A Cry For Justice

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

Christians Need to Get “Pity” Right and Stop Pitying the Wicked While Refusing Pity to the Innocent

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.


[August 17, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.  (Deuteronomy 19:13  ESV)

They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.  (Psalm 17:10  ESV)

Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children!  (Psalm 109:12  ESV)

Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity.  (Ezekiel 5:11  ESV)

Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”  (Mark 1:41  ESV)

If you have studied or experienced first hand the tactics of the abuser, you already know that one of his favorite ploys is to play the victim and seek our pity. He has a virtual endless repertoire of variations on this scheme, because it works. He pulls it off over and over again. How many times have you been sucked into this trap, resolving that you will never feel sorry for him again, then you turn right around and do it again? That has happened to me more than once.

Abusers do this in a split second without even having to sort it out first in their heads. They attack, then they transform into a pity-seeking “victim.” One time after I had become wiser about all this I confronted such a person. “You stop that!” I said. “Stop what? What do you mean?” “You just made a false accusation against Joe over here and when he confronted you, you pretended like you were the offended party. Stop it! We don’t buy that trick here anymore.” He of course continued to act clueless.

We have had to deal with people who were abusive and who regularly and actively tried to work their evil on us, and when we sat them down they looked up with those glistening “poor me” eyes like that cat in Shrek. “Oh, I just feel so nervous and threatened right now by you all.” Yeah, right. The pity play.

So what happens frequently if not normally in the church is that the wicked who play this game GET the pity while their victims get kicked around or out. Christians very often get pity wrong in other words.

You will notice in the above Scripture verses that there are times when the Lord Himself has NO pity and there are other times when His pity abounds. This is how it is to be with us if we are His people and reflect His character. We are to have NO pity on the wicked, unrepentant, deceiving worker of evil and we are to have hearts filled to overflowing with pity for the oppressed.

Don’t you think it is well past time for the church to start getting pity right?

[August 17, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 17, 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 August 17, 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 August 17, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 17, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further reading

Nor Shall Your Eye Pity Him

Do not Pity the Wicked: Abusers Use Pity as a Snare


  1. Dale Ingraham @ Speaking Truth In Love Ministries
  2. Rebecca

    Wow…thank you for this. Pity is the main thing that keeps me connected to him. I appreciate this article, and hope to share it with the pastor that is counseling my husband.

  3. Cindy R

    Or the Grace card, the abuser gets it played on his behalf all the time. You know how many times I have seen the Grace card played on behalf of the target of the abuser?
    Zip, nada, zilch. Because we don’t play the game. When we call it out we are reprimanded even if they admit the abuse because we don’t trust, aren’t forgiving, are hard hearted etc, etc, etc.

    • Misti

      Yep. This, too.

  4. Lea

    I hear what you’re saying, but it’s interesting to me as I tend to think of ‘pity’ as a negative thing. As in ‘I pity you’ as an insult, to someone who is not a good person.

    I tend to think of the positive emotion more as compassion, or empathy.

  5. Un-Tangled

    Just last week a close relative cried on FB that some people didn’t want anything to do with him, that they weren’t forgiving him and giving him grace. And, yup, Christians gathered around him tut-tutting about how terrible it was when Christians don’t give grace.

    And I’m thinking, “Wake up! Did it ever occur to question that maybe those ‘ungrace-filled’ people might have a very good reason for wanting nothing to do with him?” We know first-hand that he has lied, manipulated, defrauded, vandalized, and stolen from people who were kind and generous to him. At one point, we heard him talking about wanting to become a pastor…while he was living with his girlfriend. And his behavior hasn’t changed.

    We are, by the way, one of those awful Christians who have set strong boundaries with him. My husband sometimes talks to him on the phone or FB, but he won’t give him our new address and he won’t give him money.

    Abuse is terrible, but the thing that makes it even more difficult and damaging is the many who comfort and support the abusers while condemning the victims in the name of Christian love. Although Christians say that they believe and live the Bible, they seem totally ignorant about what it actually says. I think many Christians choose to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and judge no evil” and in the process they become an ally to the evil.

    • Misti

      Just last week a close relative cried on FB that some people didn’t want anything to do with him, that they weren’t forgiving him and giving him grace.

      So. Much. Logically fallacious conflation.

      Forgiving someone is independent of spending time or doing anything with them.

      So what if a person doesn’t have a “good” reason to not want to spend time with another? Who’s to define “good”? Maybe the person’s tired and stretched thin and doesn’t have the time, energy, or health to even hang out with their actual best friends. That doesn’t mean there’s any kind of breech that needs fixing on the busy / ill person’s end.

      And then “giving grace” is so warped and redefined to the point that it’s used to condemn folks who actually practice it and to laud those who violate it.

      I’ve heard the argument that acknowledging or considering or recognizing bad things in others is a violation of Philippians 4:8, that there’s nothing “lovely” or “good” or “pure” in such thoughts—as is that argument doesn’t redefine those words or violate Matthew 7:20.


  6. Irene

    I hope you add to the resources list George Simon’s new book: How Did We End Up Here? It is amazing!

    • Yes, we will be adding that book to our Resources. I’m still reading it and will then review it for this blog and for Amazon.

      And Irene, if you review it on Amazon, can you please send us the link to your review? Thanks.

  7. Anthea

    Well, it is nice to know my abuser is following the Bible as shown in this verse, lol. As a new Christian and a new bride the very first thing he set about to do was to completely isolate me from friends, family, church, everyone. My only social encounters for years were with the grocery store clerks. For years I swallowed his reasoning that we were on that straight and narrow path. I can swallow that no more. I can come to no other conclusion than that he wants all attention and praise for himself. I could list a hundred examples showing how he seeks praise for himself, and ZERO examples that point to a true desire to honor God. It is a terrifying, sobering, yet freeing realization.

    It is more horrible, though, since he is working so hard on my son now, knowing he has lost my worship. He forbids him to participate in activities, but showers him with attention, all in the name of continued isolation. Flattery, to no good purpose, to shut out, for the purpose of receiving adulation and worship, just as this verse states.

    Worse still, he has such a hold on my son, even if I were to leave him, he would still retain that terrible hold on him. I don’t know what to do.

  8. Anonymous

    Evil ones will try to gain pity from others any way that they can.

    A member of my family had exhausted her pity punch card years before. Nobody felt sorry for her any longer because for years people had catered to her and helped her and even when she could well afford to support herself (she married rich and had a high paying job) she still milked everyone for free stuff like use of their vacation home, never paying for hotels always mooching off others etc. So she learned to get pity ON BEHALF of others. Her dad had medical problems and she ingratiated herself to him and then started feeding off those who came to help him. Even now just thinking about her makes me feel slimy and like I need to scrape her filth off of me.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is there are many who feign pity for others in order to act like they have empathy themselves. These are often those shysters who run to the child molester or rapist and gush about how they’ve forgiven them. They act like they HAVE MORE EMPATHY than the average person when in actuality they have zero.

    And don’t forget the person who gives you their sob story but even when you’ve experienced the same treatment from the same evil person that they are whining about, they turn around and say that YOU are actually partly at fault and that they alone are the only TRUE victim. Satan DOES NOT LIKE TO SHARE HIS STAGE and he does NOT like to share any pity either! HE is the only true victim you see because if God had given him all the glory that he believes is rightly due to him, all would be well! And do you think that if God DID elevate satan higher that he would be content with this? NO! The evil one is never fulfilled or satisfied for any length of time and nothing is ever enough. And the same is true of his children. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Apparently receiving pity from others can relieve the boredom for a time. Maybe it’s because those who truly feel empathy have their hearts open toward them. Very dangerous and very telling — that evil desires to suck us dry while our hearts are open to them. It’s like an open vein to a vampire.

    This seems like a great topic for our next Sunday School class. Can you even imagine a place that teaches such truth? Only here on this website!

  9. standsfortruth

    My ex abuser did this Big Time once I was on to his game and set up boundries in the home. (He would sit under a tree in the back yard where everyone could see him with his head hung low for hours at a time.) It is a clear sign that you are starting to figure everything out, and he is trying his hardest to throw everyone off the truth trail.

    I stayed focused on getting my independance ducks in a row. (Establishing employment, securing a vehicle in my name, and setting up in home boundries.)

    This pity ploy, (among others) is a defence tactic of the abuser to bring in more FOG so that the focus is on HIM, but this is part of his Lie, and you need to continue focus on “Your independance plan” even if everyone else falls for it. You and God know the truth.

  10. Starlight

    Wow, this is exactly what my ex did. He was arrested and charged with assault. We have had no contact due to the release conditions restraining order except for a meeting with professionals regarding our child & access. He was sitting in the meeting speaking as though I had done something evil by going to police for help to get out of the marriage. I heard him tell them that it was me who was violent and that actually, I beat him several times. I did struggle and fight to get away from him when he attacked me and he did get scratched but not with any intent to harm him but just to defend myself and get away. At the time he told me that “when we fight, I should be sure not to hurt his face because he didn’t want it to show.” Even this is him putting his motive on me – it is revealing of how he thinks.

    After several physical incidents with this man I realized that I do have a right to defend myself and get away even though he kept threatening to have me arrested and charged because he had photos of the scratch on his face.
    This kept me from going to police for a long time.

    I find the professionals are beleiving him and protecting him and not our 5 year old daughter. They keep mandating that she has to see him even though is is obviously traumatized and is acting out and showing signs regression and of trauma. So twisted and so backwards, yet he was telling the children’s lawyer and CPS he didn’t want to separate, but I sure did, no one needs this chaos in their lives.

    • Hi Starlight, If you are interested in reading an academic paper which discusses how custody evaluators so often ignore domestic abuse, email me — barbara@notunderbondage.com I can send you the link to the paper.

      It is a long academic paper, and not very encouraging at all. But it will confirm that you are not alone in what you’re experiencing with the courts.

  11. IamMyBeloved's

    I will never forget the day God showed me in Deut. 13 not to pity my abuser. One of the clearest moments of His hand in my divorce.

    Excellent post!

  12. Raped By Evil

    Thinking of this again–the pity play–the hallmark sign of a sociopath.

    I was raised to abhor pity–if I ever noticed that someone was feeling pity for me I was ashamed and as much as I could, I never had any dealings with them again. It was another of the seemingly hundreds of things God had to put in front of me in order for me to see it with His eyes.

    The reason pity shown towards me was repellent was because my dad was a psychopath and if ANYONE was handing out pity–it belonged to HIM!

    But it’s also one of the things that God used to heal me. He taught me to feel pity for myself. Not the self-pity of psychopaths, but the, “…feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.” I started picturing myself as the little girl I had been, with no one who loved her, thought of her, or cared about her welfare, who was painfully shy to the point of riding her bike to school in the winter, just to avoid being on the bus with others. Who tried so hard to behave and to follow the rules so that she wouldn’t be noticed or abandoned. This little girl deserved pity and when I pictured myself this way (which was truth) my heart was finally able to release itself and cry for her loss. To see that God reserved His pity for such as her.

    More things to put out there praying that if it adds depth to others wisdom in the Lord, that they find it.

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