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What Does The Bible Say About Abusive Relationships

They Are Lovers Of Money

Christians In Abusive Relationships – What Does The Bible Say?

Along with their love of themselves is their love of money. Having money or the appearance of having money makes up for anything they may be lacking in their physical appearance and their character. They can convince people that theyre successful and even kind because of their ability to purchase large and expensive items or donate to impress. This appearance of wealth makes them feel admiration. They think others are envious of them, while they are secretly envious of people who have more money, power, or success than they do.

Does Spousal Abuse Justify A Divorce

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Answer: Before tackling your question on spousal abuse in the Bible, something must be said about divorce. Jesus stated that it is because of the hardness of people’s hearts that God allowed divorce in the first place . God is looking for a commitment from people whom He has called to His way of life. Unfortunately, we live in a throw-away society where if something does not immediately work we toss it out. We should do all we possibly can to have both spouses try to save a marriage.

That said, in the case of spousal abuse, we must also consider that our bodies and minds are the temple of God. One should not remain in an abusive home if at all possible. Physical, mental or emotional mistreatment in any marriage is unacceptable.

The New Covenant is the agreement God offers man so that he can live forever. He looks at the temple of our hearts and minds and welcomes those who by their conscience have been keeping themselves separate from sin and Satan the devil. This separation includes honoring our spouse as our heavenly Father wants us to do.

Our Father commands us to be holy, pure, and not to defile ourselves with sin . When a person is converted they are willing to keep a commitment to him and walk in His ways . True Christians must put him first in their life .

Why God Wants You To Stay In An Abusive Relationship

Stay in an abusive marriage? Stay with an abusive father or mother? To assert anyone should ever stay in an abusive relationship is counter to everything our culture teaches. We are to confront or flee abusive situations but we should never ever endure abusive situations or so we are told today even in the vast majority of Christian circles.

In my previous article What Does The Bible Say About Abuse? I talked about what abuse is from a Biblical perspective. I stated that the word abuse literally is ab + use which means to misuse or mistreat someone or something. I also talked about both emotional abuse and physical abuse as they are spoken to in the Bible with a specific emphasis on what abuse looks like in marriage and the family.

But what I did not cover were two important areas on this subject of abuse. The first is what role does God grant to the government in dealing with abuse? The second is how family members, including husbands, wives and children, should respond when they are abused by one another in various ways.

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Women Can Faithfully Seek Civil Recourse

But recourse to civil authorities may be the right thing for an abused wife to do. Threatening or intentionally inflicting bodily harm against a spouse is a misdemeanor in Minnesota, punishable by fines, short-term imprisonment, or both. Which means that a husband who threatens and intentionally injures his wife is not only breaking Gods moral law, but also the states civil law. In expecting his wife to quietly accept his threats and injuries, he is asking her to participate in his breaking of both Gods moral law and the states civil law.

God himself has put law enforcement officers in place for the protection of the innocent. If you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out Gods wrath on the wrongdoer . A wifes submission to the authority of civil law, for Christs sake, may, therefore, overrule her submission to a husbands demand that she endure his injuries. This legitimate recourse to civil protection may be done in a spirit that does not contradict the spirit of love and submission to her husband, for a wife may take this recourse with a heavy and humble heart that longs for her husbands repentance and the restoration of his nurturing leadership.

A Biblical Perspective Of Verbal Abuse

What Does the Bible Say About Abuse in Marriage?

The Bible clearly warns us about the dangers of an angry man. Proverbs 22:24 says, Do not associate with a man given to anger or go with a hot-tempered man. And Proverbs 29:22 says, An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.

It is not God’s will for you to be in a verbally abusive relationship. Those angry and critical words will destroy your confidence and self-esteem. Being submissive in a marriage relationship does not mean allowing yourself to be verbally beaten by your partner. 1 Peter 3:1 does teach that wives, by being submissive to their husbands, may win them to Christ by their behavior. But it does not teach that they must allow themselves to be verbally or physically abused.

Here are some key biblical principles. First, know that God loves you. The Bible teaches, The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Second, deal with your feelings of guilt. You may be feeling that the problems in your marriage are your fault. If only I would do better, he wouldn’t be so angry with me. The Bible teaches in Psalm 51:6 that Surely You desire truth in the inner parts You teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Even though you may have feelings of guilt, you may not be the guilty party. I would recommend you read my article on the subject of false guilt.5

Verbal abuse is a difficult emotional problem, but there is hope if the abuser is willing to confront his sin and get help.


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The Doctrine Of Male Headship: What Does It Mean

The doctrine that is most commonly, and controversially cited by abusers is male headship, where a husband is to be the head of the wife in marriage and the wife is to submit, and men are to be head of the church.

What submission means takes many different forms. At its extreme edge, it is complete subservience.

In the 1970s and 1980s, literature coming out of the United States suggested it meant putting up with every possible harm.

According to Elizabeth Hanford Rice in her book Me? Obey Him?, this even included physical violence and child abuse.

Three female authors Dorothy McGuire, Carol Lewis and Alvena Blatchley even praised a woman for staying with a man who tried to murder her.

Correct interpretations of scripture are debated in ways not dissimilar to those in the Koran there is disagreement over translation, hermeneutics, exegesis, the relevance of the culture in which it was written, the then-radical attitudes of acceptance Christ expressed towards women and the role of women in the early church.

These debates hit peak expression in the latter half of the 20th century as most mainstream Christian denominations moved to ordain women to the priesthood, to equal positions to men.

Today, those churches in Australia that do not have women priests include the Catholic, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, and the influential Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church.

But there remains some confusion about what submission actually means.

The Abuse Of The Bible

Unlike the Koran, there are no verses in the Bible that may be read as overtly condoning domestic abuse.

To the contrary, it is made clear that God hates violence and relationships must be driven by selflessness, grace and love.

There is no mainstream theologian in Australia who would suggest that a church should be anything but a sanctuary, or that a Christian relationship be marked by anything but love.

But church counsellors and survivors of family violence report that many abusive men, like Sally’s husband, rely on twisted or literalist interpretation of Bible verses to excuse their abuse.

Baker, whose 2010 book on counselling abused Christian women sprang from years of doctoral research, writes: “biblical principles and scriptures may be used by the perpetrator as a point of authority to condone his actions, or perhaps to ‘prove’ to the victim that she is not fulfilling her marital obligations.”

Abusive men commonly refer to several different parts of the Bible.

First are the verses cited by Sally’s husband Peter, above telling women to submit to their husbands and male authority, under the doctrine known as male headship.

Second are verses that say God hates divorce.

And third are those in 1 Peter that tell women to submit to husbands in a very particular way, as they follow instructions to slaves to submit to even “harsh masters”.

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What Does The Bible Say About Emotional Abuse

Many Christians believe God condones some kinds of abuse. Everyone seems to have their own standards for what constitutes abuse, and they also have their own ideas about how the various types of abuse fit into their personal theology. And every single one firmly believes his particular opinion about abuse is the absolute truth, and anyone who disagrees, especially an abuse survivor, is wrong and deserves to be shunned.

Of course, most of them havent even studied the subject. They just buy into the propaganda fed to them by teachers who believe in a historically pagan, power-over structure of human relationships. Its fascinating and tragic. An abuse victims pastor and Christian friends not only minimize what she is going through , but they also callously lecture her about how God wants her to glorify Him through her suffering.

What kind of a god requires the suffering of women and children in order to be glorified? Moloch, maybe. Baal, maybe. But not Jehovah God. He is not a sadistic, pagan god, and I believe what will glorify Him most is to expose misogynistic lies and teach the truth about abuse.

Contrary to the propaganda youve been taught, God doesnt set women up to be abused as children and then adults. God doesnt perpetrate abuse on human beings. Human beings do that all on their own.

Heres what God really thinks of abuse:

What To Do With Unbelievers

Does the Bible Say I Can Leave My Abusive Spouse? – How to Leave an Abusive Relationship

For unbelievers, though they are hostile to God, God also holds out His arms through Christ. He does not say, sorry this relationship is too toxic, I would never offer you redemption, but rather seeks reconciliation .

As for our relationships with unbelievers, there is a lot of advice in scripture as well.

Some people we are to avoid friendship with:

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If You Are The Victim Of Abuse:

We pray that the scriptures, and what you have learned through the additional linked articles provided, plus what is posted on the web site particularly in the Abuse in Marriage topic, will help you. Please reach out to the Lord and to those He provides to assist you, to find a place of safety and peace.

If you are an abuser, we pray your eyes will be opened. We hope you will reach out to the Lord and to those who can best help you, to stop the violence you are committing against your spouse. Today is the day to start the journey to bring peace into your home.

Finally, if you are a friend, family member, or someone who can make a difference to help those who are oppressed, we pray the Lord will empower and lead you to do what it takes to bring help, hope and peace into homes that are racked by violence.

This article was compiled by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please Join the Discussion by adding your comments below.

What Does The Bible Say About Destructive And Abusive Relationships

I receive frantic calls and emails each week from Christian women who feel scared. They feel trapped, hopeless and helpless because their most intimate relationship is abusive. They are suffering from abuse verbally, physically, economically, sexually, spiritually or all of the above. The Bible has something to say about the way we treat people. And as Christians we should all strive to be Biblically wise in how we handle these difficult and painful family issues. Below are five Biblical principles that will guide your thinking about this topic of abusive relationships.

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Whats Next Concerning Abusive Relationships

How should we respond when we know abuse is happening to someone?

We must never close our eyes to the sin of injustice or the abuse of power, whether it is in a home, a church, a work setting or a community or country . The apostle Paul encountered some spiritually abusive leaders. But he did not put up with it . Please dont be passive when you encounter abuse.

However, because we too are sinners we are all tempted to react to abusive behavior with a sinful response of our own. The apostle Paul cautions us not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good .

When Are Women Allowed To Approach Civil Or Church Authorities About Abuse

What Does the Bible Say About Destructive and Abusive ...

A wife and mother should only go around her husband who is her spiritual authority in the gravest of circumstances. If a husband violates the Exodus 21:26-27 principle and threatens or actually causes serious bodily harm or what he is doing has the potential of causing death to her or her children a wife has every right to approach her church authorities and civil authorities.

In I Samuel 25 we see that Abagail went against her husbands wishes to save her family from his wicked actions that would have had them killed. This teaches us that if a woman finds out her husband is involved in some criminal or otherwise wicked activity that endangers the life of her family she has every right to go to the civil authorities to protect her life and the life of her children.

Also if a wife finds out that her husband has been sexually abusing one of her children in violation of the Leviticus 18:6 principle she has every right to turn her husband over to both the church and civil authorities. When husbands commit such heinous acts they invalidate their ownership and headship over their wives and children allowing their wives and children to be freed from them.

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What Defines A Toxic Or Abusive Relationship

Abuse is defined as the act of mistreating or misusing just about anything, such as drugs, technology, trust, possessionsor people. Abusing things or people is a sin because it is, at the core, motivated by selfishness which results in horrendous consequences. When people are involved, the fallout can be radioactively toxic, such as damaged relationships, destruction of self-esteem, and painful emotional trauma that gets carried through the years. Toxic or abusive people tend to lash out in anger when things don’t go how they want them to, and the innocent bystanders in their way suffer for it.

Whether the abuse is subtle and harder to see on the surface or if it is out in the open, leaving physical evidence, all forms of abuse are just as wrong and just as destructive. Verbal attacks, criticism, favoritism, manipulation, deceit, threats, and withheld expressions of love are all just as hurtful as beating, pushing, pinching, fists, and fire. No abuse is ever OK, especially when it involves other people.

Everyone is guilty on some level of being abusive or toxic to others at some pointno matter what age, ethnicity, gender, or whatever. The potential to harm has to do with sin and our innate bent toward selfishness . Those who have accepted the need for a Savior acknowledge that only Love Himself, Jesus Christ, can tame our selfishness, transforming it into real love . We have a responsibility to care for and love othersnot cause harm .

What Does The Bible Say About Domestic Violence

If youve ever skimmed through the Bibleespecially the Old Testamentyouve seen stories of violence, from rape to slavery and war. How do we reconcile the God of the Bible, who at times seems to promote violence, with our experience of domestic abuse?

Scripture is often used to keep women silent about their experiences as domestic abuse victims, to urge them to stay with an abusive partner, and even to justify abuse. But the Bible is clear that God opposes those who oppress, marginalize and abuse others.

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What Exactly Is Domestic Abuse And Who Encounters It

Domestic abuse within a dating, cohabiting, or marriage relationship is a pattern of one partner using power and control over the other. This may include physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, financial, spiritual or cyber/digital abuse. All forms of domestic abuse are harmful and often have long-term impact on the survivor, even after they escape the violence of their partner.

It can be hard to come to terms with the reality that domestic abuse can happen in our churches at the hands of fellow Christians even our pastor or lay leader. But abuse is often perpetrated by Christians, and many women suffer in silence due to shame and the failure of the church in addressing domestic violence.

The main perpetrators of abuse are husbands and boyfriends, although it is important to note that men can also be victims of abuse by their partner. Whenever an individual is abused, it is a serious violation of ones God-given personhood and human right to freedom. As such, it is critical for the church to break the silence on domestic abuse and advocate for the end of gender-based violence.


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