A Cry For Justice

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

You Shall Not Test the Lord Your God — How Telling Victims to Stay With an Abuser Breaks This Commandment

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (Matthew 4:5-7)

One of the most prevalent sins to be found in local churches today is that of “tempting/testing the Lord.”

People who ignorantly and arrogantly expound “thus saith the Lord” to victims and pronounce that God would have them remain with an abuser are putting the Lord to the test. It really is the very same thing the devil was doing when he told Jesus to throw himself off that high place. “Your Father says He will protect you, so let’s just see if it’s true. Go ahead. Jump.”

Many Christians are just enthralled it seems with exciting stories about how God miraculously delivered someone. Maybe some high drama on the mission field. The idea is that if a Christian is in a hard place, they should exercise true faith and stay in that hard place and trust God to rescue them. A closer look however will reveal the obvious: such Scriptures are addressing situations in which the believer has no choice, no route of escape. Like being a slave to a cruel master or a citizen of Rome under blood-thirsty Caesar. Paul writes elsewhere however:

Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) (1 Corinthians 7:21)

Here is a typically cruel and ignorant claim made by a church leader recently:

Christians have historically taught subjection to God-ordained authority, especially when that authority is abusive.  Can you show Biblical justification for Divorce in the case of abuse?

What a lie! Did God tell Israel to remain in Egypt? The entire biblical history of redemption is about REDEMPTION!  Freedom from abuse and slavery. Does God tell us to remain enslaved to the devil? See how twisted this is? “Let’s go find the most abusive authority we can and submit ourselves to it and we will bring glory to God.” THAT, Mr. church leader is the wicked sin of testing the Lord and He does not look kindly upon anyone who teaches it. I say, “teaches it,” rather than “practices it” because I can most assuredly bet that YOU do not practice what you preach.

Your question is totally turned around. It is not WE who need to answer your accusatory question “can you show biblical justification for divorce in the case of abuse?” — but rather YOU who need to show biblical proof that God insists that an abuse victims remain in the abuse, submitting themselves to the wicked abuser. We put it right back on YOU.

What is it, we must ask, that makes a person demand such things of the abused? What is going on in this guy’s mind for him to make such a false and cruel statement….especially when that authority is abusive?  I suppose there are a number of answers:

  • He is himself an abuser, motivated by a lust for power and control
  • His “christianity” is in fact legalism mixed in with asceticism. “Whip and beat yourself into the kingdom of God.”
  • He is guilty of rank arrogance — “be like me. I am willing to suffer for Jesus. Why aren’t you?”
  • He really dislikes and resents women

Any or all of these motivations are possible, and none of them are good.

 

Further Reading

You Shall Not Put the Lord to the Test — But Abusers Love to

Are we testing God when we submit to abuse? 

 

12 Comments

  1. Lea

    That ‘God ordained authority’ thing assumes what, that the husband is the authority? Or the church?What about the actual state authority who has no desire to trap you in an abusive marriage, and will let you go with a visit to a judge? Don’t they count as God ordained?

    What an excellent point about not testing God. I forgot about that verse.

  2. Anewanon

    Another great example in support of this concept is when Paul spoke up to the Centurion declaring himself as a Roman in order to escape the beating from the Centurion. When able yes we are to stand up and defend our rights. Thank God we do live in a country that allows us to escape. Even Jesus used opportunities to escape. The only reason he did not choose to escape the last time and went to the cross is because his time had come and he knew what he needed to do as Savior of the world

  3. ACON

    Jesus said about religious leaders: “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger” (Matthew 23:4). It seems things have not changed …

    • Anotheranon

      This is the verse that describes my whole marriage. I believe I would have had a nervous breakdown if I had stayed much longer.

  4. VictimNoMore

    Amen, ACON! In order to find out if your accuser is an abuser, simply turn the question back to them. Ask them to show you where in scripture it tells us to stay with our abuser and they will quickly turn on you. They will demonize you and do what they can to shun you and cast you from the church and community. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves. It’s all in God’s hands, not ours. Our responsibility is to defend the defenseless and to help the helpless. To say nothing is to aid and abet the abuse. I refuse to do that. Silence IS consent. We only need to stay silent, God will fight for us.

  5. one of the little people

    I’m going to take this logic to an extreme, but a logical one, I believe. When the legally established government of Nazi Germany issued decrees that all Jews were to report to collection centers for deportation, and many of them submitted to those orders, resulting in their imprisonment, torture, starvation, and murder, were not those who chose to flee and hide, in fact disobeying God’s command to submit to the authorities and therefore sinning? There are wonderful stories of miraculous salvations from the Death Camps, Corrie ten Boom being one. Anyone arguing that submitting to such horrors as the command of God would rightly be considered evil and there were many Christians who made such arguments at the time. Their legacies are regarded with horror and shame. Good, decent people look back at the arguments and actions of those who said such things with horror and disgust.

    Pastors and leadership and even congregants who would send an abused spouse back to her abuser in the name of holiness are no less evil than those in Nazi Germany who argued for submission to the government in the name of God.

  6. Came Alongside

    Matthew 10:23 as Jesus was sending out His disciples (which we are, too, if living for Him):
    “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”

    Even Jesus told them to flee persecution. “So Mr Calloused Church leader, you say the victim must stay in the state of persecuted spouse to honor God, to bring Him glory, to be obedient to Him because the victim is a Christian? That doesn’t square with Matthew 10:23 or any number of Psalms indication God’s wrath upon wicked oppressors and His desire to rescue, heal and vindicate the oppressed.”

    • NG

      Exactly! This came to my mind as well while thinking on the subject.
      Fleeing in the face of persecution is not cowardice.

  7. E

    Over, and over, and over just this past week I have heard men complain about the overreach of federal or state or local government authorities and discuss what “good Christian patriot people should do to resist or avoid its grasp,” and TURN RIGHT AROUND and speak horribly rudely to their wives, and tell me why a wife has to stay married to a husband “she says is abusive *insert guffaw*” no matter what.

    If Christians cannot clear tyranny out of their own families and churches and minds, I doubt God will deliver them from some other sphere of it.

  8. Believer

    Amen and amen! Fear God and serve Him only!

  9. This is spot on Pastor Jeff.

    The bible is a continuous story about bringing glory to God- through the “redemption” of his people. Setting them free from bondage.

    I would love to see what scripture these churches will try to twist next to justify the senceless suffering of His people.

    After being excommunicated by the church for not continuing to submit to my covertly evil husband, I now realize that they never cared about any of the abuse that I was enduring.

    It became more about their appearances and church reputation, and how my crying out for help threatened that outward image of theirs.

    God does not want us to submit to evil spouses for a FALSE claim that it will somehow bring him glory.

    Especially when we married them believing they would honor us, only to find out later- they had hoodwinked us- being servants of evil.

    • ACON

      “It became more about their appearances and church reputation, and how my crying out for help threatened that outward image of theirs.” That seems to be one of the primary reasons churches fail abuse victims in general. Image is everything. They also tend to have an “us vs. them” mentality: “Abuse happens in the ‘world’ but not in our church.” Such phony churches aren’t really churches at all–not part of the real the Body of Christ, IMO.

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