Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wifely Submission or Spiritualized Denial?

Posted by Hannah at 9:00 AM

I just read an article on My Blessed Home about 'wifely submission'.

The author quotes a lot of scripture on what a Godly man and women look to for reference as to what God wishes for them. It wasn’t a bad article, but when it comes to the realms of domestic abuse it could be very dangerous! When you are dealing with wife abuse or domestic violence keeping secrets can be deadly. Emotional and Verbal abuse can escalate into physical abuse as well.

Remember emotional abuse and verbal abuse involve a pattern of behavior, and not just being ugly one day.

Unfortunately, her article is a good example if someone is experiencing domestic violence and takes this to heart is called the HOLY HUSH! Keeping silence when your spouse is treating you in a cruel manner is NOT something you are to be silent about. Its not betrayal, and is certainly isn’t NOT being a proper helpmate! Fellowship is a tool that God gave us to use, and we can’t use that tool unless we break the silence of domestic violence. Those that would tell you to be more submissive, keep silent and allow God to change them are examples of religious and spiritual abuse. I don’t think most people intend it to be, but that advice clearly goes against scripture.

Lets look to the bible and see what it says about fellowship. The bible speaks of fellowship, and how it is important:

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

1 Corinthians 12:24-27 BBE But those parts of the body which are beautiful have no need of such care: and so the body has been joined together by God in such a way as to give more honour to those parts which had need of it; (25) So that there might be no division in the body; but all the parts might have the same care for one another. (26) And if there is pain in one part of the body, all the parts will be feeling it; or if one part is honoured, all the parts will be glad. (27) Now you are the body of Christ, and every one of you the separate parts of it.

As you can see in 1 Corinthians we are all parts of the body of Christ, and when a part of the body needs help we are to give this help. You can’t do that when you are asked to stay silent when your spouse is acting abusive. It states that when one part of the body is in pain then all parts will be feeling it, and if one part is honored that all parts should be glad. We are all parts of the body of Christ, and if you are victim of Emotional abuse, Verbal Abuse, Physical abuse how will the rest of the body know if you are told to keep silent? How would your spouse get the help they need, and how would you all get the healing that is needed if the destructive secret of abuse is not brought into the light?

You notice in that verse it says nothing of being silence, and enduring cruel acts of our spouse. It states that if one part of the body of Christ is enduring pain that the whole body of Christ is enduring it.

1 John 3:14-24 BBE We are conscious that we have come out of death into life because of our love for the brothers. He who has no love is still in death. (15) Anyone who has hate for his brother is a taker of life, and you may be certain that no taker of life has eternal life in him. (16) In this we see what love is, because he gave his life for us; and it is right for us to give our lives for the brothers. (17) But if a man has this world's goods, and sees that his brother is in need, and keeps his heart shut against his brother, how is it possible for the love of God to be in him? (18) My little children, do not let our love be in word and in tongue, but let it be in act and in good faith. (19) In this way we may be certain that we are true, and may give our heart comfort before him, (20) When our heart says that we have done wrong; because God is greater than our heart, and has knowledge of all things. (21) My loved ones, if our heart does not say that we have done wrong, we have no fear before him; (22) And he gives us all our requests, because we keep his laws and do the things which are pleasing in his eyes. (23) And this is his law, that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love for one another, even as he said to us. (24) He who keeps his laws is in God and God is in him. And the Spirit which he gave us is our witness that he is in us.

With our silence we encourage our spouses to live in darkness, and when others encourage you to keep that darkness hidden ‘he has no love is still in death’! Why? Because of the evil that has taken hold within this person. Fellowship is important to our walk. There are no exception clauses as to WHAT sin we must keep silent! Being a helpmate to a husband is NOT keeping his sins in the darkness. He is in need of fellowship so that his prayers and salvation are not placed at risk! That isn’t being a nag, Jezebel spirit, or sinning against your husband to make sure he walks the proper walk of a Follower of Christ!

Followers should not be afraid of this rebuke, nor should they wish it to be hidden! Why would a true Christian wish to HIDE anything? True Christian leaders of the home would wish this correction to happen so they are being what God wishes them to be! It’s not bad for them to have others help them during this path, but how will that happen if the family is asked to stay silent? God gave us tools here on earth, and he intended for us to use them!

John 3:19-20 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Prov. 10:16 The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.

What do the scripture passages above tell you? In a nutshell to me that people that love evil do not like the sin brought into the light for fear of being exposed. It doesn’t say to be a good helpmate you must keep this silent! The silence of domestic violence is sin as well!

Man was created before woman. For each thing God created, God said "it is good." However, God didn't say that after Adam's creation. God said "it is not good." God saw that Adam was alone, so God made it good by creating woman. Woman is God's gift to man, in the sense that a wife is to be her husband's help meet.

The husband needs his wife's help. God said that it was not good for man to be alone, so He remedied the situation by creating woman.

When a man and a woman get married, they are each to leave their families, and create their own new family unit.

The husband is the God-Ordained leader of the family unit, with his loving wife at his side as his help meet, making it "good."

Since the husband is the God-ordained family leader, the wife is to submit to his leadership. The husband is to cherish and honor his wife, and to love her as Christ loves the church (see Ephesians chapter 5).

I don’t have any real issues with what she is saying here. What I don’t understand how she encourages others to allow women NOT to be treated as that gift! Her views are just fine up until the next point she attempts to make!

Colossians 3:18 is clear that wives are to be under the authority of their own husbands; not others. In Christ, men and women are equal. Women are not under the thumb of men. The wife has the Biblical command to submit to her husband. Other men have no authority over her, unless it is a type of employee/employer situation. That shouldn't be a common situation, since the Bible also tells us that wives are to be the keepers of their homes.

Colossians 3:18 also tells us to submit to our husbands as it is fit in the Lord. Therefore, if a husband wants his wife to do something that is clearly against the will of God (as per the Bible), then the wife need not comply.

If a husband mistreats his wife, she should still be his help meet and submit to him. It is not the wife's duty to set her man straight, or to teach him a lesson. The Bible assures us that God will do this for the wife. One of the ways God does this, is by hindering the husband's prayers.

What if the wife's husband is an unbeliever, or is backslidden? 1 Peter 3 is clear that the wife is still to submit to her husband, and if he can't be won by the Bible, then maybe he can be won by his wife's behavior and his seeing her walk with God. Treat the unbelieving, backslidden, or cruel husband as if he is a wonderful man. This is how you can help him. You are his help meet.

First of all a gentle rebuke is NOT ‘setting her man straight’ or ‘teaching him a lesson’! We need to clarify here! One is based almost in being vindictive, and the other is clearly the opposite. We are all called to receive the gentle rebukes in a humble manner. There is a difference that she has left out. Wife’s are NOT restricted in this manner.

Mat 23:1-12, Mat 20:25-28, John 13:12-17 as some of the examples of how Jesus spoke of leadership in HIS definition! Husbands are to be servant leaders not those that get to tell you how things are to be.

According to the scripture I referenced above silence and treating him as a ‘wonderful’ man alone is NOT what is called for in scripture. YES his prayers will be hindered if he continues to act sinfully towards his wife and family. God asks Christians to bring the sin into the light, and you can’t do that by keeping your mouth shut.

She seems to contradict herself as well. She states that a man is not to keep you under his thumb. She did state how the man is to treat his wife, and states that if he asks you to sin you don’t have to comply. The contradiction comes when he acts sinfully towards the wife you are to treat him as a wonderful person, because you have no right of rebuke. Being a helpmate is to show your chaste behavior – that part I will agree with, but stating that to bring sin into the light is NOT being a proper helpmate is clearly against scripture. Acting cruelly towards someone in a domestic violence situation is keeping them under your thumb. They are doing it for the control and power, and out of insecurity along with evil that is received within his being.

God and the fellowship are to help both parts of that hurting body of church. One that is being cruel, and the one that is enduring the cruelity. The bible states that repetitive sin needs to be addressed, and it can’t be if the wife is told to HUSH!

Since mistreatment and abuse is normally done behind closed doors, and in the darkness as the bible states...she is encouraging those to NOT take it into the light! I'm NOT talking in a vindictive way, or in a tattle tail fashion here! You can lovingly bring things into the light, and allow the fellowship to help you bring the husband back into the fold of the body of Christ. The bible states clearly to me that sin is in the dark because it is evil, and if you are encouraged NOT to mention it that person is enabled it to continue! I’m NOT saying God can’t take care of things on his own! What she is telling a person is there is no need for fellowship to get involved! I’m NOT saying ‘sent him straight’ in a vindictive manner, or ‘teaching him a lesson’ in the same fashion. When you reach out for help this definition doesn’t apply if you do this with the proper spirit!

Being a proper helpmate is helping your husband stay within his role of a Godly husband, and not enable his bad behavior to continue to standing in silent with a smile and prayer!

Your husband may not deserve your love, honor, and submission. regardless if he is being a biblical husband, you still need to be the biblical wife. When you do this, even when your husband doesn't deserve it, God sees your heart and actions, and He will bless you for it. Remember Psalm 37 - trust in the Lord, and wait on Him. Heavenly Father knows best.

Proverbs 31 tells us that the husband’s heart should trust his wife. Don't betray his heart and trust by saying negative or hurtful things to him, or about him. Build your husband up; help him become a better man, by treating him as if he already is.

What the author doesn’t seem to understand is that you can still be biblical wife, and call on the fellowship to help with repetitive sinful behavior such as domestic violence. God will not bless someone that keeps sin the in closet! There are times and situations in which no one but God can do anything about things, and that is when you trust in the Lord and wait on him! The entire process God should be a part of, and the body of Christ (fellow Christians) is to help those in need. I’m not saying God is a last resort, but you can’t use denial in this fashion and expect God to bless it either!

I think most people understand what betrayal is. A person who lives in sin, and tries to use manipulative comments like you are hurting me when you bring it out into the light is sin. They just added to their laundry list of sin! The true Christian will bring sin into the light, and that is hardly betrayal! Asking a Christian wife and family that is enduring domestic violence and abuse is being betrayed by the fellowship when they tell her to hush and pray.

I’m not talking about someone that spends their days finding things to complain about in regards to their husband and others here! We have all seen spouses complain constantly about others, and they need to be rebuked for that action as well! You can help others become better people, and turning from sin when that sin is exposed! You can treat that person with mercy and compassion!

To bring sin into the light is NOT talking badly about your husband – it’s talking about his bad behavior.

There is a difference!

I’m not going to say everything this author noted is incorrect! What I do find odd is the over spiritualizing of things as a way of NOT dealing with it! There are also ways of being the helpmate that God intended, and finding ways to help your husband become the man God intended him to be! Hiding in silence as everyone suffers isn’t helping!

God gave us fellowship to use in the proper form, and when you don’t do that you are causing someone to live in sin! Silence isn’t honoring your man, and if he were a true man of God he wouldn’t want you to either! To me much of this article is misused submission comments, and will breakdown the church, fellowship, and of course the family she intended to help!

If your fellowship is encourages you to keep silent on domestic violence find another support system, because God isn't in the business of having you leave in fear within the home that he wants to be peaceful. There are alot of Christian resources that deal with domestic abuse, wife abuse, martial abuse, emotional and verbal...whatever you are dealing with. God doesn't wish to stay silent on this. Abuse is called the destructive secret, and there is a reason for that. God asks us to call sin into the light!

What resources have you found most helpful?

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Anonymous said...

I am a victim of physical abuse, domestic. But am afraid to speak up, and get in MORE trouble with my husband. Its easy to not keep silent. You do not have to be in the house with my attacker.No one but one close friend knows and i swore her to silence. I would probably be dead if he knew that she knows. I could NEVER go to my pastor. Plus if i speak up or leave, he will take the kids from me,and convince everyone that i am a horrible wife. I know i should be a better wife, but i do not believe the Bible says smack your wife if she disobeys you. My husband acts as if he is God and than calls me selfish. Credits me with all kinds of wicked intentions when things go wrong, while those bad intentions are not present. I do not know how much longer i can take this. Only by the Grace and strength of God can i go on with him. He often tells me i am a fat f***king wortless lazy a** B**ch, and good for nothing. And the worst part is, i have noticed that i am starting to believe that some of it may be true. If i was not useless or worthless he would treat me nicer, right? So maybe its all my fault, i do not know. I know that when he was hurting me last time, i was wishing for death. I wanted to yell: just finish it already, just kill me you jerk!!!!! But ofcourse i did not. I am not allowed to open my mouth during this . I praise God for the times my husband is loving and i hope the violence will not get worse. I do not have black eyes or broken ribbs(yet). But choking/hitting/kicking/pushing and throwing is bad enough. Its not a one time thing. Its every day. I am terrified of him. And do not know what will set him off. Worst part is , he does it infront of our child. What if our child grows up and thinks"this is how to treat your wife" ????

Hannah on 11:53 AM said...

Everyone that speaks up is scared Anonymous. Everyone is! Its not easy, but very hard.

Have you contacted your local domestic violence shelter? I have personally found that abusers placed all these awful fears in us about HOW things are going to be if we break the silence. I found legally he couldn't back up those claims. That was my first step - my baby step. Truth is empowering, but it doesn't make everyone easy.

Please contact your local domestic violence shelter. Your children will grow up with no parents if he hurts you badly.

JaneDoeThreads on 12:49 PM said...

You need to Get out and like soon,

but here's where you have to take steps, the Next time he touches you, CALL THE POLICE AND PRESS CHARGES,

because you NEED that on POLICE RECORD so that when you leave/file for divorce the Children can be protected,

how old are your children? BTW, make SURE you erase the computer history cache after you post, hope you are doing this already, go to history, make sure you hit no history or erase cache AND cookies, so he can't track you---also if he has a key logger on machine then it's not safe for you,

contact your DV shelter ASAP and they can help you escape.

Look, I'll give it to you straight, if you Don't leave he Will one day kill you, that's all there is to it. The longer you stay the more he will believe that he has right to 'own' you and the harder it will be on you if you leave,

you need to get restraining order though be warned, that could trigger him more,

so, another thing, 1. you need to STOP being silent and FIGHT BACK, seriously, he calls you names tell him he's full of it, STOP PUTTING UP WITH IT, I know this sounds like it will make it worse

but the thing is, predators and abusers ARE predators prey on FEAR, and all the silence and submission in the World will not SAVE YOU, all there is to it,

so you might as well take a stand, fight back, get OUT and STAY OUT,

forget the 'good memories' and the 'romance' oh yea, Predators are EXPERTS AT ROMANCE, how they 'ensnare' women into their traps...that is why almost every abuser I knew was an expert in bed...oh yea, I'll say it, that's how they work their COBRA CHARM,

and it is cobra, kid yourself not. They weave their poison venom into us that works like Heroin and then they begin to slowly kill us, WE start to believe that we can't be whole without them, that we won't Find another who Luvs us like They do, and all that other mind control venom crap--

but yea when you are IN it and Invested yourself, time, energy INTO a relationship it is NOT easy to break the soul tie and leave,

but the fact of the TRUTH is, it's NOT a soul tie joining, but a kidnap/ensnared victim in a spider web taking in the lure/luv and then venom then the slow death,

and if you don't GET out of the web YOU WILL DIE and your children will to. IF not physically spiritually and emotionally...the fact that he beats you In Front of the children, is CHILD ABUSE,

CPS will not look favorably on that, so be Sure to tell the DV shelter about that, what you are going to have problems with IS the fact that there is no record, you need witnesses, or police reports. This is a catch 22, why you need the DV people behind you,

personally since it's daily I think you just need to get out and get out now--

take the children and important papers and clothes and get a shelter, tell them you're in danger and they possibly may send you to another town, etc., and Then you can deal with the legal and all that,

HE will try to woo you back with promises of changing and all that if you leave Because it will frighten him and When he realizes YOU aren't going to put up with his crap he'll attempt to 'manipulate' you back in,

don't fall for it...YOU are going to have to fight for YOURSELF, YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR LIFE, literally, there IS no easy way to tell you this,

and you Still may be in danger when you leave. So YOU have to decide, to Love yourself more--YOU are NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS HAPPINESS, HIS MENTAL HEALTH, HE MADE THIS CHOICE TO BE ABUSIVE,


But YOU need to work NOW to get FREE, it ain't gonna change by staying or by praying or by dying...and YES, the kids Will learn this is normal so,

call the DV and GET OUT and SAVE YOUR LIFE.



Anonymous said...

I got out from under very crafty emotional abuse that went on for many years. We had several children, and I did fight back all the time. I created my own world with the children, and homeschooled. I built good esteem into them. In defense, I became stronger, though beaten down all the same. On the outside looking in, it looked like he was a good man, he always went to work, bought me jewelry, but treated anyone he viewed as under him poorly. I could never work anything out with him. Never, he saw it as me trying to rule over him which was crazy. This is all a reflection of how he viewed himself, really. A man will treat his wife as well as he views himself. He acts abusive towards her and he is abusive to himself first. Abusing her is an extension of his self abuse. If you examined his private mind, you would see how he is against himself. If he views porn, this is common evidence of his own self hatred. He knows it is bad down inside doing this, not different than looking into someone's window. If he treats another driver poorly, there is a sign he thinks poorly of himself. A kind person who loves himself will help others to do the same, thus always driving politely. He would not view porn, yet see those women as abused somehow and feel sorry for them. With his wife, he would not be afraid of her leaving, and try to control her, he would be so busy building her up and loving her. If she left him, he would say, well there is someone else good for me out there who would appreciate being loved and I did the best I could do. Sure, it hurts when someone leaves. I finally got away, and it left a really big mess, since I had no degree. the kids are in school now, and with their dad, whom they hate. The oldest hates me for breaking the family apart. Listen: when a man is like this sometimes we all have to run for the hills. I was so depressed after the things he pulled I had to save myself, since I had tried everything. I waited until the youngest was at least old enough. Now this man is getting married, God help this woman, as her head is filled with lies about me. But God is faithful, and in time, without my help, his colors will finally show.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

As the Lord lives, there will come a day when the thought of staying becomes more terrifying than the thought of leaving. In my first marriage I decided to confide in my pastor's wife. To my amazement she thought I should 'stay and pray'! Even though I told her that I was being starved, made to sleep downstairs on a sofa even though the house was half mine and had three perfectly good bedrooms. I told her about the beatings that could come out of nowhere and that I was limited to how much bath water I could have and many other abuses. I also genuinely feared for my son's wellbeing but I was so afraid that I thought I could never defy my unbelieving ex-husband by leaving.

Then one day it happened. The Lord enabled me to find out something truly abonimable about him and I confronted him. He was more enraged than I had ever seen him but he didn't deny it.He punched and kicked me and made threats to hurt my wider family. That was the day I realised I had to do something I had never done before - I went to the police and I toold my family. I was too afraid to press charges but they gave me details of a solicitor and I instigated divorce proceedings against him. Please don't stay with this man. It will only get worse. Report him to the police and get a crime number or you may find that he will file for sole custody of your children just to hurt you. You need official evidence that a crime has been committed against you. It's the secrecy that enables these men to continue. My sister, may God bless you with strength, courage and divine protection in the name of Jesus.

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