Siding With the Many

Posted: September 1, 2015 in Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
Tags: , , , ,

I often reblog or link to the writings, wisdom, and insights of others, not so much because I couldn’t have said it myself, but simply because I fear that were I to address these issues, it would appear that I am simply trying to argue for myself.  As those of us who are intimately familiar with spiritual abuse, doing so would create an immediate dismissal of my writing simply because I would be perceived as only making an effort to defend myself.  In the world of spiritual abuse, this would result in making me the problem for pointing out the problem.

So, here again is a very wise and insightful post by Jeff Crippen at A Cry for Justice:  allies of the abuser

 Those of us who have suffered spiritual abuse have probably all experienced those we considered friends and even family members taking sides with the abuser.  In my particular case, when we were told that we were not to return to the church, it became apparent that there was quite a bit of “damage control” with the pastors speaking to those with whom we had close relationships.  After that, not one person attempted to speak to us, to find out our side of the story, to extend any level of grace or mercy.  One woman, who swore she would remain my friend, suddenly stopped responding to text messages and emails.  It became very clear that we were to be shunned.

As Jeff Crippen states in his post, simply by believing the abuser is to participate in the abuse.  I’m sure that many of our former friends have no idea the level of abuse that I endured over more than a decade.  I sometimes wonder how they would respond if they knew that for all of those years I was told I could not so much as attend a Sunday School class.  And if that’s not mind-boggling enough, I was never given a reason for being so ostracized.  I was simply left to wonder and worry, weep and work to try to win their favor.  Ultimately, I suffered spiritual and emotional torment – questioning God’s love, grace, mercy, and acceptance.  After all, if the pastor and church found me so despicable, surely God did, as well.  

Yet, those whom I once called friends, if they have any idea at all (and a couple of them do), the abuse I suffered and that ultimately it was at the hands of the senior pastor, have chosen to side with him and the church.  Yet, I believe Jeff Crippen is quite correct in his assessment of those people in light of the scripture he shares at the beginning of his post:

“You shall not spread a false report.  You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.  You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.”  (Ex. 23:1-3)


  1. Eliza says:

    The Jews broke that commandment when they falsely accused Jesus Christ. If He suffered such at the hands of religious unbelievers why should we expect anything less? May Christ encourage our hearts with His great love for us.

  2. Lin says:

    The first time the abuse happened to me was a Sunday morning service. The
    pastor pointed directly at me and falsely accused me in front of an entire congregation.
    My friend sat next to me. She saw it happen but at first said nothing. When we left
    church I had to bring it up. This pastor didn’t even know me. I had escaped a verbally
    abusive church I’d attended for a long time and was hoping to find another place to
    start over. This is a small town so I guess somehow the first pastor got to the second
    one, even though they have a competition amongst themselves/they’ll mention
    the other church in a sermon and point out how much better theirs is than the others.
    But to come against me, they joined forces. I could understand if I was a troublemaker,
    but I’ve never done anything to warrant this. Anyway, this “friend” who I gave rides to
    church, took on vacations and blessed with restaurant lunches, new clothes, etc…
    totally refused to say anything about what the pastor did, even though she knew it
    hurt me deeply. To this day, she has turned her back on me, but still calls when she
    needs a ride somewhere. She still acts like if the pastor said it, then it must be true,
    even though she should know me better than that. She’s also super sensitive when it
    comes to her own feelings. Did I mention that after he did that on that Sun.morning,
    he did it two more times in other services, and never once would meet with me so I
    could ask what I had done. I sincerely thought that if I had done something and was
    unaware, I would quickly repent and ask forgiveness of this pastor. But he would not
    meet with me, and only emailed me a quick terse reply that I was not to “touch God’s
    anointed”. Yet through all of that, no one stood by my side in this. I have left the church
    while they all go on as if nothing has happened. It reminds me of the scripture where
    he says “My own familiar friend with whom I shared my bread, has turned against me”.

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