"Victims often have very strong feelings and emotional ties to their abusers. Often the abusers are seemingly overcome with “guilt,” and apologize profusely, proclaiming their love and commitment; thus making it even more difficult to walk away. Sometimes cultural or religious beliefs influence a woman’s decision to stay with their abuser. Victims often stay because of fear—fear for the safety of their children, fear of homelessness, fear of breaking up their homes, and fear for their lives. Sadly, most domestic violence homicides usually occur after a woman has fled—with 30 percent of female homicides taking place at the hands of a husband or boyfriend."
I have always felt that the church has failed to address the issue of domestic violence, yet it is very real in the church and among our members too!! recently in my church the church elder fought with the wife, it was so bad because she had to be taken to the hospital by a fellow church mate. Now, i was always quick to put the blame on the church in the past until i realised its an individual problem. I have grown up in an abusive family. My dad is the one who intorduced my mother to the faith but his actrions at home showed otherwise, yet he was great preacher in the church and during local coneferences.
now am grown up,and my mother is still in the marriage. she tells me that walking away from a marriage is hard, especially with kids and great investments. Am almost convinced but I know I will never allow to live with a man who abuses me. All i do is pray fofor them.
It is wrong to use the Bible to tell somebody to stay in an abusive realtionship. In most cases the woman actually becomes spititually asleep because the devil uses the them both-to destroy the husband nad her eventually. At the end of the day she will lose everything-her children's love, her husband, her life in extreme cases but the worst will be to lose the kingdom all in the anme of love.
I keep feraing that i may fall in the same boat as my mother because statistics says that people brouuth u in abusive relationships end up being abusive or being putting up with abusers but I know that my Lord has power over all, even our hearts.
You have introduced some valid points that I would like to examine a little more carefully. First of all, since this subject is so big that no 10 paragraph statement can even start to examine all of its variations, there will always be "examples" of times when a specifc case does not seem to fit the patten presented. It usually will, but only with more information.
First of all you wrote:
"The kind of love that hollywood has portrayed that has become quietly the accepted form brings misery. Total misery.
Its the kind of love that is hot and cold if it doesnt get its way, its the kind of love that thinks a passionate make up session is love, after verbal abuse, its the kind of love that sends people over the sides of bridges and to the sleeping pill bottle for the last time."
This is a very good description of eros, or emotional love. The Greeks divided "love" up into about 5 different categories. I combine some of them becasue they are so very similar and come up with 3 basic types of love.
Numbers 1 and 2 are the kinds of love that we all are born with. Feeling love is the first one we experience, with relationships following close behind. It is only after about the age of 12 that we can start to appreciate divine love. It is God's plan that parents should model this divine love for their children, so that when they get to the age where they can appreciate it, that they will choose it.
See, while eros and philos are centered in the two hemispheres of our brain, agape is centered in our frontal lobes. These do not really have an impact on our being until about the age of 12. With some it may be sooner, with others later and with still others, it never comes into play. But, this is not a study of the exceptions, but the normal.
It is God's plan that our agape love will control our feelings/eros, and our relationships/philos. Unless we love God on the agape level, we can never in fact learn to love God. The push for a relationship with God is bypassing the very plan of salvation that God has established. Oh, having a relationship with God is great, BUT, it must be based on agape love, not philos. Experiencing the divine love must come first, than the relationship and the feelings will follow. Having a relationship before being filled with divine love seldom, if ever, happens.
This is the problem that Peter had. He was full of eros and philos, but sadly lacking in agape love. Note the story in John 21, where Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him.
The first time, Jesus asked Peter if he had agape love for him. Peter responded that he had philos love for Jesus, i.e. "he loved him like a brother" the relationship love.
The second time, this repeats itself.
But the third time, Jesus asked Peter if indeed he really loved Him like a brother? Against the recent situation where Peter had denied his master three times, this was a heavy statement for Peter to deal with. This what caused Peter to be hurt, for Jesus questioned Peter's relationship with Himself. It was only then that Peter was converted and realized that he had to have the agape love in control, or his love was worthless, further more, it would let him down in an emergency, as it had already done.
So, people who advocate a "relationship" love with Jesus are advocating the same kind of love that Peter had, which had caused him to fail in the crunch.
Which is why we have so many marriage problems in the church. For unless couples learn to love on the agape level, there really is not a good chance of having a Christian home. All kinds of problems will develope and there is no majority as to which gender causes them. As long as neither is living on the agape level, both are equally responsible for the resulting chaos.
Then you wrote:
"And yet... there are those in our church who can produce quotes from ellen white that will say to stay with an abusive husband and try to win him to the Lord, they will show you that it is your duty to win him over and there are even bible quotes to back that up"
As bad as that advice seem, it is more good than bad. The problem is not in the advice, the problem is that people do not recognize which kind of love is in control. For Ellen White also advises wives to leave abusive husbands. And she also talks about husbands who are married to abusive wives too. So, abuse is a two way street, for the unconverted.
One time in a marriage counseling situation, when the basic issues were clear, I stopped the counseling and went into a Bible study. I told the people that I had heard enough and did not want to know more. Instead, I wanted to share with them the tools so they could fix their own marriage. After sharing the tools, they indeed did fix their own marriage and they were married as long as I knew them, happily so, from all indications.
It is my beleive that when a counselor takes side with either spouse, they have ceased to be a neutral third party and become part of the problem. I have seen this happen too many times. In one case, I had to become quite sever with a counslor as she was causing far more trouble then she resolved. As a pastor, I could not allow her to continue to create the marital disharmony in the families she counseled with her approach.
Oh, "winning" by joining one or the other gives the counselor a good feeling, but they have not helped the marriage in the long run. All that was accomplished was a shift of power. Oh, there may be rare occasions when the counselor has to take the side of the believer to help them deal with an unbeliever, but ONLY on that level.
The biblical advice to stay with a spouse is when the one is truely being led by God. For by their godly living, they will be a channel to convert the unbeliever, which they should not have been married to in the beginning, unless of course they were converted after the marriage.
Some will complain that to take all of that abuse is just not worth it. Be very careful about that sentiment for in essence you are saying that you are not worth all the abuse that Jesus took to save you. Do you have that kind of love for your spouse? Then no amount of abuse will be too much if you really love them. It will be a badge of honor to suffer with Jesus for the same goal, to win someone to Christ.
On the other hand, when the abuse rises to the point where there is no longer any hope of the spouse changing, then one is free to leave and remarry if they so choose. For "infidelity" is more than just getting into the wrong bed with the wrong person. Infidelity can take a number of guises. The sexual infidelity is just the easiest to be seen by those outside of the marriage.
Then you posted;
"Thanks Sarah, this is a reminder that religion is not the answer to everything. Christ is. He says, women obey your husband "in the Lord" and if that is not the case, the obedience is not binding."
This is true, RELIGION is not the answer to everything, however, divine love is. Christ has never told us to obey a spouse who is not in the Lord. To live with such a spouse is a "missionary endeavor" to win one who has held our eros and philos love. An attempt to bring them into the threefold combination of eros, philos and agape is the highest goal a person can have. For when we enter into that project, we have the full cooperation of the Holy Spirit. That is the strongest ally we can have.
Finally you wrote:
"To those who say it is the woman who stirs up the man..... I say, it is inherint sin, human woe and suffering. Christ is the only one who can control the demons within."
This is correct. Both men and women stir each other up. Sinners stir up sinners. BUT, what is even more true is that truth stirs up opposition. The more clear truth is presented, especially by one's life, the more strong are Satan's attacks. This is the Great Controvery that we are a part of just by being born.
Our only choice is which side we will be on. Will we be on Christ's side and have all the power of heaven to help us? Or will we join the great rebel who is already defeated? Why would anyone want to join a cause that has already been defeated? That does not make a lot of sense.
why must it be a man that is abusive hmm ? what about the wife today that thinks showing affection to her husband is some taboo? yes growing up in a abusive household may let u marry another similar or it could just harden your heart so u can not function properly in a marriage setting where the other is more than willing to bend to help u .
WHEN u were growing up did u experiance a mother or father that bereated u so u seek to do the same in a similar manner?/ what does it take to get through to someone that is cold hearted in their love language and resists all efforts to let go and be loved fully?
ARE their those that been raised in some aabusive home even supposedly christian that have devotions daily also but still in the manner of showing love it is on their terms only?
HMM mental abuse is real but then again some may Claim u mentally abusive to them just because just like King Saul and the Pharoah at the time of the exodus they refuse to listen to reason and you get blamed for it when u insist on doing things that are natural AND Reasonable to conclude.
FOR instance in a marriage one refuses to listen to their partners request and no amount of reason will change their heart . Is it then counted as being menatly abusive when the one being hurt by the refusal states or asks why u wont comply?
Is this now called nagging also to want the one that says they love you to show it in their actions and not just mt words? King SAUL wanted reconition and acted foolishly as many of us do at times but he hardens his heart and can not be reasoned with and this I say is happening more and more on a scale that is not always seen right away. . .
If one in a marriage wants things to go according to their own personal desires and tells the other they will do this or that how will they be at one ment one flesh IF the 2 are to be 1 how will this be if u choose to act on your own without reasonable accounting to the one u married?
You are right, Uncle Murray: Abuse is not a gender specific thing. Domestic violence happens against men physically like with women. However, statistics show that women and children are the most likely victims of abuse.
Some of that has to do with the roles that they are "conditioned" into and "expected" to be in (submissive). Being in submission to a person who does not love themself (no matter how much of a Christians they profess to be) or has control issues is a very dangerous thing.
You know as well as I do that statistics can be massaged to support just about anything a person wants it to say. Like the old saying: "Figures never lie, but liars can figure." No reference to you intended.
The point is that domestic abuse can occur in areas that can be tallied and areas that cannot be tallied. My first mother-in-law was the most abusive person I have ever met. When she found she could not control me, she found a boyfriend for my wife and she got pregnant with him and left, with our children. There is one for the statistics. This was a well known fact in the area. I met the pastor who married us some 20 years later. He commented that he knew our marriage would never last, but there was no way to tell me. He was not at all surprised how it ended.
But, then my oldest son married a girl whose mother was a spitting image of his grandmother, if possibly, even worse. She had (they both had) such insecurity problems that it was frightening. Her husband was so abused that he would go and hide in his bedroom (they had seperate bedrooms). I suspect that my son's daughters will grow up to be the same kind of a person too. They will attempt to run their husbands life, then when he finds shelter in another woman's arm, they too will shout: "I am being abused." An so the circle widens.
No physical sign, at least unless one is tuned into them. No broken arms, no black and blue marks, no crying in the night (at least that will be admitted to). So, these incidents never make it into the statistics. Yet, they are equally bad if not worse than the rape, sexual incest and physical abuse that can be tallied. In fact, they are often the cause of the physical abuse. The mental bruises will take many times longer to heal than the physical, if in fact they ever do.
No, I am not defending or castigating either type of abuse or either gender, as it is a two way street. I do believe I have seen a major spectrum of abuse (although not experienced it first hand) on the part of both genders, just as you have.
As counselors, we need to constantly be aware of the unseen abuse along with the abuse that can be tallied.
Even so, Come Lord Jesus.