I’m doing some research on abuse and submission as a result of a recent incident (poorly framed sermon) at the church I was attending. Here are a few thoughts from articles that are jaw-dropping… unfortunately mainly because I’ve never, in 40+ years of church attendance, heard them.
Why women stay in abusive domestic situations:
One woman was Beverly Gooden who tweeted on September 8, “I stayed because my pastor told me God hates divorce. It didn’t cross my mind that God might hate abuse, too.” ~https://www.etbu.edu/php/theintersection/a-biblical-response-to-domestic-violence/
Toward the end of the above article there are verses that show the Bible to address domestic violence and abuse. I don’t recognize most… and never heard them in church. The church has generally taken the stance that divorce is wrong. Why have they not discussed the sin of abuse? The response of my former church would have been that the woman wasn’t sinning in accepting the abuse, but would have sinned by divorcing the abuser. Is this accurate? If she allows him to continue sinning by her silence, particularly if she has children who are also subjected to abuse or the affects of living in a home where abuse is accepted, is she sinning less by her silence than by leaving?
A lot of the messages around violence against women are aimed at women – like not taking illegal cabs for example. But we feel there also needs to be a campaign aimed at men saying ‘please stop’,” he says.~https://www.christiantoday.com/article/towards.an.effective.church.response.to.domestic.abuse/27307.htm
Wait. Please stop?!?! This was taken from Christianity Today, not some obscure website. Please?
From the same article:
In the Christian context, abusers may use Scripture or theological positions to justify their behaviour, while the women may believe that the permanence of marriage, the importance of forgiveness, and the headship of the man in the family means they must simply accept it.
“This needs to be talked about and what forgiveness means needs to be explained because people don’t realise that it is not being a doormat,” says Natalie, who is helping to draft Restored’s resources.
Notice that Natalie does not say that the permanence of marriage and the headship of man needs to be discussed. Just the issue of what forgiveness means. One of her last statements, though, stands out most:
“At the minute, the church isn’t the answer for people suffering abuse,” says Natalie.
Interesting to me was a Catholic article that stated, among other things:
Violence and abuse, not divorce, break up a marriage. ~http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/domestic-violence/when-i-call-for-help.cfm
This article also brings out scripture that shows abuse is wrong. I may post some of those in a separate article. They aren’t discussed or quoted nearly enough… and they need to be heard much more than “Wives submit…” and “women must remain silent” do. There are far more of them, but they are far less heard.
One last statement, because those reading it may well hear their own stories, no matter what sort of abuse they faced or from whom within the church:
He wanted submission from his wife and children. He wanted us to sit at his feet and learn from him. He wanted support and adoration from everyone. He wanted service and loyalty. Everything became HIS way. He knew BEST in EVERYTHING. … I didn’t seem like I adored him enough. I wasn’t loving him enough.
I sank into a deep depression. I began to see God differently than ever before. I felt like God was ONLY for my husband and not for me unless I was more obedient…more submissive…more adoring. I began to see myself as only a person in regards to my husband. Not an individual loved my Christ. I didn’t even feel like a human being anymore. Only a servant…and a terrible one at that. I don’t go to church anymore. I can’t pray. I don’t trust God. I struggle so hard to believe He loves me anymore.~https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2016/10/14/the-churchs-response-to-feminism-has-swung-the-pendulum-too-far-the-other-way-and-it-is-leading-to-abuse/
The quote above is very similar to things I’ve said due to church abuse. Only the man wanting submission and adoration was the pastor, not my husband. Abuse is wrong in any form.