If I could speak clearly, eloquently and informatively on any topic I would want people to know that those who leave an abusive situation are survivors. Many people are judged, held prisoner to lofty ideals, religious rules and societal suppositions. The reality is that a victim of abuse does not think in those terms, they are too busy trying to survive. Every day is a carefully calculated, tenuously played game, like a game of chess with survival as the goal.
I used to be one who thought that if people got divorced it was because they gave up, didn’t try hard enough and didn’t trust God enough to work in their marriage. I now know that is a naïve, one dimensional way to look at a situation as complex as an abusive marriage. Sure! God can do anything, work in any situation and cover any heart, no matter how far gone, with His grace, love and forgiveness. However, my simplistic view did not take into account that marriage is made up of TWO individuals. One person, no matter how committed, cannot keep a marriage together. They can spend their life, health and self-esteem as the currency to pay the deficit, trying to achieve the fantasy of a loving marriage. However, it will not be a marriage, not the way God designed it to be.
What I would like to tell those who are tempted to judge from a distance, offer trite colloquialisms on restoration; who have never been in an abusive marriage or a marriage plagued by addictions is this: You cannot possibly know the horror that a person in this situation has lived in. Words fail to properly articulate the pain, confusion and total emptiness that this type of situation creates within a person. Judging a person for not “trying hard enough” or “not sticking it out long enough” puts heaping weight on their already heavy laden shoulders.
An abusive marriage is the twisted form of a holy institute. Before you judge a person for leaving an abusive marriage, know that they have probably judged themselves far more than you can imagine. Finding the strength to reach out and get help took everything they had. They are weak, vulnerable and weary. Instead of pointing fingers and throwing verbal stones; I submit it’s better to reach out in love, seek to understand and lend a listening ear. We are champions for the institute of marriage and defenders of the weak. We love the unlovely. We call sin, sin. We know that God’s grace in each of our lives is the only reason we are who we are today. Instead of tearing the hurting among us down; let’s build each other up in love and spur each other onto doing good works in Christ Jesus. After all, we are the church, the body of Christ.
From My Heart to Yours,
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