shallow ring to all of it. It never was totally authentic. It was a put on. But if you are not looking for it, he said all the right things. It’s going to take an awful lot of discernment teachings to get the body of Christ up to speed on these psychos since they learn quicker and are more determined to stay one step ahead.

  4. I read all of these posts because I need consistent reality checks.
    Since I served a civil protective order on my husband a few years ago, things have been very good for a long time, years, but recently, something happened that makes me wonder if the change in my husband is real.

    I rarely say “no” to sex to my husband, but when I do, he usually does it anyway. I’ve been saying “no” more often as a test to see if he will respect my “no”. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t. Recently, I said “no” rather forcefully and jumped out of bed. My husband became extremely angry. Later that day, he told me he wanted either a divorce or at least to have girlfriends. Then he made an appointment with a Christian medical doctor and talked to him, according to him, about our sex life. The doctor suggested that he romance me and that we set specific times for sex. I was agreeable to this and worked at setting a mood for sex, but for my husband, setting the mood meant watching pornographic movies. I watched a movie with him about people engaging in group sex. I told him I couldn’t do it, that the movie was immoral and that since I became a Christian, I have high standards. His response was that the behavior in the movie was normal behavior. He tells me that we are adults and should be able to handle adult movies.

    He has been really sweet to me. It feels like we are communicating, but I feel myself being drawn into a lifestyle that I don’t want and that doesn’t correspond with my Christian faith. I feel so stuck. A divorce seems out of the question for me – so complicated. I have a beautiful family, grandchildren, and a member of my extended family that has never experienced stability in her own life. I want to provide that stability for that person.

    My husband goes to church with me every Sunday, and for a while I was fooled, but I am suddenly wondering if his faith is real. He wasn’t raised in the church and has very little idea of what it means to be a Christian. He voluntarily mows the church lawn and does all of the yard maintenance. He seems interested in the success of the church.

    He is suddenly back to consuming my time and energy but this time it’s not unpleasant. This time, I can’t tell whether this is real or not. I know that his choice to watch pornography isn’t moral, but it seems like an attempt to have relationship with me.

    1. Confused — when I read your comment I thought ‘oil and water don’t mix’. It sounds to me like your husband is a fake Christian. Anyone who truly knows and loves Christ would not think it is fine to watch videos of group sex.

      I totally understand why you feel stuck. I have no easy answers for you. But one thing I can predict: if you confront an abuser about their hypocrisy, the abuser will try to quash you – and will show his heart (his true colours) more in the process.

      Would it help you to put down on paper (just for yourself) the pros versus the cons of sticking with the status quo?

      1. You are right; my husband did show his true colors. I had been praying that I would know for certain. I am learning to recognize that though things may go along nicely for awhile, what’s truly in his heart will reveal itself. There is a pattern. Not sure how this is going to play out, but I do need strength from God to hold my ground. I am feeling so weak this time around.
        And my husband did try to quash me. He came at me from several angles, including anger.

  5. This is another of those posts that covers SO much truth that it is overwhelming in a good way.

    There was not one day in my marriage to my husband that he was NOT a psychopath.
    There was not one day in my marriage to my husband that I WAS a psychopath.

    From the beginning he lied, accused, deceived manipulated, groomed me and then the children to serve and obey his evil and he still craved more evil.
    From the beginning I was honest about everything wanting to be open with no hidden secrets in our marriage and I also paid close attention to the things he liked so that I could meet his needs and help him. I also desired to be invisible. He used all my honesty against me and used my guilt to control me and my desire to be a blessing to him behind the scenes instead of out front to convince others that I was insane.

    My husband has known what he is from the beginning. He’s proud of his evil nature. The first time I met one of his friends from his childhood this man said that my husband was the smartest man he knew. I was so proud of my husband! But as time went by and I realized smart didn’t mean good or kind or loving — I also came to realize that his friend KNEW what my husband was and he was of the same nature. The stories from their childhood have taken on new meaning once I saw my husband for the psychopath that he is. The stories of how the neighborhood cat gave birth to kittens in their yard and how one morning they found all of the kittens dead. The little boy that my husband would mimic because of his lisp and how my husband tortured him with this. The 12 year old girl he got pregnant (when he was the same age) and how when her father confronted him he denied it and denied it until the man went away and the girl had a abortion and he loves to brag that he got away with it all and how clever he was! (This was before paternity testing.) He was gleeful when he heard the news that she’d gotten an abortion — that she’d been forced to be in this position.

    Our child who was most like him he used to dote on — this child was very smart and clever just like him and he started to groom him when he was still young — wanting to ensure he had control over this child but also wanting to get credit for his genius — until this child started to become even more evil acting then my husband. Then he turned the blame for this child’s evil on me saying that the child took after me. I carried all the guilt and shame for all of it until God said “NO MORE!”

    I am very weary. There are so very MANY evil ones today. How much does God expect us to take? I need to be loved. People like me NEED love in order to be nourished. I am very tired of defending myself and trying to carry on — some days it’s simply too hard and doesn’t seem worth it.

    1. The world is full of evil I am finding too. But after getting away from my primary abuser, the evil seems to be easier to spot now, as the familiar flags start going off.

      My EX-abuser also fit the profile of a psychopath and I realized I was up against a complex evil, so I found out as much as I could about how psychopaths operate. Basically I discovered these abusive types like these like to compile information on their target (as if they actually care about them) only to later use that same information against them…. They are constantly monitoring their targets so they can control and negatively manipulate the outcome of anything that they say or do. So I quickly learned that there were subjects that I could no longer discuss or mention around him, because he processed that information to use against me.

      So I developed “subjects” that were “ok” to talk about, in front of him and subjects that were “Not ok” to talk about to, or in front of him. The “ok” subjects had to do with things like inanimate objects, or items on a grocery list, shoes or shoe laces, any object like toothpaste or laundry items….

      Sometimes I would talk about “things” to fill the “dead air space”. It could be the best brand of barbecue sauce as long as I was keeping the subject matter away from what really mattered to me, and on “non-important things”.

      For reasons of self-protection I changed what I was willing to talk about in front of him, by controlling the subject matter I was willing to discuss. And soon he had no information to sabotage because everything I truly cared about “was not discussed” with or around him. Not discussed were personal opinions, ideas like my immediate, or long term plans, or goals, my hopes or dreams for myself or my children or anything I was looking forward to, or my personal values for myself or those I love.

      The psychopath cannot tell when someone is “pretending” because they themselves are in “constant pretend mode.” Since they “can’t tell” when someone else is pretending, then one could pretend that a “brand” of barbecue sauce is important to them (even if it isn’t), and they are inclined to believe it! This type of “distraction strategy” diverts the abusers attack onto something that they think matters to their target, but it really doesn’t. And it also can also keep the abuser from attacking what the target really cares about….

      [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  6. Standsfortruth, such valuable information! I do use these tactics as well and because my husband LOVES arguing I’ll even throw one of those in too. I’ll yell loud in response to something he said even though I don’t care about this particular subject but if he can get a fix off of this, it is easier for me to do it this way than actually fight about something that means something to ME.

    The problem I’m having now is that I’m really worn out and I’ve encountered evil ones like this in my program of study that have tried to abuse me using the same tactics as my husband. This program has a horrible reputation and they keep hiring more people like this to try and fix it, but because the person in charge is like this and they don’t really want it to be fixed, they just want to keep their job and be the big boss. If they hire these same types of people, it makes the big boss look better in comparison. It’s all the same stuff just in a different arena but when you’ve come from a childhood of this to a marriage like it to a chance to complete an education but so many like this — well, it’s exhausting to say the least.

    I remember when I was a child and would sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” I was SO painfully shy that I thought, “Lord, I can’t shine because I’m too shy!” But God has shown me that even when we TRY to be invisible — we are not. And evil predators seek us out to feast on us. These are all women by the way — and they are all abusive and power-hungry.

    It’s simply the latest trial I am in. It’s why I love King David’s Psalms. So many against him, evil ones who desire to devour him — he still seeks the Lord and God always cares for him. I have no doubt God is with me and the outcome will be His for His glory and to ultimately bless me, but while we’re in these trials the pain and fear and the awareness of evil is so acute because it’s MEANT to be. God wants us to see the truth about these people and He wants us to remember it too so that when we encounter another of God’s little ones being put through the fire we can love them and at the very least come along side them as they are going through it. And that when we encounter these abusers in the future we will remember and keep a wide berth from them because He has shown us their hearts and their nature. Are there ANY among them that have shown mercy — handed His little one a cup of cold water — then we are to remember that too.

    God has put ONE person here to help me. She is totally confused as to why I’ve been labeled as I was but she is not a Christian and she does not know the spiritual battling going on. So on I go — what choice do I have? (By the way, God sees it all and not one single word of slander escapes Him and every single tactic they use He knows about and unless they repent — goes against them. The day of wrath for these people will be horrific.)

    Thank you for reaching out again, Standsfortruth. You have consistently shared your testimony and heart here and I’m grateful for it.

    1. One thing I forgot to add. God puts us here to pray for and against them. This may be the biggest reason for His placing them in our lives.

      Some of the things I pray are: “Jesus protect me from the evil ones and let me not be deceived. Let any with a seared conscience be bound up and destroyed and let those with a heart to hear see the truth and turn to You. Completely destroy those who are evil and let no one believe them or cover for them. Expose them and let no one hire or believe their deceptions or their lies. Vindicate your little ones and let them know You are with them.”

      Inspired by the Psalms of King David — a man after God’s own heart. A man who I want to meet in heaven — several centuries after I’ve been able to nap!

      These are strongholds of evil and God sends in those who He knows can see the truth to break these strongholds. Quite frankly, I wish He’d send someone else and that they’d get the blessings received from this but this time He sent me. I’m very, very tired.

    2. Yes, Anonymous, there are people at my place of work too that are abusers (although there are good ones too), and I have noticed after a female tried to sabotoge me and I stood my ground, she now tends to steer clear of me for the most part.

      I do believe that the Lord wants us to “Stand our ground” when we are attacked by evil, and He will work through us when we do. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in my public service job. And God is re-shifting the atmosphere, and people as well.

      I think God wants His people out there, and He will watch our back if we just stand in the times of trial. I think of Pharaoh’s magicians, and how God had Moses face them with their evil snakes. God allowed Moses staff (when it transformed into a snake) to overpower the magician’s snakes. All Moses had to do was stand and God did the rest.

      We have the Kingdom of God within us, and I believe that evil people knows this and they are fearful of us when we stand our ground. Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. [Paraphrase of 1 John 4:4.] I am just sorry you have no place to rest in between and pray that God gives you more strength and comfort during this time.

      [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

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