I received request to respond to a comment on my recent post, Marriage is Sacred. In case you haven’t looked at the comments, it reads:
“So…when a husband repeatedly rapes and beats his wife, that’s not a “bad marriage” and she should just soldier on with “effort and discipline”? It makes me rage inside knowing you may have given this advice to an abused woman who was looking for help.”
I am frustrated in feeling this reader stopped at what they found offensive. The last point I made was: “Get help.”
The pastors, spiritual directors, counselors, and therapists I know would respond to a situation in which there is physical abuse to immediately protect both individuals from each other. In the past, my wife and I have personally driven women to the local shelter.
However, separation, even for an extended period of time, does not need to result in divorce. God is a god of mercy (He withholds the punishment we deserve) and grace (He gives us what we do not deserve). God immerses us in forgiveness. He forgives murderers, rapists, shoplifters, gossips, and liars. Praise His Name! God restores, renews, revitalizes. No marriage is without hope! GET HELP!
The self-help so popular in our culture DOES NOT WORK. Couples serious about saving a marriage and experiencing the restoration that comes from God’s mercy and grace, must be embraced by the Koinonia (costly fellowship marked by selflessness and sacrifice) found in a genuine Household of Faith. Such restorations take a great deal of time, patience, and prayer and require a substantial amount of work on the part of both parties.
I have personally witnessed the miracle of marriages being restored. Two of those were so twisted and gruesome that if I were to describe them I would be accused of writing fiction. (Maybe those people are reading this and would choose to comment.) But God is faithful and just. He will not abandon us. He loves us. God himself, will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast. (see 1 Peter 5:6-10)
There will be those who will refuse to participate in such a process. The sinful nature raises its ugly head and our pride, selfishness, and laziness get in the way of submitting to God. God allows for divorce, but only because of the hardness of hearts – not as an easy escape from difficulty.
One of the great weaknesses of blog posts is to keep them short and readable. I strongly encourage you to get the book, “Soulcraft: How God Shapes Us Through Relationships,” by Doug Webster. Doug’s clear application of Biblical truth in relationships is better than anything I offer.
Finally, this reminder: I am writing to those who “declare with their mouths, ‘Jesus is Lord,” and believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead.” (Romans 10:9) This does not guarantee marriages will be without any problems or even violence, but such a shared faith does provide a foundation for forgiveness, healing, and restoration.