Mat 10:12-15 As you enter the house, greet it. (13) And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. (14) And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (15) Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Much of what I write these days is repetition. I have written about these subjects before. But truth needs to be repeated, and repeated, and repeated. Often. It takes hearing something over and over before we finally “see” it. And so here it is, once more.
Many (probably most) churches today have been teaching unbiblical concepts of the love of Christ. “Unconditional love” seems to be the catch phrase. We are told that we must never give up on anyone. That no matter what they have done, we must love them. And by “love them,” most often what is meant is that we must continue to have a relationship with them, expend energies trying to “fix” them, and so on. This mantra of course leaves the domestic abuse victim sitting forever in abuse.
Let’s be clear first of all on this foundational point: there is no such thing as unconditional love. God does not love anyone unconditionally. If that sounds strange to you I understand. After all, does the Bible not say:
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Doesn’t this verse teach that God’s love for His people is unconditional? No. The condition that had to be met is even stated in this verse. Christ had to die for us. There is no way anyone could ever be justified and put right with God unless the conditions met at the cross were met. God does not love everyone unconditionally. He states the conditions. Repentance from sin and faith toward God in Christ are conditions.
We could go on in greater detail, but for now I hope that I at least have you re-examining this whole business that you have been taught – unconditional love. You are not required to love people who God hates! You are not required to regard them as your “brother.” But I suspect many of you have been taught quite the opposite of this.
It is vital then that we stop listening to preachers and counselors and professing Christians without carefully comparing what they are saying with Scripture. And in this case it really does not take very long to see that the Lord does indeed tell us to “walk away” from many people. The text quoted above from Matthew is an example. The Apostles were not to just keep hanging around a place that rejected the good news of the kingdom. Nope. They were to move on with finality and know that God’s judgment had come upon such people. On the Day of judgment, Sodom and Gomorrah’s fire will seem cool in comparison to what awaits them.
And there are many other such Scriptures:
Act 18:5-6 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. (6) And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one.
2Co 6:15-18 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
The love of God does not dwell with evil. All we need do is look at Christ’s own example to see this. He did not keep trying to “win” the Pharisees by building “relationships” with them. And we are even told (see 1 John 5 on this) that there are people we should not pray for. It is my conclusion that people like domestic abusers who without conscience characteristically abuse their spouse, all the while pretending to be a fine, upstanding, holy Christian, putting on the wool disguise each Sunday at church, fit this very “don’t-pray-for-them” category.
If you are going through your days weighed down by a load of guilt that keeps telling you that you have not been loving your abuser unconditionally, then I hope that you can come to see that this is not a burden the Lord has placed upon you.