Remembering how other individuals treat us is an important part of making decisions and of staying out of danger. Yet many Christians throw human interpretation of forgiveness at people. By insisting that they forgive and forget, Christians abuse them yet again and cause them to put themselves in harm’s way.
This is especially so for wives who suffer abuse from their husbands. The ultra pious pressure wives to forgive and forget. They tell a wife who is still grieving the loss of her marriage, still trying to accept that the man she married doesn’t cherish her after all, that she SHOULD forgive and maintain relationship with her abuser. They tell her if she holds him at arms length, she hasn’t really forgiven him.
So she takes a phone call from him, and he berates her for half an hour. She hangs up, feeling shaky, confused, and scared. But she focuses on forgiving and forgetting. She blames herself for not handling it better.
This is contrary to scripture. Titus 3:10 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” Abusers tend to be divisive. Their repeated reviling creates conflict and splits up marriages.
2Timothy 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM.”
This passage describes many abusive husbands. Instead of controlling themselves, they put all their focus on controlling their wives. Their behavior is pure treachery. They led their wives to believe they would love and cherish them, but instead they turn on them and attack them.
How does the Bible say we are to respond? HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. There is nothing about forgive and forget. There is no exception clause saying “except when you are married to him.”
When a married man chooses the above behaviors, HE is the one who has broken the marriage covenant. Without loving behavior there is no covenant. It has become null and void. Unless he repents in sincerity and truth. And few abusers do.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com
Chronically Self-Centered Spouse Series - Nope, I'm not doing this series. Nope, Visionary Womanhood is not doing this series. But I do thank Natalie for linking to it over there a couple years back...
6 months ago