Dealing With Pharisees and Their Spiritual Abuse – by IamMyBeloved’s

[September 28, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Having been sorely abused and in the end ex-communicated by church leaders after she called on them for help because her husband was abusing her, this lady speaks from experience. Many thanks to IamMyBeloved’s for writing this post.


This is a topic that is coming into play all too often among abuse victims as they try to get help and escape domestic abuse. As we all know, the church can be a great source of help, if she understands and is educated in abuse. AND if she is truly Christ’s church and not a counterfeit. But, all too often we fall prey to a ‘c’hurch body that desires power and control over victims of abuse, failing to give what Christ really requires, “mercy, not sacrifice”. Instead, Pharisees desire to be right and they seek control through legalistic demands.

Marriage in God’s eyes is made clear from Scripture. But when a marriage is only on paper, having been destroyed by unrepentant, habitual violation of the marriage covenant vows, I highly doubt that it exists in God’s eyes. When the covenant is broken in a marriage, there is only one way to restore that covenant. That happens through true repentance and a restoring of the marriage covenant. When people say that you are still married “on paper”, they are dealing Law out to you.

God sees the heart of man and makes His determinations about us, based on that. If you remember, certificates of divorce were to be given, but that was still under Law. According to civil law today, we are still “legally” married, until that paper is signed by a judge, granting the dissolving of the legal marriage. In God’s eyes however, it is my conclusion that once the covenant in a marriage is broken, the marriage is over. We still do the paperwork, just as God did with Israel, but His marriage to Israel was over before He gave them the Certificate of Divorce. That was the Law. So, remember that when dealing with church leadership who refuses to believe the marriage between an abuser and his victim is over. Do the paperwork and be free.

As a joyful survivor of spiritual abuse, I can speak to this topic and give information as to how to deal with this problem area. It is pretty simple. When leaders in the local body abuse their authority, they are truly left with no authority to speak on behalf of God or to give counsel to the body. They have placed themselves in the position of God Himself, but misrepresent Him, and are no longer able to be useful to anyone, including victims of abuse.

The term “local body” is important, because most of these type of ‘c’hurches try to make us believe they are the only church, that only they rightly interpret God’s Word and that they are the only true church. But they are only a local church body, not the entire body of Christ. As Christians, we are part of the entire body of Christ. No one can say we have entered the body or demand we leave, or ex-communicate us from the body of Christ, except Christ. In Romans, we are told that Christ is the only One Who could bring an accusation against us, and if we are truly in Him, it will never happen — no matter what. Why? Because it is His work to keep us and cause us to arrive safely home to be with Him forever. Nothing we do here on earth, can keep us from the love of Christ, once we are truly in Him. It is His blood sacrifice that we have received, in place of our own works, to cover over and pay for all our sin, that brings us into Salvation. Nothing we do can earn it for us. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. Not knowing what to do in a situation and then perhaps making the wrong decision, does not affect our Salvation. It appears to me, that the majority of these problems stem from local bodies that do not really know or understand the Gospel. Marriage and divorce are not determining factors for Salvation.

Jesus said He came to die for the “sin of the world”. Notice that. “sin”, not “sins”. The sin of this world, is making ourselves God and living our lives as such. That is what Christ died for. The original sin in the garden — “I will be as God!” Now just look at how these false leaders dole out spiritual abuse against God’s people, especially the oppressed. Isn’t this exactly what they are doing? They seem to say, “We are God and unless you do as we say, you are not going to be called a Christian!” There it is right there. They have made themselves God in your life and the safest thing for any of us to do at that point, is to run from them and never look back. We are called to submit ourselves, so their job will be easy and their judgment and accountability go smoothly for them, but we are never called to submit to leadership that is abusively and wrongly applying the Word of God and preaching a false Gospel. Never!

When church leadership begins a process of trials and ex-communication for a victim who is leaving an abuser and trying to protect herself and her children, it is nothing less than spiritual abuse. Christ’s model of leadership is to for His under-shepherds to place themselves beneath those who are in their care, in order to uplift and lead, not oppress and drive. When leadership in a local body begins to run roughshod over the congregants, they are in immense error biblically and it is actually our job to expose them and make them accountable for their sins against us.

It needs to be understood that no one on earth holds power over us to demand we behave a certain way or do certain things in order to keep our Christianity. There is only One Who keeps us and that is Christ. Yes, we are to follow His Word and commands, but our salvation alone belongs to the One who gave it to us, Christ. We are only kept by faith in His atoning blood shed for us, not in our works, our wrong choices or our marriage vows and whether those are kept according to another one’s opinions on marriage when those views are not faithful to the whole counsel of God. These false leaders make marriage a god and a hill we either live or die on. They make it into a work that determines our salvation, but that is clearly a lie and a false Gospel.

Having gone through trial and ex-communication myself, my advice is based on hindsight and what I should have done, not necessarily what I did. Anyone who is placed under such abusive power and control, already being in abuse-fog, typically responds with at least some amount of fear. That was my case. I wrongly believed that these abusive men held some sort of power and decision over whether I was in fact a Christian or not. But the truth is, that only belongs to God and Christ, and no one else.

My advice to anyone facing this kind of spiritual abuse is to, in a word, run. Do not look back. When they send you things in the mail, don’t accept them. When they contact you anyway, don’t answer or read it. Throw it all in the trash and move on. They hold no power over you, in any way.

Now to some that may sound like rebellion, but in rightly reading and interpreting the Word, it is the right thing to do. It is evil and needs to be shunned. Spiritual abuse has long and lasting effects on people, if it is not dealt with rightly.

In my case, my new church told me not to answer them [the old church], read anything from them, and throw anything I did receive from them, in the trash. I wish I had listened, but in my fear, I decided to go over to the “reading of the charges” against me and enter my plea. Ha! What a joke. This alone is unbiblical and spoken of only in Scripture, as men lording power over others. If you remember, the counsel and courts in Scripture in Acts, are persecuting the true Christians! That is where denominations pull their ability to form courts and put the sheep on trial within the local body — comes from it and it is being wrongly interpreted by those denominations. If they held the truth, they would see how wrong it is to try to have that kind of power and control over the sheep. It is nonsense and actually just proves that we are in a local body that is in error in its interpretation and application of Scripture.

In the end, I was ex-communicated. Even though emotionally it affected me, it was not for long. Why? Because God showed me they held no power and in the end, that church fell apart and split and became their own enemies. The man and his wife who did that to me, no longer pastor, anywhere. They are no longer famous, except for their abuse. Perhaps God will use it to bring them to the Truth. God has a way of dealing with these spiritual abusers and our job is just to flee them and their false power, as well as the false Gospel they try to teach.

A true shepherd loves the sheep and does not lord anything over them. He attempts to correct within his authority, in love and with protection for the sheep. I was blessed to have Jeff and a new leadership that eventually saw through the abuse and in the end told me I was right in divorcing my abuser. They gave me sound and biblical counsel as to how to deal with the previous pastor and his abuse of me. They told me he would ex-communicate me because he craved power over the sheep. He was indeed, a false shepherd. A wolf.

If you are in the position that I was in, you need to realize that biblically, you do not owe abusive, erring leaders, anything. Nothing. You owe it to yourself and to them, to flee and ignore whatever abuse they may do to you. Who cares if they ex-communicate you? They cannot take you from the love of God, ever. They do not decide if you are a Christian or not. They have no power to do that. It is only Christ Who decides that and if you are in Him, it has already been decided and Jesus Christ will not turn against you or turn on you.

Turn and run, don’t walk, and don’t stop until you find a sound local body who will support and love you and help you heal. Then, never look back except to remember there are wolves among us and their job is to devour you, but God has rescued you from their hand.

[September 28, 2022: Editors’ notes:

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


44 thoughts on “Dealing With Pharisees and Their Spiritual Abuse – by IamMyBeloved’s”

  1. Great post! Thanks, IAMB!

    If anyone is going through this right now, there is comfort in reading the story of Jesus healing the man born blind who then gets put through a kangaroo court and kicked out of the synagogue for believing in Jesus.

    Here’s a brief except. Does this sound familiar?

    Then they asked him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”

    “I already told you,” he said, “and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become His disciples too, do you?”

    They ridiculed him….

    ….”You were born entirely in sin,” they replied, “and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.” (John 9:26-34 HCSB)

    1. Avid – thank you. Yes, John 9 is a great place to go for encouragement. And after the man was ex-communicated from the temple, he found Christ the true Temple outside their temple. So it is today.

  2. IAMB, this post was a blessing to me. I’m having a difficult time now and your words are refreshing to my wounded spirit. Your last word’s about God’s rescue made me think of Psalm 124:6-8 verse 7 says:

    Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken and we HAVE ESCAPED!!! [NKJV, capitalization done by the commenter.]

  3. Beautiful wisdom! Such excellent biblical truth written plainly and simply! Thank you so much IamMyBeloved’s!

    It took me YEARS to accept that some / many in my life belonged to their father the devil / were Anti-Christs / worshiped themselves / wanted to be worshiped etc. because I had NEVER been taught these biblical / psychological truths. Once God revealed it to me through His word, in my life, by books about psychopaths / sociopaths / abusers — more time was wasted because people who represented these entities, INSISTED that it was RARE. So I kept questioning myself and my perceptions (as I’d been conditioned to do all my life) and wasted YET MORE precious time.

    But no more. I no longer care about what I SHOULD think / feel / see as dictated by others. I read God’s word, I talk to Him CONSTANTLY and as a result I see truth — that there are MANY as described above and because there are so many of them, we run into them EVERYWHERE. This will not change according to the Bible, and it will escalate — so what we can do is learn how to deal with them. We can let God deal with them.

    I have found that there is no fixed way to handle evil people. There is no formula, way of doing things that works every time. Instead I see what I see in the Bible when people who belong to God are forced to stand up to evil ones and that is this —


    When Moses stated new things would happen (Numbers 16:30) God honored his request. Even though Micaiah initially “lied” to the King and told him what he wanted to hear in 1 Kings 22:15 — this king wasn’t fooled and whined for the truth which Micaiah then gave. God didn’t hate Micaiah for initially saying what evil ones wanted to hear. When Abraham and later his son Isaac lied about their wives being their wives because they thought they would be killed, God still honored them. When David acted like a madman out of fear he’d be killed, God still honored him. When Rahab lied to the men seeking to kill God’s people, because she’d heard about God and feared Him, she was honored by God and is even SO honored as to be in the lineage of Jesus. God honors those who belong to Him because He KNOWS OUR HEARTS AND MINDS AND THEY BELONG TO HIM.

    From John 8:43 where Jesus is describing evil people, pay attention to what He is showing us:

    Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. [NIV]

    This is said for OUR sake, as HE already knows these evil ones. Evil people thusly described AREEEEE UNNNAAAAABBBBBBLLLLLLEEEEE TO HEAR WHAT WE SAY! All the truth in the WORLD means NOTHING more to them — has no more influence on them — than the lie!

    Then Jesus tells us in John 8:45:

    Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! [NIV]


    This whole business of wrong biblical teaching that says that if WE aren’t “perfect” (acting) every single second of every single day, GOD WILL NOT HELP US OR WORK THROUGH US. But guess what? We ARE perfect due to our salvation — the Holy Spirit IS perfect and He lives in our heart. So even when I don’t do things “just” the way I want to every time, God still honors me and He sends me back out there and gives me another chance to do better next time.

    My heart is always to be truthful, to seek God, to clear out the lies, but God has shown me through living with a psychopath, that these evil ones will wear you out if you are constantly defending yourself with truth — because to them — it matters not at all. So now, depending on my energy level, what I desire to say etc., I no longer bother speaking truth to my husband. As a psychopath (human term) or as the Bible describes them as one belonging to their father the devil, they can never hear / understand truth as there is NO truth in them. Because NO TRUTH AT ALL resides in them — they are 100% full of lies. Are we GETTING THIS ASPECT of the truth through God’s word?

    It’s another one of those IMPOSSIBLE standards liars in the church punch us down with but God shows us through His word that HE knows our hearts so even when we “fail” according to what others deem as failure, we can COUNT on God to continue to love us and help us. Not ONE second of our life is wasted once we belong to God. Just LOOK at IamMyBeloved’s testimony — even though she acted out of fear and read the letters etc., God STILL worked in her life, STILL loved her and STILL uses her testimony today — right here for us to see!

  4. They told me he would ex-communicate me because he craved power over the sheep.

    I’m so glad you had such wise people to talk to at the time! Once you realize that this is about power and not anything else, maybe it’s easier to let it go? I hope so.

  5. Thank you, IAmMyBeloved’s, for this testimony. It really mirrors the way the religious wolf pack joined ranks with my abuser when I needed their support the most.

    Which made it clear to me God was telling me that I did not belong there, although I did belong to His Son Jesus. He is refining His gold and silver, and causing the dross to surface for discard.

    While going through this with the pretentious church, it felt like going through two divorces at once with a two-headed beast.

    But to God be the Glory. Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world! As He has overcome, so shall we.

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  6. This very morning I had a wonderful conversation with the pastor of my current church. A few weeks ago I gave him a stack of books – “Unholy Charade”, “A Cry For Justice”, “Not Under Bondage”, and “Why Does He DO That?” – and today we chatted about them. I was delighted to learn that he is on board with what we know to be true here on this blog.

    This is a stark contrast from the church I left over a decade ago where the pastor told me that the multiple forms of abuse I had been suffering, including rape, were not grounds for divorce. I walked away from him and his false teaching and never looked back. When I told my current pastor about that conversation, he shook his head in dismay.

    I thank God for the leadership of my current church. It may be the exception rather than the rule, but God does have true servants out there today!

  7. From my Bible reading this morning:

    Justice is turned back,
    And righteousness stands far away;
    For truth has stumbled in the street,
    And uprightness cannot enter.
    Yes, truth is lacking;
    And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
    Now the LORD saw,
    And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.
    (Isaiah 59:14-15 NASB1995)

    In the corrupt churches of today, if a person turns aside from evildoers by refusing to comply with the evil, by reporting the evildoers and blowing the whistle on the abusers, that person is preyed upon by the corrupt church.

  8. Thank you for posting this here, IamMyBeloved’s. It was so helpful and encouraging to my faith. I needed to hear all of this wisdom today. Blessings to you.

  9. Amen! Amen! Amen! Spiritual abuse is so prevalent. When the body of Christ should be a refuge, they often devour their “own”. I honestly think the devourers cannot truly know Christ and engage in this kind of behavior.

  10. While going through this with the pretentious church, it felt like going through two divorces at once with a two-headed beast.

    Yes! Thank you SFT!

    Going through two divorces at once

    ….explains really well why being betrayed by the local church hurt so badly, why it prolonged the pain, and made everything even more foggy and confusing.

    I felt confusion, hurt, and emotionally bruised all over again, as I explained to these churchy people that they were hurting me, just like I did with X. And I was patronized, dismissed, and smugly smiled at, just like responses happened with X. And they made it clear they didn’t want to hear anything I had to say, just like X. And I had to do the leaving all over again! Yep. It felt like going through two divorces.

    Thank you, IAMB. So freeing!

    1. MoodyMom – over the years as a pastor, I have been divorced many times. People who wore a facade of being a brother or sister in Christ, ultimately brought out the fangs when the light of truth shone too brightly for them. I read this quote [Internet Archive link]1 today in a post that Barbara sent —

      Truth-tellers are not always palatable. There is a preference for candy bars. —Gwendolyn Brooks, poet (7 Jun 1917-2000)

      The fact is that truth about evil, truth about abusers hiding in the pews of the church, is unpalatable to most professing Christians. They want their sweets instead. And being told that one of them is a devil isn’t sweet to their spoiled taste. So they deny it. They reject the truth. They divorce the one who exposes the evil – that usually being the victim of the evil.

      1[September 29, 2022: We added the link to the page containing the quote Jeff quoted. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]

  11. Thank you for your comments.

    The trauma of abuse can leave long-standing problems for victims in a myriad of ways. The trauma being added to an already traumatized victim, by the church he or she trusts, and should be able to, causes further long-standing trauma. It can further distort a victim’s view of God and work further confusion about Him and in our relationship with Him. Thus it is not the work of our Lord, folks.

    Flee from even the appearance of evil. That’s a command. Don’t worry about what they will say or believe about you, because churches that abuse have no spiritual ability to discern the truth anyway.

    God bless, protect, defend and deliver us all.

  12. I’ve suffered abuse in the church; your blog has set me free. I’m still learning to discern evil in the church.

    This morning I had an interesting experience with a prominent pastor’s wife, public speaker, pillar of the community, neighbor, so-called Christian leader. I’m also an active Christian. I’ve been in churches with this woman, meetings with her, live near her, been to her home etc. She passed me on the street this morning. We were the only ones on the street – impossible to miss. She didn’t acknowledge me at all. Since we are neighbors, fellow Christians etc., I expect some sort of Christian love to be expressed. A nod “hello”, a smile, anything. I get nothing from her ever. I suspect she is a phoney. You see I’m a real Christian but I have nothing to offer her. I’m not prominent or well-known. Her blog says she’s a Christian speaker who speaks at churches. I’m not well-connected in my neighborhood with the power base. For that reason she doesn’t find me relevant so why should she acknowledge me at all.

    I was hurt before by this dismissive behavior from a church leader. But now because of your blog I see that many in church leadership are out for self-promotion. As I see it now I’m being protected by that dismissive behavior. I don’t need to run with phoneys. I need real Christians in my life that will support me not use me for what I can give them. Thank you, Pastor Crippen, for speaking against phoney leadership in the churches. I don’t need any of it and won’t pander to any phoney ever again.

    1. This is actually a blessing — this being to see how others really treat people when they have nothing to gain from them.

      I’m always grateful when others think I am “nothing.” This has been my goal all my life due to abuse, but now I do it for different reasons. It goes with the “gray rock” method of dealing with psychopaths. It reveals the hearts of many.

      I can be myself now. Because I don’t try to sell myself or convince others of my “value” (what the world values), so unless you REALLY look at me, you will not notice me. And even if you REALLY look at me (if a person who doesn’t have a conscience is looking for prey or an easy and willing victim) I STILL won’t be attractive to you. Boring is my goal, boring, boring and even MORE boring….to the world.

      I have been EXTREMELY NAIVE my entire life — kept thusly by wrong teachings and evil people. Being so naïve can be dangerous as many of us now know.

      For a time I was in charge of a major volunteer program through my children’s school. Being the honest, sweet-and-true-hearted-for-God person that I was (at the time I thought I was a big pile of trash) I NEVER wanted credit for what I did or for anyone to even know my name. But in this instance I had to be out in front of others sometimes, and it was an eye-opening experience that didn’t mean much to me until God opened my eyes years later.

      We were overseas and jobs for military dependents were competitive so people would start out as volunteers in order to get their foot in the door and get “known.” (I had NO IDEA that this was going on until later, so I’m thinking all these people were truly generous hearted. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with playing this game in order to get a job if the system is set up this way — it’s some people’s only option, but it’s the heart that can be revealed later on.) So many people were SO nice to me and appeared SO helpful — until they realized that I (me personally) was unable to help them. Then they slithered away. When I’d see them later and try to talk to them, they had no recollection of me. I had been a faceless entity to them. I would remind them who I was and they’d feign that they remembered me, but their mind either held no file of me or when they opened that file, they deemed me worthless and couldn’t be bothered to even carry on the most basic form of pleasantries.

      At the time this was very dumbfounding for me but I chalked it up to being partly my fault as I’d been abused all my life to respond this way. But now I see it for what it is, and I write it here on this website so that others will prayerfully be able to gain wisdom from it and be blessed by it and be a blessing to others.

      I hope that you can take comfort in the fact that God has blessed you with the ability to see these people for what they are WITHOUT having invested any time, money, heart-strings, hope, trust and friendship in them. It’s so sad that they are allowed to be PILLARS in the Christian community but through God’s grace maybe websites like this can keep others from being their victims. Thank you!

  13. Oh how this resonates with me. I also sought to get myself and my daughter away from an abusive spouse only to feel trapped by my pastor and church leadership. They charged me guilty and put me on trial. It was absolutely awful. I kept wanting to stop and flee but kept trying to be understood….I indeed was in that abusive “fog”. I stayed in there almost to the end.

    When it was my time to testify, they would not allow me to have a female support member with me when appearing before the board of male Elders. I couldn’t do it. I was found guilty and slated for ex-communication. This was a church denomination that I was in since a child….different local church but the same denomination. Pastors from sister churches stepped in in my defense and appealed to the larger Presbytery. The larger Presbytery ruled that the local church had the authority to handle the case.

    In unprecedented action, one of my defending pastors brought me into the fold of his church with the support of his Elders. This “saved” me from ex-communication but the church was too far away to really minister to me. In all, the total trial and appeal process took more than 2 years to conclude. In the meantime, I was going through divorce and my ex kept filing for more time with our daughter. It was a very, very difficult time. Just prior to leaving my husband, I had to battle an early stage of breast cancer. (This is actually what opened my eyes to the abuse and helped start me on the road out.)

    While going through the church stress, the breast cancer emerged again and I had to undergo additional surgery and treatment. They had no sympathy. I can so relate to being sent those official and damning letters in the mail. The feeling of getting it is crushing. I would not be surprised if the stress of all of this has led to my repeated breast cancer. It has been three years since all of this but reading this blog piece and the emotions it evokes shows me that I am still not past it. Last year, I was diagnosed a third time with yet another early stage breast cancer. I underwent treatment and am ready to move on in health.

    My daughter and I have been attending a non-denominational church for the past two years and are receiving good teaching but I am so untrusting of church leadership. I have not been able to bring myself to consider church membership. We serve in the nursery but that is as close as I have been able to get. I have wonderfully good Christian girlfriends that truthfully have served as my “church” through all of this. Trusting the organized body is very hard for me. I will say that through all of this, the Lord Himself has never let me go and I have never let go of Him. Thank you for writing this. Somehow it helps knowing that someone else has gone through this. In hindsight, I, too, would say “RUN!” I felt led to stay and fight for truth and for other women in the church who don’t have a voice. I fought but it took a HUGE toll on me. Thank you again for sharing.

    Is there a support group out there for spouses who have endured ex-communication for escaping abuse and seeking safety / sanity?

    1. J (changed your name for anonymity purposes) — welcome to the blog. 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, we suggest you look at our FAQs.

    2. J – a couple of things. I am no medical expert obviously, but I do know that MANY of the abuse victims we know have chronic illnesses that I personally have no doubt were brought on by years and years of intense stress. At minimum the oppression and stress brought upon you by that so-called church surely did not help you heal.

      Second, while I know a few genuine pastors who are Presbyterian, and while I know that there are some sound Presbyterian churches, I have grown to absolutely despise the intricate, laborious, and in my opinion even worldly “church court” system that the Presbyterian denominations have in place. Over and over again we have seen those systems abused rather than to deal true help and justice. For example, in your case, how is it that the denomination did not discipline and even de-frock the pastors who treated you so wickedly? The mechanism is in place to do so, yet charges were not brought against them. That same system was quick to charge YOU however.

      Many blessings to you in Christ.

      1. I have no experience with the church court system, but it seems like any system can be abused if the heart and minds behind the system are wrong. If they go in with the same attitude the local church had on this issue (abuse / divorce) they will come to the same conclusions.

        I am glad to hear that there were pastors who stepped up in J’s case, even if the Presbytery didn’t hear them.

    3. Is there a support group out there for spouses who have endured ex-communication for escaping abuse and seeking safety / sanity?

      Not that we know of, other than what is shared and discussed on this blog.

      It is a good idea to have a support group like that. Maybe it would have to be an online private forum so that people could share a bit more freely than they can here. We ourselves (the ACFJ team) don’t have the time to set up and run a forum like that, however.

      You might find our Spiritual Abuse tag helpful. There are over 70 posts in it at present.

    4. J, thank you for sharing your testimony and your heart. I’m again so grateful that IamMyBeloved’s has shared hers as well — this is right and good to do as we can see from the responses, so that we can help others who may think they are all alone — and for many other reasons.

      Abusers COUNT on us standing for right — they know they will have a WILLING victim for much longer when they meet one like this. It’s SICKENING how they use goodness and love for the Lord and doing right, as a way to keep the cat and the mouse game in play for as long as they can. We should all have been better educated in the ways of evil and you and all of us should have been protected and loved. I’m so sorry for the horror of your life as this was on top of the abuse your spouse poured on you, I’m just glad you still have your daughter. One person to love is worth so much! And that you still love the Lord too.

      There are several books and articles out there that explain the body connection you speak of — that emotional trauma appears to cause physical sickness. I pray that now that you are in a stable place you are able to rest and to heal. I’m also glad that you’ve found a good church and that you are only doing what you desire to do in service for them. It’s perfectly fine to never become a member of a church again — you are saved, you are God’s, so that is all that truly matters.

      1. RBE – Just a thought on your statement —

        It’s perfectly fine to never become a member of a church again — you are saved, you are God’s, so that is all that truly matters.

        I completely understand people who have been abused by their “church” to not want to be in a local church again. However, this is not how it should be. It really isn’t the best for a Christian to not be in a true, sound, loving, genuine church. Christ established His church and His Word instructs us how we are to “conduct ourselves in the household of God.” We are to gather together to encourage one another to love and good deeds. We are given gifts by the Lord for the purpose of edifying other believers in the church. So when local churches act like non-churches or synagogues of Satan and traumatize Christ’s people and drive them away, it isn’t perfectly fine (I know you aren’t saying it is). The best is for everyone of us in Christ to be in a true local church among the true flock of Christ. It really does matter.

        The sad truth is that today it is increasingly difficult to find a real church.

      2. Pastor Crippen,
        I am one of those who have often wondered why I still haven’t found what I believe to be a Christ-honoring church. I truly never imagined to be in this predicament when God first saved me. I assumed I would always be within a church fellowship.

        Thank you and other pastors that make your ministries and audio messages available via the internet. It has helped greatly to keep someone like me confident in my standing with Christ and give me hope for the future whatever that may entail.

        [Paragraph break added to enhance readability. Editors.]

      3. Thank you, Pastor Crippen, what you’ve written is biblically true and it’s why so many of us have tried for so long to find a good church, only to be abused again.

        But it’s that “SHOULD” word thrust upon us by many of the abusers in the church who use your righteous, biblically truthful argument as a means to guilt us into staying in abusive churches, and who tell us we should fight for what we believe is right, only to wind up exactly where IamMyBeloved’s and J found themselves — abused for years and thrown out the door. This is not the place for God’s true children….kicked out of God’s church. (Evil ones love to use exactly what you’ve written AGAINST God’s children — it’s just one of the ways they do it.)

        I’m talking about those who might hate God and never associate with Him if the only options they had were abusive churches….and let’s face it….the majority of us here have been in those types….or those who can’t hear His voice through His word because of churches that don’t speak this truth. Basically, anyone who’s walk with Jesus would be harmed if they attended church.

        After the kind of abuse described in the post and by J, even those churches who aren’t abusive but who are completely ignorant about evil and its people, can be harmful as well. When faced with these or other scenarios where it is more harmful than good to attend church, it’s TRUTHFULLY reassuring that the bottom line is that at the end of the day, if you belong to Jesus, it is all you truly need — the rest of the things are supposed to be the ‘bonuses” that come with this…. i.e. the love of the brethren, the strength that comes when two are gathered in His name, the fellowship, the sharing of trials etc. The hope for these biblical bonuses is why most of us are here….it’s one of the few places where we can find them! And as so many here have said, it’s a shame we don’t live in Oregon!

    5. 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.


      Also J, here are some comments on our blog by (or about) victims who have been ex-communicated unjustly by their churches:

      Be Done With Church Leaders who Prove Themselves to be Blind Guides (Comment by Standsfortruth.)

      You Shall Not Test the Lord Your God — How Telling Victims to Stay With an Abuser Breaks This Commandment (Comment by Standsfortruth.)

      Wise as Serpents: Does the Christian Still Have an Evil Heart? (Comment by ForMyDaughtersSake.)

      Wise as Serpents: Does the Christian Still Have an Evil Heart? (Comment by MarkQ.)

      Wise as Serpents: Cain is Still With Us Today (Comment by Standsfortruth.)

      Abuse Produces Loneliness (Comment by Standsfortruth.)

      PCA Church’s Final Reply: This is Church Discipline? — Part 6 of Persistent Widow’s story (Comment by For Too Long.)

      Your Church Needs to Stink (Comment by Barbara Roberts.)

      How We Respond to the Oppressed Demonstrates if We are a Sheep or a Goat (Comment by For Too Long.)

      Crocodile Tears (Comment by Misti.)

      1 Corinthians 5:11 — does it apply only if there’s common knowledge of the person’s sin? (Part 2) (Comment by For Too Long.)

      1 Corinthians 5:11 — does it apply only if there’s common knowledge of the person’s sin? (Part 2) (Comment by Wayfaring Stranger.)

      The Abuser Appears in Proverbs Once Again (Comment by Anonymous.)

      How a Sociopath took Control of a Church and Drove the Righteous Away — A Personal Encounter With Evil (Comment by IamMyBeloved’s.)

    6. 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.


      And some more:

      I Didn’t Start the Fire — guest post by Happy to Bursting (Comment by HappyToBursting.)

      I Didn’t Start the Fire — guest post by Happy to Bursting (Comment by Bright Sunshinin’ Day.)

      God has great wrath for leaders who enable evil doers (Comment by Soldiergirl.)

      No Girls Allowed: How Boys’ Clubs Form in Our Churches (Comment by Bright Sunshinin’ Day.)

      Thursday Thought — The Abuser in Couples Therapy (Comment by Soldiergirl.)

      Please Don’t Pray That My Marriage Will be Restored (Comment by Soldiergirl.)

      Please Don’t Pray That My Marriage Will be Restored (Comment by Soldiergirl.)

      Encouragement and Wisdom From Psalm 40 (Comment by Gary W.)

      How the Arrogance of Professing Christians is Enabling the Wicked (Part 2) (Comment by Soldiergirl.)

      How the Arrogance of Professing Christians is Enabling the Wicked (Part 3) (Comment by Michaela.)

      The Biblical Counseling Movement — a series by April Kelsey at Revolutionary Faith (Comment by Michaela.)

      Pt 1. CCEF’s ‘Counseling Abusive Marriages’ course — bread mixed with stones? (Comment by Jaime.)

      The Biblical Counseling Movement — a series by April Kelsey at Revolutionary Faith (Comment by Michaela.)

      Abuse in Adventism: Ellen G. White Was (and Is) No Friend of Abuse Victims (Comment by Standsfortruth.)

      Losing friendships because of the stress of abuse (Comment by Standsfortruth.)

      I Will Remember You: a poem by a reader (Comment by IamMyBeloved’s.)

      Triangulation: A Method Used by Abusers (Comment by Bright Sunshinin’ Day.)

      Abuse and Divorce: A Disagreement with the Westminster Confession of Faith (Comment by Sprite.)

      The Trickle-Down Nature of Legalism (And How it Enables Abuse) (Comment by Loves6.)

      A Typical Ally-Forming Letter from an Abuser (Comment by Jeff Crippen.)

      The Worst Advice This Abuse Survivor Ever Received (Comment by Mere Dreamer.)

      What Are the Biblical Character Qualities for the Office of Pastor / Elder? (Comment by Anonymous.)

      Perseverance of the Saints: A Matter Of Grace (Comment by Anonymous.)

      How pre-marital counselling kept this woman entrenched in an abusive marriage — by Kathy (Comment by Anonymous.)

  14. Barbara, thank you so so much for the post compiling posts dealing with effects on children. I’d like to read them all but a couple of the links aren’t clicking through to the correct post. The ones I have read are immensely helpful.

    1. Hi, Stuck,
      I fixed these two links: “Teaching your children….”, and “Learning to love your children….” Thanks for letting us know.

  15. Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at His word:
    “Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you for My name’s sake,
    Have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy.’
    But they will be put to shame.”

    “A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple,
    The voice of the LORD who is rendering recompense to His enemies.”
    (Isaiah 66:5-6 NASB1995)

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I needed to hear those verses from Isaiah. And thank you also for those many links above.

      Twtbc, thank you. Off to click through. 🙂

  16. Thank you so much for this post. Those arguing for the “permanence view” of marriage do not understand the definition of either marriage OR divorce. In the same way that a death certificate does not kill someone, but is a legal document confirming a death, so a divorce certificate does not kill the marriage, but legally documents that it has already been destroyed.

    As the former target of spiritual abuse and the friend of others who have undergone similar treatment, I would suggest that all correspondence from the Pharisee over-lording abusers be kept or given to a trusted third party for confidential safekeeping and for a record, whether or not the target reads it. The records have been useful in helping others see, and for the target to be later vindicated to family and friends, and for others to learn and be educated about all this. A trusted witness can also help the target gain clarity and relief in this awful time.

  17. I only wish that things with me had been properly dealt with or that the church board had stepped in and asked more questions. I know many would have been in disgust at the ‘putting away silently’ of me. Many still have not a clue why I ‘disappeared’.

    I would have relished an opportunity to give at least an account of myself, whether or not it would have been received.

    As it stands I know little or nothing of what is secret and who knows what. No one has asked anything and [they] just say “hello” at funerals, nothing more. But I can see tears in their eyes.

    It’s got to the stage now I run from those times too and feel terrible for doing so. My family does not understand. No one understands the pain and devastation [that] one ‘naive’? uneducated? pastor and his wife did to me. The wife was very much down on me and I was made to feel guilty of some things I never did. To this day I know little of what was said by my wife to her to warrant such a berated and unbiblical attack on me. They never fully disclosed that at any stage.

    It was not a court of any sort, nor could it really have been called counsel. It was a far cry from how I ever was dealt with or counselled before. Totally unrecognisable. I would have welcomed the chance to speak up for myself. I was so in shock and given little to no chance to challenge.
    It was pure dictatorship. “This is what we suggest you do and despite both [of] our abhorrence to that”. It was just left “Of course you’re ‘welcome?’ to come to church any time and sit at the back.” That to me was the biggest slap up my face and a no-no situation that rendered all sorts of problems in my heart. As a worship leader and preacher / teacher and youth leader….how could I ever sit….like on a “naughty step”?!! On one hand my situation was so maximised and in the next so minimalised….confused!?
    I was disgusted and vowed never to listen to a word out of their mouths again. Such godly wisdom and teaching I had received for many years as we worked closely together against a lot of adversity. It was reduced to rubble in a short space of time.

    I can imagine the loss now of one who has been bereaved suddenly, and [the] struggle in their shock to get their head round things. You never do really I guess.

    I ran from any more contact with them, although it was tried by email on numerous occasions the following weeks. Strange they chose that medium but I guess they had got the hint I had had enough of their abuse in my own home! My father had made my situation very clear to the pastor and in no uncertain terms gave him ‘a piece of very godly wisdom.’ They still have not once apologised or came back to me with anything concrete to warrant a ‘no delete’ of any mail or that their views were wrong or had changed.

    Interesting note: within the year they had to face divorce in their own family and were forced to see things differently. Someone who vehemently hated divorce and preached often “never on my patch!”, suddenly had no choice but to deal with it with one of his children. I’d love to have heard how his arguments went down with his very own and how his very learned and spiritual [gender redacted] responded. It seems an affair is grounds for divorce, but abuse no matter how bad is somehow still not accepted.

    I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience but in many ways I wish I had been asked to give an account. As usual the secular world was more of [a] help and had at least a listening ear than the church. However I ask myself “did the church ever know anything or ask?” Certainly no one ever brought it up to me. I know my wife has said plenty though for her defence. Mine….it’s silent, rightly or wrongly is there any point.

    For sake of [not] splitting the church I just “disappeared”, but with matters very much unresolved and hurting deeply. In time I will maybe be able to go near churches again and be strong enough to listen to churchy stuff. It’s not for the want of my old church inviting me back. They perhaps know nothing – I don’t know. They don’t see the “different me” though. A faint shadow of my former self. There’s too much pain.

    1. The pain of the secondary abuse is often harder to get over than the pain of the primary abuse. (Primary abuse being what the abusive spouse or parent/s did; secondary abuse being what the bystanders did to us when we sought help for the primary abuse.)

      This was true for me, and it is also true for many of our readers.

      1. Thanks Barbara, I guess I’m at my secondary healing stage then. Yes I do agree and the initial abuse has no hold on me once I left. Despite some hurtful emails and the spread of manipulating lies to round up allies, on the whole I feel I can deal with that.

        I agree that latter definitely is much tougher and is ongoing. The unresolved and unknown is much harder to handle and put behind you. Especially as it is not so much past abuse, but can be continual or present. I’m learning to deal with these and have found help here and suggestions / advice invaluable in my recovery.
        It’s not unlike an affair and that feeling of betrayal cuts deep. However, in time deep wounds heal too, but nevertheless leave their mark or scar on us.

        We may be hurt – we may be down but we are most certainly not out!!! Love the way you encourage us all with your own personal experiences. This means so much and is deeply appreciated. May the Lord continue to bless you and encourage you.

    2. I went through a similar thing a year ago, and this is a painful time of year for me. I tried respectfully to show the truth of who my ex was to the pastor and was told to leave and don’t come back. Not a singe church member contacted me to find out what was going on and why I and some of my children had disappeared. We are a part of the “dones” for now. Barbara expresses it well, as do you. The marriage was over long before he walked out the door, so I could deal with that. But the breaking from the church and subsequent shunning was so quickly accomplished and unexpected I struggle to this day with it. The secondary abuse, which involves a lot more people than the primary abuse, is so very painful.

      1. My heart goes out to you, Moving Forward. There is freedom but there is also much pain. It’s hard to be patient but I think we must just heal in God’s time. Some wounds that are deeper just need more love and care and time to heal. May the Lord continue to pour in His precious oil (oh I must post my very last Christian song we did in church that I wrote called “precious oil”).
        Unbelievable that was my last Christian song I wrote. It’s just all about healing as I felt the church needed it so much. So many hurting people. I will look it out and post it here for you.
        May the oil of heaven flood your very being today and the God of heaven bathe your wounds!!!

  18. The piece of paper

    A piece of paper, a commitment made
    Documents signed
    Who knew hearts would break?
    Did God bring together
    Or was it man made?
    Was there ever true love
    Or the devil’s charade?

    The tide rolled and the demons roared
    Like the oceans upon two lives on shore
    Bitter games and confusion reigned
    Year after year,
    Deep heartache and pain far too great to bear.
    “‘Til death do us part” the vow was loudly spoken
    But soon darkness and death crept in
    And the covenant was broken.

    An unholy racket broke loose,
    The yells and the screams.
    Nightmares in daytime that no one believed.
    The howls of a haunted soul
    Only shrieked feeble, silent cries
    No one hears the dead or barely alive.

    Buried under rubble of shame and fear
    Mounds of guilt pressing down, no one should bear
    Broken dreams, a life lies tattered and torn
    The paper was wrent in two
    The death blow had been born.

    The heart will in time mend, despite devilish deeds done
    The fight is not over, and Satan has not won!
    Time to move on, the gavel drops to confirm so.
    The covenant no longer binds,
    You are now free to go!

    Jesus comes and brings His words of love
    “All heaven is with you”
    His Peace rests like a dove
    A new journey begins,
    A new direction brings glimmers of hope
    There’s oil for healing
    There’s rest for your soul

    A piece of paper means nothing to someone lost and so numb
    I look to a new future, past never forgotten – but gone.

    Written as divorce court hearing is imminent.

    1. Very moving!

      I remember my divorce. The twenty seconds in which the judge looked me in the eye across the court room and said the words that declared the marriage was over. I can’t remember the exact words, but the way he spoke them while looking me in the eye gave me great comfort.

      1. Don’t think I have to be there. It’s just a pity no mention of abuse, but that’s my wife’s total control again.
        I know it would never happen otherwise.
        To me it’s just paper.
        The divorce happened a long time ago. This is something many who watch on can’t understand. They really thought I’d walk away and in a matter of weeks crumble or struggle with the break up. They don’t understand that in my heart and mind and spirit, that had happened many many years before. It just had not happened fully, but living like lodgers and separation had happened much much earlier.

    2. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free) wrote:

      The howls of a haunted soul
      Only shrieked feeble, silent cries
      No one hears the dead or barely alive.

      Oh my goodness….your words describe my life until the walls crumbled almost one year ago. I would not have recognized the truth and beauty of your words then….but I do now.

      1. Finding Answers, thank you for your comment.
        I hope you are continuing to find answers and trust you are moving forward and healing.

        My thoughts were that of being buried alive as you already feel dead and the “until death do us part” is already in effect once abuse broke the covenant in truth.

        The feeble cries as if under rubble, like in any earthquake, are faint and low. And as we know even when people hear us, often the cries are ignored. I’m glad it struck a chord with you and I hope it is just another little piece of that jigsaw I spoke to you before about. I’m building a picture too, slowly but surely as I heal.

        Something Barb sent me the other day really helped me see a bit clearer. I hope it encourages you too.

        In Barb’s post Does the victim recognize the abusive patterns? Yes, and no. And then, by degrees, YES! she talked about the backstitch analogy:

        The backstitch analogy
        The take home message for victims is: it’s okay if you find yourself making one step forward and one step back. In fact, it is often a sign that you are coming out of the black hole, and healing is occurring.

        The Lord showed me a truth about this: one step forward and one step back is like backstitch in sewing. Backstitch makes a stronger seam than running stitch. The overall progress is forward, so don’t worry about the fact that sometimes it seems like you are going backwards. The Lord is just bringing about your healing so it is good and strong in the end and cannot be easily pulled out by the catches of life.

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