It’s Easier if You’re Both Wrong

The other day I heard someone put it this way: “Religion will molest you, then accuse you of being bitter about it.” Do you see the double standard? When victims react to being hurt by someone in a church, we treat them as though there’s something’s wrong with them. This is why abusers are so often exonerated. It’s easier to justify letting the abuser off the hook if both parties are “in the wrong.”

From the Relevant Article linked:

Marriages That Are Dead

The fact that Israelite women could be given a divorce certificate doesn’t mean that God thinks divorce is a good idea. He designed marriage to last forever—for both the couple’s and the children’s benefit—and the breakup of a marriage is always a disaster. We have learned, though, that we have to distinguish between marriage breakup, which is always wrong, and divorce, which is the legal recognition that a marriage has broken up. Moses’ law did not say that it was acceptable to break up a marriage; it merely prescribed the legal process that was necessary after a breakup had happened. It said that the man couldn’t have his cake and eat it; he couldn’t abandon his wife and expect her to be waiting for him at a later date. Whatever sin causes the marriage to break up, there should be a clean end. Neither partner should hold the other as a prisoner in a marriage that is dead.
Divorce and Remarriage in the Church, by David Instone-Brewer

Doesn’t God Care?

Adultery is not, of course, the only sin that can end a marriage. Many marriages are killed by neglect or abuse. Christians today accept that the Bible allows divorce for adultery, but many believe that it does not allow divorce for reasons such as physical or emotional abuse, or when a man withholds money from his wife, or stops her going out, or when a wife neglects the children and leaves them filthy and starving. This has led Christians to feel confused and concerned, because they conclude that God isn’t interested in such things, that these issues don’t seem to touch his heart.
But why? Why is adultery more valid a reason for divorce than cruelty? Why wouldn’t God allow divorce in these situations? And why wouldn’t a victim be allowed at the very least the choice of leaving such a marriage? In fact, the Bible does have a law that addresses this situation. Exodus 21: 10-11 is a text that is usually forgotten, but it provides precisely what is needed, for it allows the victim of abuse or neglect to be freed from the marriage.
Divorce and Remarriage in the Church, by David Instone-Brewer

Coming Soon

This is the future home of Claire Roise’s blog about how to raise awareness about relationship abuse and how to advocate for your friends and relatives who are trapped in abusive relationships.