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Violence, Love & Marriage

15 May

We have probably talked enough about this subject but there is one point that still needs to be discussed which so far has not been truly covered. It comes from the following article

https://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/guest-commentary/why-sbc-leader-paige-patterson-s-apology-may-not-be-enough.html

In theological terms, Patterson sees his comments as a snafu rather than a sin. But the advice he offered to victims of domestic abuse and the ways in which he has spoken about women in general is neither a mere mistake nor the result of carelessness. It is wrong and contradicts the Bible’s unambiguous teachings on violence and marriage.

We really wish that when people make points like this, that they actually provide some sort of evidence for their words. Placing scripture verses specifically talking about violence in marriage would have helped greatly to see what point they are trying to make. Failure to supply those passages means that one may make a mistake in addressing the point. Or they can do their own bible study and see if the point is true or not.

We elected to do the latter.  So that we are all on the same page, when the Bible talks about husbands and wives committing sin, including abuse, not one passage of scripture grants permission for any modern or ancient, and those in between, believer to commit sin or be abusive to their spouses. And we are not going to separate the abuse issue simply because women suffer abuse more than men do. Abuse happens on both sides of the marriage and both sides need to learn the same lesson.

Then we must state that if a person limits their bible study to the words ‘violence’, ‘abuse’, & ‘marriage’ then they will not see the whole picture but can adjust the debate according to their personal, subjective views. What most believers do not realize is that certain bible verses are not excluded from the topic simply because they do not specifically address those issues or do not have those terms included in their content.

Bible passages work together and do not overrule each other or contradict each other. God has worded his words in such a way that the Bible addresses every facet of life even when they are not specifically talking about a given topic. We are going to start with a passage that warns those outside of the marriage how they counsel married couples. It is a very powerful warning that seems to be ignored by most laymen and professional ministers. These people seem to think that their personal views trump anything scriptural.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (MT. 19:6 and Mk 10:9 NASB)

People may say that God could not have joined a couple because abuse or other sins are taking place in the marriage. That argument may be based on a misguided view of the words ‘what God has joined together.’ Does it mean that God made sure those two people were married or that when they married he agreed to their union and solemnized it. Doesn’t matter the type of ceremony that took place. It is a discussion that probably needs to be saved for another day. Of course, sin happens in the holiest of marriages as well.

Regardless, though, it is not up to humans to decide which marriage God has or hasn’t joined together. Their personal views about what is taking place in a marriage do not matter. The outsiders have no authority to pull a marriage apart even if they do not like what one spouse is doing to another. Those that counsel women or men to divorce their abusive spouse are sinning and telling individuals to sin. That is not the Christian way.

What are some of those other verses that apply to this issue of violence in a marriage? Matthew 5 is one and Jesus said:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. (NASB)

then there are, to quote only a few

because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 NASB)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; Phil. 2:14 (NASB)

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. ! Tim. 6:11 NASB)

31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12 NASB)

Your abuser or any abuser is your neighbor.

There is something else that needs to be noticed. In any of these passages you do not see any escape clauses. None of these passages we have and have not quoted contain the words ‘except those caught in abusive situations. God expects his words to be followed in all situations. Whether it is an abusive marriage, a business venture, or even a sporting event. God’s word dictates how believers are to act.

Whether we like it or not, we have a duty to fulfill and that duty is to obey God at all times.

Now, we still need to address something here. The following passage of scripture points this out:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (Eph 5 NASB)

We are not going to talk about verse 22 as women know it quite well. The only thing they need to be reminded about that verse is that it is not blind submission. If your husband tells you to do actual sin, then you have to obey God over them. Men you do not have the right to command your wives to sin.  Of course, the reverse is true to. Women, if you love your husbands you cannot abuse or nag them or get them to commit sin. You are to help them be holy.

What we are going to discuss are the words in bold. To understand what is meant by the words ‘just as Christ loved the church’ we have to look at the life of Christ. While he did rebuke his disciples, you will notice that Christ did not abuse them or any other of their followers. He did not lock them in a closet, take a rod to them, improperly fed or clothed them and so on.What other ways did Jesus love the church? He told it the truth. He did not let sin enter and harm his followers. He guided them gently, sometimes annoyed, but safely to the right way to live.

He did not lie to them nor keep his eye on the ‘menu’.  He did not embarrass or humiliate his church. He did not seek his own and in fact, he embodied and practiced the following passage of scripture

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails

In a nutshell, that is how Christ loved the Church. He gave us men the example to follow. Notice that violence and abuse are not part of that example. Women often claim that they get whole chapters on how they are to be as a Christian wife and men get a few vague verses. Believe us women, those supposedly vague verses are filled with excruciating detail once you examine them correctly.

To understand a topic biblically, you need to expand the group of verses you study. You need to see the whole picture and be honest about what God is saying. You cannot let your subjective personal preferences influence your study, but follow the Holy Spirit to the truth and be ready to make the right changes.

For the rest of that article we linked to, it fails because it is attacking a man and provides no real scriptural basis for doing so. It seems more of a personal point of view and nothing biblical about it. Plus, it looks to blame him for things that may be beyond his control. If you stick to the truth, there will be lots of people who walk away because they do not want the truth, they want their own version of the Christian faith.

The Bible tells us that men love darkness rather than light, and the term ‘men does not exclude those claiming to be Christian. That statement is supported by all those believers who counsel men and women to divorce their abusive spouses.

If you want less violence in a marriage and more love, then follow God’s instructions correctly.

 

 

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