Too often within Christianity, abuse is seen as a grey area. Should she just be more submissive? Is he feeling disrespected? What KIND of abuse are we talking about here? Is he really abusive, or is he just a jerk?
These kinds of questions cast doubt on people who have already been conditioned to doubt their own perceptions. Every day, every action, they doubt themselves.
So, To the One Being Abused,
You might wonder if you’re imagining what’s happening, or making this a bigger deal than it actually is. You probably question your sanity often. You might wonder if you provoke the one who hurts you. You might question yourself: am I the abusive one? You might feel lonely.
You’re probably exhausted.
I don’t know if anyone has said this to you yet: It’s OK for you to leave. It’s ok for you to step back from any relationship where you are being disrespected, dehumanized, or not treated with dignity.
It’s ok for you to place as much value on yourself as God places on you. It’s ok for you to love yourself as much as God loves you. Because that’s A LOT.
It’s ok for you to remove your mask of pleasantries, and the padded boots you wear as you tiptoe around the eggshells and tacks. It’s ok for you to say NO to your own carefully crafted, make-sure-he-feels-respected responses. It’s ok to say YES to your own self-worth.
It’s ok to be a peacemaker instead of a peacekeeper.
Maybe you’ve been told to stay and pray. Maybe you’ve been told to just be more loving, MORE respectful. Maybe you’ve been told God hates divorce and that means you’re not allowed to go. Maybe you’re hoping and praying for permission to leave. Maybe you don’t want a divorce, and your very core feels like it’s been shredded.
Maybe it feels like you built a life, a city, and that city is burning to the ground as you watch in depsair. Maybe you’re looking at the ashes of your life and you barely even have the strength to cry.
This isn’t what you dreamed of.
Maybe you feel ashamed for being here in the first place. Maybe you wonder how it got so bad. Maybe you feel like your very essence has been melted down and poured out of your body, and you’re now a shell of who you once were.
Maybe you’re afraid of him. Maybe you don’t know what happens next, and you feel frozen. Maybe you’re worried about money. Maybe you’re hoping he will change.
Maybe you secretly wish he would die, so you can be free of this pain, released from these chains.
Please know this: you can go.
You are so loved. You are worthy. You are His. Leaving or staying or being unsure won’t change that. Nothing you do will change that. God does not want this for you.
Your spouse is responsible for his actions, and you are responsible for yours. It’s not on you to crack your whole being in half trying to be a more godly wife you so that he will change. I’m not saying don’t pray. Pray. But it’s ok to pray AND act. It’s ok to pray and also say NO to any de-humanizing behavior from another person.
This is not your fault.
If you’re not ready to leave, if you are ready to leave, if you don’t know what you’re ready for or what you want, that is ok. You are not required to leave. But please know and understand this: you have a CHOICE.
You can still choose God AND choose freedom. Know that God is good and kind, and He does love marriage. God loves HEALTHY marriage. But He values you more than He values institutions. He wants you to walk with Him in freedom. He wants your abuser to walk with Him in freedom.
The opposite of abuse is respect. The opposite of abuse is freedom. The opposite of abuse is healing.
I pray that you see yourself as God sees you: free, loved, worthy, and beautiful beyond measure.