Called to Suffer?
There has been a lot of buzz behind the scenes over here at “A Cry for Justice” about sacrifice and unconditional love and how these two things fit into our Christian walk. Many wives, including myself, have been pounded by 1 Peter 2-3 with the insistence that we stay in our abusive marriages. The understanding is that Christ sacrificed for us . . . so we ought to sacrifice for others. I nearly had these passages memorized so that I could whisper them to myself when I was being antagonized or abused. Three out of four times, I could manage to have a “quiet spirit”. Sometimes, I was pressed to my limit or cornered and I tried to defend myself. None of these times went over well — neither when I was quiet-spirited nor when I was defensive. Ever. This is what I would repeat to myself:
“But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:20-23)
One day, I was meditating on this passage when I realized something that should have been very obvious: Peter was talking to slaves. Not wives. Slaves. A people group who could not escape their fate at this time. They had no choice! They could not be free from their abusive masters! So, what was Peter telling them? Do the best you can in the situation in which you find yourselves. God will bless that.
Was Peter a proponent of slavery? I highly doubt that. Paul says elsewhere (1 Cor. 7:21) that, if you can obtain your freedom, do so. God is not a fan of slavery. Goodness, no! He is ALL ABOUT setting the captives free! If you can be free, be free. Marriage is not slavery; nor should we believe we can never escape abuse.
I am not sure what is more disturbing . . . that I was being counseled from a passage on slavery regarding my marriage (being a wife should NEVER be equated to being a slave!) or that it was taken so completely out of context to control me and I had been falling for it!
Christ suffered because he was accomplishing something . . . He came as the propitiation for the sins of the world. Staying in an abusive situation for years on end accomplishes something, too. But, I can barely utter the words to say what it has done to all of us and our children.