Because abuse is a very delicate subject, I would like to preface this article with biblical parameters and testimonies so that no one reading this will wield the tongue in the power of the flesh, but rather the Holy Spirit, when setting out to put the needed healthy boundaries that Pastor Ann Chan boldly discusses in order that God’s true and lasting victory may prevail.
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
I would like to cite some Scripture, two of which come from today’s timely scheduled passages from YouVersion online bible.
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Whenever Scripture repeats something, it is to emphasize the point. To live on a corner of the roof or in a desert of intense heat and far from water that sustains life are extreme conditions to drive home the point that a quarrelsome or nagging wife is hard for a husband to bear. Usually, women really say much more than men, even when you compare three year olds. Merriam Webster defines “quarrelsome” as apt or disposed to quarrel in an often petty manner; “nag” as (1) to find fault incessantly; (2) complain; (3) to be a persistent source of annoyance or distraction; (4) to irritate by constant scolding or urging.
James also admonishes about the use of the tongue:
James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell…10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Esther was married to an unbeliever king (who would presumably behave in unbelieving ways) and she fasted for three days and asked to be prayed for before approaching him with what she needed to say to make sure she was in synch with God (from Esther Chapter 4).
Charlyne Steinkamp of http://www.rejoiceministries.org, was in an abusive marriage with Bob Steinkamp but she came to a point where she sought the Lord diligently and sought to hear from Him daily through His Word to lead her in extending God’s forgiveness and love to her husband, and following the biblical principles of submission of a wife with a gentle and quiet spirit (from 1Peter Chapter 3). This resulted in the prodigal husband coming home to Christ and coming home to the marriage and family. Their long-standing ministry was born. Bob Steinkamp spent over twenty years of his remaining life in this ministry to teach Scripture to the spouse who would stand in prayer with God for a hurting marriage (the stander) and praying for the prodigal spouse in marriages around the world. Weekly, they publish testimonies of God’s faithful answers to prayers for healing of hurting marriages.
Gina Rodriguez (http://butterflyinthespring.com/2013/05/20/marriage-on-the-rock-part-1-from-the-rocks-to-the-rock/) and Dawn Urquico (http://butterflyinthespring.com/2013/01/08/dawn-urquicos-testimony/) gave their testimonies which mention about abuse. Both women followed biblical principles of forgiveness and love despite abuse. Both husbands came to know the Lord and became pastors. These women have counseled other women who have also since experienced a prodigal abusive husband turning to the Lord.
If you look through the YouTube videos of Christ’s Commission Fellowship, you will find Pastor Peter Tanchi teaching about submission to authority (wife to husband for example) and appealing to authority (must be respectful, honoring the position of authority God has given him —from Romans Chapter 13—even if the person filling that position does not behave in a manner worthy of respect—from 1Peter Chapters 2:18ff and Chapter 3).
So for a wife who is reading this article, may you seek the Lord, His counsel through His Word so that you will be Spirit-filled when you speak
because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
CONTINUATION OF INTERVIEW WITH PASTOR ANN CHAN:
BITS: What about for men who are physically abusive to the women, do you think that they should pass through the wilderness experience and be held accountable for their actions and not be shielded from the consequences of the law?
AC: That’s a very good question. God gives us a brain. We should not be in a position wherein our lives are compromised, especially that our children’s lives will be compromised. We have [church] elders, parents, in-laws, it will be good to bring up to our leaders what is happening in our lives. If our husbands are submitted [to the church leaders], they will appear before our spiritual leaders and have eldership in our lives because you can never change a husband if you are in an abusive relationship. Spiritual leaders, his parents, his uncles may be able to do that. But if you keep silent, nobody knows. When you keep silent, you are helping him. You are telling him how to treat you. Women must rise up and say, “No. I will teach my husband how to treat me.” When women are abused, they go through fear and intimidation and insecurity. They just want to stay silent to “keep peace” so to speak. But that peace can not come at just any cost. We must begin to say, “This is not acceptable. This is not right morally, spiritually, ethically. I can not allow someone to treat me this way.” You have to appeal to the authorities above him so that they come in and they should mediate. I did tell some wives who are going through this… only my personal convictions. If that continues, then you must remove your children from a place of danger because you owe it to your children to keep them safe. Even if it means moving your children out of an abusive home, you need to. If the husband says, “I want you back”, you can not come back to the house at any cost. You must insist that he goes through counseling. You must insist that he is accountable to the leaders, to his parents. It can not be “The children need him. I need him” and all that. It weakens our resolve. I think somehow because the women are not strong enough, so they can not leave. It becomes a codependent relationship. That’s not healthy. I’m willing to take the beatings in order to secure love. I put up with your beating so that I won’t be alone. The way to help a woman like that is to help her to be secure and confident, to build security in God which is the most important thing to do. Sometimes her fear does not allow her to remove herself from this abusive relationship.
BITS: What about having a gentle and quiet spirit so that the husband may be won over to the Word?
AC: If the Lord leads her through that… You and I can never say that this is one formula that fits everyone. The Lord must be leading. She must willingly submit to the authority above her and above him. Let the righteous authorities judge. If the counsel is “Stay with him,” then there must be some boundaries that the authorities or she must set for him: No more abuse. No more verbal abuse. No more beatings. The next time he will lay a hand on you, you walk out. If he has these boundaries set for him by the elders, then the wife has the right to come out because she operates under authority. And if this husband has vacated the position of authority, then you have to appeal to someone higher than him.
If he listens to no one, then you appeal to God! If he is not accountable to anyone and lives under his own law, you are accountable to your pastors. You live under the authority of the spiritual leaders that you are accountable to [to live a godly spiritual life even if the husband is not there]. You can not abide by the husband’s authority because he is not doing what he is supposed to do. When God puts someone in the position of authority, He says that the person of authority should not bully the people under him, he should not lord it over them. When he violates that, he loses the right. So the abused wife must appeal to her own authority. You move yourself from the abusive authority to the authority of the church so that you receive help and counseling even if he doesn’t want to. If you and your children are in danger, you remove yourself from that situation. You pray and fast until the Lord tells you [specific directions]. He [God] will look after you when He tells you to something. If you need to return to that home, it will not be just at any cost. It will have to be with boundaries. There’s a book by Henry Cloud, Boundaries, and the second book is Changes that Heal.