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.


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You are not to blame for his buse

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 please him in some way, 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 sometimes being difficult. It doesn’t matter if you somehow “slip up” in your duties at times, serve supper late, fail to pick up the dry cleaning, or keep the house in a bit of a mess when you get busy. Maybe there are things you can do better but that can be said of all of us. Nothing you’ve done or haven’t done 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 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 tell your story to someone who can help you. To get to safety. You have a right to protect yourself and your children. You have a right to divorce. You have a right to live in peace. You have a right to live a life that is free from abuse.

There’s a life out there that’s free from abuse. It’s where most people life. By God’s grace, it’s where you can live also.

Soli Deo gloria!

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Killing the Messenger


A Message to Churches: Abuse in the home is a subject near to my heart for many, very personal, reasons. I’m far too familiar with the subject in far too many ways to pretend it doesn’t need to be addressed. Abuse, in a number of ways, has invaded the lives of many family members, many friends. I was born into a family broken by abuse. I know what it does, what it can do. I understand, first hand, how it destroys the lives of those affected by it. I have no compassion, no patience, for abusers. Nor do I have compassion for those who would shelter them, deny the abuse is happening or choose to look the other way. That many, if not most folks, who have not known abuse first-hand would fear coming close to it, I can understand–though Christian compassion ought to cause us to overcome our fear and help the abused; I can’t, however, understand the determination to pretend it isn’t real or to come down hard on the one (usually a woman) who is abused. Abuse isn’t catching but it is real. Often, those who are living in abuse, have no idea what to do, no one to turn to and are desperately frightened. Often, it is at great personal cost that the abused comes forth with the truth. The harm that is done when church folks ignore her cries for help or for being believed that it is as bad as she says it is, is far, far greater than one who hasn’t faced it could ever know. If her husband finds out she has told, more often than not, she will pay for the telling. Some women pay with their lives. 

So, please, if a woman (or, at times, a man) comes to you or to your church (Pastors, please listen) with a shocking story of abuse by a man you believe to be good and upright, take time out of your day and listen to her, comfort her, offer her hope. If you don’t know how to advise her, find out. There are places where she can receive help, even if the abuse leveled against her is onlyemotional or verbal abuse (as if these aren’t real abuse); these are killing abuses just as much as physical abuse can be. The only difference is what part of a woman is killed: her heart or her body.

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So often women who are abused by their husbands not only have to deal with abuse at home but, often, with neglect in their local churches. Since church folk often confuse being forgiven with being perfect, anything or anyone that isn’t “perfect” often tends to get pushed aside. Often that leaves those who are most in need of love and guidance alone and lonely as they try to make sense of the nightmarish life they are living.

Many Christians have an idea of the ideal marriage that is sadly based more on tradition than on Scripture (a falsehood which allows a man to treat his wife as a possession) and many wives don’t know enough or have enough support to fight against such a belief; this very fact sets many wives up for abuse. While Scripture teaches the headship of man and teaches that marriage is to be complementarian, nowhere does Scripture support or allow for a man to verbally or emotionally browbeat or abuse his wife or children or abuse them sexually, financially or physically. Scripture also does not allow men to physically discipline their wives or force her to stay locked in a room or never leave the house (or only do so with their very rare–if at all–permission); a woman is not a child and physical punishment at the hands of her husband is just plain wrong. As such it, like all abuse, is sin.

It is often very difficult for a church to recognize an abuser as such; abusive spouses are good at keeping up the façade that causes observers to believe the best about them (while often painting their spouses in unflattering ways) while at home, in private, their families get to see, and deal with, the painful truth of their abuse. This is why wives who muster the courage to speak of abuse must be believed. While it is true that anyone, even a true Christian, can sometimes lose their temper, act in unbecoming ways or even say or do things in a cruel fashion, conviction and repentance will mark the true but imperfect Christian from the abusing spouse who professes Christianity. The problem is getting the church at large to see the difference.

Sadly, even if they do understand the difference,  churches frequently refuse to acknowledge that abuse can be going on in one of their families. Failure to believe abused wives is epidemic in our churches. Often it is easier to believe the abused spouse of being overly emotional or unforgiving or to tell her to go home and try to be more submissive to her husband than it is to force ourselves to confront the fact that there are abusers in our midst. Since the abused wife is most likely far more submissive than most Christian wives, telling her to be more submissive is not only not helpful, it also is enabling the husband to continue to sin against her and possibly bring her and the children further harm.

Additional problems arise when the spouse is believed but, through the very act of being believed, becomes a sore spot among members who might want to maintain a more traditional view to the surrounding community or even among themselves. There are places where abuse simply does not happen even as it is happening and can be proved.

Church members and leaders need to acknowledge that there is a very great chance that sooner or later you are going to have to deal with abusive persons in your church. Accept it and arm yourself to deal biblically with it. If a woman is telling a story of emotional, sexual or physical abuse about a man whom you trust and respect, do her and yourself a favor and at least look into it. It takes great courage for her to stand up and admit it to anyone because she might have to pay a very great price for her honesty. Don’t be guilty of killing the messenger when the messenger has already suffered so much.



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Meeting Abuse With Truth

Jesus is Truth. Nothing that is truth can in any way contradict Him. If you are an abused woman, the way your husband treats you is truth. His abuse of you isn’t your imagination; it’s real. It’s truth. God sees it; it is truth to Him, just as it is to you. Your husband’s abuse of you is sin. Your response to the abuse can either glorify God or bring Him dishonor. The truth of the abuse doesn’t justify responding to it in a way that is contradictory to the nature of God; to do so will bring dishonor God and cause you pain in the long run. No matter how your husband treats you, getting even is not allowed. God is the defender of those who put their trust in Him. Do not take it upon yourself to do what is the Lord’s job only.

Your love for your husband has been tested by his abuse of you; your love for God will be tested by your response to the abuse. God tells His children to love their enemies and to do good to those who despitefully use them. Whether abuse is physical, spiritual, emotional, financial or sexual, it is still abuse. Your response to the abuse must be one of love; that doesn’t mean that your response is to be one of complacency. Love isn’t, as some suppose, a soft emotion. True love is tough. Requiting evil with good does not ever call for you to allow yourself to be your husband’s doormat. This man has no right to abuse you in any way whatsoever.

The truth is, this man who swore before God and others to protect and defend you has instead used you for his pleasure and misused you in at least one, but possibly many, ways. Most likely, if you are reading this, his abuse of you is long-term and you are worn down from being walked on for so very long. The abuse must stop. The truth of his abuse must be met with the truth of love and love isn’t ishy-gishy. Remember that true love is tough and love grounded in God’s truth is truth and can only speak and do truth. You then must speak truth to your husband whether he wants to hear it or not; if necessary, you must speak of the truth of his abuse to others who can guide and help you. You must be willing to confront the truth of the evil of his ways with the truth of God’s holy Word.

Most men won’t want to hear it. They will refuse to see for you are threatening their status quo. It is comfortable for this man to remain secluded from the fact of his abuse for then his world can continue to revolve around himself, which is the way he likes it. By speaking truth to your husband, you are threatening his way of life. If he accepts the fact that he is an abusive man then he must also accept the fact that, to thinking, godly people, his abuse of you is unacceptable and must change. Some husbands will go so far as to acknowledge, at least in part, their problems, but then claim that, though they want to change, they can’t. They will offer every excuse under heaven for not being able to change and expect you to accept them. Rage will often follow when you refuse to.

Sometimes, then, the most loving and truthful thing that you can do is to let your husband know that, whether he admits his actions or not, whether or not he thinks he can change, his behavior is unacceptable and will not be allowed to continue. If he acts as many men act at this point, he will get angry with you and tell you that he will not bow to an ultimatum. Okay, fine. He has now set the parameters and they are his truth; as this man’s wife, his parameters are now your truth, too. The truth is, he won’t change unless he is forced by outside circumstances to see the error of his ways. Sometimes, given these circumstances, the most loving and truthful thing you can do might just be to separate from him. Leaving should always be preceded and accompanied by much prayer and time in the Word of God; if possible, it should be discussed with a godly man or woman who knows your situation and whose goal to protect you and honor the Lord. The goal of your leaving should always be your abusers repentance as well as your own safety. Reconciliation should not take place until he repents of his evil and grows in godliness.

Your job as a woman of God is to honor the Lord in all that you do. When faced with an abusive husband who refuses to change, the best way to honor God might just be to force your husband into a situation where he is face-to-face with his sin. Separation can then be a tool in the hand of the Lord to bring your husband to salvation; at any rate, it is a tool of truth to bring you to a safe and peaceful harbor in the meantime.

May God bless and keep you.