Enhancing On-going Ministry Through Equipping, Encouraging, and Interceding

Abuse and Divorce

In our early years, both my wife and I were taught that divorce was wrong, and less than God’s best. At our wedding we were given grandparental advice, “Don’t ever go to bed mad at each other,” and “Remove the word ‘divorce’ from your vocabulary.” We have lived within those early teachings for more than fifty years and tried to model its truth for our family. Then came the Saturday morning phone call from our daughter, asking me to pick her up and take her to the Emergency Room. Needing no explanation, I quickly drove to her house. When I asked why she was wearing sun glasses on a cloudy day, she removed them to reveal two swollen eyes. Then I noticed the bruise on her cheek. The trip to the ER also reveled cracked ribs. Her husband had physically abused her. On the way to the ER, I reviewed in my mind all the scripture verses that seemed to prevent divorce. Then I weighed them against Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church.” It was the second half of the verse that got me. In my ministry, I had seen a few abused churches, but the abuse had never been by Jesus. He loved them all. I can only speak for myself (with respect for the differing opinions of others), but everything changed for me that Saturday morning. Within a few hours of leaving the ER, my daughter and I were sitting in an Attorney’s office discussing what would eventually be divorce from her abusive husband. Much is being written and said these days about abused wives never filing for divorce, but simply praying for their abusive husbands. While I am a strong believer in prayer on any occasion, I’m curious as to how those who are so strong in their expressions of this abused-but-not-divorced idea would feel if the abused were their own flesh and blood. Just wondering, that’s all. (I use my daughter’s story with her permission. In her words, “I hope it helps someone.” I hope so too.)

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