So many of these modern preachers are much nicer people than the Apostle Paul! They never say a word against anyone at all, they praise everybody, and they are praised by everybody. They are never “negative”! They never define what they believe and what they do not believe. They are said to be “full of love.” I am not misjudging them when I say that that is not the explanation. The explanation is that they do not “contend for the truth,” they are innocent (ignorant) concerning the “wiles of the devil.” It is not for us (pastors) to decide what to leave out and what to drop for the sake of unity. My business is to expound this truth, to declare it — come what may! We must not be interested primarily in numbers, we must be interested in the truth of God.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13, p 119
Nice People are Not Often Wise People
Most Christians in the church today have a skewed idea of who a Christian is and of what a real Christian is like. And that means that they have a deficient view of what Jesus Christ is like. We want to be more and more like Jesus; but in many cases what people are being taught in the churches is another Jesus. A Jesus that is only ‘nice’ is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Here is an excellent observation that a lady sent to me this week –
“…the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.” (Luke 16:8).
I take this verse to mean that non-Christian people are often more wise in dealing with evil men than the church, or in Jesus’ day the covenant community. I also take His counsel to mean that this ought not be — and yet it is so.
What I have learned in recent years is that people I thought to be part of the true church, are likely not. The true church responds via the Holy Spirit to discern truth and provide comfort. Most professing Christians I have met will not even consider that evil exists in their own ranks.
There it is. Nice people will not consider that evil is right in their midst, disguised, deceiving, and leading them away from the truth in Christ. We’ve been studying evil for several weeks, months; and we could go on and on about it. The reason we could go on and on about it is that the Bible goes on and on about it. We’ll never actually fully leave this subject. We will pick another book of Scripture next and go through it, but on page after page of the Bible there are warnings about evil that the Lord gives to us.
Years ago when I was a police officer, the people I worked with quite readily acknowledged evil all around us. They were forced to see it in all the years they dealt with lawbreakers. They heard the lies. They saw the schemes. Oftentimes they were hearing the lies from people who professed to be Christians. One time an officer came in to the station and slammed his books down on the desk and said: “If I have to talk to one more crook that tells me they’re a Christian, I’ll throw up!”
But when I became a pastor, I found just the opposite to be true of the people I worked with. They would not hear of evil. They were just too — nice. As a result, my wife and I met all kinds of evil in the church. In the church. That was where our primary battlefield was. That niceness is not only dangerous, it is sinful disobedience to our Lord’s commands. It is rank disobedience to our King.
If we insist that we are going to be nice to everyone — well that word ‘everyone’ necessarily means — what? Are you talking about even the devil and his emissaries? Yes; that’s what it comes down to: even an emissary of the devil who comes into our midst is to be treated nice. We must love them to Jesus, right?
Let’s see what Carla van Dam says in her book The Socially Skilled Child Molester [Affiliate link]. It’s not a very big book and it’s relatively expensive for a paperback, but it would be a bargain at twice the price. It’s an ugly book because it’s about pedophiles. But if you’re a Christian and you want to be wise as serpents regarding evil, this book would be an excellent place to start.
As I quote from her book I am going to broaden what she says. She’s talking about pedophiles but what she says applies in large measure to the tactics of many kinds of evildoers: teachers of a false gospel, pedophiles, sociopaths, malignant narcissists, domestic abusers and so forth. So while she writes about socially skilled child molesters, I am changing the wording in this except so it applies to a broad range of evildoers and I’ve indicated my word changes with bold face.
Why are we concerned with this? For the same reason as Peter had to warn, “The devil is like a roaring lion; he’s always on the prowl.” These are people who we can expect to come our way, disguised as Christians. Carla van Dam says:
Addicts primarily associate with people who can help them facilitate their goal, and [who] do not interfere with that goal. [For example, if they are drug addicts, their goal is getting drugs.] The evil doers described in this book similarly primarily associate with adults [people] who can provide them with access to the object of their addiction…. everything about their behavior is ruled by their desire… every encounter with people facilitates that goal. Every activity is designed to get better access to their goal.
Now, in the case of domestic abusers who are functioning as a hypocrites in the church, their goal is power and control. And self-glory.
Think about this: Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You are children of the devil; and whenever he speaks, he lies; and whatever he does, he murders; because that’s who he is. He is the father of lies; and he was a murderer from the beginning.”
Remember: all sinners are not the same. This kind of wicked person, this evildoer, this child of the devil: everything that he does is designed to achieve his goal.
If he’s a drug addict, his goal is to get his drugs; but actually the drug addict is one of the less dangerous kinds of evildoers. If he’s a pedophile, his goal to get access to children. If he’s a spouse abuser, his goal is power and control over his spouse. If he’s a controller in the church, his goal is getting control of the congregation, the eldership board, the pastor (if the pastor is a true man of God), and ultimately the whole kit and kaboodle of the denominational structure. They are always ‘on task’. Every thought they have, every action they take, every decision they make, is designed to achieve their goal. Their religion, their supposed Christianity, the car they drive, the job or career that they pick, the person that they marry, the people they surround themselves with, the church they join, the entertainment and clubs and political groups they join. Everything they do. Here is Carla Van Dam again:
They are always on task, looking for opportunities to abuse. Their image management serves to give them access to victims. Their good deeds are meant to get them closer to victims. Their constant activities, leaving them almost no personal time, are geared toward accessing victims.
The reasons these evil doers so frequently succeed [is this]: the people responsible for protecting victims are sometimes enchanted by the smooth talk, friendly action, and kind support these groomers provide.
Van Dam goes on to describe the responses of the “nice” people we are looking at this morning:
The people responsible for protecting victims also often find the topic [of evil] shameful, embarrassing, and frightening.
The first few times I spoke in a church on the subject domestic abuser and their evil and how they creep in the church, you could tell from the dead silence, that the people found this subject shameful, embarrassing, and frightening. There were whispers, “Why is he talking about that in the church?”
As a result, they frequently keep quiet and assume whatever happens to be their fault, a one-time error in judgment, or a misunderstanding. However, their very embarrassment and discomfort with the topic helps foster a willingness to accept lame excuses from the evil doer.
Lame excuses. Your gut tells your something’s wrong; but your fear and your niceness and not wanting to offend makes you think “Oh well, he’s got this excuse.” Even if it’s a lame excuse.
Furthermore, because they cannot fathom that people they know and love could be evil doers… they incorrectly presume “it can’t happen here,” thereby making themselves more vulnerable to attack.
Why does that attitude that “it can’t happen here” make us more vulnerable? Because evildoers always have their radar out: they are evaluating constantly, “Is this person an easy mark?”
Evil doers also gravitate to those people who are most likely to be too polite to fend them off, too shy and anxious to tell them to leave, too dependent to be assertive, and too impressed by rank, power, status, or money to do the right thing. Evil doers deliberately associate with people who cannot [or will not] address these issues. They seek out adults who worry about hurting people’ s feelings. They charm people who do not believe it could happen.
In other words, the victims most at risk of being abused by these groomers, these evildoers, are the people who are surrounded by people who cannot stomach learning about evil.
And suddenly, a church congregation full of ‘nice’ people becomes pretty ugly. Because it turns out that those kinds of ‘nice’ people will not protect the innocent. And they will ignore much of the Bible because they can’t stomach learning about evil.
If you say that you’re a Christian, but you can’t stomach learning about evil, you’ve got a problem!
Many of us grew up in pretty protected worlds — maybe you grew up in a truly Christian home or a very moral home and as you’ve been learning about evil it’s hard to believe, it’s so foreign to what you grew up in. If so, we need to realize that the sheltered protective world we grew up in is entirely foreign to many people in the world.
Van Dam continues to note that these “nice people” may therefore inadvertently
be more likely to welcome evil doers into their homes, organizations, or communities, ignore the evidence, overcome concerns, and talk themselves out of believing possible suspicions. Adults who are timid, shy, obedient, and polite and who ignore suspicious discrepancies for fear of hurting the feelings of child molesters, are unaware that these characteristics are more likely to make them lightning rods for evil doers.
The abuser thinks: There’s a target! I’m going for it! These people are fools! I’ve got them!
And yet these evil doers, these pedophiles, sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, domestic abusers who so frequently choose the church, who crave power and control and self-glory —
are far more likely to appear wherever vulnerable victims congregate. They choose careers and hobbies that give them access to children [or other potential targets]. They become coaches, educators, therapists, child-care workers, babysitters, priests, ministers, hospice care providers, or pediatricians.
And yet, if it weren’t for the “nice people” who are supposed to be protecting these victims from evil, the wicked ones would not be able to gain access to them.
Is it any wonder that the church is one of the favorite arenas of evildoers?
Not very often do these kinds of wicked people talk about their schemes; they are masters at lying and deceiving and covering up. When they do talk about their schemes, they are usually bragging — for example they brag to the forensic psychologists they meet in prison if they happen to get incarcerated for a few of the multiple crimes they have committed. And when they talk honestly about their modus operandi, they say, “I chose the church as my arena because Christians are so nice, so forgiving, so stupid. I know that they’ll believe me. I know that I can have plausible deniability and they’ll believe it! After all, Christians are indoctrinated to see only good in everyone; they are so enamored with things like grace and mercy and kindness and love; they are so willing to admit that they are sinners too, no better than the worst evil person, right?”
The church claims to be a body of Christ’s followers. In a church where all kinds of signals are sent out that no one is willing to monitor boundary violations, where it is communicated to wicked people that “subtle cues of misconduct will be overlooked, ignored, or tolerated “ (Van Dam), that kind of church gives the evildoer a perfect arena to practice his wickedness.
What does this tell us? It tells us we’ve got to be on the stick! We’d better take it seriously when Christ says beware of men. When Peter says: Beware! Watch out! The devil is like a lion on the prowl looking for whom he can devour! — we’ve got to take it seriously.
Here is another piece of wisdom about this from one of our readers at A Cry for Justice. The particular evil she experienced was the domestic abuser, but what she says can be applied directly to any of these evildoers we are speaking of –
I think people who have not been in abusive situations don’t really have a clue how desperate and dangerous it is. Abuse is not what the abuser does, it is who he is. It is foolish to think that ‘being nice’ to the abuser will create a safe and loving home environment. To try that approach is just to delay facing up to the reality of the situation. Get out while you can, while you still have life, and claim the hope and future that are God’ s plan for you,
How Niceness Almost Destroyed the World
Listen to Winston Churchill writing about how the denial of the reality of evil almost destroyed the British nation, evil that was forming right smack in front of the eyes of the British people —
[The English people’s] sincere love of peace actually played a part in leading to an infinitely more terrible war. Mussolini’s bluff [to invade part of Africa prior to the outbreak of WW2] succeeded, and an important spectator, Hitler, drew far-reaching conclusions from the fact. Hitler had long resolved on war for German aggrandizement. He now formed a view of Great Britain’s degeneracy, which was only to be changed too late for peace and too late for him. In Japan also there were pensive spectators.
Britain’s “niceness” to fascists like Mussolini, Britain’s refusal to act, her desire for peace, was watched by evildoers like Hitler and Japan. And they each separately decided, “Hey; these guys are wimps! We’re going to take over the world!”
As the general election moved forward… this thinking was greatly to the advantage of Mr. Baldwin [the British Prime Minister] and his supporters. ‘The League of Nations would remain as heretofore the keystone of British foreign policy’: so ran the government’ s election manifest. ‘The prevention of war and the establishment of peace in the world must always be the most vital interest of the British people….’.”
As Britain played “nice” with Mussolini, Adolph Hitler and the powers in Japan were watching. And what did they conclude from this “niceness”? That Britain was weak, unwilling to stand up to them, and therefore conquerable. And they were almost right. This “niceness” almost destroyed Britain. And it almost destroyed the principles of democracy and freedom.
By and large, the local church is being taught today that the prevention of war and conflict, and the establishment of peace in the world, must always be the most vital interest of the Christian. The keystone of Christian policy. And this teaching is destroying lives! It’s destroying people: the victims of these wicked ones who creep in.
Does the Bible liken the Christian to a soldier? to a warrior? Yes — because we’re in a battle!
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5 NIV)
Turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of his body, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord. … Stop associating with any so-called brother if he is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunk, or a robber. You must even stop eating with someone like that. After all, is it my business to judge outsiders? You are to judge those who are in the community, aren’t you? God will judge outsiders. “Expel that wicked man.” (1 Cor 5:5, 11-13 ISV)
Warriors don’t go into battle to be “nice” to the enemy. And although they support their comrades in arms, they don’t go into battle to be “nice” to their comrades in arms. They go into battle to destroy the enemy. Furthermore, warriors in warfare must beware not only of the enemy who wear different uniforms, but of traitors in their ranks, and of spies and traitors in the civilian population as well. But the British, being ‘gentleman,’ played nice with Mussolini, treating him as if he were a fellow gentleman … with Hitler and Japan watching … and the bombs fell.
Even a couple of years before Hitler invaded Poland, he could have been stopped without the loss of a single life. He wasn’t supposed to be re-arming Germany; the peace treaty at the end of WW1 forbade it. But the people of Britain thought “we’re going to be nice.”
And people who profess to be Christians embrace this idea, that we are going to be nice to the wicked. Make no mistake: when we play “nice” with the wicked, with the abuser who has crept in among us in the church, with the divisive, power-hungry person who would pervert the gospel and bring us into all kinds of bondage, not only will that wicked man see us as weak, so will others. Other evildoers will then become emboldened to come among us and carry out their evil as well.
Evil begets evil. Evil acts like a magnet to attract more evil.
This is why many churches are so widely infected with it. A lot of so-called church growth is merely the growth that happens because more evil people are attracted to the church which has already given privileged place to evildoers. Christ warned us –
“How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12)
We must beware — be aware. That necessarily requires we know what the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees is, what their false teaching is. A person who is just going to be “nice” where their “niceness” defines their Christianity, he or she can’t be a person who is being aware. Because that person will necessarily accept whatever people in the church tell them: the mantra of “niceness’ means they can’t think evil of anyone, especially of people in the church.
We have tended to think that the leaven is legalism; or rank liberalism. But it’s not that easy. The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees is the misuse and distortion of scripture — and it can be extremely subtle. Largely, it is the leaven of evil. And it’s motivated by prideful self-conceit, disguised under the cover of humble-brag. And it craves power. We must know what evil is, what it teaches, how it hides as a hypocrite behind a most convincing disguise of “godliness.”
Wicked ones are watching. These people who have an appearance of godliness, but they are evil people parading as Christians, looking for a field of operations, looking for the naive and foolish churches who will not set boundaries, who will enable the evildoers to access their goals. And if you or your church makes nice with evil, you can be sure that an invasion is coming, if it has not already come and eaten out your church already like termites eat out the structural timbers of a building while never revealing their termite channels on the outside veneer of the framing where the light would shine on them. When a church has a theology of niceness, no one is going to avoid them! So many churches have a sign outside, “Everyone Welcome” … Is the devil welcome in church? Some people would say Yes.
What is “Nice” and What does it Look Like?
Nice. Think about that word. We use it all the time. “Hey, that’s a nice fish you caught.” “This party is really nice.” “She is a very nice person.” “Have a nice day!” “It was nice talking to you.” “She plans to start running more when the weather gets nicer.” “Now Timmy, be nice.” We train our children to be nice, to smooth things over. I made this mistake some with my kids too. How many times have we as parents told our children “Be nice” when they really had a legitimate protest?
Here is a dictionary definition of “nice” —
- giving pleasure or joy
- good and enjoyable, attractive or of good quality, kind, polite, and friendly
Now, do you begin to see the foolishness of all this? If evil people like our company, we need to take a hard look at whether we are really of Christ at all! When we are facing evil, when a wicked one comes our way, our response must NOT be “nice.” We are not to give evildoers pleasure or joy. We are not to see evil as “nice”. We are not to be kind, polite and friendly to evil. And yet I would suggest to you that largely this is exactly what Christians are taught they must do; and if they do not, if they respond to evil with UN-friendliness or any kind of “UN-kindness,” they are roundly and quickly condemned for being “UN-Christian.”
Evil should not have pleasure or joy in our presence. Evil must not be treated as if it were good or enjoyable to us.
Evil must know that we are NOT friendly to it. Evil must know that in fact we are its enemy.
This is shown to be true in many many Scriptures. Here are some scriptures which show Jesus and his apostles being not at all “nice” to evildoers –
Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. [It’s not nice of Jesus to say You can’t bear to hear the truth!] You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. (John 8:43-45)
But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, [Paul, a Christian, is not at all ‘nice’ in calling this man a son of the devil] you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. (Act 13:8-11)
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (2Tim 4:14)
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (Gal 2:11-13)
Paul would have been hammered today. People would have said to him, “That wasn’t nice, Paul. You should have been nicer to Peter. You should have talked to him privately.”
holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Ti 1:19-20)
If Paul had been in the Nice Church today, he would have been accused of gossip and slander. And if Paul had been Paula, oh double woe to her, let her slink out with her shame plastered all over her. Sin of all sin: Paul named names! He named people who are alive and members of the church! And what’s more, he handed them over to Satan! He judged them! He declared them unbelievers! Tut tut, Paul! Are you God? How can you know their hearts! How can you say that they are not going to heaven!
And we could go on and on and on. It is not difficult to find examples of God’ s servants like Moses and Isaiah and Jeremiah not being nice. Much of their calling was to confront evil and they were viewed as anything but “nice” by those they rebuked.
But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” [He’s not nice; he says bad things about me!] And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” (1 Kings 22:7-8)
Think on this very carefully. How much of the Bible would have to be cut out if only “niceness” were allowed? Here’s a challenge to our readers. Go to a second hand shop and buy a Bible. Often you can get one for next to nothing. Take it home and read though it, crossing out every passage that does not evince “niceness”, every passage which condemns evildoers, every passage which exposes or teaches about the wicked tactics of evildoers, every passage in which the inspired writers of scripture rail against evil. And then report back to us: how much of your bible is not crossed out? And what proportion is crossed out, never to be thought about or heeded, because it is “not nice” ? We would be most interested in your results!
I remember some years ago when we had to deal with some wicked people. When we confronted them and put them out from among us, one of their parting phrases was “Now, please be nice when you tell the church about us.”
You see, evil plays on this “nice card.” It uses the lie that Christians are required by God to be “pleasant, enjoyable, agreeable” at all times to all people, even to evil ones. But this is an obvious and great lie.
“Niceness” shown toward evil is actually more accurately called “cowardice.” The Bible says that cowards will not be permitted in the kingdom of God.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:5-8 ESV)
When it is not a prudent and carefully gauged response to the oppression of an abuser, “niceness” is incredibly selfish. The selfish aspect of the “niceness” philosophy comes from how it desires to be popular with everyone, even with the enemy. The lie, the false idea, the whole keystone of this “niceness” philosophy is that if we are sufficiently “nice” to everyone there will be no trouble, no suffering. And the victim of abuse has this lie thrust down her (or his) throat… and often she or he buys it, because it seems so “nice.”
Evil loves to parade as the nicest person in the entire church. It accuses those who speak truth of being unkind, unmerciful, and harsh. An it does this in order to deceive, to draw people away from Christ and cause them to follow evil instead.
Don’t fall for this trap. Stop being nice and sending out the message that evil will find a welcome home in your life or in your family or in your church. Be strong. Be courageous, and the Lord will be with you.
We will close with an excerpt from a card sent to Christ Reformation Church, Tillamook, Oregon:
I was married for thirty years to a highly abusive man. And I found no help in the church. In the early years I met with three different pastors, shared some of the agony, and all three of them told me to go home and God would honor my sacrifice. Oh the damage from such soul-shattering counsel! It took twenty-five years before the light dawned (that’s a long story in itself). And then I knew that I had been believing lies. I knew the truth and could not continue. It is still a daunting and difficult path. Untangling the evil is part of this journey.
Audio and PDF versions of this sermon here.
Go to Part 23 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.
15 thoughts on “Wise as Serpents: Stop Being ‘Nice’ (Part 22 of sermon series)”
This is a lot of why I do my damnedest to grab folks in moments when their heads aren’t in the sand to point out that it happens and ignoring it only enables it. When I get opportunities to comment on abuse in contexts where it’s pertinent but unexpected and “impolite”, I do so.
How folks treat you when they think you’re socially inept says a lot about them. As does if they assume you’re socially inept or if they pay attention to notice that you’re well aware of the social signals you’re ignoring.
(wry smile) And it’s amusing to see would-be abusers eye me warily after I grin and tell of a personal anecdote about someone else who’d done the sort of thing they’re angling to do. You can see them thinking, Did she do that on purpose? No, she couldn’t have…could she? (Benefit: Tends to make ’em more careful with mutual acquaintances.)
I know one person atm who has fantastic fodder to legally prosecute an abuser but refuses to, for fear of being the reason that the abuser worsens their treatment of another victim—missing entirely that others backing down is what’s making the abuser feel free to treat the victim worse.
Note: I should specify, that person who could legally prosecute has the means to, so far as I know. There are reasons why a person wouldn’t, and I get that. My point there is that the justification for not doing so doesn’t actually make sense and relies on the assumption that inaction isn’t itself an action.
Thank you for this post. It means so much! Thank you for caring for the people suffering from evil doers. We need deliverance.
Their “niceness” comes to an abrupt end with a victim though and they have no trouble defending an abuser, whether it offends the victim or not. They couldn’t care less.
Yes! Spot on, Tan.
Welcome to the blog Anna 🙂 and thanks for the encouragement.
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Recently I watched the mini-series “Hitler: The Rise of Evil”. Robert Carlyle played Hitler and did brilliant job. The movie covers the period from Hitler’s childhood right up to when he became Chancellor of Germany and crushed free speech. It was chilling. He would go from sleek polite and respectful to demonic rage in a split second, and then in another second he could go back to polite respectfulness. If you ever want to see what Demonstration Violence looks like, watch that movie.
So many people were bewitched by him, and even while they held him in awe they were also in mortal fear of him. But they all ‘coped’ with the cognitive dissonance…
Thank you for this timely message.
I found the audio link at Stop Being “Nice”
Its refreshing to hear the truth preached and exposed as I have personally experienced it.
Many many great points brought out in this message, too many to list, but one worth repeting from a fellow victim of over 30 years of abuse.
Upon reflection of all the years wasted on putting up with her practicing abuser, (the abuser her church so nicely supported).
This woman’s statement rings so true with me too.
Thank you again for proclaiming the truth.
Thank you for this article. I listened to the audio also. Your articles validate what my gut has been telling me for years. But you are correct. I was convinced by others to “be nice”.
My abuser is a narcissist that fooled me and my kids for years. After 14 years he confessed to me that he never loved me, that he “made me love him”, and that the relationship was a means for him to look “normal” so people wouldn’t find out what he was really up to. Then I discovered the sexual deviances he’d been involved in over the years. The shock and trauma of finding out I had been conned and used, not to mention sharing a bed with a total stranger, and that I had unknowingly exposed my daughter to his evil doings, left me destroyed and am now suffering from PTSD over it.
It was at that point (his confession) that he started going to church (without me). I thought, oh he’s going to get better. NOT!!! It just gave him more amunition. He instead slandered me to them and made himself look like the abused man. The more he went to church, the more evil he was towards me. One day he came home from church and started screaming in my face “I don’t feel bad for all the pain I caused you, and I’m not going to apologize. I have no conscience”. With such an evil face I swore I saw the devil himself.
So, he continued to go to church and volunteer for things to make himself look like such the “nice guy”. At one point he had a secret email account that he was using to make plans to sneak around with the pastor’s wife. It just floored me. Really? His excuse….I’m not enough. I should be forgiving. I know that one of the reasons he goes there is to prey on the naive women there. He is quite good at being charming. He just loves to be praised and noticed.
I think watching him be such a hypocrite at church makes me more sick to my stomach than the abuse he’s thrown at me. It bothers me to the very core of my being. Part of me wants to warn the church that he is a predator. Oh, heaven help his next target.
What exactly does one do? I am not part of his congregation. They don’t even know me there.
Just when I think that Jeff could not possibly pull out yet ANOTHER fantastic sermon–Viola! There it is!
Okay, so many things to expand on but I’ll just say a few. Not making it easy for abusers to gain access to us by being nice is often all it takes to keep the run-of-the-mill evil ones out. In social venues–not playing the social norm game gets easier with practice. By not covering for their cutting remarks or degrading statements masked as jokes and by not responding or even walking away when they do these things can sometimes be the only thing we need to do to keep a certain type out. (My husband would have been weeded out this way.) But we know that there are levels to evil, just as some demons are more evil than others, some abusers are more crafty and actually relish the challenge of breaking us.
Talking about Winston Churchill and police officers reminded me of when we lived in the UK. It was at a time when my psychopathic son was at his worst. He had recently reached puberty (good times!) and was hankering to go have sex and do drugs and all the rest of the stuff normal teens do but many times worse because of his personality disorder. We were taking him to psychiatrists and some of the HORRIBLE advice we received was to just let him run wild and not to try to control him. (AIDS is for life people and children born from random sexual encounters are also there for life–not just his life but mine and others as well.) The other kids were supposed to continue behaving but this evil manipulator should just be let go with no obligations. How unrealistic as SOCIETY doesn’t allow this but WE were to do this in our home.
The neighborhood we lived in at the time was small and all the neighbors agreed with this advice and quickly blamed me for his evil. Blessedly (at the time I didn’t feel blessed at all), this son ran away several times and we were forced to call the police. This was where I saw the truly awesome side of people there in the UK. I was expecting the cops to be like the psychiatrists and neighbors but they were of a different breed. They actually yelled at my son and told him he was spoiled and ungrateful and that if he wasn’t careful he could end up in some very bad situations. (There was a very rough area not far from us that was known for its violence and murders.) They had to tackle him to the ground a few times and they weren’t a bit “nice” about bloodying him up a bit. (He wasn’t used to someone standing up to him, especially physically, so this got his attention.) Sometimes there were female officers as well and they all took him on and they all were absolutely professional and handled every situation the way it should have been handled. (Even now remembering this, I’m so very grateful for these police officers and I don’t think that I really thanked them so if you’re a police officer in the UK I’m sending out a big thank you and prayers of gratefulness!)
And yes Jeff, being “nice” and being “tolerant” is taking its toll on many countries today. Check out some articles about the Muslims in Europe.
When God allowed me to see the truth through His word while He was waking me up, I was absolutely mortified to see the verses used here in Jeff’s post because I FINALLY KNEW WHAT THEY MEANT! Sermons usually pooh pooh the calling of evil what it is by saying or implying that it’s merely the “concept” of evil and if we don’t behave ourselves or control our wives and children, there’s a far off chance that we could become this way. Like it’s a small population of people or people were just more evil back in the olden days. Whereas now we have psychology thus we are more knowledgeable about things so we, in our superiorness, have overcome that evil stuff of the past and tamed it. Yeah, that didn’t happen so evil’s pretty much just been running around free –like the advice given to my psycho son–with no one to hinder it, acknowledge it or call it to task. Yep. Let’s just all be nice or should I say likes just all be destroyed because that’s exactly what will happen to us if we don’t discern between good and evil. Thank you Jeff. Rocking out the truth!
A few years ago, during the first year of coming out of the fog of abuse and trying to understand things, someone said to me, “You’re too nice.” I felt the bite of sarcasm in her tone and it made me think. Eventually, I did research on this word, nice. First, it’s not a fruit of the Spirit! Second, it’s in the category of people pleasing. Third, people who are nice avoid being confrontational. Fourth, nice people have a fear of not being liked. So, I applied this newly found information to myself and it has been helpful. Evil does exist and it makes me sad, but I’m not naive to it as I used to be. Always a work in progress!
My abuser has been so frustrated since I left church. He is trying everything he can to get me to go to his new church, using our children. That is his power place. That is the place where he knows how to put his scheme into practice. Once I left him, he went about visiting every church in which we had attended spewing his lies and defaming character in which “our nice friends” all contacted me to “help”. I’ve since taken his power by removing myself from the game. Yes, this is the “church” of today.. enablers. I’ve challenged pastors, elders, followers, Christian judges, lawyers, accountants etc. and I got crickets and spiritual abuse the whole way. Only a handful could stomach the truth of evil or try to listen to truth that went way beyond what they are being spoon fed every Sunday or in the women’s Bible studies.
Very interesting, Sarah, as when I decided to make a move and legally separate from my wife, a massive change in her took place.
Someone who hardly ever darkened a church door and certainly never attended any midweek or prayer meetings, quoting her Asperger’s as the reason why, suddenly could not get enough of church life. She made it clear it for 20 years it was difficult for her to mingle etc. At times I understood and could see that but often I could see a person who wanted the limelight away from me, and when I was getting more attention made awkward scenes and gestures much to my embarrassment and my apologies had to be made for leaving early. On occasions, usually the bigger occasions when she was there, she wanted to be up front in front of people singing??! That whole scenario was difficult for me as a hell broke loose when I told her it was not right and others were talking.
Once I made an approach to solicitors she suddenly changed into a “newish” person attending church regularly. Morning AND evening services!!
Meeting with pastors and people she and we knew in different fellowships. Of course asking for help; crying and being the victim, pleading for them to come help ME!!
I’d already told her to stop the nonsense, I’d had enough counsellors and spiritual advisers who only did more damage. This was all an attempt to hold on to me and to her control of power.
Almost a year of unbelievable abuse day after day. Opposition to everything including solicitor’s letters. They saw the abuse as they got it in the neck too and threats and were frightened.
Yet come midweek Bible study and prayer meeting or a Sunday service, away this “amazing new-born Christian” went. Coming back of course and rubbing my nose in it and making sure I felt the lowest because I was not attending church. (they had put me away) Hypocrisy would not cover it.
The manipulation and destruction caused to “bury” someone who gave his life to Christ and serving daily in the church. Spending hours at home in endless preparation only to better serve. But a few words and “stupid” I’ve no adequate words) leaders were like throwing sticks of dynamite to it all.
I still cannot fathom the reasoning behind people who knew me for years since a young child, seen me every week and yet all of a sudden are “nice” to someone with one accusation. The abuser is strangely believed (sometimes of course by carefully picked people) over everything and above everything I’ve ever been to them. It was like they suddenly never had known me and had known her all their lives. They knew her problems and her “difficult ways”! It just seemed to disappear and I was the one with the problem. I honestly cannot understand how anyone can discredit another who served closely with them without even once questioning for my side of the story – NOT ONCE!! It makes no sense except it’s pure evil at play behind it all.
The devil so easily has eyes blinded to the truth. Only one person, an ex cop and dear friend, spoke up (after she [wife] had gone to his new church) and said “I want to talk with both of you, but first” – my name.
“I [ex cop] do not take your word only as gospel until I’ve heard the other side.” She [wife] of course related this to me knowing I had high respect for him [ex cop]. Hoping I would jump to her tune.
I had no intentions of saying anything to anyone. I had made my mind up to move on.
I am bitterly disappointed and very surprised that good friend never rang me himself as I waited to see if he truly was interested. It’s a pity as he was always fair and definitely knew of her schemes in the past. He and his family had witnessed it for themselves.
The damage however was done and I was needing totally away.
Funny though how “Asperger’s” suddenly disappeared when this woman decided to seek her allies and spread her lies and manipulation.
It was never a problem then. All those insecurities were overcome instantly. Interestingly once I left it was only a matter of weeks before that great church attendance etc was back to the old non-attendance or a rare occasion again.
However, the seeds of destruction and lies have been sown. I don’t feel I can look people again, I’m ashamed and sad.
By their fruits you shall know them, and yes “nice as pie” does not count as part of your five-a-day!!!