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November 24, 2007

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Q/A Topics:
Divorce and Abuse?

READER QUESTIONS:
I have read through the bible a few times and there are a few passages that always set my mind wondering if I had not gotten the full meaning of the passage.

One of them is Matthew 5:32 where Jesus says that except for unfaithness, there are no grounds for divorce.

I have been following your mails faithfully for a few years now and I think you have written on a wife to submit to husbands no matter what the circumstances. And that divorce was never in God's plan of things.

The first thing I want to ask is - am I wrong in my understanding that unfaithfulness is the only grounds for divorce, even though it was never God's plan in the first place.

And the second question is - we live in a real world and there are people suffering within an abusive marriage. What would you say to someone who comes to you crying and saying that she/he had been abused (in various ways) for many years and she/he can't take it any more or fears for her/his life?

VW ANSWERS:
Re:
The first thing I want to ask is - am I wrong in my understanding that unfaithfulness is the only grounds for divorce, even though it was never God's plan in the first place.

VW:
If we understand the premise that the sex act -is- marriage (De21:13, 25:5); then, there seems to be one other situation specified in Scripture, where a young woman still under her father's authority is intimate with a man, but her father refuses to allow them to remain together. (Ex22:17)

Re:
And the second question is - we live in a real world and there are people suffering within an abusive marriage. What would you say to someone who comes to you crying and saying that she/he had been abused (in various ways) for many years and she/he can't take it any more or fears for her/his life?

VW:
Well... it seems that Paul addresses the "real world" in 1Co7. He exhorts that "a wife is not to leave her husband" (vs10)

But then he also gives the proviso, "But, indeed, if she is separated, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband." (vs11a)

Paul does not give any circumstantial 'reasons' for 'why' she might have left.

Paul also addresses the real world where a Believer is married to an unbeliever, giving the understanding that a Believer cannot force an unbeliever to remain with them. The unsaved are going to behave like unbelievers...and we as Believers cannot control them, nor is it our place to do so. And if something happens in such a manner, he says, "a brother or sister is not under bondage (re Rom7:1-3) in such cases" and he gives an added reason: "God has called us in peace" (vs15) As he says in another place, "If it is possible, as for yourself, be at peace with all men." (Rom12:18)

In other words....there is right and wrong. There is God's design, and the ways in which the world rebels. Until the unbeliever is saved, they do not conform to God's righteousness. But we are not called to militancy to change the world's behavior. Somewhat like that recent study from Ecclesiastes: "If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, remain quietly where you are; for quietness heals great offenses." (Ec10:4)

So....perhaps those concepts apply to your question? Whatever will result in "peace"?

I'm putting this 'question' out there perhaps in the same way Paul says, by "permission, not by commandment" (1Co7:6) But notice Paul's words in vs10-11 are the Lord's words. But from vs12, it is again Paul, with the Lord's permission.

God hates divorce. (Mal2:16) But Paul was allowed to give exceptions, just as Moses "permitted" divorce due to rebellious hearts. (Mt19:8)

And the Lord knows....we live in a world of hard hearts!!!

ADDENDUM:
After mailing this reply to the person something else occurs to me in terms of what sorts of e-mails I get from people.

Yes, I know that there is abuse that goes on out there. And from some things I read from those who follow the statistics, it would seem that women who abuse their husbands is actually a much higher percent than the men who abuse their wives; and the incidents of lesbian partner abuse is higher than with heterosexual couples (male & female combined); although one would never know it from the media promos and ads, where the topic of "abuse" is usually -assumed- to be the man abusing the woman; and militant feminism takes this assumption to promote their anti-submission goddess agenda.

After this was mailed to the subscribers, one subscriber wrote back about a wife/mother they knew, who even when there were adults around to witness her behavior, when arguing with her husband, calls out to the children in another room, "Your daddy is hitting mommy"; even though nothing of the sort was going on. Or the other case where a woman might call the police, and if when they arrive she is a good 'actress', huddles in the corner, crying, pretending to be afraid (even though her husband might be at work, is nowhere in sight, and never laid a hand on her); the mere fact that she -says- he abused her, gets him kicked out of his own house, no questions asked. The woman is usually believed, even though she may be a chronic liar.

But along this subject there seems to be two basic kinds of e-mails I get. First are the ones (usually females) who take bits and pieces of articles and Q/As at the website out of context and lamblast me for giving men the "OK" to "beat up their wives". If I ask them for contexts or file names where they found this, they never reply...because, I have never said such a thing. But when they read studies referencing 1Pet3:1-6, they don't see the -full- instructions to the woman, but instead assume the woman's submission is 'permission' for the man to be violent. I have often asked them if they also read the studies -to- the husbands, in those contexts. [link] - [link] - [link] Again, they don't reply.

But in none (NONE) of these e-mails does the writer say that -they- are being abused. They merely seem to be militants who object to Scriptural teaching.

The other is the husbands (I haven't received one of these in awhile) whose wives are going berserk. They seem to be Godly men who dearly love their wives, but their wives are being tugged by the world's feminism, with an 'antsy' spirit. The world tells them that they can be "more" if only they were minus their man. Such wives are typically drawn to the New Age, Yoga and other such things. And the husband is left bewildered because he sees these things going on with his wife, which he doesn't understand, and there seems to be nothing he can do for his wife. She's got the bit in her mouth and is -running- "free-rein".

And when these guys write, their stories are usually pretty much carbon copies of how my unequal yoke took off.

Well... this-all is one of the signs of the end times. It was prophesied to be this way.

    "As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people, those leading you cause you to go astray, and they swallow the way of your paths." (Is3:12)

    "How long will you vacillate, O backsliding daughter? For Jehovah has created a new thing in the earth; a woman shall contain (surround/encompass) a man." (Jer31:22)

Of course, none of this addresses the non-physical (abuse) matters of the bossy (as Proverbs says "contentious" Pr21:9,25:24) woman, whom the husband does not confront (perhaps because his own mother was this way when he was growing up, so assumes it's "normal"?)

No, ladies. I'm not 'picking' on you. It might seem that way. There's been several writing recently whose hearts are attuned to this very issue, and concerned that their own behavior towards their own husbands (sometimes unsaved) is of a Godly sort. I'm just addressing a lifetime of 'observation'. As a missionary/preacher's kid I've been in a lot of people's homes and seen how many wives 'run' things, and have also been in a lot of churches over the years all over the country and seen how many women are allowed to 'run' things in the congregations, too. And so many of the people have the mistaken notion, that for all their -activity- that they are, thus, "Godly" women....because they are "serving". When in truth, they have never learned how to be reined in. Thus, Paul writes about women "keeping silent in the churches", and he goes to the extreme that they are "not permitted to speak" (1Co14:34)

One of satan's greatest tools is the manipulation of women's emotions. The serpent did not approach Adam. He approached Eve. Why? If you're objecting to the above line of reasoning, just answer that question "Why?", and I think the rest all makes perfect sense.

Paul had a case of pride, so God gave him a "thorn in the flesh" (2Co12:7) to keep him under control. I have suspected the Lord gave me arthritis for similar reasons, as it relates to music, lest I be tempted back in those directions. And for many women, to keep themselves muzzled (as we have been talking) I suspect serves the same function. As Christians we are to be in "self-control" (Ga5:23) which Paul includes in the topic of women/mothers (1Ti2:15)

No matter how-well trained a horse is, a rider always uses a bridle and bit. A dog may be a docile house pet most of the time; but when trimming its nails or some other thing, it is often wise to put a muzzle on its snout so it doesn't snap and bite the person doing the procedure. And as long as we are yet "flesh and blood" (1Co15:50) we also need bridles and muzzles, of whatever the nature, as God knows each of us individually.

    "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Ga5:13)

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Test Tube Babies?

READER QUESTION:
PLEASE PLEASE I want your honest opinion scripturally.

Should Christians who have problems having children do IVF or test tube babies as it is sometimes called.

VW ANSWER:
I don't know of any Scripture that addresses this, directly.

There is this...

    "Behold, children are a heritage from Jehovah, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the sons of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." (Ps127:3-5)
So, if the Lord 'withholds' the fruit of the womb, should man be forcing it?

I suspect it might depend on the method used. And what is the cause of infertility? One method I could see a problem with is the case where the husband doesn't have any sperm, and they use 'donor' sperm. Would that not be one of the definitions of "adultery"? It is the placing of one man's sperm into another man's wife.

On the other hand, would this be any different than the OT practice of a brother taking a brother's wife, when that brother died, in order to raise up seed for the dead brother? Since the husband's 'seed' is, effectively, 'dead'?

However, the taking of the husband's sperm (that just isn't swimming strongly enough) and doing that way...? There 'might' not be a problem?

But then on the other hand, there is the whole thing of modern medicine's thing of poking and prodding in places that I (personally) question. Typically, a 'male' doctor pokes around in places of a woman that belong to another man. I realize this argument, in today's (western) climate, probably seems a bit "old fashioned", and not 'hip' and "with-the-times". But.... you asked my opinion. (I suspect that Muslims would agree with this question....not that they are right on anything else! But this concept is not totally foreign to today's world...just our western 'liberated' cultures.)

I suspect, in the end, it has to do with the -definition- of "adultery".

I do know this... if it was 'me' and somebody I was married to, in such a situation, I would NOT do it....because of the questions/arguments I've given. God is the one who gives life, and prospers the fruit of the womb; and it is also God who withholds. There were various ones in the OT who were barren, and they sought -God- for fruit, not doctors or medicine men. Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel, Hannah come to mind.

Sorry...no firm answers. But a couple of concepts and arguments for your consideration.

I have heard of cases, down through the years via the rumor vine, where barren couples -PRAYED- EARNESTLY for a child... and so after all their begging God for a child, He gave them one....and it turned out to be downs syndrome, or some other deformity, etc.... and they then experienced much heart ache over the matter. Apparently God "knew best" originally....? So, from the various things I've seen, heard and experienced in life.... I would be very hesitant to try to second-guess God's purposes, but rather leave it in His hands, and submit, "not my will, but Yours be done" (Lk22:42)

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