First, I want to say this will be my last blog before my trip to see Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills and Wyoming. Blogs will return on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 on their usual schedule. I am excited about this trip as this is one of the few places I have not been in the U.S. I know the views will inspire some blog writing as well when I return.
Now for today’s more serious subject matter – violence and abuse break the marriage covenant. I heard it put this way from a chaplain friend of mine about two weeks ago. The first time he said it, I wanted to jump up and down! I told him I could not have said that better myself. He, like I, believe a good, loving God would never want anyone to live under such evil nor does He condone such evil in the name of marriage nor in the worship of marriage.
The thought has occurred to me that not only survivors of abuse of all kinds read my blogs, but also abusers themselves. My hope is they are looking for a way out of who they are and what they do to others. I want to answer the question of how violence and abuse break the marriage covenant today and I want to reiterate, no one, absolutely no one, has to live with that kind of evil.
I will start with the following scriptures:
1 Peter 3:7; Husbands (wives), in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives (husbands), and treat them with respect as …..heirs with you of the gracious gift of life...
Ephesians 5:25;28-29 Husbands (wives), love your wives (husbands), just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (him)…He who loves his wife (husband) loves himself (herself). For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church…
As you can see the Apostle Paul’s instructions for a loving marriage work for both the husband and the wife. If you read these passages yourself, Paul says nothing about abusing someone to get your own way or to punish another person. Christ does not abuse us either. What does this have to do with the marriage covenant you ask?
Covenant is defined as: an agreement, commitment, undertaking, guarantee, bond, pledge and promise. Marriage is defined as: the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. In a marriage ceremony, when the couple say their vows, they are undertaking a commitment to each other and promising their love for one another. They are agreeing to live together in peace and partnership. They are pledging themselves to each other for a lifetime. How does violence and abuse fit into this covenant of marriage? The short answer, they don’t. Violence and abuse are not mentioned in the definition of the word ‘covenant’ or in the definition of marriage. Violence and abuse in a marriage destroy the partnership, break promises, trade peace for chaos and are devoid of love. When violence and abuse are present in a marriage, the perpetrator of the violence and abuse has willfully broken the marriage covenant. By doing so, the victim turned survivor of the violence and abuse does not have to stay in that marriage – they are no longer bound to that person in the eyes of God or man. If an abuser gets help and the other partner sees consistent change, can a marriage be saved? Perhaps, however, this will take time and discernment. The other partner must observe this from a safe distance and be absolutely sure that the change they are seeing is real change and not just the abuser doing what they think others will want to see and saying what they think others will want to hear. Safety always comes first before any attempt to restore a marriage. Many marriages where abuse is present do not survive because love and peace can’t be in partnership with evil. God did not design marriage that way. He would never design anything on this planet that way. Is this making sense to you?
I want everyone reading this blog to come away with two things today: 1) God is not a God of abuse therefore He does not expect us to put up with abuse of any kind in our marriages; 2) Abuse is not love, never has been love and never will be love, period.
I will leave you today with one of my favorite passages about love. Compare everything you see to this description and if they don’t match up, remove yourself from that situation:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13; Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Until next time,