to be subject to their husbands… (Tt 2:5).
Beware of places and people who encourage women to stay subject to their abusive husbands. There are so many stories of women who have been shamed by the church or those close to them for wanting to get help, accountability, and safety from such a destructive place. Truly, it is heartbreaking and astounding.
I have heard their stories and I lived through my own nightmare for quite some time. It was shocking to me how quickly people were ready to offer their opinions, and cover me in shame, but how few actually sat and listened and tried to understand. I would hear things like, “You’ve just made this or that an idol in your life and so its causing problems in your marriage.” In regards to another woman’s story, I heard those helping her say, “Well she probably did something to cause him to do what he did (hit her).”
When the Scripture encourages women to be subject to their husbands this is indeed a Scriptural command that is good, but this should never be encouraged if a woman continues to have abused heaped upon her. We should never tell a woman that she just needs to be more submissive if her husband continues to shower his rage and anger upon her. I would have people ask me, “Well, has he hit you or become physical with you?” My answer was always no, but I remember thinking to myself many times, “Please, just hit me, because maybe then people will believe me and really start to help me.” Yes, there were people who stepped up to the plate and helped, but the point I’m making is that we must shift our thinking on this issue within the church.
Abuse goes beyond just something physical. Mental and emotional abuse is just as damaging. There may not be wounds to show, but they cut just as deep. In an attempt to control the other person, emotional, mental and verbal abuse all strip away at that individual’s humanity. This is sin at its very worst and we, in the church, must start caring more for the lonely, lost and hurting.
We cannot push that woman out. We cannot shame her or make her feel like a failure. We must love her, support her and help her in every way possible. We must also love, support, encourage and hold her husband accountable. Truly, this is the role of the church, to love the broken, hurting and abuse. We should not fear their story or the mess they bring us, but instead, we must learn to embrace it knowing that our role within the church is not to look good on the outside but to love those on the inside, no matter what they might be dealing with.
Lord, help us to love the hurting. There are so many among us. We all have said such hurtful things to those who are hurting. Mostly because we are deeply prideful, myself included. Give me your eyes to see the hurting and your compassion to help them and do what is right, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.