Matthew 24:16-18 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (17) Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, (18) and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
These verses are of course from the Lord’s words to His disciples which we call the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25). Jesus is speaking to them here about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, but we can correctly apply what He says to our own daily lives now as well:
We see that flight from danger may sometimes be the positive duty of a Christian. The servant of Christ undoubtedly is not to be a coward. He is to confess his master before men. He is to be willing to die, if needful, for the truth. But the servant of Christ is not required to run into danger, unless it comes in the line of duty. He is not to be ashamed to use reasonable means to provide for his personal safety when no good is to be done by dying at his post. There is deep wisdom in this lesson. The true martyrs are not always those who court death, and are in a hurry to be beheaded or burned. [J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, p. 318-19]
One of the most deceitful and wicked wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing that I have ever known used to love to push this business upon people. “Oh but just think of your reward in heaven if you willingly undergo this suffering,” he loved to say to people who were being reviled and maligned by some other wolf among the flock. Of course if anyone were to malign HIM, he would blow up in anger and not stand for it for a second. Abusers have double standards you know. Always double standards.
Many of you have heard this same evil gibberish from pastors and fellow church members I am sure. “The Lord wants you to stay in the marriage. He has called us to suffering. Think of your reward. Divorce is such a terrible thing.” Blah, blah, blah.
But as you can see from the verse above, J.C. Ryle is correct (he was a pastor in England by the way back in the 1800’s). We can prove from Scripture, and not only from this Scripture but from others (think of Paul being let down the wall in a basket, or of Jesus escaping from a murderous crowd because His time had not come), that it is the positive duty of a Christian to escape from danger – and I would say that if such an escape is possible to take without denying Christ, then we are to take it.
In cases of domestic abuse, that escape route is an ending of the so-called marriage, carrying out a careful escape plan, and escaping into safety. So the next time some supposed Christian lays this evil nonsense on you, ask them – “Do you believe that it is ever the duty of a Christian to escape from danger?” Watch them stumble around trying to answer. Because the fact is that what they have just told you in their evil “counsel” is that they insist that YOU are never permitted to escape from danger.
Excellent, thank you! I wish I had known this years ago.
And if you don’t submit to your abusers leadership Your in danger of not being in Christ. What foolishness ! Control ? You decide.
“Blah blah blah” I was laughing out loud! 🙂
So here’s the kicker, the stay at home orders! I have 5 small children, one who needs care and safety for all aspects of life. Her bed, her food, her care devices are all in a home the abuser will not leave. But no actual evidence of abuse to warrant an order of protection. “Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!” Psalms 70:1
It must be very difficult for people in your circumstances especially at the moment! I will pray for you. ❤
I wish all marriage licenses came with a handout or packet detailing the laws, giving examples of domestic violence, listing battered women’s shelters’ numbers, and also including a pastor’s write-up of things like,
(1) divorce is okay when married to an abuser, it is to be expected
(2) leaving your husband to go stay in a shelter is okay
(3) calling a shelter hotline is acceptable, it’s not gossip nor is it disloyal
(4) calling the police is okay, if you husband beats you, that is against the law and he is a criminal and it’s acceptable for you to seek justice
(5) forcing or coercing a wife into unwanted sex is rape, it’s against the law, and it’s not a Christian woman’s duty to submit to whatever the husband demands, you are not obligated to be sexual with a man who beats you, forces you, coerces you, controls you, manipulates you, and tries to get you to suicide or otherwise permanently lose your sanity
(6) you’re a human being, not someone’s slave and devoid of worth
(7) suffering abuse, violence, and violation is not God’s will for your life
there’s so many others that could be added to the list, but it’s really hard to think about what life used to be like and how brainwashed I became and what kind of detailed list I would have needed to possibly have had a better chance at escaping. But abusers threaten harm to your family, so even if you no longer care about what he does to you, he turns your love for your family into a final point of leverage that never ends.
No one down here
Rahab hid the spies
David fled from Saul
God hid Elijah
Joseph and Mary took Jesus and fled Herod
Christians hid In catacombs in the time of Nero.
We praise those people who hid Jews in the time of Hitler.
Somehow, the standard changes when the persecuter is a spouse. These people forget that God is always watching. His name will be avenged. His covenant people will be kept under the shadow of his wings. Also, often God comes down in fire and thundering to rescue his own. If we are to pray for the prosperity of Israel, should we not pray for, protect and further the safety of God’s own? Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works.
From psalm 91
“The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague. He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord — my refuge, the Most High — your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent.”
This is so true and absolutely Biblical. In my case, a few years ago, I fled from an abusive family who continued to be abusive into adulthood and the siblings took up where the parents left off. They recently tried to draw me back in, and it was difficult to resist, for the reasons you mentioned. They surely know that I was susceptible to words that sound like apologies (but still found a way to act like they had no idea what they’d really done) and they know that in the past I forgave and forgot every time someone asked me to. I have moved past that now and forgive in that I have canceled their debt to me, and will let God execute the justice, but now I don’t run back into danger. I did not respond. This is a struggle as the brainwashing is very real to pressure the targets into going back to show that they are genuine Christians.
Truth EM. Thank you! You are wise👍