The Lazarus Project

Resurrecting hope for Christian victims and survivors of family violence.

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Christian Abusers as Unbelievers

     After speaking with another client who asked about re-marrying after having left an abusive husband, I asked the Father to give me an answer, so that I could pass it on to my client. This is what He shared with me:

      When God first instituted marriage, His intent was that it would be a lifelong companionship. It was meant to be a full sharing, without shame or hurt, or need to distance yourself from your spouse. However, with the Fall of man, everything changed. 

      It was in the days of Moses when God made provision for divorce, and then, only as a consequence for adultery. In the culture of the day, divorce was widely practiced by the unbelieving nations but was forbidden in Israel. Men of unbelieving nations would cast their wives aside quite casually, and would simply acquire another. Israel was commanded that release from marital vows was only permitted when adultery had been committed. (Adultery in the unbelieving nations was also quite common, particularly in connection with the worship of other gods.) It is interesting to note that a man could divorce his wife. The wife, however, did not have that option. That did not occur until much, much later--in the 1st and 2nd centuries.

      When Jesus was asked about divorce, His answer was that God had permitted divorce only because of the hardness of men's hearts. In Matthew 15, Jesus speaks of those who would make the commandment of God meaningless because of their traditions. In verses 8 and 9, He quotes Isaiah, saying: "This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

     So do those who would condemn her for even considering remarriage, after having left an abusive husband. And an abusive BELIEVING husband, at that.

     Now, the heart of God would be that IF her abusive ex-husband would confess his sin, AND TURN FROM IT, that she and he would be reconciled. A restoration of the marriage is what her ex wanted, what their children wanted, and what she wanted as well. IF that would happen, then the question of re-marriage is moot.

     However, what is the likelihood of that happening? For this client, the abuse had already been going on for years, and he still blamed her for everything. Ten years later, he still has not owned up to the fact that he abused her, and in fact, was the cause of their divorce. Instead, he claimed that she was the one abusing him. His heart hadn't changed at all.

     Matthew 15:19, 20a clearly states: "For out of the heart of man proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man." Her husband’s evil acts toward her came from a heart that was impure and defiled. Whether he called himself a Christian or clergy is not the point.

     Consider the word of Christ: "You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit; BUT A CORRUPT TREE BRINGS FORTH EVIL FRUIT.  [Abusing one’s wife is most certainly evil.] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit will be thrown down and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits, you shall know them." (Matt. 7:16-20.) 

     An abuser could not be abusing his partner, accusing his ex-wife, and saying evil about her, if he were a believing Christian. That sounds like a harsh and critical thing to say, but it did not come from me. My Savior himself declares: "Not everyone that says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, BUT HE THAT DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.”  I daresay that committing abuse toward one’s spouse is definitely not God’s will for either of them.  Jesus continues, “Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? And in your name have we not cast out devils? And in Your name done many wonderful works?' And then I [Jesus] will profess to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you that work iniquity'." (Matthew 7:21-23.)  For a long time, I have struggled with this verse, which teaches that many who call themselves Christians will not be permitted into heaven.  Were we not guaranteed a one-way ticket on the glory train by our mere confession of Christ? Not if the words of Christ are to be believed.

     So now, you may be thinking that “iniquity” is a strong word, and doesn’t apply to him. But, according to Cleansing Stream Ministries, iniquity is not just sin, a trespass, or a mistake. Iniquity is rationalizing, justifying, minimizing, and making excuses to be able to continue to engage in sin. Is that not part and parcel of what an abuser does? This comes straight out of the abuser’s playbook. They all minimize what they’ve done (after my abuser dislocated my jaw, he later re-wrote history and told me that he “bumped” me with his elbow when he was turning over in bed. Yeah, right. That’s minimizing).  Twisting it around to make it look like the victim perpetrating on him is another thing they do: abusers are very good at playing the victim, and they can sometimes hoodwink others who are less perceptive and discerning.

     Now, Jesus Christ himself says--not me--that those who call themselves Christians and do evil things [like abusing their wives] are not of Him. "I never knew you" is a pretty harsh thing to hear from the lips of the Savior. But that's what scripture teaches.

--Christine Hagion Rzepka

Posted on 05/03
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