Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

We are to Separate From Evil, Not Order the Righteous to Live With it

Psa 1:1-2  Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;  (2)  but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Pro 4:14-15  Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.  (15)  Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.

The Bible is filled with commands and warnings just like these. The Lord Himself cannot look upon evil. The wicked will never stand in His presence. His holiness consumes them in an instant. And His people are to reflect this holiness in their own lives by separating themselves from the wicked.
Somehow however, I suppose due to the idolatrous status and man-made legalistic traditions in regard to marriage, the wicked are being given a pass. It is sin, so many professing Christians claim, to separate from evil if you are married to it. The marriage vows, even if given under false pretense and broken habitually without repentance, serve as a kind of diabolical grandfather clause that makes the Lord’s commands to separate from evil null and void. “Separate? Sorry, no can do. You said ‘I do’ and so you’d better “do.”

But where is the caveat footnote in Scripture that says “this verse does not apply in cases of marriage”? It isn’t there. God’s Word simply says-

2Co 6:14-18  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  (15)  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.”

Notice that first line that is soooo often quoted in the church – Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…”. Yes, we know from 1 Cor 7 that a Christian is not to divorce a non-Christian spouse just because they are not a believer but are still willing to live in marriage with the Christian wife or husband. But what is the typical application of the “unequally yoked” phrase? That we are not to marry an unbeliever. But then, (read the fine print added by man): if you are married to lawlessness and darkness, you are stuck living with Belial regardless of how wicked he/she is. 
No. Marriage vows mean something. They are holy solemn promises made before God and witnesses. And if someone mouths these vows, all the while pretending to be a Christian when in fact they are wicked and abusive, having no intention of loving their “beloved,” then there are grounds for divorce before the ceremony is even concluded!
No, marriage does not give the wicked a pass. It does not enslave a victim of domestic abuse to a lifetime of torment. It does not make God’s command to separate from evil null and void. In fact, as so many of you will testify to, “coming out from among them” has indeed resulted in you experiencing God’s promise:

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.”



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  1. Zadok

    Abuse of the covenant breaks the covenant. ANY covenant.

  2. Alison

    Thanks for this. Separation from evil also applies to bosses, relatives, acquaintances and friends who act wickedly towards us. So many professing christians and enablers call for us to: have pity; care about them; reconcile; love them into the kingdom, etc. This mindset kept me in bondage for decades.

  3. Spot on, Jeff…thank you! I’m preaching Sunday about DV and one of the ideas that has continued to hit me was the idolatrous treatment of marriage.

  4. Change Agent

    Thank you again for posting a truth that people seem to ignore. The lengths people will go to in an effort to manipulate and undermine victims is mind boggling. They advance every lie and execute every tactic of deception in honor of their idols and preferred falsehoods. They oppose the righteous and justice cannot be found, anyone who renounces evil is attacked (Is. 59). But God defends the oppressed and intervenes on their behalf when no one else will.

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