What is Wife Abuse, and how can I help? Part 3

Hi, Lucy here. I obtained permission from June Hunt and the “Hope for the Heart” ministries to share one of their counseling keys that I found ever so useful. This is the last excerpt from the “Wife Abuse” key. Please feel free to share this information. You never know when it might come in handy to help someone else, yourself, or a friend. Who knows, it might even save someone’s life.

~All words below are quoted from the Wife Abuse Counseling Key by June Hunt. Copyright 2001 HOPE FOR THE HEART~

Counselling key pic Wife Abuse copy

I.       STEPS TO SOLUTION

“He was generally very loving and easygoing when we first married, and then after a few years, he changed. He got upset over something I thought was trivial and threw me against the wall with his hand around my throat. We got past that, and things were going pretty well until this morning. We were discussing money, and I told him I didn’t feel like talking about it. He flew into a rage, took me by the collar and slammed me against the wall again. It’s as though another person takes over his mind and body. This time I was really scared! I can’t understand how someone can turn so quickly. I have to agree with his way of thinking all the time now in order to avoid this type of reaction from him. I feel so sad and confused. How can I make him see what his temper does?”

“Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men; protect me from men of violence.” (Psalm 140:1)

  1. A.      KEY VERSE to Memorize

“A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”

(Proverbs 19:19)

  1. B.      KEY PASSAGE to Read and Reread

“How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?

How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD,

for He has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:1-6)

  1. C.      Correct the Confusion

A wife who sincerely wants to please and obey God can easily become captive to an incorrect understanding of what the Bible says about submission. She becomes vulnerable to accepting abuse and other inappropriate behavior from her husband, all because she has a heart of com- mitment to the Lord. One key to correcting confusion is learning to see Scripture in the light of its context. This is done by:

  • Looking at the surrounding verses
  • Looking at the purpose of the passage or book in which the verse is found
  • Looking at the whole counsel of God’s Word on how we are to relate to one another

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

ARGUMENTS AND ANSWERS

ARGUMENT:  WHEN JESUS SAID, “TURN THE OTHER CHEEK,” HE MEANT THAT CHRISTIAN WIVES SHOULD SUBMIT TO ABUSE.

Answer:  When you look at the words of Jesus, the context addresses retalia- tion: refuse to retaliate evil for evil. Jesus was not promoting abuse.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39)

The backdrop of “turning the other cheek” was refusing to take revenge rather than advocating abuse.

ARGUMENT: SINCE  JESUS  SUBMITTED HIMSELF  TO ABUSE, IF  A  WOMAN WANTS TO BE CHRISTLIKE, SHE MUST ALSO SUBMIT TO ABUSE.

Answer: If a woman wants to be Christlike, she will notice that on numerous occasions when Jesus’ enemies meant to harm Him, He escaped His oppressors. Clearly, Jesus did not randomly submit to abuse. However, when the time came to take away the sins of the world, He who was without sin allowed His blood to be the payment price to purchase the forgiveness of our sins.

“Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take His life. . . . Again they tried to seize Him, but He escaped their grasp.” (John 7:1; 10:39)

ARGUMENT: FIRST PETER 2 SAYS WE ARE CALLED TO ENDURE “UNJUST SUFFERING.” THEREFORE, WIVES SHOULD TAKE SUCH SUFFERING AS COMMENDABLE  BEFORE GOD.”

“For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.” (1 Peter 2:19)

Answer: The context of this Scripture indicates suffering “because you are conscious of God,” which means suffering ridicule, criticism and rejection for your faith. At times, we may be called to suffer when God provides no apparent means of escape. However, God does not call believers to a lifestyle of being continually abused. Men who abuse their wives do so because of their own ungodliness. God calls husbands to love their wives and treat them with respect.

“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.” (1 Peter 3:7)

ARGUMENT: AN ABUSED WIFE SHOULD VIEW HER SUFFERING AS THE CROSS” SHE IS CALLED TO BEAR.

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

Answer: Nowhere does the Bible indicate that the cross is an instrument of physical and emotional pain to be inflicted on a wife. In context, Jesus was saying the cross is a symbol of death—death to self-centered living, a death to self-rule so that the Lord can rule. The following verse further confirms that the cross stands for yielding our lives to the Lord:

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

ARGUMENT: GOD MADE WOMEN INFERIOR TO MEN, GIVING MEN GREATER SUPERIORITY.

Answer: God made women and men different from one another, with different roles and functions, but nowhere does the Bible say that God regards men as superior and women as inferior.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

ARGUMENT: SINCE EPHESIANS 5:24 SAYS, “WIVES SHOULD SUBMIT TO THEIR HUSBANDS IN EVERYTHING,” A WIFE MUST SUBMIT UNCONDITIONALLY . . . EVEN TO A HUSBANDS ABUSE.

Answer: A hierarchy of submission is demonstrated when the apostles refused to obey the high priest and continued teaching in the name of Jesus. They committed an egregious and severely punishable offense by directly disobeying the high priest. Likewise, if a wife is expected to do something which God says is wrong, the wife is to obey God and disobey her husband. God clearly stated His position against vio- lence, as well as His position on how husbands are to treat their wives with respect. For a wife to “cooperate” with her husband’s violent behavior by willfully submitting to it and taking no action to prevent it, is for her to actually join with him in sinning against God.

“Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’” (Acts 5:29)

ARGUMENT: A WIFE MUST NOT RESIST THE ABUSE OF HER HUSBAND BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS THE HUSBAND IS THE HEAD OF THE WIFE.”

Answer: A wife is to submit to the headship of her husband, but the Bible nowhere implies she is to submit to the abuse of her husband. She is to respect his position, not succumb to abusive power. In Ephesians 5:23, the husband is likened to Christ and the wife is likened to the church. Christ is described as the head of His church, “His body.” Likewise, no husband, no head abuses his own body—unless he is mentally ill! Instead, he is to protect and provide for his own wife.

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. . . . 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.” (Ephesians 5:23, 28-29)

  1. D.      Consider Your Choices

Staying with an abuser while waiting for the next violent episode to occur is not your only option. As with many major decisions in life, there is not just one viable choice. The issue of safety should be paramount, for until a safe haven is found, you cannot think clearly to determine your ultimate course of action. You need to know you have a God who not only watches over you, but One who will guide you in the way you should go.

“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:7-8)

Ostrich Outlook

Deny the situation, minimize the seriousness, or rationalize his abusive behavior—even to the point of blaming yourself. “If I just did everything right, he wouldn’t be this way. It’s all my fault!”

Martyr Mentality

Decide to be a “silent sufferer” and live in a destructive relationship. This is a dangerous choice. To survive, you must do everything possible to avoid contradicting him, so as not to risk a negative reaction.

Marriage in Name Only

Disown your feelings, deny your anger and live emotionally divorced. This choice also leaves you vulnerable to potential danger. Abusive marriages do not remain static. Destructive behavior that remains unchallenged becomes increasingly severe.

Going Around Again

Divorce him and begin looking for another husband to provide the love and support that you need. Unless, however, you gain insight into the reasons for his abusive behavior, and unless you are willing to take steps to protect yourself and your children, the pattern of abuse will continue. More than likely, you would marry another abuser.

Build in Boundaries

Determine to set healthy boundaries for yourself, and tolerate only behavior that is acceptable and nonviolent. Pray for God to give you the wisdom and courage to stand up to the opposition that will definitely come when you establish new standards for the way your husband relates to you.

Drastic Measures

Depart for a while and force the issue. Seek counseling for yourself, and require your husband to get professional help.

“HOW CAN I KNOW WHETHER MY HUSBAND HAS REALLY CHANGED?”

Habitual patterns of abusive behavior rarely change unless there is intervention or professional guidance. Sometimes a husband becomes so convicted of his self-centered ways that he lets the Lord give him a new heart, new desires and the power to change. If your husband promises he has changed, you need wisdom to discern if the change is only temporary and manipulative . . . or is he taking personal responsibility for his own behavior?

“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse.” (Proverbs 2:12)

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:

❑                 Do I no longer have a sense of fear when I am with him?

❑                 Has he learned to control his anger without being verbally or emotionally abusive?

❑                 Does he respect my right to disagree?

❑                 Is he able to express his feelings of anger in a calm, non- threatening way?

❑                 Does he communicate feelings other than anger?

❑                 Does he no longer blame me for his problems?

❑                 Do I feel I am being treated with respect?

❑                 Does he show consistent kindness and consideration toward me?

“Husbands . . . 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.” (1 Peter 3:7)

  1. E.         BEGIN  TO  BUILD BOUNDARIES

Begin a new way of thinking about yourself, about God and about abuse.

  • God did not save you so that you could be abused.
  • Abuse is a sin against God’s creation.
  • You were not created to be abused.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able

to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Overcome fear of the unknown by trusting God for the future.

Memorize: “I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

  • “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3)

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Understand the Biblical mandate to hold abusers accountable.

  • Confrontation is Biblical.
  • Confrontation can be used by God’s Spirit for conviction.
  • Lack of confrontation enables abusers to continue abusing others.

“Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.” (Psalm 10:15)

Notify others of your needs (supportive friends, relatives or other people).

  • They must believe you.
  • They must be trustworthy.
  • They must not divulge your location to your husband if you leave.

“Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Develop God’s perspective on submission.

  • Submission does not give license for abuse.
  • Biblical submission is not a response to be demanded, nor is it given out of fear but out of a heart that can safely trust the other.
  • Submission is a way of life designed by God for everyone.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

Admit your anger and practice forgiveness.

  • Confirm the hurt.
  • Confess your anger.
  • Choose to heal.

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:15)

Recognize your own codependent patterns of relating, and change the way you respond.

  • Don’t respond fearfully, hiding the truth.
  • Don’t think you can change him.
  • Don’t take responsibility for his behavior.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?

Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

(Galatians 1:10)

Identify healthy boundaries for yourself, and commit to maintaining them.

  • Communicate your boundaries.
  • State what you will do if he crosses your boundaries.
  • Follow through when he does cross your boundaries.

For example: The next time he abuses you, you will call the police . . . or he can no longer live at home . . . or you will leave with the children.

“A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”

(Proverbs 19:19)

Ensure your personal safety (and that of your children) immediately.

  • Have an action plan.
  • Know ahead of time where you will go and whom you will call. Have the necessary numbers easily accessible.
  • Involve your church. Know the person to contact for help ahead of time.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

(Psalm 4:8)

See your identity as not in your role as wife, which can change, but as a precious child of God, which cannot change.

  • He chose you.
  • He adopted you.
  • He redeemed you.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)

F.       Strategies for Safety

Physically violent incidents can occur at any time. If you have established boundaries or have decided to leave, this time could be particularly dangerous for you. Many abusers tend to be- come enraged when they discover a different dynamic in the relationship. They begin to fear losing control of you and the household. The greatest threat comes when a husband discovers his wife has intentions to leave. A wife who is wise will have prepared for the worst by having a safety plan for leaving.

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

❑          Confide the seriousness of your situation to trustworthy friends or relatives.

❑          Ask if you could stay with them at a moments notice if the need arises.

❑          Accumulate some emergency cash and keep it hidden, or give it to a friend for safekeeping. You may have to put aside jewelry or silver (something your husband would not miss) in order to sell it quickly.

❑          Keep an extra set of car keys hidden.

❑          Store some extra clothing at a friend’s or relative’s house.

❑          Save physical evidence with a trusted friend or in a safety deposit box.
❑          Documentation of physical injuries to you or the children.
❑          Pictures of property such as broken furniture or damaged doors and walls

❑          Keep important papers and documents together in one place and easily accessible.

❑          Family medical records

❑          Bank books

❑          Health insurance papers

❑          Address book

❑          Birth certificates

❑          Sentimental items

❑          Children’s favorite toys

❑          Deeds or other legal records

❑          Pictures

❑          Create a list of phone numbers you may need for emergencies.

❑           Local emergency number if there is one (Example: 911)

❑           Local police

❑           Battered Women’s Shelter

❑           County Registry of Protective Orders

❑           Salvation Army

❑           Work number

❑           Employer’s or supervisor’s home number

❑           Church number

❑           Minister’s home number

❑           Hotline for domestic violence

“MY FRIENDS HUSBAND CONTINUES TO BE PHYSICALLY VIOLENT TOWARD HER. OTHER THAN LEAVING WITH THEIR CHILDREN, WHAT RECOURSE DOES SHE HAVE?”

A wife who has been victimized by her husband should not be doubly victimized by having to leave her own home. Since he is the violator, don’t assume that she should be the one to leave. She could first call the District Attorney’s office to inquire about state laws, protective orders and court orders which can force the husband to leave the premises. If you are having difficulty getting information, call a shelter for battered women, a hotline for domestic violence, the Salvation Army, or an attorney who specializes in family law and can provide legal ways to protect this entire family.

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.” (Proverbs 14:8)

WHAT PROTECTION IS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE LEGAL SYSTEM?”

In the absence of a divorce action, a Peace Bond is issued before a Justice of the Peace in a Civil Court. This is the legal instrument mainly used for domestic violence. In a divorce action, the attorney requests a Restraining Order to protect the parties from further harassment and violence. Such an order is issued routinely by a Family Court judge. Suspicion of violence or threats are not enough to warrant the issuance of any order by a judge. There must be documented physical contact through police reports before a judge will consider issuing any order.

“It will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come upon them.” (Proverbs 24:25)

If you live in a place where the legal system does not offer protection against domestic abuse, find help through the church or seek refuge with sympathetic friends or neighbors. God is aware of your situation and He will guide you to a place of safety.

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

(Psalm 4:8)

Biblical Bill of Rights

for

Surviving an Abusive Marriage

You have the right to receive respect from your mate.

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect.” (1 Peter 3:7)

You have the right to mutual submission.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

You have the right to speak the truth in a loving manner.

“Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)

You have the right to express your anger in appropriate ways.

“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26)

You have the right to spend personal time alone.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

You have the right to use your unique talents and gifts to serve others. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faith- fully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

You have the right to enjoy freedom from fear.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)

You have the right to seek emotional and spiritual support from others.

“Let us not give up meeting together . . . but let us encourage one another

—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

You have the right to report abuse to governmental authorities, when necessary.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men . . . who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” (1 Peter 2:13-14)

You have the right to leave an abusive relationship, when necessary. “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

“Is a husband’s ‘headship’ a license for wife abuse? To the contrary, does your head seek to hurt your hand? Does your brain seek to break your bone?

No, your head protects and provides for your body at all costs. Likewise, the husband, as the God-ordained head of the wife, is to protect her from harm, or else he forfeits his right to headship. How significant that Christ, as the Head of the church, not only loved her, but gave Himself up for her!”

—June Hunt

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

To order resource books, tapes and additional Biblical Counseling Keys on Victimization, Manipulation, Self-Worth, Identity, Codependency, Adultery, Anger, Unbelieving Mate, Divorce, Worry and other related topics,

contact HOPE FOR THE HEART • P.O. Box 7 • Dallas, TX • 75221 or call toll-free 1-800-488-HOPE (4673).

www.hopefortheheart.org

*     *     *

I hope this series has been a blessing to you. Hope for the Heart ministries has a whole range of different counseling keys on lots of different and helpful subjects. I suggest you look them up here. The Bible offers hope, life, and light for an often dark and murky world. Read it. I promise it won’t disappoint! 

Feel free to share these posts, Part One, Part Two, and this one on facebook, to your own blogs/websites, or wherever you think it may be helpful. Truth is a wonderful thing and I pray it sets you free. 🙂 God bless. Lucy

Advertisements

Wife Abuse, and How Can I help? Part 2

Hi, Lucy here. I obtained permission from June Hunt and the “Hope for the Heart” ministries to share one of their counseling keys that I found ever so useful. I plan on sharing excerpts from the “Wife Abuse” key each week for the next few weeks. Please feel free to share this information.

This week I’m talking about the stages of Abuse and its Causes, and then next week will be the conclusion where we’ll discuss what Choices we have, Steps to Solution, and some Biblical answers to common questions surrounding abusive behaviour. I hope you find this useful as I have.

~All words below are quoted from the Wife Abuse Counseling Key by June Hunt. Copyright 2001 HOPE FOR THE HEART~

Counselling key pic Wife Abuse copy

A.      Stages of Abuse

Like a runaway train, abuse doesn’t start with a sudden outburst of physical force. Behav- ioral patterns develop in stages that are cyclic, becoming increasingly more violent. Family members who have learned to recognize the signs are controlled by the mere anticipation of expected violence. Unfortunately, the escalating nature of abuse is rarely curbed without intervention and adequate accountability.

“Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;

call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.” (Psalm 10:15)

Agitated Stage

An environment of tension and anxiety marks this beginning phase. The husband communicates his stress or dissatisfaction and blames his wife for all his problems. Passive psychological control is maintained through direct or indirect verbal and emotional abuse, creating a backdrop of impending doom. During this stage many women accept the primary responsibility for their husbands’ unhappiness. Then they adjust their own behavior in an effort to lessen stress in the home.

“For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and He examines all his paths.”

(Proverbs 5:21)

Characterized by:

  • Brooding and irritability
  • Becoming jealous and suspicious
  • Using the “silent treatment”
  • Withholding emotional support
  • Belittling and destroying self-esteem
  • Making sarcastic and demeaning remarks
  • Accusing or threatening
  • Withholding sexual intimacy
  • Depriving her of sleep
  • Questioning intensely
  • Neglecting family responsibilities

Acute Stage

The tension which has been building is given full throttle. When violent behavior is unleashed, often family members, outsiders or the police are called in to derail and interrupt the rage. This stage of aggressive behavior doesn’t last long, but outbursts tend to become more frequent and more dangerous.

“An angry man stirs up dissension,

and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.” (Proverbs 29:22)

Characterized by:

  • Pushing, choking, slapping,
  • Breaking and destroying property punching, kicking, etc.
  • Throwing objects
  • Forcing sexual compliance
  • Isolating or confining
  • Binding or chaining
  • Using weapons

Apologetic c Stage

During this “honeymoon phase,” the abuser becomes contrite, and the wife is soothed with her husband’s loving actions. With a renewed hope for change and her deep desire to have a successful marriage, she extends forgiveness and the cycle occurs again and again.

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

 Apologies

  • Penitence
  • Remorse
  • Tears
  • Peacemaking
  • Promises

Characterized by:

  • Gifts
  • Apologies
  • Penitence
  • Remorse
  • Tears
  • Peacemaking
  • Promises
  • Temporary acceptance of responsibility

“WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY HUSBAND WAS PHYSICALLY VIOLENT, AND BECAUSE OF FEAR I MOVED AWAY FROM HIM? SHOULD I SEEK A DIVORCE OR GO BACK TO HIM WHEN HE PROMISES TO CHANGE?”

If your husband has not committed adultery, you do not have Biblical grounds for divorce. However, if your husband has not received the help he needs to deal appropriately with his anger, your home will not be safe. Your personal safety (and that of any children) is first in importance. You can remain separated, but be willing to cultivate a heart of reconciliation for the time when your husband may seek help and exhibit genuine change.

“But if she does [separate], she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:11)

  1. B.      Situational Set-Up

A wife should never feel she is the “cause” of her husband’s abuse. He is solely responsible for his behavior and treatment of her, but they both bring certain emotional deficiencies into the marriage which create an unhealthy dynamic of relating. A change in the way each re- sponds to the other is necessary for the cycle to be broken.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

 THE ABUSER                                         THE  ABUSED

Low self-worth                                                        Low self-worth

Emotionally dependent on her                               Emotionally dependent on him

Emotionally depressed                                           Emotionally depressed

Believes in male supremacy                                   Believes in family unity

Exaggerated jealousy                                             Exaggerated guilt

Insatiable ego                                                         Insecure ego

Short fuse                                                               Long-suffering

Explosive emotions                                                Stifled emotions

Lives with suspicion                                                Lives with fear

Fears being betrayed                                             Fears being abandoned

Uses sex to dominate                                             Uses sex to establish intimacy

Displays anger                                                        Denies anger

Blames abuse on mate                                           Accepts responsibility for abuse

Believes he is not part of the problem                     Believes she is the problem

II.    CAUSES

“CAN PEOPLE EVER REALLY CHANGE?”

Yes. God would never tell people to change if they couldn’t.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)

The way individuals relate within marriage is often a mirror of the marital relationship they observed within their own childhood home. Behavioral patterns are learned. Ways in which a husband and wife interact within the family structure become the “norm,” resulting in specific sins being generational.

“The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.

Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished;

He punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

(Numbers 14:18)

A.      Why Does He Do It?

  • He grew up in an abusive home.
  • He experienced abuse in childhood.
  • He has not been taught how to love.
  • He fears losing her.
  • He fears she could be unfaithful.
  • He becomes angry when she shows weakness.
  • He blames her for his low self-esteem.
  • He believes abuse demonstrates his power and superiority.
  • He wants to feel significant and in control.
  • He possesses an unbiblical view of submission.
  • He handles stress immaturely.
  • He thinks using force is his “right” as a husband.
  • He views her as a possession instead of as a person.

“IF SIN IS PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION, HOW CAN A PERSON CHANGE?”

Abuse is a matter of the heart! Matthew 12:35 tells us, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” God promises that those who come to Him will be given a new heart.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;

I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

B.      Why Doesn’t She Leave?

  • She feels helpless, as if she has no control.
  • She doesn’t know that she must not accept abuse, but believes it is normal.
  • She has low self-esteem.
  • She is manipulated by his threats of suicide.
  • She believes she can change her husband.
  • She has an incorrect understanding of Biblical submission.
  • She doesn’t know she has the right to separate in order to achieve a healthy relationship.
  • She blames herself and believes she deserves abuse.
  • She wants to protect the family image, thinking that family “problems” are private.
  • She feels that “any father” for the children is better than “no father.”
  • She fears she can’t make it financially without him.
  • She has been isolated from supportive people.
  • She fears living alone.
  • She is embarrassed by the stigma of depending on welfare or living in a shelter.
  • She believes that her husband and children are all she has.
  • She has been told that she is insane, and she is afraid that she is.
  • She does not know there are organizations and services to help her.
  • She trusts his promise to never do it again.

“IF I AM IN A VIOLENT OR THREATENING SITUATION, IS IT ALL RIGHT TO LEAVE?”

In the Bible a hierarchy of submission exists, with God being the highest authority. Scripture reveals that godly people sometimes physically separated from their ungodly authorities. Biblically, we are to submit to our governing authorities, yet David fled King Saul . . . with God’s blessing. Although David was merely one of the King’s subjects, when Saul’s actions became violent, David escaped.

“The Lord was with David but had left Saul. . . . Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.” (1 Samuel 18:12; 19:10)

C.      Why Should She Leave?

  • She finally realizes he will not change if circumstances remain the same.
  • She understands that leaving may be the way to get her husband’s attention.
  • His threats of abuse are translating into action.
  • His abuse is occurring more frequently.
  • He has begun to abuse the children.
  • She realizes that the children must be protected from abuse, and she wants to prevent the children from adopting his behavior.
  • She has found help through friends, family, church or professional organizations.
  • She realizes it is not in God’s will to accept abuse.
  • She is afraid for her life or the lives of her children.
  • She realizes there is a thin line between threats and homicide.

“SINCE THE BIBLE TEACHES ‘WIVES, SUBMIT TO YOUR HUSBANDS,’ ISNT LEAVING AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND AGAINST THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE?”

The Bible is not silent regarding the wife of a man who does not control his temper. When one is in danger, temporary separation is appropriate.

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered.” (Proverbs 22:24)

“SARAH IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A GODLY WIFE (1 PETER 3:5-6), YET

WAS SHE RIGHT TO JOIN ABRAHAM IN DECEIVING THE PHARAOH OF EGYPT (GENESIS 12:10-20), AS WELL AS KING ABIMELECH (GENESIS 20:1-10)?”

No, Sarah wasn’t right. In fact, neither she nor Abraham were trusting God for their safety. This kind of lie and deception brings personal dis- honor and does not glorify God.

“Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said, ‘What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done.’” (Genesis 20:9)

D.      Root Cause

WRONG BELIEF:             

The Abuser:

“If I don’t control my wife, I could lose her. I need her in order to feel significant.

The Abused:

“If I don’t give in to my husband, I could lose him. I need him in order to feel secure.”

RIGHT BELIEF:            “Even if I lose my mate, I will never lose God’s love for me. My heavenly Maker has promised to become my total provider. I will depend on Him to meet all my needs.”

“For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is His name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” (Isaiah 54:5)

*    *    *

Please feel free to share this post and bring some healing to hurting hearts. Next week will be the conclusion where we’ll discuss what Choices we have, Steps to Solution, and some Biblical answers to common questions surrounding abusive behaviour. Hope you’ll stop by to read that as well. I hope you find this useful as I have. God bless. Lucy

What is Wife Abuse, and how can I help?

Hi, Lucy here. I obtained permission from June Hunt and the “Hope for the Heart” ministries to share one of their counseling keys that I found ever so useful. I plan on sharing excerpts from the “Wife Abuse” key each week for the next few weeks. Please feel free to share this information. You never know when it might come in handy to help someone else, yourself, or a friend. Who knows, it might even save someone’s life.

~All words below are quoted from the Wife Abuse Counseling Key by June Hunt. Copyright 2001 HOPE FOR THE HEART~

Counselling key pic Wife Abuse copy

Wife Abuse

ASSAULT ON A WOMANS WORTH

BY JUNE HUNT

He was prominent in the community. What woman wouldn’t feel fortunate to be his wife? She certainly had all the finer things in life. And the children . . . didn’t they have the best that money could buy? How could she think about destroying such a picture-perfect family or risk stepping into a future unknown? Where would she go? What could she do? How would she support herself? And even worse, would she lose the children if she began to expose the terrible truth? She felt hopeless. Who would believe her? So skillful at hiding her feelings, as well as the bruises, with swollen, tear- stained eyes, she reasoned . . . It’s mostly my fault anyway!

Even when reason seems skewed, the Psalms offer hope for the afflicted.

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

(Psalm 10:17-18)

I.       DEFINITIONS

Undoubtedly, abusive acts are committed by both husbands and wives. But in the area of domestic violence, statistically, most of the victims are women. Although wife-battering carries a long history of being traditionally and even legally tolerated, abusive behavior has always grieved the heart of God. Consequences of misusing this most sacred of relationships are always painful, but God promises to be close to the victim who suffers at the hands of an abuser.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

A.      What is Abuse?

  • In general, the verb abuse means “to hurt, mistreat, insult or injure.”
  • The words abuse and violence are often used interchangeably, although the word violence implies an escalation of abuse and introduces the ele- ment of fear of harm as a means of control.
  • The Old Testament Hebrew word most often translated as “violence” is chamac, which means “to mistreat.” Chamac is also translated as mali- cious, destroy, wrong, crime, ruthless, plunder and terror.

God’s  judgment  falls  on  anyone  who  is abusive  or  violent  toward  another.

“‘I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

(Malachi 2:16)

  • The legal term for physical spousal abuse, child abuse, elder abuse or any other physically abusive relationship within the home or family is Domestic or Family Violence.
  • Abuse . . .

Affects everyone in the family

Bridges all levels in society: racial, religious, geographic and economic

Undermines the value of others

Seeks to dominate

Escalates in intensity and frequency

Spiritual leaders need to be discerning when informed of spousal abuse. Violence of any kind should never be tolerated nor hidden under the cover of “godly sub- mission.” Our Lord calls the church to be a place of refuge . . . a stronghold of support and defense against violence.

“My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.

He is my stronghold, my refuge and my Savior— from violent men You save me.”

(2 Samuel 22:3)

B.      What Are the Different Types of Abuse?

Abusive behavior can be aggressive or passive, physical or psychological, direct or indirect, but regardless of the method, all abusive behavior comes from the desire to punish, manipulate and control.

“In your heart you devise injustice,

and your hands mete out violence on the earth.” (Psalm 58:2)

Verbal A buse

Verbal abuse is defined as the use of words or tone of voice to control or hurt another person or to destroy self-worth. Verbal abuse can be as dev- astating as physical abuse within a marriage—a destroyer of respect, trust and intimacy. Verbally abusive language is meant to:

  • Intimidate with threats
  • Shame with accusations
  • Belittle with name-calling
  • Confuse with mind games
  • Badger with excessive questioning
  • Deceive with lies
  • Insult with profanity

“His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.”

(Psalm 10:7)

Emotional A buse

While all forms of mistreatment are emotionally abusive, certain behav- iors can be overtly labeled as “emotional abuse.” An emotionally abusive behavior will fit into one of two categories: passive or aggressive.

Passive emotional abuse is characterized by:

  • Withholding emotional support
  • Not giving attention or compliments which are due
  • Using the “silent treatment”
  • Refusing to express true feelings
  • Neglecting important family gatherings
  • Failing to return home at a reasonable time

Aggressive emotional abuse is characterized by:

  • Not allowing spouse to have any part in major decisions
  • Withholding money and access to the checkbook
  • Hiding car keys as a means of control
  • Driving recklessly to instill fear
  • Inflicting sleep deprivation
  • Isolating spouse from family and friends
  • Physically abusing a loved pet

“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.”

(Psalm 10:2)

Physical Abuse/ Violence

Physical abuse involves any use of size, strength or presence to control or hurt someone. Often beginning with verbal threats of physical harm— “You’ll wish you had never been born.” . . . “You’re going to get it!”— the verbal abuse escalates to physical violence.

Acts of violence include:

  • pushing
  • shoving
  • • slapping
  • kicking
  • pinning down
  • poking
  • choking
  • hair pulling
  • burning
  • binding
  • chaining
  • attacking with an object
  • use of weapons

“Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.” (Proverbs 24:1-2)

Sexual Abuse/ Violence

Because many believe that a wife is to be submissive to all her husband’s desires, many married women experience sexual abuse without realizing it. Sexual abuse and/or violence includes:

  • Sexually degrading attitudes and treatment
  • Discrimination based on gender
  • Threats or force to get unwanted sex (mate rape)
  • Unjust accusations of extramarital affairs
  • Brazen flirtation with members of the opposite sex
  • Homosexual activities
  • Committing adultery
  • Coercing spouse to perform sexual acts with others

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

(Hebrews 13:4)

  1. C.    What is Misogyny?

Our English word misogyny comes from the Greek misogynia (miso, which means “hatred” and gyn¯e, which means “woman”). Misogyny means “hatred and distrust of women.” The misogy- nist may have experienced emotional or physical harm from a woman during his youth. There- fore, he over-generalizes, thinking all women are the same. His behavior toward women, espe- cially toward his wife, reflects the bitterness and hatred stored within his soul.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:35)

The misogynist:

  • Has a gender prejudice against all women
  • Thinks women are weak and despises their weakness
  • Feels both threatened and enraged by tears
  • Acts both lovingly and hatefully toward women
  • Primarily uses mental and emotional abuse to control women

D.      Where is God in All This?

Is God just a bystander in life, passively watching as innocence suffers and wickedness prospers? The Bible says that God is never indifferent! Then where is the Heavenly Father in the midst of injustice? He is where He was when His Son endured violence at the most pivotal point in history . . . the crucifixion. God the Son was on the cross paying the penalty for the sins of the world while God the Father watched—with a broken heart. When the deepest part of your heart cries His name, He will respond with a deep love and compassion like that from none other.

“Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not

willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:32-33)

God’s Heart on Violence

God hates violence.

“The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:5)

God judges those who are violent.

“God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence.’” (Genesis 6:13)

God is angry with violent behavior.

“Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke Me to anger?” (Ezekiel 8:17)

God commands those who are violent to change.

“Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right.” (Ezekiel 45:9)

“IF GOD IS JUST, WHY DOES HE ALLOW WIFE ABUSE?”

God did not create human beings to be puppets. God does allow all people to choose right from wrong. Don’t blame God for those who choose to do evil. Be assured, God is just . . . and He will punish those who abuse you.

“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6)

God’s Heart for the Victim

God hears the cry of the battered and abused.

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry.” (Psalm 10:17)

God holds the victim of abuse in the palm of His hand.

“I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)

God rescues the victim of abuse and violence.

“He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in His sight.” (Psalm 72:14)

God confirms the victim’s value and worth.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)

God brings good out of the evil deeds of others.

“The LORD works out everything for His own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.” (Proverbs 16:4)

*     *     *

Next week I’ll have a new excerpt from more of this counseling key. Please, feel free to share this post with others. Get the truth out there that abuse is NOT okay. Thank you for reading. God bless.

Does God love me?

Does God love me?

What about my sin…you know…that one. The sins you don’t tell anyone about. That remain unconfessed… Haunting. Squirming just below the surface. Surely God wouldn’t forgive them. Surely they’re just too, well, BIG.

Psalm 103

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

God doesn’t hate you. He already knows what’s in your heart–and he loves you the same.

He. Loves. You.

I’ll say it again: He loves you.

Can I encourage you to just close your eyes, quiet your thoughts, and firstly say sorry to God for your sin (it separates us from God) and just listen to Him.

God is waiting to hear from you. He’s out looking for you. Calling your name. Preparing your home in heaven in preparation for your arrival. Getting ready to throw a part to celebrate.

You don’t need to jump hoops to earn his love. The thief on the cross had nothing to offer, nothing to recommend him to God. And he was accepted. Empty hands are fine.

God bless. Lucy

I will praise you in this storm.

We’ve had an interesting week here. My 2yr old niece ate some caustic soda (a drain cleaner with the same ingredients as lye or paint stripper) and had to be flown to a major children’s hospital for emergency care.

Today, she has been moved to the High Dependency ward and is no longer considered in a Life Threatening situation.

I won’t post pictures because I haven’t asked my sister’s permission, but please do pray for Isabella. She very nearly died and still is in a very critical condition with a long road of recovery in front of her.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Psalm 27:13-14 says: Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’S goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

God has impressed on me the importance of praising him–even when I can’t see how things will work out, or I can’t see his hand holding me. He is here with me (with you), he can be trusted, and I am to praise him regardless of whatever is happening around me. Praise him in this storm.

Today, amid updating my facebook page with new details about Isabella and replying to various kind and caring emails and messages, I had to deal with my own pain. Late last night my tooth became quite painful and got worse over the course of today. 😦

I went up to the hospital and they sent me straight into the dentist, and within 15mins the sore tooth was pulled out. Ah! Blessed relief. I barely had time to pray, but I did. Held on tight to Jesus’ hand and his promises. Trusted him. Praised him in this storm.

Through the love and support of many different prayer chains, and friends both near and far has made this time much more bearable. This is what the body of Christ is supposed to look like: people praying earnestly for each other, offering care, support, and unconditional, sacrificial love. It has been wonderful to see and to experience this in this trying time.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How about you? How has your week been? Is there a storm in your life that you’d like prayer for? If you don’t want to share in the comments, you can use my “About me” button to send me an email from the form there. I promise that I will pray for you. 🙂 Here’s praying that we all have a much better week than the one just passed.

Blessings, and as one prayer partner has said: God’s got your back. 🙂