SSB Gathering – October 18, 2015

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.


 by Kathi

larch cone

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Given that this month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I thought I would post verses that are often used to keep a person in a domestic violence situation. My intent in this is to focus on how the Bible can be and is used as a means of control by an abuser.

My hope is that this will open discussion about the real issue of domestic violence within the church family. As we have this discussion, I ask that words be used carefully and your mind be open and understanding. Everyone who has lived through or is currently in a domestic violence situation has different experiences. Sunday Gatherings are meant to be a place of support, and I ask that we use this space in that way.

Please take care while reading. If reading through these verses is difficult for you and brings back painful memories, please make sure  that you are taking care of yourself. Again, my hope and intent is to bring discussion about how the church responds to domestic violence. Please let me know if continuing this throughout the month is too difficult and I will stop this series. -Kathi

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1 Corinthians 7: 3-5

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 7: 10-14

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

1 Corinthians 7: 39

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes. but he must belong to the Lord.

***

Psalm 55: 4-8

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, “Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest – I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

***


***

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

***

photo credit: Brian – Larch tree cone – The Enchantments, Washington

48 comments on “SSB Gathering – October 18, 2015

  1. 1 Cor 7: 10-14 Heavily used to keep abused women including me in a prison. For me marriage was not a gift, it was the worst present at the party. I thank God for allowing me to escape those chains. Of course, these h’s will stay with a believing wife. What do they have to loose? They have someone they can do whatever they want to and the ‘c’hurch will say, “oh what a good man he is”. Really?? Two years + after divorce he still shows up at my apartment or my job. He finds ways to do it where people don’t see him, but I know by the things he leaves behind. He was just here yesterday. What corner will he be behind next??

    I am still told that “It’s not the divorce, it’s the remarriage.” So, Mrs. ‘c’hurched Woman, how long would you have me put up with what he dishes out?? Would you like to live with him for just a little while?? Would you stay married to this man for 60 years, as you did your own husband?? I don’t think so.

    I would like to be married to a truly Godly man, if there are any and in my age bracket. I did not divorce because I was bored or having another man as I was accused by the xh from day one. Being single was not my first choice. It was the only choice I had left. Between my health and sanity, my faith was suffering. To me, the xh is dead, I guess that means that I could marry again.

    There are some understanding people in the church and then there are the others, the ones who still make the comments of condemnation. There hasn’t been a sermon preached on marriage in a long time, Praise God and the preacher has lightened the yoke of his comments over time.

    Sorry for my rant and thank you for letting me spew. I think 1 Corinthians is used to continue abusing the abused.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Brenda … I don’t consider your comment a rant. You are verbalizing the broken hearts of many. You succinctly shared …”Between my health and sanity, my faith was suffering… There are some understanding people in the church and then there are the others, the ones who still make the comments of condemnation. There hasn’t been a sermon preached on marriage in a long time, Praise God and the preacher has lightened the yoke of his comments over time.”
    Amen, that the preacher has lightened up. Sadly, I have attempted but still do not feel safe within the local churches.
    I am so very thankful for internet access. God knew that we would need this technology, at least for a time, to connect with “the remnant” – the one’s who get it!
    Praying for you, Brenda and others who seek the Lord for “all truth” in our lives.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The 1 Cor 7 passages assume the existence of an actual marriage. The passages do not apply in instances where the supposed marriage is a sham and a fraud. They do not apply to a “marriage” that is in reality a master-slave relationship.

    Where a man holds the woman he fraudulently calls his wife in bondage, where he has in fact enslaved her, 1 Cor 7:21 applies. A slave who has the ability to gain her freedom is encouraged to do so. The freedom to which Paul calls us must surely include the freedom to remarry. Otherwise, there is continuing bondage, not freedom.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Brenda – How frustrating that after two years he’s still pursuing you. Do you think that he’s done enough to warrant a stalking order?

    When I was working on this, I started with verses 3-5. As I continued reading, I didn’t realize how much more was in this chapter that could be used by an abuser.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am still told that “It’s not the divorce, it’s the remarriage.” So, Mrs. ‘c’hurched Woman, how long would you have me put up with what he dishes out?? Would you like to live with him for just a little while?? Would you stay married to this man for 60 years, as you did your own husband?? I don’t think so.

    Brenda, I greatly appreciate your comment. Blogging has given me an opportunity to read some sad stories of abused wives and I’ve seen a pattern of male pastors guilting and shaming women to remain with abusive spouses. Of course the judging happens beyond pastors, including others in the church who seem to want to determine what would constitute an appropriate justification for divorce. I would guess that if any of these folks had to live with the abusive spouse . . . or, if the victim was their daughter, they would not subject themselves or their daughters to life-long misery with a chronic abuser who shows absolutely no signs of remorse or wanting to change. I see this happening especially with emotional/spiritual abuse because there is often no real evidence of abuse beyond the wife’s word.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dash beat me to it – posting a song.
    Here is “Worry Not” sung by Liam Ó Maonlaí with Martha Wainwright, Emily Smith and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh at the Transatlantic Sessions that were recorded in Scotland.

    Like

  7. healinginhim,
    I am also thankful for internet access and promote it!! That comes back as we can’t judge others or we are like the Pharisees that had Jesus killed. I am not the only one in the local church that comes back with it can be used for good and how it can. Then, of course, “I’m not opposed to the internet, but who we spend time with is who we become.” My thought is good!! I’d rather be with most I have been with online than many that I know in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kathi,
    1 Cor 7 is rich for abusers to use against a victim, both the abusing spouse and the spiritual abusers in the ‘c’hurch. I should add that there are occasions that the victim is the man. I’m not sure if that is more rare or if men don’t discuss these things as often.

    I am told that, a restraining order is unlikely at this point. When I originally filed for a PPO in 2013 it was much worse. I dropped that filing mostly because it kept being put off for the entire summer because of judges vacations. After all of that, I agreed to drop the PPO in exchange for him settling out of court and him agreeing to leave me alone. The asset part went well, the leaving me alone part…not so much. Over time, I changed my email addresses, all of my passwords and my phone number. He doesn’t call my work since the boss said to “back off”. He will leave a bag on my car or on my door knob at my apartment once or twice a month. He makes sure he is not seen or cause a scene. It is just enough to make me feel uncomfortable.

    Like

  9. Julie Anne,
    All very true. I only went to see the “pastor” once and was told that this life is short and I should stick with it. He preached a few weeks later and talked about how couples get in tiffs and then everything goes back to normal. Normal was unacceptable. During the next 3 years I found ACFJ, Leslie Vernick and last, but not least, SSB….then freedom. Thank you and praise God. I walked up to that pastor and said divorce was in process. By that time, xh was seeing his ex-wife. All he said was, “I’m sorry your marriage didn’t work out.” My thought was and still is, what marriage?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dash and Velour,

    Good choices in songs. It reminds me that no matter how bad things get–someone else has it worse. Those are the ones that the Lord calls me/us to help. When he is glorified, we will be blessed.

    Like

  11. hih,
    If you don’t feel safe in the churches in your area, don’t go. You have a many believers online that are safe and I hope some that you can be face to face with. I am thankful for both. Maybe somewhere along the journey you will find a local body where you do feel safe. If not, God is always right there with you.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Brenda – I only asked because I know that a restraining order and stalking protective order are different in OR. A restraining order is much easier to get than a stalking protective order. I would consider his being around your property and leaving items a stalking issue, and I can very much understand how it makes you feel uncomfortable. And, I know that having either one of these does not set up a magic bubble around a person. I’m sure you’re already doing this, but document everything suspicious – it may be helpful at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You forgot some verses “they” use–Malachi 2:16, “God HATES divorce.”
    Mark 10:9–what God has joined together let no man put asunder.
    Matthew 5:32–Whoever divorces his wife (or husband) causes that person to sin.
    1 Cor. 5:11–do not even eat with such a sinner (divorce isn’t named here, but some in my family have said that not everything that is implied is written here)
    Philippians 4:11–In whatsoever state I am in, I am content (and you should be too!)
    1 Timothy 6:8–with food and clothing be content
    Hebrews 13:5–Be content with such things as you have
    Proverbs 16:18 (and a bunch more Proverbs)–Pride goeth before a fall (and you are prideful to think that you can undo what God has put together)
    Ephesians 5:24–submit to your own husbands as to the Lord (you are rejecting God himself and the authority he has given you.)

    Like

  14. Irene – I’ve been covering different verses every Sunday this month. I still have two weeks to go and will look at incorporating those in. Thanks!

    Like

  15. I have been married for almost 29 years to a man that I wanted an annulment from after a nightmarish wedding night. I understood then that he didn’t love me, but I thought that by patience and serving him I could change that. For the last about 18 months we have been counseling with another Christian who is not a licensed counselor. Please read the following text message (his conclusion) that he sent me in May and comment. I really, really want to do God’s will and have one daughter who will have no contact with me if I leave her dad.

    You are a victim of abuse. It could be anyone, but it is you because you are there. There is also where you belong, therefore we KNOW that God also have given you grace to know the truth. His [my husband’s] accusations are the false railings of a man blaming anyone else instead of owning it himself. Let that truth be your guard. It is not your place to bail him out. You have offered what he needs, counseling, but he wants somethings else. That something has never solved the problem, nor will it ever. So you’re done with that path. You can do this!

    And when he starts that stuff send him to other men. Tell him to tell it to Jim, or Joel, or me. Tell him to get counsel from the brothers. Then go shopping or whatever.

    I’m here for you!

    Like

  16. Irene–I am so surprised that 4 hours later no one has replied to your heartfelt plea for comment and encouragement. Is this the silence of the church? I thought that the people who commented here were caring and compassionate–but I am beginning to wonder! MY comment is that the man who wrote that email is at best well meaning but condescending and at worst that he is actually an ally to the abuser and would damn you to STAY in an abusive situation. How can that be godly? How indeed is he “here” for you? This is bad counsel licensed or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Irene,

    I don’t see that the counselor is caring for you. He’s basically telling you to suck it up and learn to deal with it, with no expectation of your husband to change. Your daughter may say she will have no contact, but that may not prove to be true. Have you considered a trial separation to see if that will motivate him to get some help?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. nancyjane?? The lack of response to Irene is by no means “the silence of the church.” Velour spoke truthfully in referring to us having been away from the blog. I am also in an abusive relationship; taking college courses in order to move on and just arrived back at the house where I spend most of my time in the basement and ‘he’ upstairs.
    I read Irene’s comment with great sadness and thinking “Oh no. Another slap in the face for her.” Honestly, Irene … I would not call this man a pastor. He does not have a very caring heart for you. Does he treat others the same? Perhaps it’s time to find another church or keep looking for others who care so you can have a support group? I really feel for the fact that your daughter has made it clear that she would not see you if you leave ‘him’.
    I have suffered for many years with emotional and sexual abuse. My adult children, siblings and extended family can not be trusted and I also have no church. It’s a lonely path. Brenda in other comments has also found great comfort like me in seeking true Christ-loving solace via the internet “remnant community”.
    Irene, maybe you can share the approximate area in which you live? Others may have suggestions for another church? I am assuming you live in the USA?
    Definitely, praying for you as I continue on with my studies … (((hugs)))

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Irene – If you have a safe place, please look up or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. There are trained individuals there who will be able to talk to you about what is happening in your home and link you to resources in your area. I think it is important for you to talk to someone who understands the dynamics of abusive relationships who can help you work through what you would like to do.

    http://www.thehotline.org/

    800-799-7233

    I understand if your hesitation is because of your daughter. That is a horrible decision to have to make.

    My other recommendation is that you receive counseling on your own. Marriage counseling is not the best place to deal with issues of abuse. That is something that your husband must deal with on his own. Your main concern is how to keep yourself safe, and if you have any young children, them safe too. And, whatever you are doing at this moment to make it through each day, good for you! Please make sure you take some time for self-care.

    If you are uncomfortable calling a hotline, please send an email through SSB. Someone here will help.

    Like

  20. healinginhim – Thank you for sharing your struggles as well. You are in my thoughts as you work hard for your future.

    I think we have a pretty special community here. We have a lot of people with similar situations that are able to provide great support for each other.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Hi Irene, (if this is your real name, please think about changing it to something else when you post to conceal your identity)

    Kathi gave you great advice and a great phone number for help.

    Also, A Cry For Justice (a Christian-based ministry) is a helpful blog for those who are in the church and need advice on how to handle abuse. Read their instructions at the top of the page for first time users.

    I also found Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear helpful.

    Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Nancyjane,
    While Irene was writing I was in a series of being at work and then an afternoon of doctors appointments. We are not all here all of the time. I am an early morning person generally. It is 2:30 or so where I live and am going through my email before starting my day. There is no silence in this church, but we all have required activities and sometimes have to think and/or pray about what is an appropriate response in a given situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. hih,
    Thank you for talking about what you face each day. I need these reminders from those that still face this kind of a reality in their lives and are working to move on. Most of us walk through abuse in baby steps.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Irene,
    You have been given very good resources from Kathi and Velous that can help you through this horrific time. I know other women who are struggling with the loss or potential loss of affection from their children. They may need time to adjust. I have one who does not speak to me. It is something that is out of my hands and placed in God’s hands. Our children are a gift of God and only ours for a little while, as painful as that is you must think of yourself at last.

    This non-counselor is not advocating for you. He is putting a very heavy yoke upon you. That is not how Christ operates. He is there to lighten the load even in times of trial. If you could go back and get that annulment, your life would have been different. I also had one of those wedding nights. The xh said, “Mrs. ________, we will get along fine as long as you do what you’re told.” I thought it was a joke. It was no joke. He meant every word that he said.

    Your h is not yours to fix. You cannot do anything better that will satisfy him. He has to want change from his own heart. You have no control over this. Marriage counseling will only feed his entitlement. He has to see his need, seek God first and get appropriate counseling. This non-counselor has been no help to either of you.

    I am praying for you and for the chains to break away.

    cryingoutforjustice.com and leslievernick.com are awesome resources with people who specialize in domestic abuse of all kinds. You are not alone.

    Brenda

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Thank you Kathi,
    I don’t know if the orders are different here. I haven’t heard anything like that here. They don’t discuss PPO’s. It is worth looking into. I do appreciate your help and covet your prayers.

    Like

  26. I was traveling & had a full schedule the past week. That is why I am late to comment. Love all the wisdom, links & encouragement that has been expressed.

    Irene, part of my prayer for you, is that you will have eyes to see and ears to hear the tender words of Jesus & that you completely understand and accept, that His will for you would never, ever involve abuse.

    He is gentle & I believe He has wept over what you have gone through. I pray He gives you strength & peace.
    Prayers for you too Brenda.

    Like

  27. Irene,
    In case your h finds that you are getting help from online sources. It is always best to keep some confidentiality. Abuse usually seems to escalate in new ways when the abuser feels threatened.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thank you all for your loving, concerned and gentle encouragement of Irene. She is my friend and I have heard her challenging story as it has unfolded. She so desires to do God’s will. She is a much nicer person than me and a better Christian. I’m sorry i was snappish yesterday–as an abuse victim’s friend I wish I could kick her abuser, so i need prayer too to be a more godly encourager.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. I also care greatly for all the other victims of abuse–Brenda and others who have shared their appalling stories. Julie Anne, this last Sunday Oregonian had a riveting and tragic in depth report of a life and death DV situation–you may have seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. gm370–Today i told Irene that if murder was not a sin or a crime….Well, I’m sure that you get the idea!! I think it is harder to forgive injury done to a friend than it is to one’s self.
    By the way Natalie Rose has a new post up that breaks the heart for all abuse victims. Even so, come Lord Jesus!!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. If you could keep your thoughts and prayers for the Shrader family, I would appreciate it. A college friend, Hal Shrader, died yesterday in a motorcycle accident. He was a pastor of a Mennonite church in Glendale, AZ and was traveling with his father (who was not injured). While we were not very close in recent years, I have very fond memories of him. He will be greatly missed by many.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Kathi,
    Keeping the Shrader family in prayer and for those, including you who are grieving this loss. You might not have been close recently, but you have history.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. nancyjane,
    I was reading a children’s devotional book that I am saving for my future granddaughter/son. It said a friend is someone that will help when it’s not fun or easy. A friend helps even if it means giving up something she would rather do. Taken from Proverbs 17:17. I think you are that kind of friend and Irene is very blessed to have you.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Brenda–I would not have known about the hidden shame of “c”hristian domestic abuse if we had not become friends. As angry as I am, I would not choose to remain ignorant of this inexcusable evil. We are readers of the various websites that address this issue and also the blindness and deafness of the church re: other abuses. Thank you for your encouragement and support–knowing that you have suffered gives you additional understanding. Thank you also Healing in Him–keep up the struggle to walk in the truth and the light of our Lord!!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. And thank you to Velour, Kathi and Julie Anne for encouragement and practical advice to Irene. I don’t mean to leave out anyone–i so liked the term”remnant community.”

    Liked by 4 people

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