Leave The Cruel Spouse’s Enslavement

June 13, 2013

For those who are in marriages where you have a spouse who tries to control you through covert aggression, demeaning statements, and the like, and who continues to be evasive, untruthful, abusive, or is in any other way unfaithful to the marriage vows (to honor, love, and respect one another and God, meaning His moral laws and way of love), then it would be wise to get alone in a quiet place, and on paper, answer for yourself some questions. Questions like these:

1. What reasons did I have for marrying this person?

2. What are the reasons that I am staying in such a miserable / demeaning / angry / unloving / full of strife / etc. marriage?

3. Is it the expectations of society, church, or family that are holding me in the captivity, or is it God commanding me to remain in an abusive situation –this situation that is the cause of God’s laws being broken over and over again?

4. Must I hold to a vow that I was, in reality, freed from when my spouse broke the marriage covenant through continued cruelty to me?

5. Since misery and strife are oppressive to one’s soul, how does 1 Cor. 7:15, 21b, & 23 apply to my situation? For verse 15 says, “But if the unbelieving one separates himself [from any of the terms of the covenant, especially habitually], then let him be separated [in reality, and considered and declared separated], for in such matters, the brother or the sister [the abused spouse] is not enslaved [to the marriage]. God has called us to live in peace.” And verse 21b says, “But if you can gain your freedom, take the opportunity.” And as verse 23 says, “For [since] you were bought with a price [the blood of Christ], do not become slaves of men.” It would be an utter falsehood to say that a spouse who is enduring, from the other spouse, continued aggression, lying, insults, or other mistreatment, is not under enslavement. And it would be an utter falsehood to say that the spouse mistreating the other is not breaking the marriage covenant.

Gal. 5:1 informs us: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Why then, we’re asked, would we let ourselves be burdened down again by any kind of slavery? (same verse & 4:8-11) We are “called to be free” (5:13), not bound up in the captivity of men’s rules or the consequences of their sins –including strife and misery. To allow this is not loving to anyone. Certainly we know that true love is firm, not tolerant of continued sin.

Unconditional love? That doesn’t mean we stick around. God does not stick around those who keep sinning. Instead He divorces (Jer. 3:8) and thrusts that rebel (unrepentant sinner) from His presence (same verse & 7:14,15), for He will disown and destroy unfaithful ones, even if they once housed His Spirit. (1 Cor. 3:16,17 // 2 Tim. 2:12) Why? Because that person refuses to stop defiling himself with sin. As God warns in Ezek. 18:24, “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.” This “die” means Hell. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23) We know this “death” means Hell, for it is contrasted with “eternal life” in the same verse.

Withholding our affection and presence from the unrepentant is to do just as God does. (Ps. 5:4-6) It must be done, or they will become ever-more insensitive to the Spirit’s conviction and thus hardened in their sin. (Eph. 4:17-19) We ARE to judge the unrepentant person in our fellowship / family (1 Cor. 5:12), expel him (v. 13), and “hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature might be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” (v. 5) We are absolutely not to associate (in close fellowship) with, or even eat with, those who indulge in the sinful nature (v. 11) –which was supposed to have been crucified, dead, and gone (Gal. 5:24) at the born again experience. (Rom. 6:1-7)

If the sinful nature, with its passions and desires, is not gone, then that person does not belong to Christ. (Gal. 5:24 again // Rom. 8:13,14) We are not to be yoked (in any close way) with unbelievers. (2 Cor. 6:14) Continuing to “touch” those who are unclean will jeopardize God’s acceptance of US! (v. 17,18) Therefore, we are to “purify ourselves from everything [including everyone] that contaminates body and spirit…” (7:1) For “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33), and the old yeast, if not thrown out, will be working itself into the new batch of dough. (5:6-8)

Think soberly about these things and take action. For the right action will save souls, probably many souls, from eternal death.

with love,

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