Christian Marriage and the Misuse of Scripture, Part 1 – Satan’s Lies

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.

Domestic violence (illustration), Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinfos_showcase/sets/72157650921376780/, Author Sr. Airman Rusty Frank (PD-US federal govt.)

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 [1]. Televangelist Joyce Meyer’s bodyguard, Christopher Coleman, was convicted in 2011 of murdering his entire family [2].

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 [3][4]:

  • 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.

[1] 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/.

[2] 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/.

[3] 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.

[4] 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

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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5 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Justice, Religion, Violence Against Women

5 responses to “Christian Marriage and the Misuse of Scripture, Part 1 – Satan’s Lies

  1. Wow,talk about sobering statistics.I had no idea of the magnitude of this. Occasionally hearing a story on the evening news doesn’t begin to paint the entire picture.
    So how in the world have we arrived at this place of despair?

    Could it be that as a society we have lost the true meaning of what a Christian is?

    Being a Christian means many things to many people and so much is dependent upon our background,life and church experiences,etc..

    However,if we stay within the confines of scripture we understand that Christian is for all intents and purposes “Christ like”. To be like Christ. And part of that is being responsible. And accountable.

    Responsible to your wife,family,employer,and yes even to God.

    Maybe,just maybe,the situation you describe could be changed if once again our churches began to boldly proclaim that God has standards,and if we desire to be named among His childhood,then we must embrace those standards.

    Just my 2 cents on this beautiful Sunday afternoon!

  2. Dear Anna, What sobering statistics you have quoted here. Yes, abuse is epidemic. Many of us have grown up in homes with abusive parents, even parents that claimed to be “Christians.” We are in an age when the love of many is waxing cold and thus the offenses are many just as Jesus prophesied (see Matt. 24:12). Parents lack natural affection for their children and children for their parents and spouses for their mates (see 2 Tim. 3:1-5) and Paul warned that these same people will have a form of godliness but deny the life changing power thereof.

    All this fills us with many wounds and when someone comes along and does or says something that reminds us of what happened to us in the past, we react in such a way that we become the new wounder in that relationship ourselves! This shows that we have not been healed as of yet and still need a new heart that only God can provide, the very heart of Christ in us. Peter wrote about this quite well saying,

    For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2:20-25 RSVA)

    Dear Father, please do what you must to break this cycle of offense and offender, of wounded and wounder. Bring us back to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls, your Son, Jesus Christ. Let your kingdom come HERE on earth — our part of it — as it is in your heaven. Let your kingdom abide in the very midst of our being. Amen

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and sincere response, Michael. I certainly join with you in that prayer. I fear, however, the Scripture you quote has been widely misinterpreted by others.

      True, innocent suffering mirrors the suffering of Christ. But the victims of domestic violence have all too often been advised simply to “take it patiently” — the futile hope being that their example of faith and fortitude might convert the spouses in the process of killing them.

      Abused women are not required by God to become martyrs. Nor are their children fated to perpetuate the cycle of violence ad infinitum.

      I’m sure you would agree that God sees and is grieved by the suffering of victims like yourself. He has a better plan for their lives.

      Blessings,

      A.

  3. Pingback: Christian Marriage and the Misuse of Scripture, Part 1 – Satan’s Lies | justiceforkevinandjenveybaylis

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