Abuse and Submission
… What’s Biblical and what’s intolerable?
Fifth of four part series. (Important Additional Article)
One of the most common questions we receive by letter, e-mail and from callers on New Life Radio has to do with the tolerance of verbal and physical abuse within a home as well as with hostile people who persecute Christians.
Should we take a path of passivity or should we resist?
How do we reconcile victimization and abuse with submission within marriage?
What exactly does abuse mean?
When do we turn the other cheek?
Case Study #2:
With tears in her eyes, she listened intently as I carefully instructed her about how she needed to plan her escape from her violent and angry husband.
“I can’t believe this is even happening. He was so nice to us when we were dating and now, he is so different. I can’t believe what I’ve gotten myself into.”
She was a well-meaning single mom who fell in love with a man who swept her off her feet and who felt like the man of her dreams.
As a divorcee, she often worried if she and her son would ever have the security of a family unit as well as a loving male role model for her teenager.
“He was so engaging and seemed to be so strong and decisive. He did everything for my son and me when we were dating. He arranged everything ahead of time, and I was so impressed with his initiative and follow through. He would hardly let me do anything. He seemed so caring and he was just the kind of leader I was looking for.”
While she was aware that he had a history of drug and alcohol dependence, the fact that he had been sober for two years was comforting to her and for the first time in as long as she could remember someone was taking care of her.
When she said, “I do!” at the wedding ceremony, she was clueless and never imagined the bubble would pop.
And pop it did.
With no premarital counseling and a relatively short dating period, she had no idea that the reason for her new husband’s addictions was his own violent and chaotic childhood.
So, in order to adapt to the danger within his own home, her husband had learned at an early age to self medicate with beer and wine.
He also became very controlling amongst his peers and got into fights continually throughout high school.
Even though her new husband was “sober”, he was a “dry drunk” who had poor coping mechanisms and was an obsessive-compulsive controller who got very angry if people did not comply.
She quickly learned that he was nice as long as they did things his way but when things did not, his face would contort and his countenance would grow dark and he would use intimidation to achieve compliance.
When her teenage son tried to oppose the new step dad or beat him in a sports game, the new husband became incensed.
Over the course of the next couple of years, the teenager grew bigger and stronger and the intensity of the arguments escalated.
While the husband never actually hit the boy, he would rage in his face, “bump” him with a shoulder and tell the teen, “go ahead and take a swing at me, I know you want to.”
A powder keg waiting to explode with the potential of someone really getting hurt?
Only a matter of time!
Who is the adult here?
Probably the teen who controlled himself and who asked his mom if he could move out and go live with his own dad.
If you are a victim of abuse or of rage from a spouse that could turn into physical violence, then you need to prepare a plan.
Get out of the house as soon as possible and negotiate from a safe distance through a third party.
You will need friends who can support your decision and provide resources that will allow you to transition into a safe environment.
This may also involve taking refuge in a secret location where the angry controller cannot find you and intimidate you into returning home.
Fear of punishment and retaliation is the greatest single reason why people stay in abusive situations.
People entrapped in these relationships are usually insecure and lack confidence due to their own painful upbringing thus, they are easily controlled through fear, threats and menacing behaviors.
Unfortunately, this can go on for years and even decades and sadly, many of these situations have tragic endings.
Are you in a frightening situation?
Are your children endangered?
Many shelters and centers will educate and counsel you about your options.
Also, make a decision ahead of time to call 911 when situations dangerously escalate and allow a peace officer to escort you to safety.
In the next few weeks, we will look at a case study involving a battered male as well as comments on I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5 regarding Biblical teaching on submission within a marriage.
Our love to you,
Milan & Kay