“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted in the desert. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” ’ ” (Matt. 4: 1-4).
In the wilderness of an abusive marriage, stones can all too easily be mistaken for bread.
Satan, we should never forget, is the father of lies (John 8: 44). Familiar with Scripture, he is adept at twisting the word of God to suit his purposes. This can cause even the most sincere among us to be misled.
Here are a few of the adversary’s favorite lies.
“Christian Men Are Never Abusive”
A glance at the news makes it abundantly clear that abuse is not foreign to Christians and men of the cloth.
Pastor Arthur Schirmer of the United Methodist Church was convicted in 2013 of murdering his wife . Televangelist Joyce Meyer’s bodyguard, Christopher Coleman, was convicted in 2011 of murdering his entire family .
No Christian has the right to abuse anyone – man, woman, or child, inside marriage or out. Christ came as the Servant to all (Mark 9: 35). But not everyone holding themselves out as “Christian” has truly accepted Christ, and sought to emulate Him. And Christians, themselves, are not immune to sin.
“There Is No Such Thing as Rape in a Christian Marriage”
Christian women are often taught that they give up all rights over their bodies to their husbands, and must submit to their husbands as to Christ. While the Apostle Paul, at 1 Corinthians 7, does speak of a husband as having authority over his wife’s body, he, also, speaks of a wife as having authority over her husband’s body.
Paul was suggesting that husbands and wives not abstain from sex for lengthy periods, so as not to fall into temptation. By no stretch of the imagination does this equate with entitlement by a husband to sex on demand, or the requirement that a wife serve as her husband’s punching bag.
Likewise, in Ephesians 5, Paul speaks of wives submitting to their husbands as to the Lord. But he, also, speaks of husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church (giving His life for her).
These then are pictures of marriage under ideal circumstances.
The Apostle Peter states (at 1 Peter 3) that wives may win over their husbands by good conduct. But we are, also, told not to cast our pearls before swine (Matt. 7: 6).
Clearly, neither Apostle could anticipate the level of domestic violence in the 21st Century :
- Nearly twice as many women were killed by their partners between 2001 and 2012 as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Thirty eight million women have experienced violence by their partners.
- Almost half the women in physically abusive relationships are raped. Some 81% of women in violent relationships are, also, stalked by their partners.
- The average cost of emergency room care to women for violence by a partner is $948. Eight million work days – the equivalent of 32,000 full time jobs – are lost to such violence by women each year. Financial abuse occurs in 98% of situations of domestic violence.
It is hardly likely that Peter or Paul would approve.
 The Christian Post, “PA Pastor Convicted of Murdering Second Wife Profiled on ’48 Hours’ ” by Morgan Lee, 1/7/14, http://www.christianpost.com/news/pa-pastor-convicted-of-murdering-second-wife-profiled-on-48-hours-112130/.
 The Christian Post, “Joyce Meyer’s Ex-Bodyguard Convicted of Murder” by Audrey Barrick, 5/7/11, http://www.christianpost.com/news/joyce-meyers-ex-bodyguard-convicted-of-murder-50138/.
 Huffington Post, “30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic” by Alanna Vagianos, 10/23/14 (Updated 2/13/15), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html.
 While men, too, can be victims of abuse, the vast majority of victims are women.
This series will continue next week with Part 2 – Faith and Fault
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