What does the Bible say about abused and battered wives? What does one do?
Marriage according to the scriptures is God’s institution. When God had created everything, he created Adam and from Adam, Eve was created.
Genesis 1:27 – “So God created him in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
This is the first home that God established with a mission and vision. However, the enemy came into that home and battered it. The vision was lost and the mission became impossible. The serpent came and deceived Eve who eventually made God angry and he had to curse and drive them away from the Garden of Eden. This was the problem of man.
It is not God’s will that homes should be in trouble, either abusing each other or beating one another. It is the enemy that has brought this and should be resisted so that the counsel of God for homes can be achieved.
Look at how God described marriage in Hebrews 13:4
“Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral”
The parties involved in a marriage are the man and the woman. They should hold their union with due respect to God who ordained marriage and themselves who are involved in the union.
It should be appreciated that this ordinance is that of God. Although there is no marriage or given to marriage in heaven, but whatever sins are committed from there in this world would be judged by God.
OBLIGATION OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES:
Ephesians 5:22 –33 “Wives, submit to your husband as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, or which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. For this reasons a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
From the above Scripture, which is self explanatory, we can see the roles of the WIVES and that of the HUSBAND. In situations where there is strife, we should ask a solemn question: Are the parties involved in this marriage born again? Were they in the will of God before going into this relationship? Do they have a vision to make heaven ultimately after leaving this world? If these questions are not answered in affirmative, then, so many things are wrong. If they do not accept the Lord Jesus as their personal savior, there is no reason why their home will not be visited by the devil. They would as a natural man be involved in beating and abusing each other. It is important that this questionnaire examines the above questions and positively looks into how she can be born again which eventually may affect the husband.
In Africa where I minister there used to be a man who was not born again and was always maltreating his wife. When all else have failed, I told the woman to resort to praying for the salvation of the man. By the grace of God, the man was born again some months ago and the two of them are doing fine both in the Lord and the Church. It is crucial that Christ must be the center of the home. Where there is no Christ in the home there would be crises.
I Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
The visionary husband that would like to make heaven and bless lives by the Word should take heed to this injunction from the Scripture. Any time I have a misunderstanding with my wife, I find it difficult to pray. I cannot even sleep until I reconcile with her. It is important that every believer should appreciate who women are and treat them with respect. We should not loose our heads. Women should also not misbehave because they are also heirs of the Kingdom.
ADMONITION FOR THE COUPLE
Proverbs 10:12, 14 “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs.
14 “Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
Proverbs 22: 8-12 “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble, and the rod of his furry will be destroyed.
9 A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.
10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.
11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
12 The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful”.
I believe you can understand these words of wisdom from the LORD because they are explicit enough!
“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
For this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
Including every hidden thing,
Whether it is good or evil.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” Acts 3:19
JESUS IS LORD!
Rev Debo Adeyemo
A wife who is being abused and battered does not have to put up with it. Her option is divorce. God did not intend that any woman should suffer in this way.
The bible is full of references to the comparison of the marriage between a man and woman being metaphorically used to describe the marriage relationship between Christ and His church. Husbands are to love their wives in the same way that Christ loved the church. The whole book of Hosea is devoted to using the marriage of Hosea to compare to the relationship of Jesus to the church. Hosea was instructed to marry a prostitute, a fitting description of the children of Israel who moved in and out of apostasy. The church today does the same. Hosea was required time and again to go after his wife who was engaged in adulterous affairs and bring her back and restore her to her position as his wife.
Jesus gave His life for the church and a husband is expected to do no less for his wife.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Col 3:19 Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.
I should point out that while the bible is mostly written in the masculine, principles apply equally to women as to men. Just as a man may divorce a wife, a woman can also divorce a husband.
There are many reasons given for divorce in the bible and sexual misconduct was only one of them. Readers of the study at the above reference will come to understand this. Nothing in the New Testament was intended to contradict anything in the Old Testament. To understand that divorce can ONLY be condoned on the grounds of sexual misconduct is an immature understanding.
Any abandonment by either partner of the responsibilities of marriage, in this case wife bashing, is biblical grounds for divorce.
That said, whilst a couple remain married there is the possibility that a devout wife may succeed in bringing a sinful husband to the Lord. Decisions to divorce must be taken by individuals based on what they can bear to put up with. Considerations for children and their welfare must also be taken into account. No church has the biblical right to determine right or wrong in these matters. The decision must remain between the individual and God.
If you are in such a position and are not sure of your own salvation, answer ‘The Savior’s Call’ in this newsletter. Being therefore right with God, you will be able to better make the right decision for your situation.
First, I’d like to say that my heart goes out to anyone who may have to make difficult decisions because of this. I don’t think these are easy decisions for anyone involved. Based on Scripture, here is how I believe this issue should be addressed (all Scripture verses are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible):
Christian marriage is to be one of respect. Husbands are commanded to love their wives in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians : “5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind-yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. 33 Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband” All Christians are to behave in a Christ-like way: Ephesians 4 “30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” I would say that a man who abuses his spouse physically or verbally is not behaving like a Christian should. This is also a violation of Jesus’ two greatest commandments: Matthew 22 “37 He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”
I would say that spousal abuse does not show love for God or your neighbor.
What should a Christian woman in such a situation do? Prayer should always be involved, and a battered wife should have the support of friends. Does the Bible allow for divorce in such situations? Although the Bible doesn’t directly address divorce on the grounds of abuse, there are two other allowances for divorce that are very often involved in abusive marriages, adultery (Matthew 5:32) and an unsaved spouse (often referred to as the Pauline Privilage, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16)
In both instances, the Bible seems to be addressing the issue of whether remarriage is acceptable more than whether a Christian may divorce. What about an abusive relationship where the husband is not comitting adultery and professes to be a Christian? While it’s not for us to judge someone else’s relationship with Jesus, I doubt very much that a man who sincerely professes Christ and follows Him would treat his wife in such a way. If a man is abusive to his wife and doesn’t repent of his behavior, her life may be in danger by staying with him. Legal separation and/or divorce is often necessary in these circumstances. Divorce may be against God’s original plan for marriage, but spousal abuse is, too. Under these circumstances, I think God does allow for divorce.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in such a relationship.
Husbands are not to be harsh. (Colossians 3:19)
Husbands are to nourish and cherish wives as they would their own bodies.
Treat your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit.(1 Corinthians 6:15-20) This scripture is normally used to preach against smoking, and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. It also most definitely applies to domestic violence as well.
If the husband is a believer, and his abuse has not escalated to criminal proportions, a woman can also appeal to the principles of (Matthew 18:15-18) and ask the church to intervene in her behalf.
When an abused woman does ask the church for help, it is important to remember that God has always asked people of strength to come to the assistance of those who are weak and oppressed. (Ezek. 34:4).
Godly people must not send a battered woman back to her home with the advice to “be more submissive.” The Bible tells women to submit to their husbands but in the case of battered and abused wives, they need to do everything possible to provide whatever legal, social, or spiritual protection is available. When appropriate, they will help a battered woman to apply the full extent of the law. Their motive must not be to return evil for evil, but to use the principle of government to bring an out-of-control husband to his senses. No one does an abusive husband a favor by allowing him to continue degrading himself AND his wife with violence or emotional battering in any way.
The woman who passively allows her husband to abuse her may be sincerely trying to be obedient to the principles of (1 Peter 3:1-6). Or she may have the belief that to report the abuse would result in even greater endangerment to her or her children. In either case, it needs to be realized that Peter was asking women for a certain kind of submission. Peter was calling for the kind of Godly submission that has the husband being the servant leader God made him to be. Peter’s intent was NOT to help abusive husbands indulge even more in the childish lust for power and sick control that Jesus condemned. (Mark 10:42-43; 1 Pet. 3:7).
Love & Blessings, DeeDee Steinman