To those who have been in abusive relationships, let me ask you this question: if a woman’s husband decides to set her on fire, do you think it is biblical for her to stay in that marriage?
There has been heavy debate whether abuse is permissible as grounds for divorce. I have seen countless churches telling spouses to remain in abusive relationships, telling them to stay when so many of them had experienced attempted murder scenarios. Some of them even ended up getting killed.
An abusive marriage is emotionally and not just physically destructive. It is everything a marriage should not be. God hates divorce, but hear this: God hates abuse more.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day could get rid of their wives for whatever reason.
The “whatever reason” could have theoretically been if he decided to not like her any more even to the point of abusing her before forcing her out. There is no historical documentation about men abusing their wives. Yet Jesus told them that they could divorce their wives only for adultery or sexual immorality because they were doing it themselves.
“He saith unto them, ‘Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so’ ” (Matthew 19:8).
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).
The question one must ask is who was Jesus talking to? He was talking to the religious rulers of His times. Though scripture doesn’t emphasize it, these religious leaders were the ones abusing their wives. We can only imagine their being outwardly holy but ravenous wolves behind closed doors.
Religious people have a way of showing up in public as the role model of external perfection to the masses. Yet they have dark issues within themselves that only God knows about.
Most husbands and wives who are abusing their spouses never want to divorce because they want to remain in power and have control over their victim spouse. It is like a master who has power over the slave. The victim dies by remaining in the hands of a so-called believer who is masquerading, pretending to be someone or something that s/he is not. By extension, Jesus’ words could be applied to us today.
In these abusive situations, separation should be key until the spouse repents. If the spouse remains controlling and forces the other to leave, that person “is not under bondage,” I Cor. 7:15. God has called us to peace, to live a life that glorifies Him as the one and true living God.
If you are a Christian and have been in an abusive relationship, stay in prayer because all sins are forgiven and covered under God’s righteous blood that He had poured over all who come to Him and accepted Christ as the Savior. It doesn’t matter what sin it is. By all means come to the altar of God and bow before the Great One.
However, we are to learn from this experience. We must continue to examine our walk with God and how we as children of God live our lives. And we must be careful who we unite with. Before we make a decision to marry, look to God for confirmation to move on.
If you decide to marry again, you must go into it with fasting and prayer. Ask God to give you wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. God wants us to have peace and to live a fruitful and blessed life whether or not we are married, but especially as singles looking to be married.
Omar Liles is single and has a heart for singles. He is also very, very busy as a Chaplain, Recovery Mentor in addiction recovery, and a certified Dementia Practitioner. He is currently completing his doctorate in Pastoral Leadership through Andersonville Theological Seminary. For more about Omar, click on the links below.