Last week the Baptist Blogger shared previous audio clips in which Paige Patterson, the president of the Southern Baptist Southwestern Seminary said a Christian woman should stay in an abusive marriage and submit to her husband instead of getting a divorce. His statements have outraged women ministers across the U.S and rightly so. Perhaps you’ve seen the response from Beth Moore on social media where she proclaims, “Wives, do not submit to abuse.” She and I differ on many things, but on this, I agree 100%.
I’ve been asked by many women if they could divorce their abusive husband. My answer is and has always been yes. Women were created in God’s image. Daughters of the King are the apple of God’s eye and woe to them that harm us. God hates abuse in any form. For years abusive men have twisted scripture to keep their wives prisoners in deadly marriages. Church leadership has wrongly advised women to place their lives and their children’s lives in danger.
Thank God, the truth will set them free. The Bible is absolute truth. There are at least 4 different scriptural references in the Bible to support the divorcing of an abusive spouse. Chapter Eleven of The Day Adam Died examines these scriptures and discusses them in depth. Since the goal of writing this book is to help women realize who they were created to be, and their value to God, I’m posting the entire chapter on my blog. I hope you will read it and share it. Hopefully, a precious woman of God will realize that she doesn’t have to stay in an abusive marriage.
The Day Adam Died
When a certain, young lady entered a rehab program, she was having an affair with a married man. During my Bible class, I could tell she loved this man very much. However, once she was born again, she was convicted of her relationship. Yet, she had a preconceived notion that because they had committed adultery, it was alright with God that he divorce his current wife and marry her.
Many people do this. They twist scripture and remove the context in which it is given to justify their sinful life. Please, don’t do this. Adultery isn’t a get out of marriage free card.
In some instances, adultery can and should be forgiven. We all make mistakes. If your spouse is genuinely sorry for breaking the sacred vows of marriage, you should try to reconcile. However, if you married him thinking he was a faithful man and turns out he is a habitual cheater, then yes, divorce is an option.
Many people erroneously believe adultery is the only biblical reason for divorce. However, that isn’t what Jesus said. When Jesus was talking to the men of Israel, they asked Him a question He had already answered. His answer did not change.
In the culture at that time, if a man married a woman and was displeased with her, he could give her a bill of divorcement and send her back to her father’s house. Here, they are asking Jesus to approve this practice.
He doesn’t. Instead, He tells them the only way they can divorce a new wife is if after they marry her, they realize she has fornicated or had sex before their marriage. The only two ways they can know she is guilty of this sin is if she is pregnant or if she isn’t a virgin on their wedding night.
Jesus is telling them, if you married her thinking she is a virgin, but after the wedding, you realize you have been deceived, divorce is an option. If he divorced her for any other reason, he causes her to commit adultery. If she remarries and the man who marries her would also be committing adultery.
When we apply this passage of scripture to our lives, we can say if you married him thinking he was a good man, but shortly after the wedding realize he endangers you or your bloodline, divorce is an option. In other words, if you married him believing he would protect and provide for you and your children, but soon discover he is abusive, divorce is an option.
I have prayed with many abused wives with husbands that seem to be godly men. Yet, bruises and tears don’t lie. Some of these men have twisted scripture to force their wives into submitting to horrible and deadly situations. Most of these manipulators use the same tactic. They tell their wife she can’t leave because he hasn’t committed adultery. They tell her, if she leaves him, she is outside the will of God. They say if she leaves, she will go to hell. They convince her Jesus wants her to endure the abuse. And some wrongly believe it is the husband’s responsibility to discipline his wife.
Most of the ministers I know express an opinion that a woman shouldn’t stay in an abusive marriage. I am of the same opinion, and scripture agrees.
If your salvation is in danger, you have a God-given right to protect it. Even if you must change your environment, your friends, or your family.
When Jesus talked about hell, He gave some disturbing commandments. He said if your hand or foot will cause you to go to hell, you should cut them off. He also said if your eye offends you, pluck it out and cast it far from you. This principle can be applied to your head or your husband. If staying in your marriage will send you to hell, cast it from you.
I have known many women who have successfully completed a drug and alcohol program. They gave their lives to Jesus and He washed them in His sacrificial blood. They were reconnected to God. They were alive in Christ. Until, they reunited with their husband, and their husband and his sin led them down a path of destruction.
God instructed His people to kill everyone who tempted them to worship anything other than God Himself. We shouldn’t physically murder, but we should divorce ourselves from anyone who tempts us to worship anything other than God. This includes our husbands. If your husband is tempting you to disobey God, you can spiritually cut off your head by divorcing him.
God knew you before you were in your mother’s womb. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Your body is used to glorify God. Your husband is commanded to love you as Christ loves His church. Your husband should love your body. Love isn’t abusive.
Zechariah prophesies to the daughters of Zion, but his prophetic book can also be applied to the daughters of the King. You are the apple of God’s eye. Anyone who hurts you is subject to God’s wrath. And you are instructed to deliver yourself.
If your husband abuses you, you may deliver yourself from him by divorcing him and removing yourself from danger. This also applies if your husband abuses your children.
There is a great debate in the church concerning remarriage after divorce. When you divorce your husband, you are spiritually cutting off your own head. Your married body has died. Your head or your husband is also spiritually dead.
Remarriage is possible after divorce. However, there are ministers who believe your husband must be physically dead before you can remarry. This is something you must consult your Savior about. He knows what is best for your life. If He gives you a husband, accept Him. If God calls you to stay single, enjoy your freedom.
Please don’t let the opinions of man, keep you from accepting the blessings God has for you. But please, don’t let loneliness keep you from the perfect will of God.
Before you make any decision on this scale, I recommend you not only pray but commit yourself to some type of fast. Try everything in your power to repair or restore your marriage. Too many people use lame excuses to marry and remarry. This is not the will of God for you. Remember what happened to the people who did this in Noah’s day. Marriage is more than a commitment between two people. It is a three-fold covenant. It caused God great pain when the male and female ADAM were separated. Just as divorce causes Him pain today.