A Christ honoring abuse ministry
In these dark desperate days the church is allowing domestic abuse in general and sexual abuse specifically to drive it towards Social Justice, towards being Woke. Towards sin. Domestic abuse cannot be understood nor can the victims of it truly be helped outside of the Gospel. God comes first–always and in everything.
I believe that if churches can come alongside of those who have been abused in a Christ-honoring way it is a great witness to the watching weary sin-sick world. But anything they do absolutely must be based in truth. Too many times those who seek to minister to the abused end up embracing egalitarianism, humanism, or feminism. This is sin.
If you are being abused, please reach out for help
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Deaf callers using video phone 1-855-812-1001 (Monday-Friday, 9 am -5 pm PST)
What about my pets?
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is about control. The perpetrator uses fear, force and/or coercion in order to gain control over another person, usually his spouse.
Not all abusers are male. I realize this. I’ve known some men who were abused by their wives, even some who were attacked by their girlfriends. Since feminism encourages the dominance of females, it’s also led to increased verbal, emotional, and even physical abuse of men. But since I write to and for women, I am choosing to write about male to female abuse.
The victim of abuse often isn’t aware that she is being abused. If you’ve lived in it for some time, it’s just normal behavior to you. My father was a physically abusive drunk who neglected and abandoned his family repeatedly. My mother became extremely emotionally abusive towards me when I was around 10 years old. I married a man who abused me and my children. I was 29 before it ever occurred to me that anyone, other than my father, was abusive. His abuse, because it was so extreme, was obvious. There was nobody around to help me to see what was going on but I wish there had been. Sometimes it’s up to those who care about them to see the signs of domestic abuse and talk with them about what they’ve observed. The fog that accompanies abuse is very real and not easy to overcome.
The abuser defines reality for his victim. He wants his victim to see herself through his lens rather than through the lens of truth. He demands and receives compliance because he gives her no choice. Most victims have no one to turn to.
Domestic abuse takes many faces: It might include spiritual abuse or control, physical battering, destruction of property, ongoing verbal and emotional cruelty, threats of harm to children or pets or possessions, isolation, financial and physical deprivation, and sexual abuse. The victim is blamed for the abuse she suffers and told if she’d only do better or be better, etc., he wouldn’t be forced to do the things he does. The victim is often forced to apologize to the abuser for things she’s neither done or said.
Abuse follows a cycle of abuse, abuser’s guilt, victim blaming, and promises to do better. Desiring to believe that it’s now over, the victim often accepts the apologies and fails to seek help.
The Abuse Cycle
- Abuse: Your partner abuses you.
- Guilt: Your partner begins to feel some degree of guilt, not over abusing you but over what it might cost him (the fear of getting caught, etc.).
- Excuses: Your partner blames you for ‘making’ him abuse you.
- Honeymoon: Things are good for a while causing you to believe he may have changed.
- Planning: Desiring the control that comes with abuse, he starts planning how to do it again.
- Set-up: Your partner sets you up so that he can justify abusing you.
- Starts over.
Are you afraid of your abuser?
Abusers use fear to demand obedience. This is a different kind of fear than that of reverent fear. This is a fear of pain, fear of what the abuser might say or do, and sometimes a fear for one’s life.
There is a tremendous difference between a bad marriage and an abusive one. In a bad marriage, both parties bear responsibility for the problems within the marriage. They must repent and work together towards being pleasing to the Lord.
In an abusive marriage, one person is the abuser, one person is being abused. One person controls, manipulates, and brings pain; the other is the victim of control, manipulation, and pain.
Signs of abuse
Your spouse may engage in some or all of these….
- belittles you
- controls you
- cannot be pleased
- makes you believe that you cannot do anything right
- causes you to feel afraid, helpless, numb
- makes you believe that you deserve to be hurt
- makes you doubt yourself
- causes you to have trouble making decisions
- makes you wonder if you are crazy
- humiliates you
- calls you names
- has a bad or unpredictable temper
- blames you for the abuse (you made me do this)
- hits you
- yells at you
- gives you the silent treatment
- treats you like a slave or says you are his slave
- treats you like a sex object
- calls you vile names
- says you have no rights
- tells you need to be punished for being a you or for being a woman
- is possessive or excessively jealous of you
- prevents you from seeing your family or friends
- constantly checks up on you (not to watch over you but to control you)
- prevents you from leaving the house alone
- controls the finances
- prevents you from having proper health care
- rapes you
- punishes you
- threatens to put you in a corner, lock you in a room, or actually does so
- punishes you
- disciplines you in some humiliating manner
- humiliates you in front of others
- belittles your efforts
- he threatens harm to your family or friends
- threatens to harm you or your children if you tell anyone
- he threatens to harm you or your children if you leave him
- threatens to kill himself if you leave him
- causes you to lose your job
- causes you to lose items to repossession
- sells, gives away, or destroys things that are important to you
- throws things, breaks things, punches holes in walls
- hurts your pets or threatens to
- prevents you from using the phone or the computer (to prevent you from getting help)
- forces you to perform degrading sexual acts
- demands that you give up your rights or says you have no rights
- insists you change who you are in order to please him
Can abusers change?
Abusers can change but it is rare. Abusers, by nature, have a heart that is hardened by their sin. They don’t care about you and they don’t care about God.
But God…He can do anything. Sometimes, He does. If an abuser does change, he will change completely. He will no longer blame you for the abuse. He will repent and change completely the way he relates to you, the way he treats you, and the way he speaks to and of you. The change will be obvious to everyone.
The abuser will also repent to others–anyone affected by his abuse or by his abuse of you or misled by him about his treatment of you or your reactions (including children, other family members, friends, etc.). He will repent before God. If this happens, and it continues to happen, without him pushing you, he may be on the pathway to wholeness. If not, he didn’t truly repent.
Not all of these boooks are written from a Christian perspective and those that are cannot be seen as a theological textbook; all of these have some good information on issues relating to domestic abuse. By Christian I mean that they embrace biblical principals; I am not endorsing everything every author believes.
If you purchase a book through a link below, I will receive a small commission.
Shame Interrupted by Edward T. Welch (Christian)
Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities by David Instone-Brewer (this was recommended by several reformed pastors) (Christian)
A statement on the book on abuse that I co-authored
In 2010, I came across a sermon series on domestic abuse that Reformed Baptist Pastor Jeff Crippen had just posted online. I’d woken up in the wee hours of that morning full of fear and overwhelmed by the pain in my family due to my husband’s cruelty. After listening to the sermons, I contacted Pastor Crippen to thank him for what he’d posted. Two years later, we co-wrote the book A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church.
A couple of years later, I ended our association. After being welcomed in the abuse community, which is overwhelmingly feministic and progressive, he began embracing feminist, leftist, humanistic beliefs that were not Christ-honoring. I couldn’t support that so after I wrote him a letter begging him to reconsider some of his newer stances and he refused, we parted ways.
Through his blog, Pastor Crippen publicly attacked RC Sproul and John MacArthur, among others. He attacked patriarchy (which towards the end of our association, he said he now hated) and even complementarianism (stating that for the husband to be the leader was unfair and abusive). Pastor Crippen wrote a post stating that having disavowed both of these due to his eyes being opened by his new associates, he went on to state that his marriage was now “equal” in roles and responsibility. He also wrote (in a post he later deleted) that abortion was acceptable in cases of rape and to state otherwise was to abuse women who’d already been abused by rape. And so on…. Eventually he left the blog and most if not all of his posts were deleted at his request by Barbara Roberts, who now runs the blog.
Pastor Crippen never paid me for my work on the book. He has publicly spread lies about me that, through those who know us both, have come back to me. I’m not telling you this to attack him. I would invite you to pray for him. I tell