Christian Marriage and the Misuse of Scripture, Part 3 – Forgiveness

We continue this series on abuse in Christian marriage with the widely misunderstood topic of forgiveness.

Christ came to forgive sins (Matt. 26: 28; Rom. 5: 28). He repeatedly forgave sinners (Luke 7: 44-50), using the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” even from the cross (Luke 23: 34).

Christians are called on to love their enemies, to forgive those who persecute them (Matt: 5:44; Luke 6: 27-29). The Lord’s Prayer contains the line, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matt. 6: 12).

“Forgiveness Requires that a Woman Return to an Unsafe Marriage”

But the assertion that forgiveness requires a woman to return to an unsafe marriage is patently false.

Forgiveness and trust are distinct from one another. A Christian woman may choose to forgive her husband’s caustic comments, his violence and brutality – electing not to waste any more of her life in bitterness or regret. She need not live in fear under his roof, and run the risk of additional harm to herself or children.

“There Is No Escape from Marriage but Death”

Many an ignorant minister has described submission to the point of death as the hallmark of a Christian woman, and divorce as more harmful to children than a childhood spent in an abusive home.

However, the biblical right of self-defense supersedes any duty of “submission” to an abusive spouse.  Women and children were not ordained as sacrificial lambs to the tempers of men.

As many as 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence annually [1]. These children are likely to experience low self-esteem, social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression [2]. The boys so exposed are many times more likely than normal to become abusers; the girls, many times more likely to become victims [3].

If nothing else, we must save our children.

[1] Huffington Post, “30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic” by Alanna Vagianos, 10/23/14 (Updated 2/13/15),

[2] and [3] National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), “The Effects of Child Abuse and Exposure to Domestic Violence on Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems” by C. Moylan, T. Herrenkohl, C. Sousa, E. Tajima, R. Herrehkohl, and MJ Russo, 1/10,

This series will conclude next week with Part 4 – Public Shame



Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Physical Abuse, Religion, Violence Against Women

9 responses to “Christian Marriage and the Misuse of Scripture, Part 3 – Forgiveness

  1. Powerful!! “Women and children were not ordained as sacrificial lambs to the tempers of men.” This is so true. God does not want any one abused. He is Love… not abuse. And He calls us to walk as Christ walked. .Thanks for sharing this. These beliefs have cost the lives of many women who returned to abusive spouses because of religion. Now remember, religion is not relationship. May we all see God’s guidance in every situation of our lives.

    • Thank you for your input. I always find your website Secret Angel expressive, biblical, and comforting. You are a real resource for victims of abuse.

      • Thanks Anna! God is so good to have rescued me from my abusive situation and all I can do is try to help others. I look forward to you reading my book one day to see what you think about my story. God is great!!

  2. Reblogged this on The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel and commented:
    Powerful words for victims of abuse.

  3. Anna,

    I read the article from the Huffington Post link and frankly I don’t know how to respond to these numbers. In fact,the numbers are so staggering that one could lose sight of the fact that every one of them represents a human being. Any systems we may already have in place surely cannot begin to keep up with this carnage. I don’t even think the word epidemic does it justice,this is an abomination of biblical proportions.

    I’m still waiting on our pastors and church leaders to not only speak out about this outrage,but to commit resources to educate within their communities and congregations as well as to declare this work America’s new mission field.

    Surely God must weep at how far removed from His love we have strayed.

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