Acts 5:1-2 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, (2) and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
It is not my intent to teach that Sapphira was married to an abuser. I simply cite this scripture as an illustration of a wife taking the side of her husband in an evil matter. Both were held accountable.
Nor am I teaching here that a victim of domestic abuse who does not actively expose her abuser is going to be counted guilty by the Lord. We all know, I trust, that “just leaving” an abuser is no easy matter and sometimes, for a time, it is impossible.
But I do want to discuss here a subject that I have come across personally numerous times, namely, cases in which the wife of a domestic abuser actively defends the abuser and even participates in his abuse of their children and of other people. All of the cases I have dealt with have been in the local church and in which the abuser and spouse claimed to be Christians.
In what way did these wives (the cases I have dealt with were those in which the wife was the abuse victim) participate in their abuser’s evil? Remember, I am not talking about cases where the wife, out of fear or out of being confused as to what is really happening to her, remains silent. No, I am addressing cases in which the abuse victim actually and actively participates in the abuser’s evil doings.
Linda is married to John. They have a large number of children. Both John and Linda not only profess to be Christians, they are very active in the local church. They “disciple” others. They wear an aura of eminent godliness. They are rigid in their religious practices – family devotions, keeping the sabbath, memorizing and quoting the Bible, dressing according to their definition of modesty, home-schooling, and so on. John boasts that he has instructed Linda, quote, “you must obey me.”
Linda however, once you have been around her long enough, turns out to be a very angry person. I say, “once you have been around her” rather than “once you get to know her” because, well, you will never really get to know her. She will not allow it. Linda targets, reviles, and verbally abuses the same people John does. If anyone calls John on his reviling tongue by which he assaults others, Linda fires up immediately to John’s defense. “He is a fine husband! Don’t you dare say that about him!” Linda will then behave angrily toward that person…forever.
Linda actively, along with John, keeps many secrets secret. What really goes on in their home behind closed doors? No one knows. No one is permitted to know. But John’s patriarchy is on steroids, and in such a household you can be assured that there is abuse going on.
That is just one of several cases like this I have come across over the years. An abuse victim becoming an abusive ally herself. These kind, sadly, are beyond help. I don’t presume to know completely what makes them tick, but in some way they have made the decision that the benefits of “standing by their man” outweigh the costs of exposing his abuse and leaving him. These benefits can be:
- Economic (in one case the abuser was very wealthy)
- Spiritual (the victims has grown to enjoy being regarded as the most holy of holy saints by others)
- Remaining on “good terms” with the Lord (so skewed is her thinking about how the Lord views her and what he demands of her)
I do not understand these cases thoroughly. But I do know that they exist and that an abuse victim who has resolved to be a “helper” to her abuser will become one of the angriest and harshest people you ever get sideways of.
Don’t YOU become one.
Pro 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, (25) lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.