At the end of myself…at the feet of Jesus

Matthew 25: 40, And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Leave a comment

Looking at Domestic Abuse Through a Biblical Lens

I guess my perspective is different from many Christians. I have lived among abusive people my whole life. The good Lord saw fit to not just dip my feet in the water of abuse but to plunge me into its depths. Because He graciously has allowed me to live in the midst of abusers (though many times, I must confess, I’d have much preferred He hadn’t), I have an understanding of what abusers do and what the abused go through at their hand. In the end, the pain God has allowed me to deal with has been a blessing in some ways because it’s opened my eyes in a way some folk’s eyes are never opened. I know the pain of abuse. I’ve lived with abuse. I’ve been abused by multiple family members at various times of my life. I understand abuse far too well. Because of this, this is where I take my stand: Domestic abuse in any form, by anyone towards anyone, is sin and the church needs to wake up and realize that there are abusers in their midst who are masquerading as Christians; these abusers are hurting their families, sinning against God, and bringing reproach on the church and on the name of God. The church needs to educate themselves about abuse. They need to help the abused who members of their churches. To fail to do so is to choose to sin.

If you’ve not walked in the shoes of Christians who have been abused by those they’ve loved, I guess it’s easy to look away. After all, you don’t understand what’s going on. Anyway, some of the people being accused of abuse are “just the nicest people” or “the best Christian man I know”. Right? It’s much easier to dismiss the accusations than it is to have to deal with the messy fall-out. Anyway, God hates divorce, doesn’t He, so what can you do?

No, you’ve got your facts wrong. God doesn’t hate all divorce. If He did, He wouldn’t have divorced Israel. But, it’s easier to say He hates divorce and just tell her that if she wants to please God she has to stay with her abuser, than it is to risk the wrath of her abuser, than it is to have to sit down and study that Scripture in context, or than it is to actually have to step up and figure out a way to help those who are abused.

Or it’s easier to say “Just leave” and leave it up to her to figure out how.

It’s easier to tell her that the man she’s accusing of abuse can’t possibly be doing what she’s said he is. After all, seeing him once a week or even two or three times a week means you know him far better than his wife does. Right? Wrong. You dismiss her concerns because you don’t want to be bothered.

Because you aren’t looking at her situation through a biblical lens.

There are a lot of godly women out there who really love the Lord and who haven’t a clue what they need to do because their man won’t stop abusing them, neglecting his duties, won’t provide properly and on and on, but who cares? It doesn’t affect you. It doesn’t stop you from sitting down to a good meal forgetting that somewhere in your city, a woman who loves God with all that she is, is struggling to figure out how to keep food on the table for the rest of the week, or is pulling roaches out of what little food she has and serving it anyway, or is not eating herself in order to feed her kids. It doesn’t stop you from buying two or even three cars while ignoring the fact that this woman who has claimed to be abused but you’ve wondered about her faithfulness because she isn’t always in church, isn’t showing up to church because she has no running car. It doesn’t stop you from buying brand new clothes for your family, forgetting that the woman and children you think are dressed so poorly probably don’t have a way to buy any clothes–not and have a hope of keeping food on the table. It doesn’t stop you from going on a vacation, all the while ignoring the fact that she’s about to be evicted because her husband failed to pay the rent–and this isn’t the first time it’s happened to her.

You need to know. You need to look. You need to see. You need to listen: Abused women, children, and sometimes even men (because, yes, men can be, and sometimes are abused by their partners), because of the stress they live in, tend to have more health issues than the non-abused and are often not allowed to have access to health care. They tend to eat more poorly, often because of lack of resources. They tend to be quiet and subdued because they are afraid of anyone finding out for fear of what will happen when the abuser finds out someone knows, or because they fear being looked down on because they’ve been abused, or because they’ve just been abused so much that they haven’t the strength to pretend all is well. Abusers often keep their money for themselves, even demand that the abused turn over their earnings to them, then they do what they want to with it (frequently providing for themselves but not for their family). Sometimes the abuser wastes his money through gambling, through drinking, by doing drugs, through other selfish purposes or by carelessness. Some abusers are so careless in their own lives that they keeps losing their job so they lose everything–over and over again. Whatever the reason, many of those who are abused live in roach-infested, mold-ridden, run-down houses, own shabby second-hand furniture, drive a barely working car (if they are allowed one), and wear clothes most of us would throw away. They are alienated from others because their abuser makes them be–so no one finds out his secret. They often don’t have friends. They often have no credit or their credit has been ruined by their abuser, and they often have no money, so they feel they have no way out.

The abused Christian woman (or man) who gets up each morning and prays for the strength to get through the day and does all that they can to protect their children, to raise them and provide for them, is fighting a war most of you will never have to fight. And because they are so often ignored by the church, the very ones who should be helping them, they are fighting it alone.

You can ignore what I’ve written. You can refuse to care. But if you do, please don’t say you are doing all that you can to honor the Lord. According to statistics, one in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in her life. Maybe it’s a parent, a sibling, another relative, or her partner doing the abusing–but some of these “statistics” are sitting in your church.

I’m one of them.

This is just one issue the church is facing. Abortion. Biblical ignorance. Promiscuity. Poverty. Orphans. And on and on and on, the issues just mount up. Ignore these issues, forget that your help is needed and tell God you plan to do so or repent of your failure to care and ask the Lord how you can help. Somebody somewhere needs you to pray for them, to lend a helping hand, to be a friend, to teach them the truth of God’s Word. Look around you. God commanded us to be His hands and His feet. What are you doing to obey Him?

Soli Deo gloria!


1 Comment

No One Deserves Abuse

Abusive husbands (or abusive wives) condition their spouses to accept responsibility for their abuse of them. “If you didn’t do this….” or “If only you didn’t say that….” or “If you hadn’t said it that way. You don’t know how you sounded….” or “It’s your fault for…. You make me so angry.” When the wife (or the husband) “owns up to it” they are “rewarded” with peace for a time (most likely a very short time).

This hard-won “peace” isn’t really peace at all and will go away more rapidly than anyone outside of the abuse could even begin to imagine.

If this describes you and your relationship with your spouse, please understand a few things:

The way he is acting isn’t right. His behavior is sin. He is the one to blame…not you.

God isn’t on the side of your abuser no matter how many times he has told you that He is.

Your abuser may use Scripture to justify their behavior, their abuse of you, but he is twisting it. His interpretation of the verses he uses are false and will not stand up in light of good exegesis (interpretation of the text).

It isn’t your fault your husband verbally, emotionally, financially, sexually or physically abused you. You didn’t make him do it, no matter how many times or ways he tells you that you did. You don’t deserve it no matter how often he tells you that you do.

Your husband has no right to punish you. He has no right to spank you, ground you, hit you, limit your freedom, yell at you, humiliate you.

You are deserving of your husbands love, care and respect.

You are responsible only for your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, emotions and responses. Your husband is responsible for his.

God’s Word is truth. God’s truth is that what your spouse is doing is wrong.

Your husband will only change when he comes to God in repentance. Nothing outside of God can completely change him or free him from the sinner that he is and the sin that he commits.

God can change you when you come to Him in repentance (for we all are sinners). When He changes you, He will point you in a new, and freeing, direction. He will make you free in Christ.

No matter who you are, you did not ever and will not ever deserve abuse, anger, silence or to be attacked from those who claim to love her.

You can learn to see yourself in a new way. You can have freedom from abuse when you understand that the abuse, no matter what kind or how severe (even if you don’t see it as severe, it is), is sin. He is the one sinning. You are the one being sinned against.

There is help available. Please, please reach for it…today.

Leave a comment

Broken by God’s Love

Psalm 63:3, Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

God breaks us for His use and it’s good.

A cruel man breaks us for his use and it’s anything but good.

We must never confuse one for the other.

God’s breaking us is done in love, in grace and is full of mercy. His intentions are good, His act one of re-creation: the making something good and beautiful and useful out of something vile and selfish and full of filth.

An abuser’s breaking is anything but. An act of ultimate selfishness, he bends, pounds, destroys and hurts all for his good, his glory and simply because he can. It is an act of debauched cruelty: the destruction of something trusting and lovely and full of life.

One creates hope.

The other destroys hope.

God is the Rescuer of the abused.

Abusers are the destroyers of lives, hopes and dreams.

Those who have been abused are often confused as to the difference between the two. How can we who have been broken so much need to be broken more?

It’s a different kind of breaking. This breaking, done by a loving God Who loves us as a tender-hearted Father, is a breaking of our wills so that we leave off sinning and live lives of holiness and goodness. It is an act of ultimate good will. It is an act done by a gracious and kind God Who also saw His only Son abused. It is a molding of our lives to mirror His.

The other is an act of control done by a cruel and heartless man determined to show his power. His power is destructive and ugly. It’s an act of ultimate selfishness. An act done by someone who sees everyone else as beneath him.

God’s breaking of us is His preparation of us for His Kingdom; a fitting of us to live with Him forever. It is worth running to, giving up everything for.

An abuser’s breaking of us is his preparation of us to be his doormat; a fitting of us for his use to make him feel good about being in control. It is worth fighting to get away from.

We who have been abused know what it’s like to be broken by man so it’s hard–so hard–for us to trust. God, however, is worthy of our trust and He’s patient with us. He Who never changes, He Who walks with us through the fire, through the floods, can be trusted even when we can trust no one else. His kind of breaking is an act of love. The ultimate kind of love. The kind we’ve been needing, longing for, looking for with everything in us. The best part of it is: in His kindness, His mercy, our Lord finds us.

We need look for love no longer. We’re home.

Leave a comment

Abuse Needs No Excuse

If you are a woman who is being abused by your husband, you need to know that his abuse of you isn’t your fault. You didn’t bring the abuse on yourself. You aren’t, by somehow failing to submit, asking to be abused. Your failures as a wife, however great or small, whether real or imagined by him, in no way gives your husband the right to seek to destroy your body, your mind, your heart or your being.

If you are a woman who is being abused by a man, the sin lies squarely on his shoulders and not on yours at all.

You didn’t cause the abuse by being difficult sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you somehow “slip up” in your duties at times and serve supper late, fail to pick up the dry cleaning or keep the house in a bit of a mess from time to time–none of that gives him the right to yell at you, smack you, terrorize you, castigate you, assault you, rape you, discipline you or abuse you in any way, shape, form or fashion.

Abuse of any kind is destructive. Abuse of any kind is sin. Abuse of any kind is the fault of the abuser. Abuse of any kind means the abuser is sinning not just against you but also against the Lord Who created him.

Abuse needs no excuse. Abusers need no reason to abuse. They abuse because they are abusers. They don’t think like normal people, they don’t react like normal people, they don’t respond like normal people. They think, react and respond like abusive people because that is what they are. Because of that, it doesn’t matter if you failed or if you didn’t fail, they will abuse you anyway. Abusers can be driven to abuse by anything or by nothing.

If you are being abused you have a right to protect yourself. You have a right to leave. To find a friend. Tell your story. Get to safety. You have a right to protect yourself and your children.