Could my husband really be an abuser? Types of domestic abuse–part 1

Today we’re going to begin taking a look at types of domestic abuse. Any type of abuse–whether it leaves a mark or not–is still abuse, is still wrong, and in God’s eyes, is still sin.

If you are being abused by your husband, you might not even realize it yet. He will do everything he can to keep the knowledge that he is an abuser away from you. It serves his purposes to do so. If you realized what he is doing, if you knew how much he enjoys controlling, demeaning or hurting you, you might not stand for it and it’d be all over for him. So he whitewashes it. He denies fault. He blames you, his work, his family, his experiences, his boss, his bad day, for his outbursts, his failures, and his cruelties. If only you, they, he, she, it, hadn’t happened, hadn’t said or done that, he wouldn’t have reacted the way he did.

He wants you to believe he’s not abusing you so that’s the narrative he feeds you. He mixes in fun times, good times, happy days, with the cruelties. You want to believe that that guy–the good guy him–is the real him, the real guy you are married to. Anyway, yeah, he might be demanding, harsh, have a short fuse, insist on his own way, be opinionated, brash, or cold but those things don’t necessarily mean he’s abusive–do they? To answer that question, the thing you want to look at is–is there a pattern? Does he believe that you have no rights? Does he elevate himself above you? Does what he wants or needs matter to him more than what you want or need? Does he dominate you? Does he control you? Are you able to be you around him? Are you afraid of him? Do you have to “walk on eggshells” around him?

Anybody can have a bad day and be opinionated, brash, cold, etc., then feel guilty about it and ask forgiveness. Not that we shouldn’t work on such things, we absolutely should–especially if we are a Christian–but failing is a natural part of being human. I’m not in the business of man-bashing. What I’m seeking to do is alert other women to the truth that domestic abuse is all too real, all too common, and not always easy to identify. It took me years of constant put-downs, being harangued, being threatened with “I’m going to punish you” “I’m going to thrash you”, being told that I didn’t have a right to say, do, think or feel anything the things that I said, did, thought or felt, of him driving recklessly when he was angry, punching holes through doors to get to me when I was hiding from him, of calling me all sorts of names, and so much more, to finally realize I–and my children–were living with an abuser. He scared me over and over for so many years. I walked on eggshells constantly with him, but he was also really good at mixing his abusive ways in with gentleness, kindness, and laughter–so I simply didn’t see it.

It took the abuse escalating to a very dangerous level before I identified it. I don’t want that to happen to you.

Today we’ll consider three ways your husband might be abusing you.

Your husband might physically abuse you:

Your abuser abuses you behind closed doors. Where others see a man in control, a happy easy-going man, a friendly helpful man, you know this same man as a man who goes out of his way to harm you. He might drive recklessly with you in the car in order to scare you or as a means of punishing you. He might have hit you and left visible bruises, but he might also have hurt you without leaving bruises or left bruises only in inconspicuous places. He might have tripped you, punched you, hit you, kicked you, shaken you, shoved you, slapped you, spanked you, or whipped you. He might have bitten you, burned you, cut you, or choked you.

He might have threatened you with a knife, a gun, another weapon, or grabbed you or pushed you. He might have forced you against a wall in order to restrain you, to keep you from moving, or to prevent you from getting away from him, or to stop you from leaving the room.

He might have stripped your clothes off. He might have pulled your hair, or twisted your arm behind your back. He might have scratched you, smothered you until you were nearly unconscious, or verbally threatened you with harm. He may have tickled you excessively in order to punish you.

Maybe he knows you have an injury, have had surgery, or that you have a long-term condition such as arthritis, and he uses those things in order to inflict pain or fear. He might grab a hurt arm, bump into you when you are in pain, or force you to serve him or have sex soon after surgery or childbirth. He might do things accidentally that are designed to cause a flare-up of symptoms.

He may have locked you into a room, in a closet, in a work shed, in the garage, or locked you in your house. He might have locked you out of the house. He might refuse to allow you to get enough rest, or refuse to allow you to sleep when you need to.

He might threaten to hurt or actually hurt your pets. He might kick them, throw them, hit them, or in some other way wound them in order to frighten or control you.

He might throw things, punch holes in walls, break things, threaten to destroy something important to you, or in other ways put on a show of force designed to frighten you.

He might have you living in unsafe conditions. He might refuse to let you cool down the house in Summer or heat it up in Winter. He might not allow you to purchase needed prescription medications. He might not allow you to see a doctor or dentist when you need to. He might not provide proper food or enough food for you.

Your partner might be “into” DD or Domestic Discipline. The abuser might “discipline” you for failure to obey, to be submissive or simply because he’s the man and you’re the woman. He might tell you that he’s doing you a favor or is showing love by taking the time to punish you. Often this type of discipline is done through spanking, whippings, writing out, being locked in a room and so on. Sometimes, it strays over into sexual abuse through forcing you to have sexual relations with another man, or through allowing another man to punish you.

 

Your husband might be a sexual abuser:

Your physical relationship with your husband is supposed to one where sex is utilized as God meant it to be: as a wonderful gift. If your husband is a sexual abuser, he might force you to participate in painful, humiliating, unwanted, or bizarre sexual acts. He might forcefully strip your clothes off as a display of power or as a punishment. He might strip you and say it’s all in fun. He might strip you in front of other people or threaten to do so. He might force you to use the bathroom in front of him.

He might completely control when and if sexual relations take place, refusing intimacy you when you want to be intimate and demanding sex whenever and wherever he wants it.

He might force you to have sex in places where you might be discovered such as in the woods, in the car, in someone’s home, in a public building’s restroom, or where your children might overhear, because it gives him a thrill. He might force, or threaten to force, you to have sex with others. He might insist that you dress in clothes that make you uncomfortable in order to put you on display for his friends.

He might make you perform your chores in the nude, refuse to let you wear under garments, or burn or destroy your clothes so you have nothing to wear. He might lock you in your home while forcing you to be in the nude. He might fantasize about forcing you to be naked in public or actually force you to do so (perhaps by making you undress in the car, or by making you let the dog in while nude). He might force you to undress in the car and walk naked from the car to your house.

He might wake you up to have sex when you’re exhausted or sick. He might intentionally fail to let you get enough sleep by refusing to let you go to sleep at night until you’ve satisfied him. He might have sex with you while you are asleep.

He might force you to view pornography. He might fantasize during sexual relations about other men raping or punishing you. He might fantasize about other women, about having sex with other women, about punishing other women, or compare your body to that of other women during sexual relations. He might make fun of certain aspects of your body, compare your body to other women (often those he’s seen through pornography), make fun of or demean your sexual needs or desires.

He might have had sexual relations with an unsafe partner and knowingly expose you to the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease.

He might withhold sex as punishment. He might hurt you physically during sexual relations through spanking you, hitting you, slapping you, or biting you. He might curse you or call you vulgar names during sex. He might rape you either vaginally, anally, or with an object.

He might physically punish your intimate parts (this can include hitting, squeezing, tying, whipping, biting, spanking, cutting, or pinching your intimate parts, using ice or hot sauce on or in intimate parts, the use of clothes pins, rubber bands, ropes, paddles, whips, chains, etc. in any type of discipline or punishment of any form aimed at intimate parts). He might treat you as a sex object, or tell you your only worth is in pleasing him.

He might demand that “my sexual needs be met” because he’s “a man and I have needs that you don’t understand” even though you are sick, exhausted, you’ve just given birth, had a C-section, are recovering from surgery or from an injury—thus possibly causing you harm or pain.

 

Your husband might humiliate you as a means of controlling or punishing you:

You abuser might make cruel remarks towards you and then claim that it was a joke, or he might use hostile humor to put you in “your place”.

He might publicly criticize you or make you do things. He might make you do things that are degrading or “punish” you in humiliating ways–such as making you stand in the corner, locking you in a room, or forcing you to write out sentences or passages for punishment. He might make you do things that you don’t want to do, to eat foods you don’t like, or put you in situations that will be highly embarrassing. He might make fun of you or lecture you in front of the children, your family, his family or others. He might make you stand before him not speaking while he lectures you on all you’ve done wrong.

He might make fun of you for your physical appearance, your abilities (or perceived lack thereof), your skills as a mother, your abilities in housekeeping, your cooking abilities, level of knowledge, etc.

He might force you to stand before him, clothed or naked, in order to be “lectured” as to how you are displeasing to him.

He might repeatedly tell you that you aren’t good enough as you are that you must change in order to please him or to be worthy of him. He might tell you that you aren’t as smart as he is, as good-looking as some other woman (or women), that you are not very bright, have no common sense, have no style, no taste, or that you aren’t very educated (even if you are).

He may make fun of the people and things that you love. He may make fun of your heritage, your hometown, of even of the books, music, or movies that you find enjoyable.

He may make you do chores naked. He may make you do some degrading act (such as cleaning the floor on your knees with a toothbrush). He might make you punish yourself by whipping yourself, or by standing in front of him recounting how you have failed him. He may make you confess that you were wrong in some way or about something or that you treated him badly in front of others when, in fact, it isn’t true.

Just writing this out, remembering, makes me sick to my stomach…and it should. Domestic abuse in any form is a corruption of God’s intention for marriage. If you see yourself in the things I’ve written, please get help.

Next time, we’ll look at more types of domestic abuse.

Soli Deo gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic Violence Resources…..Courtesy of AARDVARC

A VOICE FOR HOPE

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES

The organization affectionately called AARDVARC stands for An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Resource Center. Their fabulous website is a treasure trove of information and help that most victims do not even know exist. Take a look here and then go check them out! http://www.aardvarc.org.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE
or #HOPE on Verizon wireless phones (toll and airtime free), TTY: 1-800-787-3224

How to Change Your Social Security NumberChanging Your Social Security Number: The SSA joins with other Federal agencies to provide greater assistance to victims of domestic violence. Some victims seeking to elude their abuser and reduce the risk of further violence choose to establish a new identity. As part of that effort, it may be helpful to obtain a new Social Security number (SSN).

Give Back a Smile ProgramGive Back a Smile Program: This program is dedicated to providing cosmetic dental care at no cost to all survivors of domestic violence. Potential applicants…

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Domestic Violence Emergency Checklist

Purposefully Scarred

Link to National Domestic Violence Hotline: Safety Planning Link to National Domestic Violence Hotline: Safety Planning

Perhaps you are making plans to leave a domestic violence situation. Or maybe you suspect that a quick escape will be necessary in the future. In the heat of the moment, your number one priority is your safety and the safety of your children. You won’t be thinking as you rush out the door, “What legal documents will I need if I report this to the police?” It’s not uncommon for people leaving a domestic violence situation to have few, if any, personal belongings with them when they arrive at a safe house or refuge.

Making a safety plan is incredibly important. Planning ahead can ease the level of stress and will likely increase your safety during and after your departure.

Basic things which could increase your safety (and the safety of your children) while you are still living in a violent…

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Confused by Confusion

Overheard

Overheard:

“I’m always a little confused by my own mind …”

Sitting in abuse healing groups week in and week out over the years, I have heard this said – or some variation of it – hundreds of times.

As a survivor, I’ve experienced it myself, so I get it: sometimes your own mind can be the most confusing place to find yourself.

We seek truth, yet we shy away from it. We want to know, but we feel better off not knowing. We want to understand, but some of the pieces necessary for that seem to be missing.

On top of that, when we are high-functioning in at least one area of our life, the confusion confuses us: “Why am I so confused so often, and why can’t I figure this out? I do so well (in whatever area of life I am high functioning), yet I suck here.”

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You’re stronger than you think you are: Truths for the abused woman

When you’ve been abused, it is sometimes difficult to know what to believe or even who to believe. For starters, trust God. He and He alone is always, always, always, trustworthy. That truth has helped me more than any other in my efforts to overcome the effects of abuse in my life. Here’s some other truths that have helped me in my journey of healing.

1)  God hates abuse. God is a God of truth, love, mercy, and justice. He not only created and sustained everything, He cares about those of us who inhabit His world. God is all-powerful and all-seeing and He sees your abuser for who he is, sees what he is, even if nobody else does. He notes every falsehood, every abuse, every cruelty, every selfish act and will hold your abuser accountable for it all. He hates what your abuser has done to you. He hates it when your abuser twists Scripture to subjugate you. No matter what you abuser has told you, God hates what he is doing. God stands with you, not with him. You are not furthering the work of God by being abused. You are not sharing in the sufferings of Christ by enduring abuse. Before He went to the cross to die for His people, even Jesus Himself escaped those who wanted to do Him harm. The Bible is replete with stories of those who intentionally ran from those who wanted to hurt them. David did. Moses did. You are not called to be a martyr to a cruel and callous husband.

2) You’re stronger than you think you are. You are a woman who has survived the fires of abuse. By simply surviving, you’ve already fought more battles than most folks ever have to fight. You may be battle-scarred but you are also one amazing woman. You are seriously one of the strongest women in the world. Be proud of yourself.

3) Your abuser is cruel and untrustworthy, but not everybody is. Abusers mess with your mind. Then they make you doubt them, yourself, and everyone else. Here’s the truth: Your abuser is unworthy of your trust; never believe them. Learn to trust yourself. Learn to trust others. Not everyone is an abuser. Not everyone is cruel. Not everyone lies.

4) Don’t trust a single word an abuser says. Abusers lie. That’s what they do. It’s who they are. If they want to mess with your mind, they’re going to lie to you. If they want to make you doubt yourself, they’re going to lie to you. If they want to convince you they’ve changed, they’re going to lie to you.

5) Tomorrow is another day. Just because bad things have happened in the past, doesn’t mean that they have to keep on happening. You can change your life. You can leave your abuser. You can go to school, get a job, start a business, move, find new friends, discover who you are, and what you like. Tomorrow can be good even if your yesterdays weren’t. It may be hard, but it’s also worth it. And, if you can’t get away, still do all that you can to work towards healing. Study God’s Word. Read non-fiction books. Exercise. Look for ways to grow and learn. There just may come a day that all of your effort pays off.

6) Your children are depending on you. Your abuser is a bad husband. He’s also a bad father. Even if he does good things for his children or is good with them, by abusing you, he is a bad father. There’s nothing that he can teach them except that which is bad. Therefore, your children need you to live out truth before them. To speak the truth about the abuse without giving into bitterness. To be a godly woman. To heal, grow, and help them to do the same. You are their only hope at a normal life, to understand what healthy relationships are like (and what they aren’t like), to get to know who God is and to learn to trust Him for their salvation. Focus on God and, for your children’s sake, move forward.

7) Abuse doesn’t define you. Abuse is something that was done to you, it isn’t who you are. All guilt for the abuse should be laid at the feet of your abuser: What happened between you was and is and will always be his fault. The shame is all his. Even if you failed in some way as a wife, that didn’t give him a right to abuse you. Repent of any failings before the Lord and trust in His grace. Study the Bible and learn to see yourself through God’s eyes. Be thankful, live, learn and grow. See yourself as worthy of love, worthy of happiness, and as one who is worthy of good things happening in her life.

8) Look for beauty. We live in a fallen world. Evil is a reality. But so is beauty, love, grace, mercy and truth. God is still God. There’s beauty all around. Intentionally look for beauty. Find it in your child’s smile. Inhale the sweet scent of a baby. Hold a wriggling puppy. Eat something you enjoy and take the time to really taste it. Drink a glass of refreshing cold water. Look at the wondrous beauty of trees. Inhale the scent of freshly mown grass. Pick a wildflower.

9) See your abuser for who he is. He is a cruel, selfish, heartless man; if he weren’t, he wouldn’t do to you what he’s done. No matter what he says, if he is abusing you, he is not a Christian. Never trust him. Never believe him. He may have been abused himself at some point but that neither explains nor is a defense for his abuse of you. If he wanted help, he could get it. Don’t defend him. Don’t explain his abuse away. Don’t enable him. As long as you are married to him, do strive to be a godly wife but that does not mean that you should endure abuse. If you can leave him, go. If you can’t, read up on abuse. Educate yourself as to what it is. Learn to identify an abuser’s tactics. Learn what true repentance is. Learn to stand up for yourself. Speak truth to yourself and to others about what you’ve gone through.

10) Trust in Jesus. This world isn’t everything. We’re here for a very short while. Eternity is forever. Everyone dies. Everyone will live again somewhere. There’s only two possibilities: Heaven or hell. The only path to heaven is through Jesus, the Son of God. To live with Him in eternity, we must live for Him in the here and now. To do that we must repent of our sins and obey Him. There’s no voice out of clouds, no reading tea leaves, no psychic readings, no experience that points the way to the truth. There’s only one truth: God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Read His Word, believe it, obey it.

What would you add to this list?

Evangelicals and Toxic Masculinity

Samuel D. James

One of the worst trends in our culture today is the dominance of identity politics. Now by “identity politics” I am not trying to signal an oncoming conservative diatribe about social progressivism and liberal politicians. The identity politics I have in mind are everywhere–on the right, on the left, down the middle, and even in the margins. American discourse, whether political, religious, or otherwise, is riddled with tribalism and virtue signaling on the one hand, and cynicism and paranoia on the other. The result is that it’s becoming rare to see two opposite sides of an ideological spectrum actually learn something from one another.

The example I have in mind is something of a confession. When I began reading a few years ago complaints from a leftward branch in American evangelicalism about a “toxic masculinity” in our culture, I instinctively dismissed them. I knew that many of these voices abhorred ideas…

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Tim Challies Review of Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife
by Ruth Tucker

Now here is a provocative title for a book: Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife. The subtitle brings a measure of explanation: “My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse.” Ruth Tucker’s new book is really two books in one—it is her harrowing account of being married to an abusive man and, at the same time, her critique of complementarian theology and an associated call for full egalitarianism. In my assessment it succeeds well as the first book but falls prey to significant flaws as the second.

Before I go any further, let me pause to define those key terms. “Complementarianism is the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.” “Egalitarianism asserts that there should be no gender-based role distinctions or limitations placed on women in the home, church, or society. According to this view, women can serve as pastors in light of passages like Galatians 3:28.”1 With that in mind, here is my review of Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife.

In 1967 Ruth Tucker fell in love. She was at Word of Life Island in the heart of the Adirondacks when she met a tall, handsome young man who swept her off her feet. Romance blossomed and was followed by walks, talks, letters, and courtship. Even at this time she began to notice concerns, little warning signs that perhaps this man was too demanding and controlling. But in the blush of young love she overlooked his flaws and soon they were married. They settled into life together, she as an academic and he as a pastor. It did not take long before she was exposed to all manner of abuse—emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual. For 19 years she endured this marriage before she finally escaped. They were later divorced. She tells this biographical account throughout the book, pausing often to draw lessons from it.

To continue reading, please go to http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/black-and-white-bible-black-and-blue-wife

How can the church minister to children of domestic abusers?

1 Peter 4: 10, As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

That we are to minister one to another is a foundational truth of Christianity. That, in many churches, the idea of ministering to anybody has been reduced to formal ministries, projects, and the such is a modern church truth. I guess I’m rather old-fashioned in my views as I am against this type of ministering; the reasons why are varied but for the most part, it’s that, when ministering becomes formalized, it generally doesn’t get done, and only a small group of people end up doing the ministering. Plus, most important, it ends up being man-centered rather than Christ-centered.

The church that I was raised in actually took the idea of ministering to each other to heart. When someone died, a baby was born, an accident or illness befell a family, or there was some other momentous event in someone’s life, the church was there. They showed up–as a whole. The children, like me, who were without fathers, either due to death or divorce, were taken under the wing of the church as a whole. I never felt like an outcast because I didn’t have a dad in the home or because he’d been abusive. I never felt marked out as different. I felt loved, included, secure in the fact that I was one of them and they, my church family, were part of me.

This isn’t usually true today. Though my children have also been affected by domestic abuse, the churches response has been markedly different towards them than mine was towards me. This is true though I have actually begged–BEGGED–the church leaders to help me help my children deal with things by talking to them or helping me to find someone else to talk to them. Their response? To ignore me, to tell me that “I don’t think that we can do that”, to tell me that I should “Give up because things aren’t going to get better anyway and nothing will make a different”. One preacher even turned and walked out of the room to get away from me.

That’s taking God’s command to love one another and to minister one to another seriously, isn’t it?

No. No, it’s not.

God’s heart towards the oppressed is so beautiful. There’s a plethora of Bible verses on how we, His people, are to care for the downtrodden, the oppressed, the poor, and the widows and the orphans in our midst. Yet, we are usually too busy to even consider getting involved.

Maybe, they might think, it’s too messy to get involved with a family either still living in domestic abuse or coming out of domestic abuse. Maybe they don’t know what to say, or don’t know what the family might need, or it just makes them uncomfortable.

Perhaps they think it’s dangerous.

Maybe it’s confusing–all the accusations and ugliness.

Maybe God will overlook their failure to get involved this one time.

Maybe. Or maybe He meant what He said when He commended the Good Samaritan who got involve in a very messy, very dangerous, potentially deadly, situation when no one else–none of the leaders of His people–would.

Maybe He meant what He said when He commanded us to show love and care for one another:

John 13: 34, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Mark 9: 35, And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

2 Corinthians 4: 5, For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Mark 10: 45, For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

James 4: 17, Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

There are many among us who need what Christ’s body alone can give. Our love, our attention, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, help with some project, food, money, clothes. Just somebody to be there. The poor in our congregations need our help. The lonely, weak or sick among our people need our help. Single moms need our help. The women who are struggling because they’ve had no choice but to leave dangerous husbands behind need our help.

And the children of these evil men, men who have failed in their duties as fathers, men who, either overtly or by negligence, in one way or another, have abused them, also need our help.

They need you.

So what can you, the body of Christ, do to minister to children of domestic abusers?

What I sought for my children was to have someone mentor them, hold a Bible study with them, maybe spend some time with them–because I wanted them to see godly men in action and not have the only man in their lives be the man who could never be counted on to do, believe, or say the same thing twice in a row. I didn’t want their idea of manhood to be influenced only by a man who raged when he believed he’d been wronged, who made obscene gestures at them–his own children. A man who yelled at them, called them names, or who made angry threats towards their pets or their things. A man who claimed to be a follower of Jesus while making fun of us for taking God’s Word seriously.

But the church couldn’t do that. Because.

Because. That was their excuse. That’s something they will have to answer to the Lord for. I hope your church does better. I pray that all true churches will want to do better–for the Lord’s sake. For Jesus who loved them enough to die for them–perhaps they can find some way to serve these little ones, these precious children and teens, for Him. 

There aren’t a lot of qualifications. There’s something everyone can do. Younger or older, single or married, you can do something to serve these children. You just have to love Jesus enough to want to show up for His people who need you.

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

I’d love to hear your ideas; meanwhile, here’s some of my own:

  • Take them fishing. Seriously. A lot of good talking can be done over a fishing pole.
  • Help them to learn to garden. That gets them out of the house, gets them doing something constructive, while also helping them to find a way to help their Moms.
  • Teach the girls to bake, to sew, to cook, to crochet.
  • Teach the guys to hunt, to build things, to blacksmith, to do leather working.
  • Or reverse it–some women like to build, some guys like to cook.
  • Take a walk, a jog, or a run with them.
  • If they are old enough and mature enough, have them over to help you clean, to babysit or to do some other task that you could pay them for. Helps them, helps their Mom, helps you.
  • Have a Bible study and invite them.
  • Take them someplace just for fun.
  • While their Mom is at work, help them clean up their homes.
  • Get them involved in doing repairs on their homes. Teach them to sand, to paint, to caulk, etc.
  • Get them involved in cleaning someone else’s home for free–just because it needs to be done.
  • Get them involved in maintaining church property (cutting the grass, doing repairs, deep cleaning, making communion bread, etc.)
  • If you live on a farm, take them there and let them enjoy just being there.
  • Ask them how they are and really listen to the answer.
  • Let them know that they can talk to you about what they are going through.
  • If you know someone who has gone through abuse, ask them to talk with them.
  • Teach them to repair small engines.
  • Teach them basic car maintenance.
  • Ask them to come along on a family trip.
  • Ask them and their mom to come over for dinner. A lot of couples don’t think about inviting the single mom over because it’s awkward. Not being invited–ever–is awkward and painful for her.
  • Ask them and their mom to go to the zoo, to a fair, fishing, hiking, to go…just anywhere…just to do something normal and fun.
  • Treat them normal.
  • Be aware that their circumstances are anything but.

Any other ideas?

Soli Deo gloria!

 

 

Some thoughts on domestic abuse, complementarianism, patriarchal teachings and the Gospel

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I am a homeschooling mom, a conservative Christian, a woman who believes the Bible teaches that the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. I believe that the Bible teaches that men are to lead our churches. I am also a woman who has been abused by a man who took scriptural teachings and twisted them into something that they were never meant to be. A woman who has often been ignored and even maligned by the church for asking for help and daring to speak out about his abuse. A woman who has been attacked by fellow believers for continuing to believe that Scripture teaches that men are to lead our churches and our homes.

Why, I wonder, can’t we address abuse while upholding Scripture?

Why can’t our leaders follow God all of the way, expressing all of His truth, not just the ones that don’t make them uncomfortable?

Why can’t we uphold the truth on this side of the spectrum while also upholding it on that side of the spectrum also?

For instance…

  • The scriptural truth that God calls men to be the leaders of their homes and of the church shouldn’t devolve into non-scriptural patriarchal teachings that elevate men in ways God never intended. These non-scriptural teachings encourage dominance of men over women and over their families; they also help to set the stage for domestic abuse within some homes while also helping to hide the truth that domestic abuse does exist within some homeschooling families as well as within the church itself.
  • The truth that God hates abuse and oppression of all kinds–including domestic abuse–shouldn’t just belong to the more liberal-minded churches.
  • The truth that God allows divorce in cases of domestic abuse, the truth that Malachi 2: 16 has been twisted into saying something that it was never intended to say, shouldn’t just belong to the liberal churches, either.

If we allow that which Scripture does not we are guilty of adding to God’s Word. If we ignore or teach against those things which God allows because it makes us uncomfortable or because we’ve never done it that way, then we are guilty of subtracting from God’s Word. And, if we are silent about any or all of it when we should speak up, we are aligning ourselves with evil.

There is much evil in the world today. There is also much evil masquerading as good right in our own churches. There is only one cure for man’s sinfulness and that is the pure, undiluted, Gospel–the Gospel neither added to nor taken from. There is likewise only one way to address the plague of domestic abuse within our communities and within our own churches and that is also the pure, undiluted, Gospel. When God’s Word in its beautiful completion and entirety is taught, believed and lived out, the power of evil dwindles, shrivels, and dies.

I’m not asking for churches to focus all of their teaching on domestic abuse. I would stand against that in every way. I’m not asking them to set up everything in their churches to focus on abuse victims; to do so would be to make our churches man-centered rather than Christ-centered–something that is innately evil. What I am asking is that our spiritual leaders teach and embrace all of the teachings of Scripture–even the uncomfortable ones–without twisting them into something evil and vile. Complementarian teachings are, I believe true and beautiful and absolutely based in Scripture. Twist those truths into patriarchal teachings that so many churches now embrace and you have built a breeding place for domestic abuse; ignore them and you are subtracting from Scripture. Take a stand for the sanctity of marriage, teach the truth that marriage is sacred, holy and is meant to be permanent and you are honoring the Lord; twist such teachings into the permanence view of marriage, or ignore the real meaning behind Malachi 2: 16, and you are teaching falsehoods.

Domestic abuse isn’t just your average normal run-of-the-mill type of marital problem. There really aren’t two sides to every single story. When you have two people who won’t get along, who aren’t “in love” with each other anymore, who make each other unhappy or who simply won’t quit arguing, there are two sides–he said, she said–and both are probably, in some way, wrong. In such a case, those involved need to take responsibility for their own actions, stop being selfish, listen, serve one another, and remember and uphold the vow that they made before God. There’s little to no wiggle room in such situations. Such partners probably need counseling, maybe even couples counseling, and they need to decide to love God and each other more than they are loving themselves. However, domestic abuse isn’t the same type of case. In abuse cases, you have one spouse who is trying to control, dominate, wound and destroy the other spouse–there is no room for finding common ground in such an evil environment. If our leaders understand this–while upholding the truth of Scripture in its entirety–then great strides will be made in ministering to abuse victims–and doing so in a way that is Christ-honoring while looking out for the safety of the victims.

 

 

God Hates Divorce, part 2

A continuation….

My Only Comfort

In my previous post, I showed how the Hebrew of Malachi 2:16 has only one possible translation that takes into account the grammar and pronunciation of the Hebrew words:

“Because he hates, send away,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and violence covers his garment.”

The question now is how that translation fits with the immediate context of Malachi.  The pericope is 2:10-16:

 10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

 11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.

 12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of…

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