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We Follow God Even When Abuse Takes Place

Updated on August 27, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

Abuse is sin

I am not going to beat around the bush here. Abuse, no matter who does it is sin. There is no command or instruction or husbands to abuse their wives, wives to abuse their husbands, parents to abuse their children and children to abuse their parents.

When you look at the act of abuse, you will find many different sins being applied. Selfishness, arrogance, pride, hatred, physical harm to only name a few. Sadly, abuse is not relegated to non-Christian homes.

Christians are not perfect. Salvation is only the beginning and there are many believers who have demons to conquer before they get holy and live the Christian life the way God wants it lived.

Unfortunately, both the secular and Christian worlds do not use the grace and understanding of Christ when Christians fail and abuse each other.

The solution is not in the world

Over the past few months, I have followed the Southern Baptist Convention’s struggle with abuse in their denomination. As I read article after article,including one that was published the other day, I saw a pattern.

Too many members of that convention, some very prominent, advocated for actions that had no foundation in scripture. In fact, scripture was rarely dealt wit in their conversations and quotes.

It has looked like the SBC has decided to find solutions outside of God and his word. Their attempts at solving abuse in their midst was to look for what the secular world would approve and use.

This is saddening because God has written his word so that his followers would know what to do, even when abuse happens. The problem lies in the fact that too many believers do not like God’s solution.

They like the world’s idea because it gives them a measure of power and a way to get even, although Christ said to forgive. Those teachings apply to the abused and the abuser as well.

Very few people like Peter

The apostle Peter in his first epistle spoke about the response women are to have when caught in a marriage where abuse and other sins are committed by their husbands.

Very few authors and other people that I am aware of like what Peter has to say because Peter does not grant permission for the abused to divorce their husbands or take other punitive action.

In fact, Peter never gives permission for women to take their abusive husbands to court. Here is what the apostle has to say on the topic

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3 NASB)

While Jesus spoke to men to love their wives as he loved the Church, neither gave women permission to leave their abusive husbands. Peter does go on to say the following in verse 8 & 9 of the same chapter

8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Getting even with the abusive spouse is not permitted. Instead, the women are to follow Christ’s teaching and strive to be holy even when their own husbands are not leading the way.

Abusive husbands need to see God in action as much as anyone else does and they need to be treated the way God would want. Sin is not allowed in response to abuse.

Jesus was abused

No he was not abused by his parents, Joseph was described as a righteous man and Mary found favor with God. Nor was he abused by a spouse but he was still abused. We are not sure what his siblings did to him, but his own people, the Jews, certainly abused him as they tried to kill him on several occasions.

The Romans abused him especially when they tortured him prior to putting him on the cross. Yet, through it all, Jesus showed everyone how to respond to his abusers. He did not sin against them, use sin to get even, nor did he abuse in return.

Jesus also did not leave his mission nor turn his back on his father. He returned good for evil and suffered his abuse in silence. His example is for both men and women to follow.

Why God allows abuse

Someone may argue that this stance is condemning women to a life of abuse. But that is not the case as Peter writes that there is hope at the end of the dark tunnel. Others may say that position is granting permission for people to abuse each other.

Again, and you can scour the Bible for a contrary conclusion, no where in the Bible do both God and Jesus give permission for their followers or any one to sin. Abuse is sin and neither God or Jesus wants it to take place.

Why does abuse happen then? Because there is evil in the world and men and women have the ability to freely choose to follow evil’s way of God’s way. Even Christians have that ability and many fail to choose to follow God’s way.

It happens and when it does we cannot go to the secular world to find our solutions. Christians and the church need to go to God and use his ways to solve issues involving sin. There is no alternative solution.

God has the ultimate solution and while it may not always be instantaneous it is still the only perfect method the Church can use. To do otherwise would be disobedience and sin.

You cannot solve the abuse problem in the church by committing sin and leading others to sin. All parts of the church’s efforts must be properly grounded in scripture for it to remove sin from its presence and the homes of its people.

© 2019 David Thiessen


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