But Can’t God Change an Abuser’s Heart?

This question comes up a lot. It is no secret that I have taught frequently that abuse is grounds for divorce. I believe that even ONE time of physical violence or expression of hatred is a breaking of the vows (or the covenant, if you prefer) of marriage. The innocent party has every right to get whatever legal assistance she (or he) needs, up to and including divorce.

I also believe that the one who has been harmed is able to judge their safety far better than I can, and I will support whatever they decide to do.

But when I say that, it is almost certain the someone will quote 1 Peter 3 to me.

3 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. (1 Pet. 3:1–2.)

But understanding the context of a passage is crucial to understanding the passage. Peter is speaking of women newly converted, learning about their freedom in Christ, and asking what to do about their husbands who do not believe.

It isn’t about abusive husbands in the 21st century. If a man (or a woman) breaks their vows, and divorce is possible, that is another subject.

In this passage, Peter is addressing newly converted wives. Just as with male converts, the greatest witness one can have is to shine the meekness and restfulness in heart to a restless and proud world.

But maybe that would be another blog.

For now, I would like to answer the question, “But can’t God convert my abusive husband?”

Or the pastor tells you to stick in your marriage, even if you are in danger, because God can change a man’s heart.

Abusers know that this is the hope of the believer, because they use it to keep their victims in bondage. “I know I’ve been a bad husband, but I am changing. God is working in me. I am going to be better. I know I’ve hurt you but I’m really going to try to stop.”

So let’s look at that question.

Can God change an abuser. Of course he can.

But now let’s talk about wisdom. We know, first of all, that the change of a man’s heart (or a woman’s heart) takes the almighty power of God, the same power that created the world and raised Jesus from the dead. Apart from God’s almighty, supernatural power, there is no redemption or salvation. It is nothing less than a re-creation from the shambles of the ruined one.

In other words, regeneration is a miracle of God’s power. It is not natural. It is not a part of the order of creation. It is God reaching into history and breaking the power of sin and death by the death and resurrection of his begotten son, and the indwelling of the Spirit of Life.

Jesus changing water to wine was also a miracle by the almighty power of the Creator. So was his walking on the water.

Jesus enabled Peter to walk on water. He gave the apostles the power to cast out demons and heal the sick.

But that is not in the ordinary order of creation. WE, as humans, do not have an audience in the throne room of God, and are not privy to the roll sealed inside and out. We don’t know what God is going to do. But we CAN act according to wisdom.

Knowledge of God’s power teaches us that Jesus can enable us to walk on water. Wisdom teaches us to build bridges. This also is honoring to God and his creative power.

Knowledge of God’s power teaches us that Jesus can turn water into wine. Wisdom teaches us to get a job and find a good wine vendor.

Knowledge of God’s power teaches us that Jesus can heal the sick. Wisdom teaches us to get vaccinated and go to a doctor.

And here is the pertinent one. Knowledge of God’s power teaches us that God can take the vilest sinner, even an abusive man, and make him a servant, giving him a new heart and a new spirit.

But wisdom teaches us that as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly (Proverbs 26:11).

We are not to tempt God, placing our lives in danger in the hopes that he will work a miracle. We are to live in wisdom, according to the natural order of creation.

A fool remains a fool.

Wisdom teaches us that a man who abuses an animal will also abuse his wife.

Wisdom teaches us that a man who strangles his lover has an extremely high probability of killing her eventually.

Wisdom teaches us that an angry man with a gun will eventually shoot someone in rage.

Wisdom teaches us that a man with no control over his anger will continue to have no control over his anger.

Wisdom teaches us that a woman who enjoys manipulation and control will continue to enjoy manipulation and control.

And wisdom teaches us that a man who enjoys manipulation, power, control, and inflicting pain and terror will continue to enjoy manipulation, power, control and inflicting pain and terror.

Let these words sink into your head. Your love won’t change him. Your pleas won’t change him. Your begging won’t change him.

You can’t convince him to live as a decent human being because he doesn’t want to and you can’t shame him into it.

The only hope for him is if God changes his heart.

And the wind blows where it will; God has mercy on whom he will have mercy and whom he will he hardens.

Hard truths, but that is how we are called to live.

Walk in love, live in kindness, expect the gospel to work in the hearts of men and women. But live in wisdom. Let God be God. The softening of the proud heart is too hard for you.

It is OK for you to free yourself of that burden.

One final note – wisdom lives according to the order of the created universe. Faith lives according to the promises. If you are a believer and love the Lord Jesus, he has promised you that he will complete that work in you. It IS a supernatural work and therefore not according to the order of the universe, but it is a promise of our almighty father. He WILL complete that work, because he has promised. So you can certainly rest in him. 


Filed under Abuse, Wisdom

16 responses to “But Can’t God Change an Abuser’s Heart?

  1. Hannah Syms

    This is spot on!!

  2. Beth Stem Rosser

    Thank you!

  3. Someone once told me a difficult truth, “they do it because they believe it is acceptable and they think they can get away with it.” This applies to everything, including abuse. Some of us can be such over thinkers we actually forget that truth. I tend to falsely believe if people just knew better they would do better, but that isn’t necessarily so.

  4. vltstein

    So I am taking a copy to my “divorce class” thank you.

  5. Susan

    but to patriarchal believers, the ones who tell women to stay with the abuser using scripture, to them it is always scripture first, scripture above all, and using the brains God gave you and wisdom, second or never.

    I have asked these pat believers when they say women must submit because it is a command in the bible, I ask them –“to what degree? How far do they go in submitting? ”

    And because patriarchy is an open ended concept that can be interpreted in so many ways with so many rules (mostly aimed at women) there are many varying degrees of answers, from when it starts to be physical abuse to using another scripture on how God make those who suffer to be stronger or that it is a blessing to suffer for Christ.

    • Janice

      Interesting,isn’t it,that those who insist it’s a blessing to suffer for Christ aren’t themselves doing any actual suffering ?

  6. Stephanie

    This post was spot on for me. I have lived in a loveless, neglected and zero intimacy shell of a marriage for some 20 years. My husband keeps saying he loves me. Because I wanted to submit to him, I let him have control over my joint account and he never gave an account of how he spent the money. He has not worked for at least 15 years citing looking after our son. He has looked after our son well taking care of his meals and school work, etc. My pastor said that my earnings belonged to my husband equally and he had the right to spend it, just as I had the right to spend my money.

    He had an affair many years ago and I forgave him, as my pastor suggested I do. He has problems with porn, substituting me with online women. I find it difficult to live with him and forgive him on a continual basis, as he is not interested in a marriage. H also used to abuse my son’s dog without any provocation by the dog, and his excuse was that the dog smelt bad.

    I have taken back control of the joint account and I don’t care if I am submitting to my husband or not. In fact I have been saving money secretly and have pooled up quite a bit for my future and my son’s, in case I have to leave my husband. My problem now is I cannot trust him, even though he seems to have changed for the better. I fear that its part of his manipulative ways, compounded by my pastor’s counsel.


  7. Bill Everson

    I would add one thing.

    Love doesn’t stand idle when another is being HARMED. Love INTERVENES.

    An early example is Jonathan and David. Jonathan’s father, the King, was seeking to harm David, Jonathan’s best friend.

    Jonathan INTERVENED on David’s behalf, spoke to his father in defense of David; telling his father, the KING, that what he was doing was wrong, risking his father’s wrath-and the result was that he had a spear thrown at him!

    When someone comes to you because they are being harmed, INTERVENE on THEIR BEHALF. Don’t sit there, idle, doing and saying nothing. LOVE ACTS.

    Love doesn’t stand there saying ‘go back and get beat up again’. Love INTERVENES. Love ACTS. Love PROTECTS. Love CARES FOR those who are wounded, helping them find HEALING.

    How did we come to a place where the most common advice is to GO BACK and LET THE ABUSER CONTINUE ABUSING YOU. While we do nothing, or offer prayers that won’t be heard becuase we’ve just done wrong by doing nothing to help someone hurting, who NEEDED to see the Love of God in our actions, but we didn’t act!

    The Jews wanted to harm Paul; the church got wind that a group of assassins were laying in wait for him. Did THEY say ‘go suffer for your faith; we’ll stay here and pray for you’. NO, the WHOLE FAITH COMMUNITY got together to PROTECT HIM; lowering him over a wall so that a group of assassins, waiting on the path to the gate were thwarted.

    LOVE demands we HELP the suffering not help their PERSECUTOR.

    What kind of TWISTED THINKING sends someone BACK into HARM’s WAY again,, doing NOTHING but voicing words worse than the hollowness of saying ‘be warm and be filled’?

    Go SUFFER MORE; we’ll stay here and watch from a distance.. as wolf attacks you again; maybe he won’t do so this time…

    NO, NO, NO! INTERVENE for the VULNERABLE and DEFENSELESS in our world, today, christian!

    If you don’t know what to do, SEEK COUNSEL. find OTHER christians. Ask those who KNOW.

    There are a whole lot of people, many of them non-christians, who staff domestic abuse centers across our nation. learn how to be ACTIVE in LOVE for the largest group of hurting people in our world today, a group the CHURCH LARGELY IGNORES.

    One in four girls, and one in six boys-are sexually assaulted in America. And they grow up to be women and men who struggle with the life long impact such abuse brings. HELP THEM, don’t IGNORE them.

    the law of LOVE demands it!.

    STOP the abuser; if you want to help them, you’ll do so by STOPPING THEIR SIN…. . INTERVENE and STOP THEM FROM CONTINUING IN THEIR SIN, and do what is necessary to hold them accountable. If you want to share the gospel with them, you’ll have an amazing opportunity to do so later; and they’ll actually have a captive audience if they don’t stop when you intervene. You’ll have plenty of time to share the gospel with them….and they will likely WANT YOU TO VISIT them in prison.

    Follow Matthew 18 RIGHTLY; when someone comes to you seeking your help because someone is HARMING them. Become the ‘second witness’ Matthew 18 calls for; , INTERVENE and become that SECOND WITNESS that is needed to STOP THE SINNER. Maybe they will LISTEN when you intervene and STOP THEM from continuing in their sin. if they don’t, then tell the whole faith community, and follow through, and REMOVE THEM from the faith community they are part of, so they don’t HARM ANYONE ELSE.

    We do the OPPOSITE of that too often, today. We PROTECT the WOLVES in our midst!

    How did we come to that place in American ‘evangelicalism’?

    where the WOLVES are PROTECTED and the ones who INTERVENE become those we ISOLATE and get rid of. (happened to me…)

    Be FAITHFUL to scripture. STOP the wicked man who is abusive; and INTERVENE as MATTHEW 18 calls us all to-become that SECOND WITNESS that speaks to him about his SINFUL, OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR. and if he doesn’t listen, TAKE IT TO THE CHURCH-now you have TWO witnesses to his recalcitrance, as required by matthew 18. FOLLOW THROUGH and REMOVE HIM from the fellowship so he doesn’t do what we FOSTER TODAY-harm MANY OTHERS.

    Matthew 18 is NOT where ‘discipline’ begins; Matthew 18, in a context of warning us of how dangerous bad theology is-(read the first verses, and the parable about a millstone around the neck if someone is preying on a CHILD as many abusers DO)-matthew 18 is about the LATE stage of ‘corrective’ discipline, how to REMOVE DANGEROUS PEOPLE FROM OUR FELLOWSHIP. Not a broad set of principles that define discipline. No, discipline begins at a ‘formative’ stage back in Exodus-immediately after the Law is given, we have a set of instructions about ‘discipling’ our children, as we rise up, as we eat breakfast, as we progress to the front porch, down the walk, out the gate into the world. Speak about the Love of God and ‘disciple’ God’s children; using ‘formative’ discipline. Corrective rarely, when needed. Matthew 18 comes in a context of warning about false teachers, and millstones around the neck, and the vulnerability of children; and takes us to excommunication to remove the wolves in our midst..with hope they find the path of true change of heart, by God’s Grace.

    We have many distortions in our theology in this area, today.

    God’s call to engage in ‘formative’ discipline is what the BULK of the New Testament covers. . How do we LOVE GOD and LOVE ONE ANOTHER-that’s FORMATIVE discipline, or ‘discipleship’-a participle form indicating the larger process that includes MUCH ‘formative’ discipline and SOME ‘corrective’ discipline and RARELY ‘excommunication’ with the recalcitrant sinners who have come in among us; the WOLVES that prey on the weak and vulnerable in our own midst, that we are warned to watch out for.

    A man HARMING a woman is a WOLF… and needs to be REMOVED from the flock of God; NOT PROTECTED.

    How did we come to a place where we have this so badly twisted, today, that we marginalize our wounded, and protect wolves?!

    Learn how to LOVE those GOD loves-and PROTECT them. INTERVENE when you see abuse; GET INVOLVED. LOVE the HURTING in our world; defend them, stand WITH THEM, act in THEIR best interests. SPEAK OUT.. .take ACTION.

    Defend the widow and orphan and those that Jesus came to SAVE-the downcast POOR, the CAPTIVES to the shame cycle abusers trap them in, the blind by not hiding the light under a bushel but WALKING IN THE LIGHT and letting the LOVE OF JESUS SHINE in YOUR LIFE and witness; FREE the oppressed; and enfold them in GOD”S Love!

    Protect them. INTERVENE and take the abuse YOURSELF if need be-and bring OTHERS from the faith community with you if the abuser won’t stop from your efforts alone. And CLEARLY get RID OF SUCH WOLVES-that’s what Matthew 18 REALLY is telling us to DO, and we do THE OPPOSITE today!

    LOVE doesn’t stand IDLE watching, as hurting people continue to suffer.

    what TWISTED THEOLOGY is being spoken today!

    I took action to stop an abuser. But I had followed this twisted logic we teach, FIRST. when I acted to stop him, bringing a formal complaint, joined by two colleagues in a medical school I served in as a faculty member, the wolf who preyed on women who worked for him, harassing them severely enough that administrators had to conclude he’d created an UNLAWFUL ‘hostile work environment’ but side stepping the criminal complaints, never turning them over to any authority for investigation and prosecution, they acted in evil, returning him to his position of supervision over the women he’d been abusing.

    That was a dark day. But God is not mocked, God led me on a path that uncovered another decade long series of CRIMINAL acts; that forced the administration of my college to act.

    It cost my career to report crimes, TWICE.

    but i have NEVER ONCE had a moment’s regret for the action I took to intervene and STOP AN ABUSER.

    I wish I had greater wisdom at the time and might have found a course that would not have cost my career. I wish the faith community I belonged to had cared; but they did not. I look in the mirror every morning, knowing that, in spite of the cost, what I did was the loving thing to do.

    I wish the CHURCH had TAUGHT ME to do what I’ve written here. I wish we were ‘proactive’ in teaching each other, how to walk in LOVE in a way that impacts our world. It doesn’t. I wish MY OWN church had stood WITH ME when I was being harmed. but they did not stand with either the women, or me. To their shame, not mine…

    PROTECT others if you LOVE them. Wolves can’t pick off the weak and vulnerable UNLESS the flock lets them become ISOLATED.

    We ISOLATE those hurting becuase of ‘abuse’ today. We don’t know the gospel well enough, to know the power of God to OVERCOME SIN, and bring HEALING.

    We need to know God BETTER today. to know the POWER OF THE TRUE GOSPEL, to know JESUS, the author and perfector of our faith, well enough that we can LOVE GOD and LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR, truly!

    WHY do we ISOLATE the weak and vulnerable in our midst and ABANDON THEM when we SEE A WOLF ATTACKING THEM?

    We need to train one another to STAND TOGETHER and watch out for wolves-as we have been clearly warned to do in scripture.

    Modern shepherds know that all you need to protect a flock of sheep, is one Llama in their midst. One Llama, will become part of the flock; and they will keep the predators at bay, or defend the flock should a predator attack.

    We need a few Llama today, until our shepherds figure out that one of their PRIMARY tasks is to GUARD the sheep against wolves (Acts 20). We need to stand together and enfold the vulnerable in our midst, so they are safe from the wolves and can heal. We need to gather closely when there’s a wolf, and not rally around the wolf, instead! But that’s what we DO. How crazy is that?

    THREE TIMES in Paul’s parting words to the elders at Ephesus, as Luke records them in Acts 20, Paul speaks directly to shepherds about the danger of wolves!
    Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. Acts 20:28-31

    Let’s stop protecting the wolves and learn to intervene when the vulnerable in our world are being harmed…that’s the call of love, in the true gospel of Jesus.

    • Z

      WOW! I am so impacted in the best way by your words! I could not have said it even close to as well as you did.
      I was an abused sheep in a flock of pretend “christians” in my entire clan/cult who accepted and embraced both my abuser parents. They abused all us children as well as each other. We had to live in terror of physical violence every day all day. (Except when we went to Catholic school where the nuns hit us viciously and regularly for discipline! And that was a respite!)
      Not one Christian church person or leader or pastor that I reached out to in desperation all the years I went to a major denomination Christian church that also had a large Bible College EVER cared for me as a child or teen or even when I was an adult-still a devout Christian seeking their help as my family of origin continued to abuse me and eventually my husband verbally, mentally, spiritually and with always looming threats of violence. Then the final straw was the inevitable extremely violent attack on my husband and me when we started setting boundaries and consequences of periods of No Contact. The weapon attack by members of my now ex-family was brutal with severe injuries and was reported to police. That’s when ALL the “christians” I ever knew all my life in my extended family and lifelong church friends turned against us. And embraced, as always, my abusers. The culture of abuse was simply more of the same to them and totally acceptable!! They shunned US as the attackers smeared us and demanded they ostracize us and band together with them. And everyone did. None of them seemed to worry about Jesus’ own words about millstones and being thrown into the depths of the sea for harming children. Which led to continued lifelong abuse by them into adulthood. And led to physical chronic illnesses, PTSD, anxiety disorder and more that I deal with every day. And my abusers are STILL going to Christian churches (they hop around to different ones to put on their masks and sheep costumes for a wider audience in case word gets out about the truth of the wolves they really are. A lifelong strategy of theirs.)
      And my husband and I no longer feel safe in any church. Wolves are welcomed. And the rest seem to be wolf embracers. Even those who witnessed the childhood abuse with their own eyes. Those who lived upstairs or across the hall. They didn’t care then and they don’t care now. But they make a great “show” of their “christianity” in front of others still. They give their offerings and do “good works” as a show to try to fool God. They do fool Christians and pastors. They have bribed and groomed them from the beginning with gifts and dinners and money. All part of their strategy.
      So I THANK YOU for your most precise and spot-on exhortation of what the BIBLE says in SO MANY places about what to do when a wolf/abuser is in one’s church/midst. So sad that so few if any pay any heed to God’s Word about HIS STRATEGY!

    • voicilebois

      Amen! Well said.

  8. Lorraine Santos

    This is such freeing knowledge after my divorce from an emotional and spiritual destructive marriage that kept me in bondage for 20 years..

  9. Mike Krabbendam

    Luke 4 Jesus enters the synagogue in Nazareth and read this part of scripture;

    18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
    19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

    20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21And he began to say to them,

    “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

    Sam stated :
    Wisdom teaches us that a woman who enjoys manipulation and control will continue to enjoy manipulation and control.

    And wisdom teaches us that a man who enjoys manipulation, power, control, and inflicting pain and terror will continue to enjoy manipulation, power, control and inflicting pain and terror.

    Sam states the truth. He describes the behavior of a Narcissistic person. That type of personality comes out of the listeners in a visible form when Jesus continues to speak.

    23And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”
    24And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.
    25But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,
    26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
    27And there were many leapers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

    The expected response via wisdom would be; Yes Jesus you are right, but please explain what you read from Isaiah.

    The Narcissistic response is evident in the sudden tune of events. Jesus did what every preach needs to do. He stepped on their toes. He exposed who they really are.
    The response was “who are you to tell me I am wrong” “All you are is a puffed up carpenter’s son.”

    28When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.
    Through the instigation of Satan, His own people were driven to the point of killing Jesus by pushinging Him off a cliff .

    30But passing through their midst, he went away.

    Think about it. It is the Sabbath day. Everyone is in church. and such hatred and violence suddenly erupts.

    What happens in the world happens in the church. Church people are no better than the Jewish people in the time of Jesus.

    We go to church because Jesus after he died and paid for our sins, ascended to His Father and our Father.
    We need Jesus Christ in our lives.
    Jesus did not leave us alone. He sent His Spirit. The Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts.

    Jesus gave us the strength and power to stop the fiery darts of Satan. He gave us that gift because just as Jesus was Satan’s target. We, who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, are also Satan’s target.

    The power we were given, is not what we might expect.
    The Power we are given is to rely totally and 100 % on the Power of God, through Jesus Christ.
    While we are told to “be still and wait”; we are also told to put on the whole armour of God.

    When we put on the whole armour of God, we are protected by Him and given the power by Him, to stand firm and follow Jesus, who stood up to the abuse being thrown at him and walked away from the abusers.

    What abusers cannot tolerate, is boundaries.
    To stop abuse it need to be exposed.
    It needs to be preached off the pulpit.
    It needs to be talked about in bible study.
    It needs to be prayed about.

    It needs to be made clear that Jesus has died for your sins, that Jesus has bought you with His blood,
    That Jesus has given you the strength and power to stand up against abuse.
    Trust in God, put on the whole armour of God, every piece of it.
    God will give you the wisdom to fight, not only your abuse but to also help others who are abused.

    It does not matter how many times an abuser will apologize. What matters is that the abuser needs Jesus Christ as much as you need Jesus Christ.

    Narcissistic behavior is a personality disorder.
    A Narcissist needs professional help to stay on track.
    They need solid christians and christian counselors to help them master their sin.
    They need to respect boundaries.
    They need to find their self esteem in Jesus Christ.

    God can and will change the heart of an abuser.

    One of the ways He does it is through others who, point out in scripture the wrongness of abuse.

    We all need Jesus Christ. We all look forward to the day where sin is taken out of this world.
    While we wait we are to fight the good fight of faith.

    Sam, I encourage you to keep preaching, keep teaching and keep praying.

    We are all on life support- without Jesus Christ we are all dead.

  10. Anu Riley

    When I first saw the title, I didn’t know what to expect, except that it would be worth reading. It might be an in depth, comprehensive Bible study, or a few verses along with food for thought, or a personal testimony.

    Nothing wrong with any of those! However, when it comes to this topic, I find that offering Biblical common sense can have the most impact. And that is what I found here, and why it touched so many hearts. It simply made sense, and it wasn’t too hard to grasp. It can speak to anyone, no matter what season of life they are in.

    I am actually a bit wary of “saturating” this topic with Scripture, because what often happens is that both sides end up simply trying to “out-verse” each other in order to prove their points. That does not really accomplish anything.

    Sometimes you can find wisdom in the most unlikely of places. Case in point, the lyrics to Janet Jackson’s song “Nasty boys” come to mind: “No, my first name ain’t baby. It’s Janet. Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.”

    The more you disrespect me, the more I will command you to respect me.

    My first name is not wife, worker, woman. Don’t treat me like that. I have a first name. If you don’t respect me properly, we can take it all the way to up to you calling me “Your Majesty.” (I’m being a bit cheeky there, FYI!)

    My first name is also not “savior” or “scapegoat.” I’ve found that victims are often either idolized when their abuser is supposedly content, and demonized when their abuser is decidedly discontent. And it can change from moment to moment. She is the only one who can save him from himself, save the whole marriage, and in doing so, save her own life as well. And if she doesn’t do ALL of that, ALL of the time, she is labeled as a “scapegoat.” How is that reflective of wisdom?

    Wisdom states that a marriage is a covenant between two people that only they share. The nature of that relationship demands that the relational standards are raised, but I’ve found that the exact opposite occurs. The standards are wholeheartedly lowered, where certain beliefs and behaviors that would be appalling outside of a covenant, are considered acceptable and approved of within a covenant. How is that reflective of wisdom?

    That covenant is between TWO people that only they share. That means there is no room for a third party (apart from the Lord Himself). I personally get tired of watching pastors and/or preachers and/or persons surrounding a victim, daring to control a covenant that has nothing to do with them in the first place (Biblical counseling is a different matter). But stop trying to live a victim’s life for her; those that dare to make certain choices for her are leaving her and her alone to reap the consequences. It is fundamentally unrighteous to pressure anyone to get married, stay married or not be married anymore.

    As much as she cannot change her abuser, you cannot change her, either. You cannot make her stay. You cannot make her leave.

    You have a first name, and it is also NOT “martyr.” Perhaps victims think or are told that if they die at the hands of their abusers, they are sacrificing their lives for Christ. They should be willing to die at the hands of the one they are commanded to stay with, and love until death do they part. As if it is His will to suffer for His righteousness sake.

    It is not reflective of wisdom to carelessly apply the calling of “martyrdom,” in order to preserve an abuser’s “right” to take her life within a covenant, that is in no way seeking to protect her “right” to life within that covenant. Martyrdom is a precious and powerful calling from Christ, from start to finish. It is not reflective of wisdom to usurp His authority, ever, but especially when it comes to matters of life or death.

    Not only do you have a first name, but He knows your whole name, your whole story, and owns your whole being. It is easy to think of yourself as just another one of His many MANY children, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every time you are disrespected, it dishonors Him as well.

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