Some will say, “If your abuser is or is not a Christian, what difference is that to you? Don’t judge another person’s eternal destiny! What’s in his heart is between him and God!”
But whether or not our abuser is really a Christian, affects us, because the answer determines how we act. There are all sorts of Bible verses instructing us how to act during disagreements with fellow Christians, because the unity of the Body is vital.
But when abusers refuse to admit they have abused, and continue to torment the victim, it is impossible to follow St. Paul’s instructions. This causes guilt in the victim, who feels far more anger than forgiveness.
It also affects whether or not the abuser should be treated by the Church as a believer, or put out of fellowship because of unrepentance and danger to others (especially the victim). Do you want the victim’s salvation and healing to be threatened by being forced to face their abuser every Sunday at church?
Victims also commonly ask how a Christian, saved and regenerated, can abuse others–then not only refuse to repent, but take Communion along with the abused! Communion is not to be taken lightly, as the Bible warns, lest harm come to the person taking it “in an unworthy manner”:
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.
32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.–1 Cor 11:27-32, NIV*
From What does it mean to take communion in an unworthy manner? by Matt Slick:
It seems most probable that Paul is telling people to examine their motives, make sure there is no dissension with other believers, to take the supper solemnly, and that they were to rightly understand that it represents the sacrifice of Christ.
From Jeff Crippen’s former post on the Cry Out for Justice blog, Repentance and Abuse: Real Repentance Bears Fruit:
And this, once again, is why we insist that a person who is dominated and characterized by a mentality of power and control, of entitlement to what is essentially worship, who without conscience can enforce his power and control over others through the use of wicked means, is not and cannot be a Christian.
You can be sure that where there is no fruit of repentance, there is no repentance. And where there is no repentance, there is no salvation.
The fruit borne by real repentance and faith always evidences itself in increasing holiness of life and in obedience to Jesus Christ as evidence of having been cleansed by His blood.
We have heard of pastors who tell abuse victims that they must regard their abuser as being a Christian, even though the abuser shows no repentance and his life is characterized by habitual evil.
Being baptized or having said a prayer to accept Christ or being a church member does not make anyone a Christian.
…Oh yes, many unregenerate people appear quite moral. Think of the Pharisees for instance in Jesus’ day. But they never practice their morality out of a motive to glorify God.
They do it only for self and for the gain that it will get them from the world, which they love. Some even choose the facade of religion — of Christianity — and yet it remains only that, a facade.
In reality, the unregenerate heart is hostile toward God and cannot obey His Law, no matter how pious he may seem outwardly. The Christian, in contrast, is grieved over his sin because it is disobedience to the Lord whom he loves and is in opposition to the law of God which has been written upon his heart.
Thus, the Christian will always repent when he sin. The unregenerate never will. Like Esau, he may weep and wail and seem to show intense remorse, yet is it all motivated by a love for self. Esau only grieved because he gave away something he did not value at all, but was sorry that it cost him being first.
[Written between February and probably May 2011:]
It’s a struggle sometimes just getting up and going to church because of its connection with Richard, especially when twice he’s shown that he’ll still take his family there despite our estrangement, and that he won’t tell his wife to make peace with me for the sake of unity and peace in the body of Christ.
When I see Tracy take the Eucharist but make no move to come to me to make peace, I feel so sick, like her hypocrisy makes me want to run to the bathroom and throw up.
I know at least some of her abuses, not just of me but of her husband and family, because I lived behind closed doors with her for a time, yet she goes to the Eucharist while making no attempt to change things.
There is also 1 Corinthians chapters 5 and 6, which speak of judging not outside but inside the church, putting away from our fellowship those who claim to be Christians but behave in reprehensible manners, such as swindlers, thieves, and various other things–including revilers:
Reviler – Verbal abuse (also called reviling) is a form of abusive behavior involving the use of language. It is a form of profanity that can occur with or without the use of expletives.
While oral communication is the most common form of verbal abuse, it includes abusive words in written form. –an earlier version of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reviler
From Rev. Renee:
To many of us, the words “Christian” and “abuser” don’t seem to belong together. They are, or should be, a contradiction in terms.
And yet how many of us have heard of a minister’s children who were raised with cruelty and abuse? How many of us know of an upstanding, church-going man- or woman- of- God, who turns out to be a criminal or a child molester?
Who can forget the huge scandal in the Roman Catholic church, when so many of their so-called “men of God” priests were exposed as pedophiles, child molesters who were using their position in the church as a source of obtaining new victims?
Calling oneself “Christian” does not make one exempt from abusive behavior. And calling oneself “Christian” does not make one a REAL Christian, either!
One Scripture which addresses this point is 1 John 3: NO ONE WHO LIVES IN HIM KEEPS ON SINNING. NO ONE WHO CONTINUES TO SIN HAS EITHER SEEN HIM OR KNOWN HIM.
DEAR CHILDREN, DO NOT LET ANYONE LEAD YOU ASTRAY. HE WHO DOES WHAT IS RIGHT IS RIGHTEOUS.
HE WHO DOES WHAT IS SINFUL IS OF THE DEVIL, BECAUSE THE DEVIL HAS BEEN SINNING FROM THE BEGINNING. THE REASON THE SON OF GOD APPEARED WAS TO DESTROY THE DEVIL’S WORK.
NO ONE WHO IS BORN OF GOD WILL CONTINUE TO SIN, BECAUSE GOD’S SEED REMAINS IN HIM; HE CANNOT GO ON SINNING, BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD.
THIS IS HOW WE KNOW WHO THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE AND WHO THE CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL ARE: ANYONE WHO DOES NOT DO WHAT IS RIGHT IS NOT A CHILD OF GOD; NOR IS ANYONE WHO DOES NOT LOVE HIS BROTHER”.1 John 3: 6-10 NIV. —The Christian Abuser- Twisting God’s Word To Justify Abuse
If you were abused by a person who called him/herself a Christian and said that they knew Jesus — I assure you that this was the Greatest Deception and lie that they ever told.
At best they might have heard about Jesus, I doubt that they ever personally met Jesus in the SuperNatural, because when you truly meet Jesus you are Transformed by His Holy Love and when you follow Jesus you turn away from evil, and the closer you walk with Jesus, then evil is no where to be found, so when Jesus is in you and you are in Jesus you can do no evil.
And Abuse is the Manifestation of Evil. So the Counterfeit Christian lied about being an Authentic or True Christian. Just because a Person calls him/herself something doesn’t automatically make it so, look at the fruit of the Behavior they are producing to reveal their True Nature. –Soaring Dove, The Journey Out of Nothingness
On false Christian narcissists, and whether or not we should judge them as false Christians and separate from them, also see:
“Let it be understood that those who are not found living as He taught are not Christian- even though they profess with the lips the teaching of Christ.” – St. Justin Martyr ( c.160 )
I get greatly annoyed by Christian groups who accuse each other of being false Christians because of doctrine or practices. But the Bible does indeed warn us to discern false Christians by how they act, evil behaviors which any Christian group can agree on, whether conservative or liberal.
We are not told to let the poison of narcissists, abusers, users, deceptive ministers, thieves, con men, and the like infect us just because they’re “Christians” and we’re supposed to “love and accept and not judge fellow Christians.” Quite the contrary: We’re told to toss them out of our fellowship!
Christ was able to hang out with sinners because he’s God and could influence them without them influencing him. But God knows very well how fallible we are, how easily influenced by the bad behaviors of our friends.
From the Orthodox Study Bible note for 1 Kings 19:10: “The children of Israel forsook the Lord because an angry and wrathful temper took hold of them, for God cannot be known in that kind of disposition. He can only be known in and through the virtues, such as gentleness.”
[Added 4/26/14:] From a Cry for Justice:
In summary, the pastor’s duty to the abuser is secondary to his duty to the victim. Regarding the abuser, the pastor must 1) Be able to avoid being deceived by the abuser’s ploys, and 2) exclude the abuser from the congregation in order to protect the victim and the flock. All of these actions will be costly. —Part 3
Prevention is better than cure. This applies to abuse within the church as well as to our physical health. It is better for us to create an environment in our churches that is alien and hostile to evil.
A place where righteousness and truth reign to a degree that evil just has to leave because it is exposed. The question is, why aren’t our churches such places?
And apparently it is not exaggerating to say that they are not because victims of abuse come with the same stories over and over about how their abuser was able to hide, was able to gain allies, was able to be enabled within a local church. What has gone wrong? —Part 5
In the church, unrepentant sin is to be pronounced from the rooftops, in the hearing of the entire church. It is to be exposed and dealt with openly, so that those who profess Christ’s name yet cause that Name to be blasphemed by unbelievers are expelled from the body of Christ, and Christ’s Name thereby is once more honored.
If a pastor is going to deal biblically and righteously with an abuser who is a member of his church, that pastor must resolve to do so in openness and in truth.
There can be no cover up, no minimization of the evil, no political maneuvering designed to save face or cover anyone’s tail end.
The evil must be exposed for all to see, and the unrepentant evil one delivered over to the realm of darkness, outside the church, in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. —Part 7
The large majority of the readers of this blog do not need to be told that a false gospel, gutted of a call to genuine faith and repentance, is the abuser’s great ally.
This “gospel,” which the Apostle Paul says is no gospel at all (Galatians 1), only produces nominal Christians, meaning that they are Christian in name only.
Survivor after survivor will tell their stories of how their abuser hides in the pews, playing the role of “Christian” and enjoying the affirmation of his fellow church members.
Where a false gospel is preached, false Christians are produced, and an environment that is ripe for the practice of evil is cultivated. Sadly, we must admit that such a false gospel is widely preached in our churches today, as it has been for decades now. —Part 9
Table of Contents
- Bullying of an introvert and probable NVLDer
- My NVLD in a nutshell
- Richard dismisses my experiences
- Summarizing this story
- Why I put this story on the Web–at great personal risk
- I was Sam in search of a Frodo, Anne in search of a Diana
- I finally find my Frodo–who moves in
- Discovering they live in squalor
- Richard reveals his wife’s abuses
- Houseguests From Hell
- Tracy turns jealous of and hostile toward me because I’m an introvert with NVLD
- Tracy’s narcissistic/BPD rage episode at Richard–and Richard reveals his own abuse
- Tracy’s control-freak behavior–to me, in my house
- Tracy overhears me telling Jeff she’s abusive–and wreaks vengeance
- Verge of nervous breakdown as houseguests from Hell abuse our hospitality
- Richard gives me the fateful hugs good-bye
- Tracy’s smear campaign and emotional blackmail begin full-force
- I almost break off the friendship because of Tracy
- Tracy’s unreasonable jealousy even as I take pains to be above reproach
- Their doublespeak and double standards
- Tracy snarks and Richard nitpicks
- The emotional vampires suck me dry–and accuse me of being too sensitive
- My Friend Richard, the Narcissist
- Richard says he hypnotized me without my knowledge
- More on Richard’s hypnotism–and his narcissistic stare
- Richard’s past in the Mafia–and his plot to kill the apartment manager
- Tracy bullies me and tries to control Richard by weeding out friends she doesn’t like
- E-mails and phone call describe how Tracy abuses her husband and children
- More details of Tracy’s abuse of her children
- Early 2010: I speak up about Tracy’s child abuse–and ponder reporting her to authorities
- Early warning signs of Tracy’s abuse and volatility
- I get an inkling of Richard’s own abuse of his children
- How to Bully an Introvert–and Assets of NVLD
- Two Narcissists Tag-Team Bully an Introvert with NLD
- Tracy is nasty to me on the phone
- Fed-up, I decide to end the friendship if Tracy does not stop bullying me
- Tracy Mindscrews me with Constantly Changing Rules, “Okays” me then takes it back without telling me, Violates my Privacy by reading my e-mails to Richard
- I must be accepted as I am–introversion, NVLD and all–or you’re out
- Now Richard Screws with my Mind
- Tracy drives away another friend (Todd) with narcissistic rage, manipulation, lies and a smear campaign
- I discover the restrictions are still up after 7 months–and ponder ending the friendship
- Tracy tells Jeff a different story: I have already been “approved” as Richard’s friend
- Richard gaslights me into thinking I’m a stalker
- Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends
- Disturbing Revelations from Richard about Tracy and our time sharing a house
- Revealing e-mails I drafted to Richard: proving I felt abused and bullied, and witnessed abuse
- We seem to have things sorted out–and they seem to finally take responsibility for causing drama (but there’s more to come later)
- E-mails proving my innocence, that Tracy lied in 2010, that I respected boundaries, and that I asked for a “signal”
- Richard mansplains me, denies that his friends sexually harassed me, and refuses to respect my wishes
- Without warning or explanation, tensions build as Richard and Tracy both begin acting like lunatics
- I begin to wonder if the Richard I know–is real or a fake persona
- Richard decides I’m no longer worth his time or respect–because of POLITICS–as he gets into the TEA Party
- Richard goes off the deep end and disses us for not buying into his extreme right-wing politics
- Richard grows distant and Tracy’s insane jealousy flares up
- Richard rips into me publicly and I suspect our friendship is all a fake
- I feel increasing coldness from Richard and Tracy as I “unfriend” their Republican candidates and “friend” Obama and Feingold
- Time to scapegoat me into thinking I’m the problem–and I realize my “BFF” is a fraud
- I confront Richard with how he’s been treating me–so he stonewalls me and threatens to beat up my husband
- Resolution: I apologize–and write the fateful e-mail about the fateful hugs
- Part One: Tracy’s narcissistic rage against me–but I am innocent of all her charges
- Part Two: Tracy enjoys verbally abusing me, then tries to silence me–so I tell everyone
- Part Three: Jeff’s WTF moment: Judas (Richard) knows I’m innocent, but psychotically rages at Jeff
- Part Four: Their DARVO lies lead us to break off relations with our abusers
- Why we should tell everyone we have been abused
- E-Mails to Friends About the Incident, written in first two months
- 1. To Mike and my mother
- 2. E-mails describing pain of breaking up with a close friend
- 3. E-mails spilling all the abuse, to my closest friends
- 4. E-mails to Todd describing what happened
- Why we should not be forced to befriend a BFF’s abusive spouse
- Why I refused to “confer” with Tracy–and how Richard betrayed me
- Tracy refused to accept the NVLD and introversion–but they are real
- Resolving conflict: The difference between friends and frenemies
- I send an apology–and we’re all blocked on Facebook
- Struggling to process what the F**K just happened
- E-mail to Mike: processing my pain
- Pondering forgiveness vs. giving in to the dark vortex
- Shock: Richard and Tracy at my church
- About Richard justifying Tracy’s verbal abuse because I am shy and quiet
- The monster comes back out: Tracy punishes me for long-dead issues
- How Tracy’s e-mails displayed narcissism
- I suggest a six-month break
- I refuse to give in to Tracy’s emotional blackmail
- Tracy blamed others for her abuse
- Tracy tried to force me to submit to her abuse
- Grief over losing my best and closest friend–for no good reason
- Written 2010: Grief over being falsely accused
- Written 2010/2011: Grief over being abused–and the abuser getting away with it
- Written 2010/2011: I see Tracy hanging out of the window of their minivan, like a crazy woman
- Written 2011: Grief that my abusers kept coming to my church but not apologizing to me
- Blog Post for my friends: Fighting the Darkness (Written in February 2011)
- Can we destroy something God put in place?
- An old friend shows me that Richard and Tracy were deceivers, never friends
- The long, dark night of my soul as I doubt God exists–because my spiritual mentor betrayed me
- I start doubting Tracy was ever truly a Christian–so it’s okay to separate myself from her fellowship
- Grief felt on 6/12/11
- 2011 Facebook post: Original form of Losing Your Best Friend?–Or, Narcissistic Webs
- Describing Richard’s narcissism
- Realizing how Richard manipulated me into doing things I shouldn’t
- Was Richard’s betrayal driven by Narcissism–or Stockholm Syndrome?
- Tracy: a woman who abuses a man
- Richard’s lack of action made him a passive abuser
- Fear of it all happening again with new friends–but relief as well
- Written early or mid 2011: working through the grief, pain and anger
- How Richard and Tracy’s views on parenting are wrong
- Running into Richard and Tracy at church/the store/Greekfest a year later
- Introduction to this section: Richard’s Criminal Charges
- UPDATE 7/26/11: Richard is charged with abusing his daughter; I report them to CPS
- UPDATE 9/14/11: I learn that Richard choked his daughter
- UPDATE 10/4/11: Richard is convicted of choking his daughter
- UPDATE 10/23/11: After his conviction, Richard comes to my church
*Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright @1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.