Myth: A wife separating from an abusive husband is breaking God’s law that He “hates divorce”

Important distinctions must be made: separation does not mean divorce. Forgiveness need not mean a fully-restored trust. Departing does not mean no hope of future reconciliation. A victim may forgive and still love her abuser, but it does not follow that she trusts he has changed. She may never trust him again, or he may need to show he deserves her trust over a long period. A victim should do everything to protect her and her children’s well-being. The abuser must accept that his abuse has broken her trust - he has no entitlement to it, and cannot make demands upon her.

Ecclesias also should recognise that there are consequences for abusers that often will persist for a long time. An abuser might be accepted back into fellowship, but their participation may be limited because we must care for the victims first and they may not want to confront their abuser. Rather than rushing to put abusive families back together ecclesias should be supporting the victim, and separately leading the abuser to confession and repentance and earning his victim’s trust, however long it takes.

If this article raises concerns you have about domestic violence in your own life or those around you can call 1800RESPECT (If in Australia) or similar services in other countries. There is also a list of support services on this website including Christadelphian Support Services.

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