An Abusive Marriage, Well-Meaning Christians, and God’s Word

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I ran across a post on Facebook that a friend wrote. Flo Fromer-Wedding posted about the spiritual tug-of-war process she went through while she was in an abusive marriage.  Unfortunately, the church is often a volatile place for abused women to get help, especially when there is greater emphasis on the “covenant of marriage,” than the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of individuals in the marriage.

I think Flo’s words might resonate with many, and for others, might help as they navigate these difficult waters, while still trying honor God and do the right thing. ~Julie Anne

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By Flo Fromer-Wedding

I love God’s Word.. I love it so much, in fact, that I resolved many years ago to obey it… even the parts I “didn’t like” or understand. My resolution came with a great price to me personally. It led to a breakdown of my mental and emotional health… It led to a willingness to let go of all control in my life, and even more tragically, it led to me stand back and keep quiet when I should have intervened on behalf of my children. In God’s Name I unknowingly allowed their emotional health to be compromised! All this, because of the written Word of God, devoid of the Spirit of God!

I will never forget the words someone spoke to me or how I felt when they said them… and the light that turned on inside of my head ….. “you not only have a right to protect yourself from abuse, you also have a right AND a RESPONSIBILITY to protect your children.”

THIS shed a whole new light on the situation I had so firmly resolved to stay committed to “til death do us part”. Those words opened my eyes to a bigger picture, one which gave me, not only the freedom, but the responsibility to GIVE IN to the still small voice of the Spirit that had been whispering truth to my heart for so many years….(the voice that seemed to contradict the written word that had been pounded in to my head for so many years!)

I finally gave in to the truth… I gave in and saw JESUS in a way I had never seen Him before, and He opened the floodgates of truth, bringing freedom, and leaving in it’s path, the damaged remains of a life built on some other person’s (many other’s) interpretation of God’s “clear” Word.

How my heart aches to go back and follow the voice of the Spirit, Who is the ONLY one who can bring us to an understanding of God’s written Word. How much damage could I have prevented for myself and my loved ones had I not been so submissive to the “authorities” in my life?

In the hand of satan (and whoever chooses to follow his ways, knowingly or unknowingly) the written Word of God becomes a weapon of destruction…not a breath of Life! I have tasted the Word from both sources now and I can never go back! One brings bondage of the worst kind, in which you believe, while begging God to give you strength to endure and stay committed “to His Word”, that somehow God will be glorified through it.  😞

No, the written Word of God is only alive and powerful (in a good way) through the Spirit of Christ. Without the breath of God, it is a handbook for dead religion.

When I tuned my ears to hear, and freed my heart to acknowledge truth…. When I fixed my eyes directly on Jesus and my heart fell head over heels in love with Him… THIS is when I felt the Spirit correcting my understanding of Scripture… the understanding that had held me and my children captive to abuse. It was at this time that Scripture came alive to me and I began to see the healing power of Jesus in my own life. It was at this time that God’s Spirit began to write songs through me… 12 in one year… because I had so much bubbling up inside of me. I was coming alive, even through the pain and the fears of a very unknown future. I could not contain it so it came out in songs…. songs that would become a testimony to myself and others of what God had done and was doing for me.

All this came when I rejected my “clear” understanding of the written words and I reclaimed those same written words with new understanding through the Spirit. One brought death, the other Life. How can that be… they were the same words I had read all my life? The difference is the teacher,and there are MANY teachers!

Yes, I have suffered condemnation from some of my brothers and sisters in Jesus because they have an understanding of “God’s written Word” and clearly I am in sin. I have learned to live with this condemnation but I reject it… I know it is not from God.

I have decided to follow Jesus… no turning back and no matter the cost… and while there may be condemnation from other Christians , there is NO condemnation in Christ. For that I am grateful. I desire, more than anything, to hear and walk according to the Spirit of Truth… I pray for wisdom and understanding of God’s Word through the power of His Spirit, but if I do not speak the Word in accordance with the Spirit of God, with His heart and with His truth, then I hope I do not speak it at all.

If you have never experienced the suffocating, life-sucking religious bondage that comes from submitting to the idols others have made in the Name of God’s Word… then you may never understand what I am saying here today. I know this is not the kind of testimony that is welcome in many churches… Still it is MY testimony. I am thankful for the ministry of the Spirit as He breathed Life into the written Words on a page and made them come alive to me, for only then, did they become the power that has set me free.

 

Photo credit:  Source

 

Lori Alexander, Advocate of Women Staying Married to Their Abusers

 

-by Kathi

deleteLori Alexander at The Transformed Wife continues to advocate that there is no room for divorce for a spouse experiencing physical abuse.

A commentor at her post, For Those Considering Divorce – Stop!, speaks about her mother’s best friend who would show up with bruises and black eyes. With valid reasoning she questions Lori about not divorcing due to physical abuse. Continue reading

Analysis: Paige Patterson’s Teachings on Domestic Violence Keep Victims in Harm’s Way

Paige Patterson, Domestic Violence, SBC, Divorce

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Over the weekend, an old recording of an interview from 2000 with Paige Patterson resurfaced, causing an uproar because of his response regarding domestic violence. Paige Patterson is a prominent Southern Baptist leader and president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).

I have been familiar with this recording for several years, but numerous attempts to address this issue have been ignored. Until now – when the world is paying attention to sexual abuse, harassment, and violence against women especially. It’s about time! Patterson caught wind of the responses and felt he was misrepresented, so he issued a statement yesterday (April 29th). As of this writing, both The Washington Post and Christianity Today have picked up the story.

I have taken a close look at the transcription from the interview and the new statement. The old statement is shown in orange font, the new statement is in purple font and indented. My editorial comments are in black. While Paige Patterson has attempted to clarify his position on domestic violence and respond to the recent firestorm, his new statement in his press release leaves me even more confused. He contradicts his original statement. The new statement sounds more like a fairy tale, rather than a factual incident. Continue reading

“Taking marriage seriously” – what does that mean for a Christian?

Christian Marriage, divorce, domestic violence, abuse, marital counseling, extramarital affairs


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-Taking marriage seriously- means taking the vows seriously and having real consequences for breaking them. The idealists and perfectionists who are trying to turn -marriage- into a protected space for all man.png

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My friend, Valerie Jacobsen posted this statement on her Facebook page and I asked permission to share it. I found it powerful, and yet, so contrary to the way marriage is handled in the church – especially when abuse is involved. I’m sick and tired of women being forced by their pastors/elders to bear the brunt of evil in their marriages by staying in their evil and harmful marriages.

I do not believe for a second that it is godly advice for pastors tell abused wives to remain married to their chronically evil and reviling spouses. If marriage is supposed to be representative of Christ and the church, an abusive marriage is a mockery to Christ. It seems that pastors would want to help rid the church of the blot of evil when there is an abuser clinging to his marriage and refusing to change his evil ways.

Women who leave their chronically cheating and/or abusive husbands are saying NO to evil. It is their husbands who abandoned the marriage long ago when they started their evil ways.

We need to stand beside these women and tell them they are free to go when pastors tell them otherwise. Pastors who give this bad advice are not living with this evil. And I’ll bet that they would not say this kind of thing if it were their daughter living with an abuser. Let’s stop this crazy business!

 

 

 

h/t Hannah Smith for image (taken in Hawaii)

 

 

1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story

Bethlehem Baptist Church, Pastor Jason Meyer, Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

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Pastor Jason Meyer, Bethlehem Baptist Church

Almost 1-1/2 years ago, I wrote an article about John Piper’s former church, Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) regarding domestic violence, Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women. Around that time, BBC pastor, Jason Meyer, preached a sermon and humbly expressed how he and his church had not handled domestic violence appropriately.

You can listen to the sermon or read the transcript here: Fooled by False Leadership

The following is the opening paragraph of the Elders’ Statement which was also released at the same time:

Elders’ Statement on Domestic Abuse
We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The shepherds of Bethlehem stand at the ready to protect the abused, call abusers to repentance, discipline the unrepentant, and hold up high the stunning picture of how much Christ loves his church.

I was cautiously optimistic about the steps Bethlehem Baptist seemed to be taking. They brought in professionals to help them learn and understand domestic violence signs. They professed to want a heart to empathize with women who were harmed by domestic violence.

One domestic violence case was ongoing at that time. Natalie had reached out to the Bethlehem Baptist leaders for help years earlier. But now, the church leadership was doing a complete overhaul in how they were going to counsel when there was abuse involved . . . . or so they implied. Continue reading

Saeed Abedini: Files for Divorce, Seeks Money for New Ministry, and Recently Arrested for Violating Restraining Order

Saeed Abedini, Naghmeh, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Arrest for Violating Restraining Order, Seeks Money for New Ministry


Pastor Saeed Abedini Divorce Arrest Domestic Violence Nahmeh

Photo from Facebook

Yesterday, Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini, reported on Facebook that her husband had filed for divorce.

It is with a heavy and broken heart that I inform all of you who have prayed and wept with our family the last few years, that Saeed has rejected counseling for anger and abuse and has filed for a divorce. There will be a time to share more fully, but for now, we appreciate your prayers.

Today, Saeed Abedini released a statement about the divorce on his Facebook page:

“My heart is deeply saddened to be sharing the news that Naghmeh and I will be divorcing. She has been my wife of 12 years and she will always be the wonderful mother to our amazing children. While we have experienced struggles, she, along with my children will forever be my heroes, both for what they had to deal with during my imprisonment in Iran and for how they never gave up fighting for my freedom.

There are no words to describe the ongoing effect of the trauma I experienced and my family has experienced both during and in the aftermath of my imprisonment. We are different people, and we are hurting people. It pains me to say, but I have decided the only path toward healing is apart, and not together. Sometimes as Christians, we experience pain for which there is no explanation in this life, yet we must continue, even in the hardest of times, to look to Christ for strength, grace and comfort. I am trying to do that now, and I know Nagmeh is doing the same. Even in our disappointments, when we don’t have all the answers, Christ is still Lord. He is good now and forever.” (Source)

It was also reported in the Idaho Statesman that earlier this year, Saeed Abedini was arrested for violation of restraining order:

Earlier this year, Saeed Abedina [sic] was arrested on three misdemeanor counts of violation of a restraining order. Those Ada County cases are still going through the court system.

Meanwhile, Saeed Abedini has moved away from Idaho, away from his children and is starting up a new ministry (Facebook note):

Dear Friends

As you all know I was in prison for more than 3/5 years because Jesus met me 16 years ago and told me ; ” Iam coming back soon Go to preach my Gospel ” and until today I didn’t disobey him and I will never disobey Him.

I want to start a preaching Ministry to hundred thousand people and for this new start, I don’t have any financial support yet.

I need to have 200 people in 2 months who can support my ministry monthly with donating just 20 $ each month to start. You can be one of them, specially if you prayed for me for years.

I need your help to make Jesus known and I can’t do it without your help.

Please send me a massage [sic] and your email in my inbox which I can know when our team is completed to start and send you a news letter.

Continue reading

Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue

Domestic Violence, Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, Divorce, Marriage, Abuse, Church Response to Abuse

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Three Pastors Challenge Dr. James Dobson’s Advice on Domestic Violence Which Could Put Victims in Harm’s Way

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Can our Faith and Love Co-Exist with Extremism?

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Having been spoon-fed by my former pastor a form of extremism, or rigid, legalistic, black/white rules and practices, I have pressed myself to re-evaluate those rules and ideas and measure them with scripture using my own eyes and discernment.  What freedom!

Continue reading

Divorce Dilemmas in the Church

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I read this excerpt by Dr. Russell Moore recently.  He was asked what to do if someone is in a miserable marriage:

Does God want you to be miserable? Long-term, no. And that’s why God has designed marriage as a life-long covenant signaling the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the long-term, God wants you to be deliriously happy. But by long-term, I mean the next trillion years, and beyond. In the short-term, one often must bear difficulty and, yes, even misery. Remaining faithful to a wife you wish you hadn’t married might seem miserable to you, but taking up a cross and following Jesus is “miserable,” in the short-run. That’s why the Book of Hebrews presents the life of faith in terms of not receiving what was promised (Heb. 11:39), but seeing it and embracing it from afar.  Dr. Russell Moore, Source Continue reading