Godly Women Do NOT Endure Abuse

I recently came across this video, which was apparently first released in August 2009. It is no longer available on Piper’s Desiring God website, so I have downloaded it from YouTube. I feel a strong need to address Piper’s response to the question of a woman enduring the abuse of her husband because I believe it is a dangerous and unbiblical view of the meaning of submission in marriage.

To say the least, Piper’s response to the question is disturbing. Why does he laugh after reading the question? Why does he discount verbal abuse as mere “verbal unkindness”? How can he, as a pastor, be so incredibly ignorant about abusive relationships and the dynamics of them?

I could spend several blog posts dissecting this video and addressing a myriad of errors that I find in his teaching, but, for today, I really only want to address the erroneous idea that when a woman submits to abuse, she is behaving biblically or abiding by scriptural teaching.

As a victim of intense verbal abuse, which I “endured” for seven years, I know personally that the submission taking place in an abusive relationship has nothing to do with God. An abused person’s life revolves around her abuser and doing everything that she can to avoid the abuse. She will go against her own beliefs, against the leading of the Holy Spirit, against God’s Word, against the advice of her family and friends, if she thinks that her abuser will approve of her and give her some relief from the abuse. In other words, in the abused person’s life, God is not first; her abuser is. He is her god.

This state of mind means that the abused person is breaking the first of the ten commandments: “You shall have no other gods before me.” It also breaks Jesus’ command to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. The person enduring abuse is consumed with the abuser and only her abuser, at the expense of all of her other relationships, including her relationship with God.

Any teaching that encourages a woman to live in a way that separates her from God is wrong. I truly believe that, in an abusive situation, the best way for a woman to serve God (and any others who may depend on her) is to leave the abusive situation and get help.

Poem Share: Psalm 91

To kick off National Poetry Month, I have chosen one of my favorite poems to share. Yes, this is a psalm from the Bible, but the imagery and metaphor in this poem make it particularly powerful as it speaks to the strength and power we have when we are faithful in our relationship with God.

Psalm 91 (New International Version, ©2011)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

(read online at BibleGateway.com)

Verses on the Love of God–Week 1

I have recently started a devotional practice where I collect a group of verses on a particular topic and read, meditate and pray over those verses each day. Some days, I make it through the whole group of verses. Other days, one verse or passage may be the focus of my meditations and prayers. I find this practice particularly helpful in the renewal of my mind.

The topic that I have chosen for this week is The Love of God. The verses and passages I am using for devotional time are below:

Exodus 34:6-7

Psalm 5:7

Psalm 23

Psalm 31:7, 16

Psalm 33:5, 22

Psalm 36:7-10

If you decide to read these passages as well, I would love to hear about what God has revealed to your heart in your quiet time with Him.

Peace be with you.

The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus: Meditation on Romans 5:8

This verse has been running through my head the past few days:

Romans 5:8 (NIV, ©2011)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Can you imagine a love this big? God didn’t say, “Get yourself cleaned up and obey my rules, and then, I’ll die for you.” He didn’t say, “Get yourself right with me, and then I’ll die for you.” He didn’t even say, “Love me, and I’ll die for you.” He loves us so much that He died for us when we were in sin, separated from Him, when we rejected and denied Him, when we deliberately disobeyed Him. He loves us so much that He has provided a way back to Him–no matter how far away from Him we go.

This kind of love takes my breath away. I feel so unworthy in the face of it, because I know that I do not come close to loving in this way. I like to think that I am a loving, caring person, but in the face of a love like this, my love pales in comparison. How could I ever love Him as much as He loves me? And while I could see myself dying for my children or other members of my immediate family, I would probably never lay down my life for those that have hurt me, rejected me, deceived me, or betrayed me. Yet this is exactly what Jesus did. He did it for all of us; He did it for me.

My first response in trying to understand this profound love is, “Who am I that You, sweet Jesus, would love me this much?” The only answer is that He loves me this much because of who He is. He is love. I am inspired to attempt to live a life that is somehow worthy of His love. I pray that He will help me love Him more and better and deeper.

This old hymn by Samuel Francis is a beautiful response to the realization of His love:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!