You Weren’t There — a letter to pastors from a survivor of domestic abuse

Dear Pastor James (and any other pastor who will listen),

You said to me in your letter:

it is about you and John learning to understand one another.

LISTEN. Please, for once, stop talking. Stop spouting parts of Scripture passages and trite “Christian” expressions. Stop trying to fix this. Stop trying to fight for “marriage” above people, above all else, and listen. Stop thinking and talking about how you are the expert on what I have seen, what I have heard, what I have experienced. Just LISTEN.

I want you to understand that I have TRIED to help John understand what he was doing to me. I have done NOTHING BUT try to help him understand what he’s doing to us. I have explained. I have detailed. I have told. I have used analogies. I have used other people’s stories as examples to explain what he’s doing to us. I have cajoled. I have tried to bribe him to be in a good mood with food or sexual favors. I have begged. I have screamed. I have whispered. I have cried. I have sobbed until I couldn’t breathe. I have walked away rather than saying something I might regret later. I have engaged and stayed in the trenches. I have fought to try to save our marriage. I have remained silent while he berated me. I have ignored “his bad and hurtful behavior and made myself winsome so that I may ‘win him without words’”.

You weren’t there.

You seem to think that you are the first one to introduce the idea of “the need for communication” in marriage to me. I want to tell you in the strongest possible language, that “communicate” is all I have done for the past __ years. I have read books. I have done workbooks. I have done journals. I have done Bible studies. I have done classes. I have sought godly counsel. I have gone on retreats. I have gone to conferences.

You weren’t there.

I HAVE told John he’s hurting me (us). And he laughed. He blamed me. He snickered. He punished. He hurt or killed our pets. He went after our kids. He told me I’m crazy. He told the kids I’m crazy. He told me he didn’t say that (whatever it was he just said). He destroyed or got rid of my things that meant something to me. He lied and told me I lost those things. He told me that it was because I was so unorganized that my things went missing (only my things). Over and over, he told me I was lying. He told me I was making things up. He told me “he would never do anything like that”, even though I just watched him do something cruel. He made jokes about me to other people — friends and my own family — so that they would join him in laughing at me. He told very private, personal things about me to our men friends in order to either have them laugh at me, or to make me seem cheap.

You weren’t there.

I have approached John in calm moments, after a good meal that he enjoyed, when he seemed to be in a pleasant mood, like a lot of the Christian women’s books admonish us women to do. I approached him with fear and trembling (because of all the past fights, humiliation, snickering, silent treatment, making jokes about me days later in front of other people so they too will laugh at me as payback). I approached, hands shaking, hoping this time….this time….maybe it might work. Maybe he would finally understand he’s crushing me. I shook with dread as I did it, because I knew I was giving up / losing what might have been the one pleasant, calm night with him I had seen in a while. I started to speak what was on my heart. He turned those eyes on me. His jaw tightened. His eyes narrowed.

You weren’t there.

I have tried talking to him in the calm of the night, only to listen to him roll over, face away, and humph at me. As I stared at the back of his head, I have tried being silent (like only half of the human population is told — “have a gentle, quiet spirit”  “winning him without word”  “submitting to suffering” — hoping that somehow this was going to perfect me) as tears pooled on my pillow. I have tried to stifle the shaking sobs as he again falls asleep right away with a clear conscience.

You weren’t there.

I have endured months and months of silent treatment at a time, only broken by Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights at church where he’s a leader in your flock. I seem happy at your church because this is the only time he will speak pleasantly, or at all, to me all week. Of course his pleasant, kind words are performed in front of others, but at this point, I am licking up any crumbs of kindness I can get. You don’t see my heart sinking or watch me as I’m dragging my feet going out the door.

You weren’t there.

You see, I know that the ride home either begins more deafening, painful, shaming silence. Or the ride home is the beginning of his rage for something I might have said or done that he didn’t like — the way I moved my hand, where I sat, who I talked to, the way I carried a book, who I smiled at, my buttons done up too high, my buttons undone too low. The rest of the days, I’m isolated in a silent home while he has friends and admirers at work boosting and encouraging him about what a great guy he is.

You weren’t there.

I watched as he smiled at me and went to my money-hiding place and took it all. I listened in stunned silence as he told me that he was behind on money to the church, so he was taking the money I had been saving and offering it to the Lord. I couldn’t believe it as he took the money out of bank account after bank account. I would see “Final Notice” stamped in red on letters before he whisked them away, telling me he’d take care of that, getting angry at me for looking at the envelopes. I did see envelopes for multiple credit card bills for cards I know I didn’t have in MY wallet. All the while, he rages about how the kids and I eat too much. He says he will not give me money for groceries for the next six weeks. Then he comes home with bags [of] snacks for his buddies. He would watch shampoo levels, toilet paper usage, how fast soap disappears. You think I didn’t communicate with him? Believe me, I talked and talked to him. I communicated that we as parents have the responsibility to feed our growing children. He turned on us, and blamed us for the financial mess he was in.

You weren’t there.

When the threats that one or all of us might not live to see tomorrow made us sick to our stomachs, I held it together while holding my children. When the kids couldn’t sleep because of the fear, I sang to them of Jesus’ love. When my children were racked with sobs on the floor because he had taken another pet of theirs away, (and killed it, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that), I rocked them, sobbed with them, loved them the best I knew how. When he yells at them to “Just shut up!” or tells them to “get out of here, I don’t want you,” I calmed their hearts and tell them over and over that they are loved, and wipe their eyes and their noses. Yes, I told him. I told him he was destroying his family. I told him to stop threatening the children – even in a roundabout way. I told him to stop making jokes about killing me. I told him he was tearing down his own home. He blamed me for not getting his sense of humor, being over-sensitive, and for turning his children against him.

You weren’t there.

So now….  I came to you. In my weariness, I finally asked for a lifeline. I invited you into my pain. I invited you into my blackness, my weariness, my endless hole. You who say that you love me as Christ does. You who say that you care for my soul. You who say that you want what’s best for me and my family and the church. You who say you want to “help [us] both to learn to identify the problems that are damaging [our] marriage,” but then don’t ask me what’s been happening. You hold yourself as the expert who is going to tell me what our problems are without ever asking me what’s been going on behind the doors of our own home? How can this be possible? But, I told, never the less. I told what’s been our lives for years and years. I told.

You weren’t there.

I came to you for help. I finally had to start bringing light into my darkness, exposing the evil that’s been done to us to the light of day, the light of truth. I have brought all my pain, all the damage, all the devastation to Jesus. HE is rescuing us from our Egypt, from our oppression. However, I am at my most vulnerable right now. You see, I told. I communicated. That is what it’s all about, right? Communication? But now he knows that I told. I told “his secrets”. Now his mask is being cracked.

You weren’t there.

You tell me you are going to help us learn:

to understand one another.

Please LISTEN. Please hear me! I DO understand him. I have stared into those eyes during the good times, the moments of kindness and laughter that kept us staying. I have also stared into those eyes as he has threatened us, ruined us, shredded us, humiliated us. I have spent __ years studying this man — studying his moods, his looks, his face, the set of his jaw, the squint of his eye, the shift of his weight, the movement of his hands, the movement of his arms (just in case), his words, the meaning behind his words, the movement of the corner of his mouth, his need for admiration, his derisive laughter, his sniggering when he “got” me — I have studied him meticulously all these years to avoid the next rage or joke at my expense or humiliation or cruel trick. YOU need to understand, from someone who DOES know him inside and out – he will not go down without a fight. I am scared, hurting, confused, shaken, broken, financially ruined, sexually damaged, and nearly destroyed by all that he’s done to us. And you want to put me into a room with this person? I KNOW him. He will lie, shift blame, label me as crazy, act humble, draw you aside into his “confidence”. If that doesn’t work, he will lash out in anger, cry, tell you he’s a victim, blame his parents and environment, yell, intimidate, storm out and then “apologize” so that you will be obliged to reciprocate an apology for “words that were said,” or use any other variety of tactics in order to get you to back down and admire him again.

I cried out to you for help. You sent me this letter. You completely discounted my pain, my family’s pain. You made yourself to be an expert in a situation you have never looked into, have never visited, have never seen. You have used words like “one another,” trying to shovel more blame onto my shoulders, implying that this….torture….was somehow mutual, again without ever asking me what has happened to us. Jesus said to the hurting:

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out….   [Isaiah 42:3 NIV]

I wanted you to be the arms of Jesus here on earth. I cried out to you for help. And yet again….

You weren’t there.

One of our readers, MoodyMom, wrote this letter as a comment on our post A Typical letter from a Pastor to an Abuse Victim When She Leaves the Abuser. We thought MoodyMom’s letter was so superb and it could be so helpful to pastors, that we have re-published it as a stand-alone post. Many thanks, MoodyMom!

We beg any pastors who are reading this to please submit comments. We long to hear from pastors who are open to learning more about domestic abuse.

[August 28, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 28, 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 28, 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 28, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 28, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


136 thoughts on “You Weren’t There — a letter to pastors from a survivor of domestic abuse”

    1. Wow! This letter triggered a lot that I thought I was over. Thanks for sharing. Do these guys all go to the same place to get training because so much of this is my story? My ex acted the same way!
      I left my church because no one listened– they can have him!

      1. AKSDA,

        Welcome to the blog! We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips on how to stay safe when commenting on the blog.

        Again, Welcome!

    2. Me too! I have cried and cried this morning. I took it for 40 years, (sorry not physical abuse, but the abuse of a sex addict). The church???? I want to shout it from the mountain tops. I doubt very much that I’ll ever hear an apology, but by faith I forgive them.

      1. Welcome to the blog, Jeannie,

        We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

        Again, Welcome!

      2. I have several friends whose ex-husbands were / are sex addicts, which addiction comes out in a multitude of ways, sometimes criminal ways. It is truly an epidemic.

      3. This term ‘sex addict’ — can we question it? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say they are serial fornicators and adulterers?

        The ‘addict’ word has connotations that come from 12-Step Program philosophy: “It’s a disease”. And thinking of it as a disease can exonerate the fornicator / adulterer.

        I would prefer we stick with biblical language: “..fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4

      4. That makes complete sense. I agree, and will avoid that term. I’m all in favor of using the Biblical language.

      5. My x-husband was considered to be a “sex addict” by a psychiatrist. So, they may not be aware of the biblical terms. However, as the doctor had told me, the addict is able to change their addiction from one thing to another. As the X got older and could no longer attract women, he changed his addiction to religion!!! He works hard on his Bible studies. He won’t allow for anything to stand in his way to make it to church on time. You could be sick or die…it does not matter. So I wonder, the word “addict” may be what they are.

        He grew up with a womanizer father after his mother had died when he was very young. That is all he saw, that is what he had learned and…he could not get away from it. As he sought out God, satan tempted him to come back. I saw his struggles. Maybe, it is his guilt to have become so obsessive about religion.

  1. This might have been me a few years back. Whenever seminary deals with counseling, it is always with the focus of saving the marriage. It’s communication, it’s sin that needs to be resolved, it’s bitterness and refusal to forgive. It’s drilled into our heads, in books, in classroom discussions. We are taught to always give homework, something for the couple to do. The first and most “obvious” thing to do on the first day is to counsel the wife to be more submissive. She’s angry and frightened and he’s calm and collected and you have to do something – so you do the exact wrong thing and it ends up doing the opposite of what you thought it would do: it steals away hope. What we never learn in counseling classes is that the seed of the serpent is everywhere and sons of the devil will be right in the pews. You learn in counseling class that everything can be resolved by confessing sin and forgiving offenses, so that’s where you go.

    We learn the depravity of man, but always in the abstract. When it comes to it, we refuse to see it when it is right in front of us. Not our tribe, not our people.

    But then the Lord opens the eyes. Then you are alone with an abuser when he has nothing to loose and you watch the eyes change and all of the sudden, you know.

    When that happens, the Psalms start to click. Babylonians are so “ancient”, aren’t they? But when you see that they are sitting in the pews, going to family gatherings, those psalms open and you see. There it is. The curtain is pulled back and the mask is off and the ugliness of Satan’s kingdom is right there.

    And you try to spread the word, you try to help, you try to make an impact, but in so many ways you are still so helpless. So you listen, you support, you don’t second-guess decisions to divorce, and you try whatever you can do with your so, so limited resources to bring a little bit of light and hope. But the darkness seems everywhere, and those who are supposed to be light don’t want to see. They don’t talk to you as much anymore. You hear “That’s just Sam. He sees abuse everywhere. He follows those weird cult people that only talk about abuse.”

    But that’s OK, because when you see the eyes of the abuser change, and you suddenly understand, you also finally see that the Gospel is about loosing bonds, opening prison doors, mending the broken hearted, crushing Satan’s head with the power of the cross and resurrection.

    So I will continue. There will always be two kingdoms. God said at the beginning that there will be a continual war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent and that God put it there.

    To bring light is to anger the darkness, and it has always been that way.
    When you are face to face with the son of the devil and the mask is off, there are only two options: take up the armor of God and fight, or run away and say, “Nothing to see here, folks”.

    The first one is war, and there are casualties. It’s painful, hard and rarely any earthly results. The second one is far easier. Everyone all of the sudden breathes a sigh of relief that “the ugliness is over”, now we can move on.” Except, of course, the victims.

    And, of course, the greatest victim of running away is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Instead of being faithful stewards, we reload the gun, give it back to the kingdom of the devil, and tell him to take better aim next time. And when we do, we are no longer worthy and faithful shepherds. Even though we may have built a “great ministry”, we are no longer serving Christ, and that should strike fear into the heart.

      1. We are not serving Christ if we are not waging war against the devil. We are not serving Christ if we have no care for the truth, no understanding of evil, and no interest in crushing Satan’s head. We are not serving Christ when the little ones are cast away. We are not serving Christ when those in prison are not being set free.

      2. Thank you, Sam. There are always two sides to the coin and we have to be careful that we do not become hateful and serve the darkness. I see it too often though that women who had been hurt so much that they are unable to crawl out from the darkness into the light. They think that now, that they are out of their bad marriage, they have to become slayers of anyone that “seems” to [be] an abuser…and that “in the name of Christ?”

    1. Thank you Sam Powell for writing this comment. It is just as helpful as the original article. God be with you.

      1. Hi Lisa,

        Welcome to the blog! We (and Ps Powell) appreciate your encouragement.

        You will notice I changed your screen name a bit as it appeared to be quite identifying. We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

        Again, welcome!

      2. I thought the same. Helps me have some ‘understanding’ of where they are coming from. They are not trained.

    2. Somehow I wish you could get this in seminary and turn this around. I have suffered long as described in this letter minus a part from the lack of understanding from many Reformed, conservative pastors and people.

      The reality of this letter and your response is just extremely sad and disheartening. It reminds me of how MUCH I have worked and tried and to no avail. Seeking help from every way. This site is help. I’m angry that my LIFE meant nothing!!! Nothing to those that could help. Pastors don’t want to get involved with these things. What good are you then?! Who is going to fight for the weak?!!!

      The wife’s life pales in comparison to the male. I hope to receive a fraction of the grace he has when I’m seen to be in sin. But it won’t happen. Only ALWAYS pray for HIM! Earnestly!! Like I haven’t??? No, you have but don’t stop now! Don’t stop now.

      Exhausting. Horribly hard and lonely. Where’s your hope and faith they say? Oh she’s unable to draw near to God she’s so stressed and thinking only of her problems. Ugh, yeah. Well, it just doesn’t end, so kinda hard to forget about [it] and live “normal”.

      A couple of members get it. One divorced early on. The other stuck it out for 40 yrs. Both seem to be accepted, unless YOU are in the MIDDLE of the battle. Then it’s a different story.


      1. Hi, HisBannerOverMeIsLove 🙂 —

        It sounds to me like that church your are going to is a dead loss. I encourage you to not hold out hope that they will help you. I encourage you to shake the dust off your feet. Let the blind lead the blind. You are not blind: you are seeing through the fog. I encourage you to take whatever steps you need to take to slowly or quickly extricate yourself from the abuser and from this foolish church which is not believing you and not wholeheartedly supporting you as you get free from the abuser.


    3. And, for that one woman who tells her story to you and knows that you actually believe her…you bring great healing. She will never forget you.
      Don’t minimize your work! God uses such small things.

    4. But then the Lord opens the eyes. Then you are alone with an abuser when he has nothing to lose and you watch the eyes change and all of the sudden, you know.

      When that happens, the Psalms start to click. Babylonians are so “ancient”, aren’t they? But when you see that they are sitting in the pews, going to family gatherings, those psalms open and you see. There it is. The curtain is pulled back and the mask is off and the ugliness of Satan’s kingdom is right there.

      So true….and almost unbelievable when it is someone, a trusted friend, who always appeared to be so caring and godly. Yet, once the mask is off and the evil revealed, even briefly, there is no doubt and a lot of past incidents and behaviors become clear.

    5. Sam, this comment is so helpful I want to copy and post it on my own Facebook page where a conversation is taking place under my posting of this article. This is so excellent. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it.

      1. I totally agree. I had never thought of it that way as Sam brings us to understand. We have to take this in consideration the actions we take.

    6. Oh thank you Sam! Don’t ever stop! You are so right and I only wish there had been someone like you for me and my children

  2. I am saddened (all over again) as I read this letter. Saddened, because it is unbelievably relevant to what I experienced both in my marriage and the church. Saddened, because I no longer attend ANY church because of my experience, and find it so hard to trust God anymore. Saddened, because more often than not, so many of the women whose lives have been damaged by the abuse of their “Christian” spouse are now just barely hanging on spiritually, and live in a state of conflict over whether to obey the commands of Christian leaders or follow their intuition and use common sense. Saddened, because as Christian women we’ve been given the message in church that our lives do not matter as much as the man’s. And, even worse, we have somehow been given the command, whether verbally or not, to put all common sense and intelligence aside when it pertains to living in a dangerous environment.

    If God didn’t create men and women equal, then why in the world did He give women a brain in the first place that is equal in intellect? Why did He give women intuition that in most cases, is far superior to that of a man’s? But somehow, the church has told us to squash and ignore common sense and intuition, especially when it comes to dealing with hard-hearted, cruel spouses. Why is it that more women than men are the true followers of Christ, both in deed and word, yet are nonetheless, condemned as the lesser vessel who couldn’t possibly be more skilled at relationships than men?

    You know what it is……it is PRIDE and FEAR. Enough said. I really do not want to rant about those two issues.

    As for me, the day I make it back to mainstream church will be a miracle. This, of course, saddens me the most.

    1. You hit the nail on the head…when you are in the middle of the battle. That is a different story!

      … We are supposed to be one in marriage. How many times did my x-husband not listen to me only to drag us into a problem. What is wrong with them? I assume it is their ego. They do not want to admit that a woman may have wisdom.

      I am thinking of Iceland where many men and women do not get married. Women have children and are able to hold excellent jobs. The country supports them to become independent so they do not have to lead unhappy lives. They are even able to bring their child to work or breastfeed a baby during a board meeting. Let’s migrate to Iceland.

      1. UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


        Hi NMT, Jeff and I both believe that sex outside marriage is sinful. We would not support any suggestion that marriage can be dispensed with.

        Countries like Iceland and Sweden have very generous social welfare systems. The State gives generous financial support to parents who are raising children, whether the parent is married or single or cohabiting. But the taxes are very high, to pay for all that. There are other countries, like Australia, where the social welfare support provided by the government is not as generous as it is in Sweden or Iceland, but it is a lot more generous than the USA.

        Whatever a nation votes for in terms of a social welfare system, there are pros and cons. Taxes have to be higher to support high welfare payments. Personally, I think Australia’s system strikes a reasonable balance.

        In Australia, some workplaces are okay with a woman breastfeeding at her workplace, but it depends on the workplace. Nurses can’t breastfeed while they are on the job, for example! Most working women who breastfeed at their workplace do it on their breaks, with their partner bringing the child in to the staff tea-room. But that would be pretty rare. Breastfeeding mums who are working usually express milk into bottles and their partner gives it to the baby by bottle while the mum is at work.

      2. Also, I have read that in Sweden the incidence of domestic violence against women is no lower than in other western countries. Apparently, having a generous welfare system which supporting single mothers and having liberal laws about gender equality does not reduce the rate of domestic abuse.

  3. I could have written this too. I hope she is free of that Satanic man. And yes, yes, YES– “I understand him!” Understanding was not the problem. Understanding REVEALED the problem.
    Dear God, please keep acting to free your daughters and expose and CONDEMN this epidemic of abuse in the relational unions that are supposed to reflect and image YOU. For the sake of Your holy and loving Name, condemn this evil and judge it quickly!

    1. Being Restored,

      Welcome to the blog!

      We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

  4. So moving and eloquent. May God use it to bring light to many minds.

    May all pastors have to learn about domestic abuse as part of their training, so that the current ignorance is dispelled. May this kind of cruel treatment by pastors become very rare. May the Lord take out the false pastors and bring more true ones.

    1. I agree that all pastors should be taught about this, and they in turn should find a proper time an venue to teach their congregants as well.

      My wife and I had to leave a congregation over the treatment of a woman there who was being blamed by the congregational leader over an abusive situation with her fiancee. She was a member; and he was not; and yet SHE was asked to leave the congregation.

      When the board requested (more like ordered) my wife and I to appear before them to explain why we left I charged the whole lot of them with gross incompetence to be leaders in our Lord’s congregation. I laid out point after point after point to them. They seemed to be in a kind of daze and could not hear anything wrong in what they had done.

      Domestic spouse abuse is just one side of this iceberg. Child abuse is often there as well, and if it is from a leader in the congregation, spiritual abuse of the congregants as well.

      1. David — We need more people like you in our ‘c’hurches. There is so much abuse coming from leadership and no one will stand up to them.

        The man I married waffled between being in the faith or not being in the faith. The local churches don’t care — it’s easy for them to say they can’t minister to him because he’s an unbeliever. They never said anything even when he claimed to be a Christian.

  5. Well said. So very well said. This is so very accurate and true. It describes life with a monster so precisely. Fortunately, my pastor supported me. But the pain for those who come forward with the truth who are not believed must be devastating.

  6. THANK YOU so very much for posting this.
    AND I pray that pastors will read this and respond according to what the Scriptures would have them do and that is care and nurture the vulnerable.

  7. Pastors who won’t budge on their stand, that a wife needs to submit to abuse..are not connected to the heart of the Holy Spirit. Period.

    The flesh controls his stand from a pulpit. Yikes!

    He may read the word. ✔️ Speak with conviction. ✔️ I would even go far as to say he is sexist. That the man is the head of the woman. That marriage is a visual of the blood-bought bride. Idol worship? God hates.

    I have witnessed shaming, intimidating put downs, control, from the pulpit.

    I refuse to be offended by all of the above, as I will keep attending a church that God has called me to not leave. My flesh wants to disengage. But the spirit is stronger, and I will keep engaging. Satan would love for me to back down and run the other direction.

      1. Actually, Barbara, I meant, do we stay in church or leave…or never go to church again. My experience with one church leaves me with fear to ever trust them again.

      2. 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.


        Thanks for clarifying that, NMT. We encourage each survivor to make her own decisions about whether to stay in a church or to leave it. We also encourage survivors to try to find a church where they feel safe, but we know that this is not always possible given the state of evangelical churches these days.

        If Christians are not able to find a church they want to attend in person, we encourage them to listen to church services and sermons on the web. The church Jeff Crippen pastors is no longer broadcasting its services live, but the sermons can always be found at Sermon Audio. Another option is Tenth Presbyterian Philadelphia where Liam Goligher is the senior pastor. And another option is the church which Sam Powell pastors: First Reformed Church, Yuba City, California.

        Look on for each of those men’s names, and you will be able to find their churches and sermons.

      3. It is good to know to have these options. I am not very disciplined “to stay in the word” as they say. Yet, my heart is with Jesus.

    1. Love it!
      All the while praying for those who abuse?
      Blessing those who curse?
      Help me Lord – one Sunday at a time…

    2. Just curious. …what do you think is the purpose of your staying there [in that church]? …

      I tried to stay at a church once. I even had a private meeting with the two pastors (I took along a witness). After a time of banging my head against a brick wall, one of them said, “I don’t believe Christians can be deceived.” And he proceeded to use (twist) Scripture to back himself up. The other pastor just sat there smiling and nodding. At that point I felt peace at walking away.

      1. Mari, my mouth dropped open at this one. Christians can’t be deceived! Wow and double wow! No need for that spiritual armor against the wiles of the devil then, I guess. Incredible.

      2. Christians can’t be deceived!

        I guess all those ‘do not be deceived’ warnings were just for funsies? It’s arrogance like that that leads these men to think they are able to know better than everyone else what to do.

        Some men are open to learning and some are not. I would think this pastor is convinced of his own correct and righteous thought and would not be willing to learn.

      3. This too is something similar I had experienced. When I had moved to another state, I was looking for a church in my neighborhood but found that the majority were about almost one hour away. We visited one of these churches and found out that they were interested in having a church in this community.

        I offered our home and, consequently, started a church. We met at our home for one year. As we grew, we rented a meeting room at the public library. During this time, I not only was the hostess but also the secretary and treasurer of our small church. I gave them “my all.” I worked so hard to keep this little group together like a mother hen would care for her chicks.

        The problem started when a member who was the wife of an abusive spouse wanted out of the marriage and I supported her. The pastor wanted for them to stay together. One day, the Elder accompanied by another member visited me and told me brazenly that I was not allowed to speak to this woman. I bluntly told them that we do live in the USA where we have the right to “free speech” and that I would rather leave the church. I tried to make them understand that my membership was not necessarily with this church but with Christ. After I had shared this experience with other members, they threatened me with defamation of character.

        This experience had left a bad taste in my mouth with regard to “the organization of churches.” It seems like bad politics…

      4. Hi No More Tears, I had to change your screen name to No More Tears. If you want to start using a different name or even your real name on this blog, please let us know by emailing TWBTC.

    3. When I tried for the pastor to understand what I was going through. he bluntly asked me:
      “…you must have had some good times to remember?” I suppose, this means, a few good memories can pay for a lot of abuse.

  8. I was wide-eyed as I read this — so many pieces of my life. I was silent for 7 years before I tried to seek help. So many pastors provided the exact religious Band-Aids mentioned above. After 7 more years of self-help, Christian growth, more faking it, hours of pastoral input, & church service, I was deserted — losing not just my marriage but also my home and my church (my only “family”) and then, piece by piece, he gave away my belongings, telling me that he provided them all for me (even though I worked full-time for all 14 years of the marriage).

    Yes, PLEASE, pastors and other leaders, LISTEN…LEARN…hold broken reeds and shattered hearts gently to restore us to Jesus’ love. We are hungry to KNOW God cares about us — despite the lies “he” (abuser) has fed us, our friends and family. Please learn to love us extravagantly in the terrifying ordinariness of this heart-wrenching existence. It may take us a while to believe real truth, but it really is the very core of what we are starving to fill us.

    For now, just believe our words before providing patches of words that YOU believe.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Welcome to the blog!

      If you haven’t already, we like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

    2. You speak from my heart. The church was my family and now I AM ALONE. I mean all alone. It is like living on another planet. Just recently, I had a car accident. The sheriff came and asked, can we notify anybody. I said, there is no one. I had to leave the car behind and the sheriff took me to my doctor’s appointment. However, afterwards, I had to take a taxi to get home…$50. I could not call my neighbors because they were working. And, so-called friends and acquaintances are too busy. They have their own lives to live. It truly is like living in a sphere. I am going in and out, but no one comes in…it is almost weird.

      1. NoMoreTears — I am like you — this past year I changed the ‘contact’ information at the Dr’s office. The receptionist was so very sympathetic as tears rolled down my face as I arranged to have ‘his’ name deleted as my contact and instead chose one of the board members from the local Women’s Resource Center. Even I was surprised at the emotions that overcame me as I couldn’t even use my children or siblings as contacts because of their abusive ways towards me.
        It’s very lonely and yet I thank the Lord for the acquaintances I feel I can trust via ministries like ACFJ.

      2. I know how you feel, healinginhim. I set there at the light in my car which would not move and I wept. A person that passed said, it is just a car. But there was more. I wept as I looked at where I was in my life and what this breakdown meant to me. I needed to get to my doctor appointment. How will I get home? There is NO ONE to call. The few neighbors, I know, work all day and it was in the middle of the day. How will I pay for the car’s repair. There was NO ONE to call. I thought to be in a sphere where nobody lives but I. I go in and out of it but on one enters. I think that I need to change my name. NoMoreTears is no longer what I can be called. There are more tears to come as the loneliness surrounds me.

      3. Dear NoMoreTears,
        I hurt for you. Praying that even just one special person comes alongside you. I have a few acquaintances that care but like you say, many are busy. Praying you especially would have someone for those very important moments.

  9. This is absolutely amazing. I’m stunned at the uncanny resemblance to my own life and to others I know.

  10. Dear Moody Mom,

    What a heart rending post……thank you thank you.
    I hope with all my heart that many church leaders will read and comment….. Pastor Jeff is so so right….pastors have no idea what some women go through behind closed doors or the courage it takes to speak out….. You have touched my heart because of your brave honesty and the fact that I went through some (not all), of those awful experiences as well as trying the efforts of “Christian Resistance” you describe so touchingly.

    I am heartbroken for you as well as myself…now divorced, but this was not what I wanted…EVER…like you I tried EVERYTHING to get through to my husband whom I loved so much.

    We Christian women are not stupid or weak….quite the opposite…we fight with intelligence and Christian love….we damage our health in the process, sticking at it to protect our children.


    P L E A S E ! !

      1. Dear readers, the team at ACFJ is so busy and always getting busier with the ever increasing number of survivors who are interacting with this blog.

        So we encourage you, our readers, to take the initiative and send this letter to pastors, seminaries, Christian counselor training centres, etc.

  11. I want to send this letter to all of the pastors who refused to listen to me, who refused to help, who refused to believe me, and insisted on reconciliation without any changed behavior. All of the pastors who are supposed to be the shepherd, but who really weren’t there at all.

  12. Wow! I could not have endured all that without having fearful intrusive images in my mind of murdering him. You sure endured a lot.

    Did you ever call the police and tell them you were afraid, or were you afraid of losing the children if you did? […]

    It’s a good letter. Pastors need to be able to put themselves in victim’s shoes and not just get the tip of the iceberg. Some pastors are abusers themselves so this business of telling the pastor can be tricky.

    1. Hi GFM, I understand the phenomenon of having intrusive images coming into one’s mind. I had that when I was in psych hospital after nearly committing suicide.

      By the way, we do not endorse killing one’s abuser. We know that sometimes victims kill their abusers, but we would never want to say anything on this blog which gives readers the idea that it’s okay to take that path.

      If anyone is having imaginative thoughts of killing their abuser, that is a strong sign that it’s a good idea to give SERIOUS thought to developing a safety plan and leaving the abuser.

      1. Barb, please don’t think that’s what I was trying to do. I’ll be more thoughtful next time I post. It just got my blood boiling to read that letter. I remember when my sister-in-law was threatening to come over and beat me up the week I gave birth to my first daughter. I was afraid of what I could do so I called the cops on her. She never bothered me again. It’s been 13 years.

    2. GFM, (and others), thank you for all your kind comments and feedback. It really is such an encouragement.

      I did not have intrusive thoughts of getting him. My, and my kids’, intrusive thoughts, are about what if he gets us. So most of the time, it’s not vengeance, it’s panic — hyper-vigilance, hyperventilating, nausea, chest-tightening, and all the other fun things that so many on this site live with.

      Did I ever call the police? No. We never had bruises. There was never anything to show them. How do you show threats? How do you show intimidation? What evidence? Who would believe then-middle-childhood, pre-teen children? Who would believe me? He’s a pillar of the community, a church leader, youth worker, friend to many in high places, philanthropist. When I did let a little information “slip”, just to see if there was any hope of help, everyone – parents, friends, a psychologist, counselors – told me that marriage is difficult. Marriages don’t turn out the “fairy-tale” way I had imagined. I had gone into marriage with too high of expectations. I needed to let go of my “ideals” of what marriage is supposed to be. I had to be realistic and deal with the marriage I had, the hand I was dealt. Life is hard. Get used to it. He’s had a hard childhood. He hasn’t had an easy life. The male ego is actually a fragile thing. I must not say anything that might bruise his ego, or upset the delicate balance between helpful communication and nagging. He will then have no choice but to defend his bruised ego. We need to pray for him more, that he will become the husband and father God intended for him to be. We need to pray Ephesians 3:14-19 over him.

      (14) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, (16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

      I need to be more understanding, even gentler, quieter, more winsome, more submissive. So if this is the reaction I got from all the experts, I knew the police wouldn’t believe me.

      I read the newspaper articles. Another and another poor woman has bruises on her neck, bruises on her face, a swollen lip, a knot on the back of her head from being pinned to the wall. He has scratches on his forearm. He’s calmly explaining what happened. She’s crying and ‘hysterical’. She’s dragged off to jail to “calm down”. He’s left home – with their kids. Peace is restored to the neighborhood. He gland-handily thanks the police, and shuts… those… doors… Behind those closed doors, now no one is there to stand in the gap for those kids. If women like this with a lot of physical evidence couldn’t get any help or justice, what chance did I have?

      Like so, so many here, when I did finally tell, they tried to send me back. I even demonstrated on an inanimate object the horrific way he threatened to kill the kids. They looked at the object, smiled at me, and said, “Oh, you don’t think he’d really do that, do you?” I could not believe my ears. Living under threat of death, being terrified for our lives, wasn’t bad enough for this pastor. Apparently he had to make good on the threat, my kids or I had to be dead, before the pastors would believe that maybe something was wrong here. Otherwise, “go back. We’ll tell you when we think it’s okay for you to leave him. Even though we have never been in your home, even though we ourselves have seen some odd behavior even here at church, we’ll be the experts here. Go home. And pray.”

      Yes, I left. I left him, left the church (eventually). And like so many others, we haven’t found a good church that is kind, generous with their friendship, or willing to listen. And now I have the scarlet “D” sewn on my pinafore. Divorcee.

      And we still drive through, scanning every parking lot for a familiar vehicle. I still continually scan every public place. I still watch every door.

      Come quickly Lord Jesus.

      1. Thank you again Moody Mom.
        You have really described well the opposite parallels between the “target’s reality” and the reality that the abuser projects..
        Are you getting any support now since youve been out?

    1. Hi NT, I changed your screen name to NT as we generally find it’s not safe for our reader to use their real names on this blog unless they are very confident that they are no longer at risk from their abuser(s).

      Welcome to the blog. 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  13. Regarding Moody Mom’s Letter: “You Weren’t There…”
    This letter broke my heart to read about all this suffering. I can relate to much that was said and my pain has been far less than yours. I would like to be there for you if that were possible.

    1. September this year my church is conducting a conference on domestic violence and the horror of it within the church. Light will be shed that DV is indeed solid biblical grounds for divorce. Praise God!

      1. Anonymous, when you have details of the event, esp if you have links or flyers that publicise this event, email them to us so we can share them here and on our FB page. Best to email them to TWBTC. Thanks.

      2. Praise God! Thank you, Anonymous, for all your hard work. We will overcome! I love you and all of those who suffer. I wish, I could embrace you all and tell you, you are going to be OK.

  14. Thank you Moody Mom. So accurate and common among the professing church.
    George Simons wrote:

    Most of us don’t like to face the unpleasant things in life. We rather explain them away with a perspective that makes the unnerving more palatable.

    God wrote in Proverbs 24:

    Whoever whitewashes the wicked gets a black mark in the history books.
    But whoever exposes the wicked will be thanked and rewarded.

    Many thanks Moody Mom for exposing the wicked and may many rewards be given to you from our loving Heavenly Father.

    Pastors and Elders, what will the history books say about you? Repent if you have been exposed. Only cowards, neurotic or evil decievers ignore the plight of the abused and white wash for the abusers.

  15. Barbara, you bet I will! I will email everything with regard to the domestic violence conference the moment I have it in hand. Maybe you and pastor Crippen will be able to come, and others, too!?

    1. Anonymous – Will this conference be recorded and archived so others could eventually glean from it?

      1. Healinginhim, final details have not yet been made with regard to the conference being recorded. Please be assured, as soon as all details are available I will get this information to Barbara immediately.

        We view this conference as a step in the right direction – a much needed and long-overdue responsibility of church leaders, lest the church will remain guilty of dereliction of duty and is nothing other than a breeding ground for the predators spoken of in Psalm 10.

  16. This letter triggered a lot of emotions and memories for me. I think I’m going to send it six of my eight children who are now adults so they are reminded that they DID experience much of what she wrote about and the pain of others minimizing it is real. Jesus does heal when we bring these things into the light (heal us personally) but, pastors who refuse to acknowledge the reality of the abuse keep it out of the light.

  17. This a a great letter, highlights much to me. Causes me to reflect yet again!
    This scenario is oft the other way around too. The wife demeaning, subtly abusivive by attacking every outcome, but really attacking you for making that decision, but she never willing to be a part of the decision making.
    In the end the bloke looses all confidence to be the man he was, the provider, the family “glue” if you like.
    Image is worked at very hard by her so everyone sees her as either the victim or the one holding everything together. However in the privacy of the home, her conduct and loyalty is destructive. Emotionally, sexually, verbally, in fact in every way possible – very subtly.
    Always looking like she’s beside you but in fact going behind you tearing everything you build up apart.
    The church, its leaders and pastors really do need to rise up and stop preaching idealism & start ministering to the broken & the hurting, no matter what the cost!
    I’m here to say this is my story, a marriage of destruction by the one I believed was my equal, my confidante, my mutual, my forever!
    And not a soul to go to who would help.
    I mean for goodness sake she looked like she has it all together, and she’s a ministers daughter!!
    The reality is the abusee and the abuser can be the wife or the husband.
    When it comes to sin, no one is more or less able to live in it or inflict it.
    Church! Wake up to the realities of what is happening in the lives of those all around you!
    Start being what is needed to the hurting! Please!!

    1. I am sorry to hear what you have been going through. And I understand, evil is all around us…male or female. The church has no right to judge because…”they weren’t there.” God is the one to judge us.

  18. This letter is so soberingly true..
    Who put these men in the position of Judge and Jury when they WERE NOT THERE?

    Oh thats right.. They appointed themselves.

    Since they were not there..- even in a court of law their opinion be thrown out as hearsay.

  19. There are so many of us who have related to this. I too took my pain to a church and watched in horror as the pastors ‘worked on fixing me’ while they held an arm around my husband and comforted him as I cried.

    It took me six years of a planned escape, and another 8 years before I attempted to trust Christians again.

    But God is faithful. And it was a long time gone. My new pastors (for 15 years) are genuine and loving and communicative, and truly offer the hand and heart and spirit of God in their lives. I no longer hate my old pastor for his ignorance, but I don’t go to his church either.

    1. Hi Regina,

      Welcome to the blog! If safety is an issue for you I changed your screen name a bit so it wasn’t maybe so identifying. We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, Welcome!

  20. Yes very triggering and relatable for me too. I’m thankful it was here because I have struggled so long to find my voice. I silenced myself for so many years that now it is difficult for me to speak the truth about what happened to us. I have trouble voicing the words that describe the atrocities. This was helpful to me to have something written to begin to describe it.

    I had a long year of enduring the pastor’s judgements. He never listened to my story. I’m still debating if I should try again to help him hear me. I wish he would read this and let the Holy Spirit speak to him. Has anyone any advice about sharing this website with a pastor?

    1. Are you still with your abuser?

      It took me years and the words of a lovely Christian health worker (yes there are some) to make me realise I had to go. And it was only after I left that I truly realised my situation. [In my experience] getting out from under the dark cloud of evil has to happen first. Not healed yet and that was about half a dozen years ago but some days have hope now and seeing my children thrive brings such joy. If your church won’t help you [I suggest you] go to a women’s refuge or shelter. You can find another church once you’re free but first get yourself free. Praying hard for you.

      1. Hi dear sister, I edited your comment a little, airbrushing some details and making it clearer that you were speaking from your own experience.

        On this blog, we ask commenters to not ‘tell others what to do’. We discourage commenters from generalising their experience onto others as if they know what other victims need to do. We encourage each person who has or is suffering abuse to make their own decisions in their own time.

        At our New Users’ Info page we say this:

        Some survivors of abuse, in their zeal to help another survivor, start telling her what to do or how to feel or think. We ask you not to do that. If you tell another survivor what to do, that can sound to her like you are issuing an order to her… so it’s not a good idea. It can trigger the abused person if you tell them what to do. It’s better to use phrases like:

        Have you considered such and such?
        Maybe you would like to think about …..
        I encourage you to respond to that person by ….
        I suggest you do so and so….

        Invitational suggestions are much easier for victims to hear than instructions and orders.

  21. The crushing reality, in my Grandmother’s, and then my mother’s life and mine. All of us buried under the burden of these behaviours, and even though these vile things show through the crack of the armour of the abuser, the church just went on letting it be.

    My neighbour suffered with a wickedly clever narcissistic male, we saw it happen in our home, and theirs for years. Both families went to the same church, the only support we ever got was from each other, when, thank God, they [the abusers] were at work.

    This letter and the blog from Sam, have shown me some very new thoughts as I now deal with my abusive father as an old man. I feel so much better armed to cope with him, and will share this with a friend with an abusive elderly mother.
    ‘My chains fell off, my heart was free’, is how this has made me feel! I am so happy to see Moody Mom share her dreadful ordeal and tell the truth of what it is like to be there, but so very sad to read the sickeningly familiar litany of sadistic, cruel, abuse that makes the abuser insanely happy and feeling that ‘getting one over on everyone in the family at every opportunity’ gives them ultimate gratification. They mean it, they love it, they hoard the feelings of power for a rainy day of gloating, they get off on it in every way, they plan and execute their wicked ways in darkness, they hatch a million mean plots in their remorseless minds, and every moment of suffering they inflict is a heady wine to them.

    I was there.
    My mother was there.
    My Grandma was there.
    My sons and daughters-in-love are NOT.
    Praise to God for a good husband and kind father, who also came from a horrible background.
    We are winning with Jesus.
    No one can be identified or is in danger because of this post, I am free, but constantly being reminded of it by a sad, difficult old man is like bathing in mud, very staining and emotionally sticky.

    1. Thanks Marilyn!

      And especial thanks for letting me know that no one can be identified from your comment. You’ve saved me time and effort by letting me know that. 🙂

  22. I have read with much interest a letter forwarded to me from your site called “You weren’t there.” A domestic violence survivor’s letter to a pastor. I have felt very strongly about this as a man of Christian faith and as an expert [in] law enforcement training in domestic violence for nearly 20 years. I’ve never believed it was God’s purpose or intent for a person to stay in an abusive marriage where ultimately their very lives are at risk. Even beyond that one’s soul may be at risk as well.

    I have been bothered that churches and their leadership never seem to address these issues of domestic violence. They will focus on marriage, spiritual purpose / aspects of marriage, how it mirrors our relationships with Christ and how He first loved us. Never I have I ever heard it applied to relationships where men and women WERE NOT treating each other as the Bible instructs. Marriage vows and advice to stay through bad and worse times has caused many domestic violence victims to lose their lives.

    Brian – 20 years law enforcement

  23. I thought things were getting a little better, but our two sons are marrying soon..which is wonderful…but my husband AND father are fawning over the girls and treating them very well whilst being cutting and nasty to me…sigh. I know my own worth, but it still rankles a lot.
    I know that at the weddings, as at ours, he will eye off and flirt with the younger women, and leave me to sit on my own.
    However I am determined to enjoy the days and keep the girls safe from his behaviour.
    He starts a new job that will give me many hours free, and I now have an income source of my own, so, a new life for me. Serving in ministry at church, getting fit, and relying on the love of Jesus.
    The girls are wonderful and loving, and have their eyes open wide, so that part of our life will be good.
    The fact that one of my sons is bigger, stronger, than his father, and not a coward keeps me safe. He has made it clear, as has my other son, that anything which hurts me, and they find out, he is in strife. I don’t need to rock the boat, but it does give me immense comfort.
    I love the care and love between my sons, their fiancées, their families and me, all very supportive.

    1. Hi Marilyn I published your comment but if on reflection you think anything in it could put you at risk (because you gave some pretty identifying details) please let us know and we can edit or delete the comment.

    2. It is so good to know that not all children in abused marriages can grow up to be protective of their mother despite having an abusive father. I have seen the opposite. Stay strong. It seems that you are on your way. Sending you my love to comfort you.

  24. I wanted to let others know that this past Sunday our local domestic violence shelter was invited to make a presentation to the adult Sunday school (maybe 300 – 400 people) of a local evangelical church. As a volunteer, my part in the presentation was a dramatization of “You Weren’t There.” Moody Mom’s writing was so powerful that the church was deeply moved, and I believe good fruit will come from it. Thank you again, Moody Mom!

    1. Rebecca – Thank you for sharing. How encouraging to know that some churches are reaching out to be educated on abuse. Praying for an abundance of fruit.

      1. Thank you so much, HiH. When there’s so much darkness, I want to let others know about glimmers of light here and there. Hugs to you.

      1. I’m not surprised; it got shared so much. It’s so extremely powerful — when I would perform it for people, “powerful” was the word I kept hearing over and over.

  25. Okay Pastor Crippen, since I can’t comment on that post I’ll comment here….you drop a truth-filled post like that on us and we are supposed to sit on our hands? I think not! (Smiley face!) I’m responding to this post: Where are all the Abuser-Enabling Pastors Coming From?

    Pastor Crippen wrote:

    So one would think that when I contacted the counseling department after our first book was published, someone would snap it up and begin to use it as a standard tool there. Guess what happened? Nothing. Nada. I received no response at all.

    Pastor Crippen, I keep thinking of this–for years now….that there will be no “awakening” like there has been in the past and that people like you who God wakes up to the truth will have no big following or many who are grateful on your behalf either now or in the future like other people who stood alone for the truth at a time when many refused to listen like, for instance Martin Luther (and yes, I do think having this biblically profound truth is that PROFOUND), has had belatedly…after many who died and were abused on behalf of truth, been given credit and acclaim.

    I think if these people could–if it weren’t “frowned upon” or illegal–they would stone you or people like you who speak this truth. But it’s much better for them nowadays as they have a bigger audience through radio / TV / internet etc., so they can perpetually use you as a punching bag or they can do what they seem to be doing and that is ignoring you / giving you the cold shoulder / looking down their noses at you with barely concealed disdain while they all stand together, shoulder to shoulder in strong alliance against the truth that you speak…and many stand with them. They care NOTHING about God or His word or His truth but they DO care about having big followings, keeping people enslaved in order to milk them for life and being CONSIDERED “right” or knowledgeable etc. (They don’t care about the TRUTH of God’s word, they just want to APPEAR to say the “right” things–things that make them APPEAR reasonable, educated, of sound mind etc., but they have no desire to truly BE of God and have to carry the true burden of that.)

    For a man of God to have walked in a pastor’s shoes for any length of time and who maybe couldn’t understand what he was seeing–but then happened upon your book or the wisdom written here at ACFJ–it would be like a light bulb being turned on or glass of water in the desert or like being completely blind and now able to see absolutely perfectly! If there are such men and they truly have God in their heart and have truly been educated and searching the scriptures, to have someone sum it up as you have for them should make them want to WEEP with gratitude to GOD that he had loved HIM enough to show him this truth through God’s word and in his life and had someone else put it into words for him! Halleluiah!

    Yet from my vantage point here, I am not seeing a lot of (NONE in fact) waking up and then standing up. Why? Lots of reasons I’m sure but I guess in my imagination it’s because if they went back on what they’d said in the past, even though they had been wrongly taught, they would end up with very few followers and MANY who would roast them for their previous preachings.

    When I pretend I am speaking from the evil one’s or psychopaths standpoint it is much EASIER. Why? Because I can say ANYTHING I want, the sillier or more outlandish the better! Because when I am pretending to be them I DON’T CARE ABOUT SPEAKING TRUTH AND IN FACT I TAKE A LITTLE TRUTH AND THROW IT IN THE MIX AND JUST TOSS IT OUT THERE! (The burden of proof now lies with those blamed and accused and we often look like the liars because we are so steeped in injustice and can’t believe they could say this about us or that others would believe them–but then we look around and EVERYONE IS looking at us like WE are the evil ones—so we tend to be irate, or babble in our PTSD stupor or sound like we are just trying to harm a WONDERFUL man or woman of God who simply wants the best for us! It’s SO EASY-PEASY for the evil one to do this!) Because THIS IS HOW THE EVIL ONE AND HIS CHILDREN THE PSYCHOPATHS OPERATE! And I’ve had a lifetime FULL of them and all they do is lie and toss out accusations and stand there and wait for me and others like me to defend themselves. They are not burdened by truth or love or fair play like I am, they are just playing a game, entertaining themselves at my expense….as are all who don’t have a conscience and belong to their father the devil.

    So Pastor Crippen, thank you once again for being willing to let God teach you His truth through His word, for being willing to speak this truth and to keep the evil ones out of your church in order to have the few true sheep of God have a safe haven to come and worship together in true fellowship with Jesus. I’m only guessing here but I don’t imagine they are the wealthiest of some that may have attended in the past, but I’m also guessing they are extremely grateful.

    And why are the comments disabled?

    1. RBE- Thank you. True thoughts. Oh, comments are disabled on any extra post we put up over and above the regular Monday one. It isn’t to just not let people comment but to lighten our workload. All comments on the blog must be moderated and that can be a handful of work to keep up with. But we can let you squeak by on this one!! Ha! Thanks again.

  26. Such a sad, accurate letter…
    My young friend that I’ve been helping has experienced something so familiar.

    She’s been married 13 years. Recently becoming “aware” that at least 10+ years of that has been an ongoing, verbally / mentally abusive marriage. She left the home and had been in NO CONTACT for almost 4 months, with a couple emails in the last few weeks.

    Her husband is the Senior Pastor. 😳

    Right before she left the home, my friend went to the previous Senior Pastor’s Wife (the previous Senior pastors are still on staff) told her everything and that if things didn’t change she was going to leave. The pastor’s wife seemed to believe her. They suggested a meeting with all four, but never set anything up.

    It’s been nearly four months and the other pastors HAVE NOT asked to meet with her and hear what she has to say.

    The husband (abuser) is now back in the pulpit preaching after his “3-month time away from preaching to seek the Lord”.

    I can come to no other conclusion that they just don’t believe her!

    1. Abusers are so skilled at manipulating the people in the victim’s network -church, friends, family, and especially authority figures in those communities. They spread misinformation. The result is that the victim gets even more isolated and oppressed.

      Well done to your friend for leaving and for going almost no contact!

  27. Time and again I went to my Elders for help, they did nothing. I had well meaning Elders’ wives tell me stories of how my behaviour could change his. I begged for help and when I finally realised for mine and my children’s safety I had to leave I begged for help again. They did not know how to help. I got shelter for a week. I got lectures on how I should be taking charge and finding my own place. I had no money because he had taken it. I had no credit rating because he had destroyed it. I was broken and on my knees. How could I take charge when for years I had been told I was evil, useless and a fool.

    Please Elders if you don’t know how to handle abuse there is no shame in saying so but FIND OUT! Ask, refer, don’t brush it under the carpet.

    If you are the one abused don’t ever believe it’s your fault or that your behaviour will change his.

    1. Hi NotMyFault,

      Welcome to the blog! You will see I changed your screen name to help protect your identity. We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, I suggest you look at our FAQ page.

      Again, Welcome!

    2. NotMyFault,

      If you are the one abused don’t ever believe it’s your fault or that your behaviour will change his.

      Thank you.

      1. I replied to another comment then read your advice on how to reply! Sorry should have got that the other way round. I’ll be more careful with my responses.
        I cried for half an hour after I read the responses to my post, hadn’t realised how much I need somebody to hear me. Thank you!

      2. Dear dear sister, I am so glad you are finding this blog helpful. Hugs to you. Tears are often part of healing. May God bless you abundantly. May He help you shed the false-blame and false-shame which the abusers and their allies have put on you!

        I hope you keep commenting here. We need your voice. Every survivor’s voice is valuable. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Have you read this yet? If not I think you will find it helpful: Honouring Resistance: How Women Resist Abuse in Intimate Relationships [Internet Archive link]

        And btw, I’ve change your screen name to NotMyFault. The name you had put in the “Name field” of the comments form might perhaps have identified you. I encourage you to read or re-read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to fill out the comments form on the blog.

        Bless you!

    3. Thanks for commenting and sharing your situation and experiences, NotMyFault. I have been given lectures as to how I needed to take charge and accomplish/do this, this, and this. I have no money. Mine stockpiled such too and made sure I had nothing. My credit rating and report have been destroyed. Same with so much more. I was told many evil things and brainwashed to believe myself to be evil, sub-human, useless, a loser, a burden, a freak, and so very, very much more.

      It’s sad to say that I still have to read things like “If you are the one abused don’t ever believe it’s your fault or that your behavior will change his.” and I’ve done a lot of reading…… but the endless drilling into one’s head how they are to blame for anything and everything and how much of a burden, a loser, a waste of space, how I need to hurry up and kill myself and spare the world of my continued existence……(ETC.)

      I shall say a prayer for you, NotMyFault. 🙂

  28. My pastor and her husband wrote letters of support for my husband to use in court, after he was arrested for domestic violence. They believed his lies.

    1. Unfortunately, it is all too common for pastors to side with the abuser. Sigh…

      We do want to welcome you to the blog. If you haven’t already we suggest you that you read our New User’s page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog – though I suspect you are mindful of that.

      Also our FAQ page may be helpful.

      Again, welcome!

  29. This letter really conveys the overwhelming anxiety and desperation that is created by trying to talk to people who are so in denial about reality that they literally cannot hear what is being said. It reminds me of something I read once, in a book by Joyce Landorf, a Christian author popular in the eighties I think. The book was called ” Irregular People” and she described one woman’s encounter with her mother. Irregular people have something really wrong with them to say the least.

    She was driving somewhere with her “irregular” mother and was trying to share with her mother that she had just received a terrifying diagnosis of cancer and she was very upset. Her mother responded with unearthly detachment , something like ” Oh, that’s too bad dear” and then went on to rhapsodize about a ” wonderful chicken enchilada recipe” that she really must try. The daughter, incredulous, pulled over and practically shouted ” MOTHER, I have cancer and I may die”. Her mother calmly rebuked her for shouting, admonishing her that scripture says we are to respect our elders and continued on with ” And you must remember to take the enchiladas out at exactly such and such a time or they will be dried out”.

    I have seen this same kind of smug, arrogant form of “I am right and you are wrong” thing. It makes you feel powerless, stricken, filled with anguish, inferior and without hope. You are drowning and dying in front of them and all they want to do is label you and explain why its your fault and you deserve it for not being as righteous as them. If you confront them on anything they cannot easily admit there is any problem with them. It reminds me very much of the Pharisees who threw out the blind man and his parents, saying ” you were steeped in sin at birth, how dare you lecture us”.

    I described once to a charismatic pastor, the account of being bullied in high school which culminated in my having to physically confront the bully. This was after about three months of harassment by gangs of kids on her side, hateful phone calls, threats, meetings with teachers and parents. In each of these meetings, the bully and her gang acted contrite, even submissive, promised to behave, said they were sorry, and the very minute we were out of sight of the authorities, went right back to doing their thing except now with smug evil grins, sure nothing could touch them. Nor could we enlist police intervention because it all happened behind the scenes so nothing could be proved.

    This pastor smugly informed me that there was no excuse for me to have had to hit her and that had I “trusted God” and been a believer, God would have provided a way out. This guy thought he and his wife typified what a successful healthy Christian family looked like and figured anyone who had a problem with him had it out of jealousy for how healthy and solid his life was as a result of being a third generation pastor. I remember being astounded by what looked to me like rose garden faith. I never thought at the time to ask him how he explained John the Baptist getting beheaded or Christians suffering persecution and being killed. I did think he was guilty of creating class distinctions in the body of Christ. But I would hope that the apostle Paul’s response would have been vastly different.

    1. “I never thought at the time to ask him how he explained John the Baptist getting beheaded or Christians suffering persecution and being killed. I did think he was guilty of creating class distinctions in the body of Christ. But I would hope that the apostle Paul’s response would have been vastly different”

      I’m right there with you.

      I had not read this good post before, so thanks for commenting and bringing it up.

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

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

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