There seems to be…
…an opinion chasm in the Christian community over abuse and divorce.
As a husband who is constantly seeking knowledge about who the Bridegroom is and how I can emulate him, I get frustrated by how the church leadership and Christian husbands have failed wives in the church.
I see the question of “Is divorce okay in the instance of abuse like verbal and physical violence?” and the answers are ALL OVER THE PLACE! Seriously?
I’m taking a stand right now to say that divorce might never be the desirable outcome, but if there is unrepentant abuse, then it’s the right answer.
I mean, c’mon, put yourself in the other’s shoes for a second.
Would you sit there and take punishing abuse from your spouse on a daily basis?
Would you just forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive–‘cuz you know… unconditional love and all that?
When is it too much?
When the victim is breathing through a tube at the hospital?
When the spouse is being carried by friends and family in a pine box to their final resting place?
Yes, I understand that many marriages have been repaired successfully after an instance of abuse, but in all those situations, genuine repentance has been required of the abuser, along with counseling and a verifiable change in their behavior. The abused spouse has weighed their options and made the decision to continue. Fine. Let’s hope it never happens again and the abuser makes the effort to pass on the lessons and consequences learned to others.
So, what about the ones where the abuser is not repentant? Or they believe they’re within their rights to behave that way? Or they say their religion gives them the authority to “discipline” their wife that way? Or…
I say, grab the kids and run. Find a safe place. Get some distance between the abuser and yourself. Take lots of pictures. Record audio of verbal abuse. Get help. And then, if there is no healing or genuine repentance–which will accompany a ton of consistent spiritual brokenness and growth–make it permanent.
And for those of you who believe that psychological/emotional abuse may be occurring, ask yourself these questions:
Dear Christian Community,
We are the protectors of the weak, not protectors of the biggest tithers.
Learn the difference between authority and authoritarianism… hint, one is covered in Love, the other is covered in selfishness.
Remember, we live in the new covenant… or were the words of Jesus at the last supper just a bunch of hot air?
Be honest with yourself.
Quit hiding behind, “Well, you know, we shouldn’t judge, lest we be judged.”
Attempt to walk alongside and wear the shoes of victims of marriage abuse and violence.
Yes, it’s messy, but that never deterred Jesus.
And maybe if you did, you could see that righteous judgement in defense of the defenseless is worth the risk.
Make the attempt and love.
Help someone who needs it.