Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 1, 2008

Have You Been Abused in Your Marriage

(Ephesians 5:22, 25)

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave > himself up for her" Ephesians 5:25 > > "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. " Ephesians 5:22 > > Have you been abused in your marriage? There is not a more difficult issue > that I have to deal with every day than abuse. People are abused in many > ways. Physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and financial are the most > common forms of abuse and can happen at every stage of life. Children are > abused. Teens are abused. Adults are abused. The elderly are abused. This > is such a sweeping, widespread issue that so many face in their life I > could do an entire month of Devotionals on just this one topic alone. I > have dealt with abuse many times over the years. Just earlier in the year > I dealt with the sexual abuse of children. However, today I want to focus > strictly on those who are in an abusive marriage. > > One of the dark secrets in the church is the amount of abuse that takes > place in so many homes, from pastors and those in leadership down to the > person in the pew. Remember, these are not homes of people who deny God's > existence, reject the Bible as Truth, or have rejected the love of Christ. > These are homes of people who do believe in God, do believe the Bible is > Truth, and do believe in Jesus! These are also homes where one spouse is > abusing the other, and in some cases, both spouses are abusing each other! > To people on the outside, these may look like perfect marriages. Only the > husband and wife know that there is a dark side to their marriage, abuse. > > Let me say that this is why I implore people to take the TIME and the > EFFORT to build a spiritual foundation to their marriage BEFORE they get > married. Everyone is on their best behavior, says all the right things > when they are dating. However, over time, you begin to know who the person > you are planning to marry really is. It is very difficult to pray with > someone, read the Word with someone, go to church with someone, find ways > to serve the Lord with someone, talk about all of the key issues of your > future life together, do this over a year or two, and all of a sudden > after you take your wedding vows discover the person you married is an > abuser. > > Does that happen? Yes! People do change over time. When you add in the > pressure of careers, children, the issues of life we all have to face > along this journey, on top of what I have always said is the most > difficult thing in the world, making two flesh become one in marriage, > people do change. Abuse CAN enter into even the most Christ-centered > marriage. The key is to deal with it IMMEDIATELY. Don't let abuse exist. > Fight it right away. The very first time it occurs, deal with it! > Otherwise, like all sin, it will only grow and get worse. ABUSE DOES NOT > JUST GO AWAY OVER TIME, IT ONLY GETS WORSE OVER TIME! > > Please understand that God NEVER intended you or anyone to be abused. If > your husband or wife abuses you in any way, confront them immediately > since they need professional and spiritual help. If the abusing spouse > refuses to get help, do not be a hero! You are going to accomplish NOTHING > by staying in an abusive marriage. Your very life could be at stake. > Please listen to me carefully. I am NOT saying to run out and get a > divorce. I am saying to separate yourself from your abusing spouse until > they are willing to deal with their abuse and get professional and > spiritual help. > > Saying I'm sorry is NOT going to make everything better. Abusers are > professional apologizers. They are masters at it. I don't doubt that they > are sincere. So is the alcoholic who is hung over, feeling like it would > be better to die and vowing to never drink again. Or the gambler who loses > a huge bet saying he will never bet again. Until they are serious enough > to seek out help, seek the Lord for the strength to live in freedom from > their abusive ways, they are not going to change. Like any addiction, an > abuser has to want to stop and then take the steps necessary > professionally and spiritually to get victory over their abusive ways. > > Only after time has passed and the abusive spouse has shown a track record > of making changes in their life, should the abused spouse even think about > moving back into the same home. What are they supposed to do in the > meantime? Stand in the gap for their spouse. Pray for them to turn to the > Lord and find His strength to turn from their abusive ways. Press into the > Lord since they will need His strength and His presence to heal and move > forward with their life. The biggest trap during this time is getting > involved with someone else. Remember, you are still married! Did you > really mean it when you made your vows to your spouse and to God, "For > better or for worse?" > > Now is the time to make your faith real, shun the wisdom of the world that > says get divorced, find someone else, and move on. Take a stand for your > marriage. God is NOT going to bless a relationship you get involved with > outside of your marriage. As a matter of fact, it will only compound your > problems. Remember, God will not and is not going to bless sin! We all > come to those places in life when we have to put our faith to the test and > really trust God. It is at those moments of our life that we find our > faith, we learn how to depend on and trust in God with everything we have, > and come to realize that the promises in the Bible really are for us and > they are true! God will protect you, provide for you, care for you, love > you, and keep you as you give yourself completely to Him! > > I love you and care about you so much. This issue today only highlights > again how critical it is to build a strong spiritual foundation with your > future spouse over a period of time PRIOR to getting married. You can > potentially save yourself so much pain and heartache if you do. Marriage > is an incredible blessing from God, a wonderful journey through this life > with the person God has given you to share it with. It should be the > greatest relationship in your life outside of your relationship with Jesus > Christ. To have this person you have committed the rest of your life to > abuse you is so sad and tragic. > > When we talk about the abuse issue, we normally think of physical and > sexual abuse. However, the most common form of abuse in most Christian > marriages is verbal, emotional, and financial. For you men and women who > are currently abusing your spouse in any way, you know this is not how God > has called you to treat your wife or husband. Out of the billions of > people on this planet, this is the ONE PERSON God has given to you to > share your life with. Why would you abuse that person in any way? God is > speaking to you today. God is telling you today to get the help you need, > professionally and spiritually. Being an abuser is no different than being > an alcoholic, drug addict, or having any other bondage. You need God to > set you free! > > I will be praying for you today. Praying that the Holy Spirit will bring > you under conviction and that you will fall on you knees today and ask God > to forgive you. Then go get the help you need to find freedom from your > abusive ways. I will also be praying for you wives and husbands who are > being abused. I pray that God will watch over you and protect you, that He > will give you the strength to stand up to your abusive spouse and hold > them accountable for their abuse. That the Lord will help you to make > whatever tough choices you have to make so that you are not living your > life each day being abused. I will be praying for God to bring healing to > your life, help you to forgive your spouse so that you can move forward. > > In the end, this tragic issue like all boils down to Jesus. Those who live > in rebellion to God and His Word, who have rejected Christ's love in their > life, will never understand why you need to be saved and marry someone who > is also saved They will never comprehend why it is so critical to build a > spiritual foundation to your relationship PRIOR to getting married. They > have bought the lies of this world that sex is a sport to play with > whoever is willing. They wake up one morning, their lives are a mess, they > have been abused in every way imaginable, and they can't understand why. > For them, their only hope and answer is to know Jesus and allow Him to > bring healing to their life and transform them into a new creature in > Christ. > > For those who know the Lord as their Savior, they have no excuse for not > calling on His name. We all sin and do things we wish we didn't do. The > key, however, is recognizing our sinful actions, repenting, and asking the > Lord to forgive us. We need to remember that when we are weak, He is > strong, and to call upon His strength to live a life pleasing and > acceptable to the Lord. God does not desire anyone to abuse their spouse > but to love them like He loves us. God does not desire that anyone lives > in an abusive marriage, but one of peace and love with Christ at the > center. >