Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Berean, May 25, 2015.
Is spousal abuse (either physical or mental) Scriptural grounds for divorce?
It will be interesting to see the responses.
I wonder if the Bible remains relatively silent on this issue because of all the variables. What is termed abuse seems to change. There are different underlying causes - illness, medication, anger, fear. There are one time situations, and ongoing situations.
How can there possibly be one answer that fits all?
Even if one staunchly believes divorce is not an option, I would hope they realize they are not required to allow a spouse to harm them. Our Father loves us and wants us to be loved, and did not create us for abuse. We also have an obligation to protect our children.
Unless and until the spouse decides to honor the marriage vows, (which are broken in a spousal abuse case) one should do the best they can to be safe. Given the variables, there are different ways to achieve this.
But - don't ever make a person walk that path alone if you can help!
Whatever the case, if my daughters were getting physically, sexually or mentally abused at the hands of their spouse I would fully support them if they chose to remove themselves from the situation. I would not let their spouse use their faith as leverage to continue the abuse.
I guess the moons have finally aligned, because for once, I agree with you! I have counseled many women to leave an abusive situation, knowing quite well that nine times out of 10, they situation will only get worse, and a lot of those times the woman is murdered.
As a pastor, there are better things than saving a marriage. I believe that saving the life of the spouse and her children from the anguish and pain of abuse, as well as witnessing abuse, is far better than subjecting them to it by demanding that they remain and pray for a change! Only a battered spouse can speak to the horrors of abuse, and until you have walked in their shoes, there is no way we can judge them, should they elect to leave and get a better life.
Of course, I also suggest to these ladies that they seek to counsel before getting back into a new marriage, to see what it was that attracted them to this type of person in the first place. I did this, because percentages were good, that after leaving an abusive spouse, the person would end up with another abusive spouse or partner!
And as for the church, when a man is accused of abusing their spouse and or children, there need to be consequences for them and their continued fellowship!The old saying, "Once an abuser, always an abuser" is not far from being wrong.
I've been there, abused by a spouse, both physically and emotionally, and when my life was threatened, I got out. She was a Christian, and it was hard for those who knew us as a couple to believe she was filled with such rage. That is until she attacked me, unprovoked, in front of some of them in a public place, after our divorce. Then views of her changed quickly.
It is a bad situation for all involved. And that includes children. Children who are quite impressionable. The girls will think they are supposed to be like mom, and take the abuse. The boys will think that hitting and shouting and belittling the woman is acceptable, because dad does it and mom takes it! Like I said, it is complicated, and often the church is not capable of handling abusive relationships, because these relationships are out of the norm of what the church expects or believes a marriage should and could be! All of this is of course, my opinion and views, and I am sure many will jump on me for my thoughts. Even so, I stand by what I say; because I've been there and done that, and it ain't pretty! :tear:
Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church
It really is depending on the situation and if there is a possibility of repentance and restoration but in many cases, abusers will not change. The most important thing is to right away remove the abused from the home and get them to a safe place and know that they are not going back until there is assurance of safety.
For physical abuse, it is the most important thing to get the spouse and the children into a place of safety by either removing the abuser from the home or the abused out of the home. The authorities need to be brought into the process. And a temporary restraining order enacted. In terms of divorce, that depends on whether the abuser is willing to get counseling, change his ways and show fruits of repentance.
Concerning mental abuse, the situation is difficult. I had a lady ask if it was permissible for her to get a divorce because her husband continued to smoke even when told by his doctor not to. She considered this abuse. There are real cases of mental/emotional abuse, but that require counseling and I would have to judge it on a case by case situation.
For those seeking help beyond that which a good local church can provide, you may want to log on to the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions' website: www.agrm.org
Their "locate a mission" tab can be helpful in finding a secure place for women and/or children to go if they feel it's necessary.
Nobody has to ever stay in an abusive situation, ever.
Is it grounds for divorce? Yes, is the simple answer, but not the complete answer. Trust is a very difficult thing to rebuild once it has been destroyed.
We had a thread not too long ago about this. I'll say the same thing here.
I believe the Bible is clear that infidelity is grounds for a divorce. And in my mind, physical or mental abuse is a form of infidelity. It is being unfaithful and betraying the trust that is inherent in a marital relationship.
I agree. While I don't believe one HAS to divorce, I believe that one has that option when all other options have failed. I believe that spousal abuse is a form of breaking the bonds of trust and faithfulness.
Malachi 2 says this of the priestly leadership that were rebuked by God of being despicable husbands.
They apparently were divorcing or mistreating or neglecting their wives and the wives were crying out to God about it. Then the priests' offerings were not accepted by God.
God hates divorce, but He also hates the mistreatment of others - in my opinion - God especially hates the mistreatment of others by those in spiritual authority - whomever and wherever they may be.
God says divorce is a violent thing, but he also says that dealing treacherously with your spouse is equally evil.
How do you handle such situations when all the red flags were there before the couple got married? I have seen many cases where the woman, sweet as she could be, married a bum. She married a man who displayed abusive characteristics before the beginning of the marriage. It's hard to have sympathy in such situations. I was very seriously involved with a young woman who by all appearances was a woman wanted to marry until she stated to become verbally abusive. As much as it hurt I had to let her go. If she were this way before I married her then how much worse would it be once we were married?
When this has happened between couples in my ministry, the first thing we do is immediately create distance between the two and put the abused (and children) in a sequestered place that is unknown to the abuser.
No one being abused should ever stay in an abusive situation. This is even more true with children.
The second thing is provide immediate counseling. If the abuser is continuing to abuse (verbally, and they better not try physically) in the session or through making threats and such, corrective action is immediately enacted. We keep a close relationship with our local law enforcement agencies and have acted on behalf of abused individuals to get a restraining order in place quickly.
Then you need some cooling down period...once everyone is safe. We then try to initiate counseling and reconciliation, though keep in place the restraint, distance components until the abuser can prove they are not in that frame of mind anymore that can take months. We've housed abused women and children for nine months at one point.
So to the OP:
Yes, I believe abuse (physical, extreme emotional, and sexual abuse) are Scriptural grounds for divorce for the same reasons SappyWooder explained.
It is my experience in human services that taught me violent and abusive people tend to stay that way, despite therapy, litigation, or even salvation. You can work with thieves to get them to stop stealing, but not the case with violence.
Forgiveness is one thing, but nobody should have stay in an abusive situation. And everyone of us knows someone who is in a situation where they shouldn't stay, yet they don't dare leave. For whatever reason. It's heartbreaking.