If your husband is beating you are you to just stay married, grin and bear it? To hear some Christians talk about marriage and divorce you would think the answer to that question is yes. But, sit across from a woman telling you her personal horror of abuse and you will quickly realize such “pious,: un-scriptural nonsense is dangerous! So many women are in dangerous situations saying to themselves, “I’m a Christian so can I divorce my abusive husband?” The short answer is a resounding yes!
Scripture speaks to the occasion of divorce and specifically advocates the possibility of such in cases of adultery and desertion. But what about those suffering from abuse? Is Scripture silent to their plight? Perhaps a better question is, “What constitutes adultery and/or desertion?”
Paul speaks to the subject of desertion in 1 Corinthians 7:15, “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.” The context of this verse is important: If an unbeliever will not choose to live with a believer then “let them go” but believers should stay with an unbeliever willing to stay in the marriage in hopes of winning them to the Gospel. The choice to stay or go is on the part of the unbeliever.
What of those suffering in a physically abusive relationship? Can they leave their marriage? Should they? I believe the answer is yes and here is why:
- If someone is beating you then he is not a believer. A person who can live a lifestyle of habitual sin is not in fellowship with Christ (1 John 3:6).
- If a man is beating his wife then he has already left the marriage. He has simply yet to change his address. As one pastor friend once said, “Sometimes you got to say “Love me or leave me but do the right thing.”” The unbeliever has made his choice.
- We have a moral and spiritual obligation to protect life and this includes our own. If you are in danger of losing your life then get out of your circumstance! God is ok with that!
God provides a way to a new life for those suffering abuse. Do not allow you or your children to stay in a dangerous situation. If you are being beaten you have been deserted and Scripture is offering you a clear way out of the marriage and into a new life!
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