A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

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.

 

8 Comments

  1. Bethany

    “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.”
    AMEN!!!! In the Old Testament there is a verse in which Sarah calls Abraham “Master”. There was a point in time that my abuser demanded I call him “Master” based on this verse. It never sat right with me and I avoided saying it but its the thought that counts. In this case it was HIS thought. He thought of me as a slave and wanted me to know it!

    • Bethany

      Sorry it wasn’t the OT it was 1 Peter 3: 6-7;
      For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do. In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

      • Ohmgoodness gravies!!! I believe I have seriously heard it all!!!! My spouses sin was my burden to bear because of the marriage covenant!!! No matter what i endured, or what the kids suffered, because when i suffered they were losing me also! Far be it for the true heart of god to be mixed into compassion towards us for my husbands sins!!! i alone was the one who was called to carry his burdens!!! A grotesque, and i hate that word!!! Nonetheless a GROTESQUE injustice to victoms and misuse of the word of God!! i remember in my own little place, the place nobody could confuse or touch I clung to God telling me we were suppose to be equal heirs to HIS thrown. That alone was resignating in my consciouseness, and why would GODS will align with ME alone carrying the burdens of a murderer?? it was not even well intentioned misguidance!!! Like they do not know, therefore they are not accountable!!! I am with Jeff C. ALL the information is out there clearly spelled out for them, if they chose to ignore all the evidence, and refuse to connect the dots, they ARE GULTY of the sickess form of negligence. Looking the other way. You know before i looked at the counselors in the church as just ignorant, like they were off the hook for “”Not understanding”” but honestly they did not “”mean well”” they were actually hostile towards me for NOT doing what they told me. Judgement, brow beating, condemning, looking away when a sister is in trouble??? How is that “”well meaning””….??????

      • Yes, and many versions translate that word “master” as “lord’ in 1 Peter 3:6. The word “lord” was simply a term of respect; it wasn’t used only by slaves to their masters, it was used by all sorts of people in any context where the one person was indicating respect for the other. Those who know the biblical languages more than I may wish to chime in here to confirm or add to what I’m saying.

        The Bible never says that a wife’s relation to her husband is equivalent to a slave’s relation to his or her master.
        That’s one of the things I personally find annoying about some egalitarians – they spread the idea that in the OT era wives had no more rights than slaves. But Exodus 21:7-11 shows without doubt that wives had a more elevated standing than slaves. If a woman had been sold by her father as a slave but the man who purchased her then treated her as a wife (by marrying her himself, or marrying her to his son) then that woman’s rights were permanently elevated. The Law forbade the men in that family from treating her like a slave ever again.
        I love Mosaic Law; it brims over with justice and wisdom! I wish that more Christians read and understood it properly.

      • Bethany

        Thank you Barbara :) I too love Mosaic law. You can see so much of God’s provision for his people in it.

    • I am far from a Theologian or a computer expert!! I only have confidence in one thing. When I was saved by the hand of God, HE set me free!!!! FREE!!! Not to be a slave of the marriage covenant, not to be re-born into captivity and man’s thinking, not to be re-born into slavery, to be beaten, and judged, and condemned for standing up every time I was beat down. I mean if God was not for me??? How could I repeadetly rise from ashes?? How could I defeat the oppression that was thrown ontop of me? If God was not for me? Then how could I stil be here? If it were up to them I would of under Gods will have already “”gone home at the hands of my husband”” I would in their minds “”BE DEAD, BUT BE MORE BLESSED than if I stood against his abuse!!!. God wants my children free, just like he wants us all to be free. God gave me my kids, he gave me my voice, he gave me everything in life that is GOOD! !!!! i wanna step outside or the christian realm and scream that MAN seriously has Gods church WRONG!!!! But then i am just a girl.

      • ….and I know God hears the crys of the oppressed. I also know he supports all the vicoms of abuse, I also know that the insight of JC is a remarkable gift to all of us out here that are crying out for justice!!! So Thank you all for this blog!

      • “I am just a girl”
        Oh how I relate to that thought. It plagued me for years and years when I was plugging away at my manuscript for Not Under Bondage. It still plagues me, inasmuch as I know that some out there in the church think like that, particularly the ones I want to influence most. But since I found Jeff Crippen (or rather, since he emailed me back in January of this year) I have felt less and less worried by that thought. It’s amazing how the support of a righteous and just man (and now serveral righteous and just men on this blog) can fill the empty and hurting place that needed validation and respect for what I write, regardless of my sex.

        As a woman who has felt the ridicule, ignoring, disdain, disparagement of many men in the church (and some women too) because of the work I do, I can testify that so much of that pain can be healed by the respect and recognition of a few good men.

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