God Hates Abuse

monkey no see, hear, speak

Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise (Ephesians 6:2).

Usually this devotional blog is on the lighter side; today is different.

I grew up in a home of abuse. There were good times, as there are in every home, but there were also very bad times. My father abused my mother and the four of us children in unspeakable ways.

When my mother gained the courage to speak up, her pastor told her she had no alternative but to stay in the abusive relationship. Gratefully, she did not. Divorce is the modern unpardonable sin.

Shamefully, Christian leaders have for too long failed to address the issue of domestic abuse, whether of children against their elderly parents, spousal, or parent against child. They have only one answer for abuse: stay even if it kills you or scars your children for life. This is not God’s design for the home, it is not godly, and it is not an expression of love to be emulated in the church.

As the eldest child of a pedophile, how am I to “honor” my father?

Let me begin by saying that honor doesn’t mean staying in an abusive or neglectful relationship. Neglect and abuse are sin, and as a Christian, staying in that relationship is enabling that sin to continue. It’s as wrong as giving meth to an addict or providing drugged women to a rapist.

Honor isn’t pretending the spouse or parent is “good” and that everything is “fine.” Honor isn’t giving in, keeping your mouth shut, or accepting how you’re being treated. Dishonorable people – parents or spouses – demand respect for their sin; to enable them is also sin.

Sometimes the only way to honor someone who isn’t honorable is to walk away, “divorce” yourself from that person and situation, and never look back. Value the dishonorable parent as the one who gave you life, but a parent (or spouse) who refuses to acknowledge his sin and persists in it to the physical, emotional, or spiritual harm of his children or spouse shouldn’t be rewarded with more victims.

And spiritual leaders must not cover their eyes, ears, and mouths like monkeys answering with the “no divorce” mantra. God hates abuse too.

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About Richard L Rice

Just an ordinary, balding, blind guy, making my way to Heaven by grace through faith in Jesus. Richard has been an ordained minister since 1986, and pastored 6 churches. A graduate of Multnomah School of the Bible (Portland, OR) and Abilene Bible Seminary (Abilene, KS), Dr Rice is the author of numerous books, including a commentaries on Matthew, Romans, and the Pastoral Epistles of Paul. He is the pastor of a congregation in Portland, Oregon, and serves on the faculty of the Berean School of Ministry in Tala, Kenya. He lives outside of Portland, Oregon with his wife Kimberly and son Daniel. Further details about him can be found written on the pages of his blog.
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