We Are Not Your Chum

“Chum” is such a nice, evocative, old-fashioned-y word for friend.  It recalls the Leave-It-To-Beaver era types of playground friendships, back when the world was black-and-white, at least on TV screens.  Your chum was a friend who would be there after school, at your house on Saturday morning, and maybe even would let you come along with his or her family on their vacation.  “Chum” implies a comfortable, organic friendship.  A chum would get down in the dirt with you when you fell off the merry-go-round.  You, in your turn, would help her limp to the school nurse when she twisted her ankle running the bases.  And, most importantly, he would stand beside you against the local bully.  Because nobody, but nobody, picks on his best friend!

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After my children and I escaped our abusive home, I begged my life-long church for help.  We only had what we had been able to grab that day.  My X had made sure I lost my job.  We were desperate.

My church made clear that they wouldn’t help us financially or in any practical way.  Like they told me, they really don’t do that sort of thing.  Any help they would give me would only encourage me in my undesirable course of action.  Their point was even more clarified when a family-friend pastor called and asked me over and over, “Well, what are you going to do?”  Never, “How can I help?”

My church assigned me a nouthetic “Biblical” counseling team.  They offered counsel from all the training they had acquired — one long weekend once a year at some hotel, with a few lectures and some break-out sessions.  You probably know the counsel they had been taught and tried out on me.  Wives submit to your husbands.  Marriage matters more than the people in it.  Pray even more.  Memorize the right verses, and (because I reached a new level of scripture memory) X would miraculously become nice all the time, not just in public or in front of them or when he wanted something.

I just needed to center myself on Christ.  Once fully “centered” on Christ, insults, silent treatments, threats, sneering, hatred, mind games wouldn’t bother me anymore.  (No explanation of how to make that “centering” thing work, but apparently it had to do with saying a prayer and then going back home and faking a quiet, cheerful attitude no matter what he did to me or my children or the pets.)

The counseling they had learned said feelings don’t matter, or worse, feelings lie.  The counselors taught me about the “train.” I needed to revamp my thoughts (the “engine” of the train) about the situation — including reframing the abuse I was living with into seeing it all as poor X’s cry for help, poor X’s hurting inner child throwing tantrums, poor X’s way of dealing with stress — the stress I and the kids were obviously causing him.  Then my changed “engine” of thoughts ( which meant going back to denying the reality of my situation like my mind did under the fog that abuse had created for my whole marriage), that “engine” would pull along, and would be fed by, the “coal car” of my attitudes.  My attitudes would become more positive the more often I thought pleasant, reality-denying, thoughts.  Then, eventually, those stubborn feelings (like this was all wrong, like we were in pain, like X was cruel), which were in the “caboose,” would be dragged into the correct, positive-thinking path.  After drawing the train for me several times on a whiteboard, it eventually just stayed up there.

We heard a lot of phrases that my kids and I condensed down to, “You should, you ought, shame on you for not…”  We grew to use that as a label for all the teaching we received.  The “You should, you ought, shame on you for not…” kind of teaching.

The one thing I never heard was shock.  I never heard horror at what had happened to me and my children and my animals.  I never saw sorrow over what X had done to us.  I never saw anger at what someone had done to a daughter of the King.  I never heard what an old-fashioned chum would say.  “Nobody, but nobody, does that to our friend — to God’s friend!”  And I never heard, “How can we help?”  At least Job’s friends saw him in his pain and reacted like things really were bad for him.

Job 2:13  Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.

When I wasn’t “healed” (meaning having gone back home with a positive mental attitude and a quiet spirit) within the six-week allotted time period with prayer, scripture memory, and a Christian book study, they tried it again.  When that didn’t “heal” me, (see aforementioned definition of “healed”) they passed me around to a couple other rounds of counselors, who each prayed with me, made me memorize more verses, and picked other Christian books.

So even though I was prayed with, they emphasized that they were praying  Ephesians 3:14-19 for him!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant [X], according to the riches of His glory, [for X] to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in [X’s] heart through faith; and that [X], being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that [X] may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

So they put that beautiful prayer of Paul’s into their mouths to pray for my bully, my abuser!  Because that’s what they were trained to do.  They may have been my “Biblical” counselors. They may have even said we were friends.  But the kind of friend who says, “Nobody, but nobody does that to my friend”?  I was not their chum.

The other chum…

The other definition of chum is not so pleasant or homey.  It is a term for when fishermen take what they consider “trash fish” — fish of no monetary value in the marketplace — chop them up, and use them for bait to attract more desirable fish, like “trophy fish,” such as the marlins and sailfish that are then stuffed and mounted above a fireplace.

I know that Jesus asked the twelve to follow Him and become “fishers of men.”  But I don’t think He had the “offal” that nouthetic counselors teach in mind.

I was told that I needed to go home to my abuser, with a quiet, gentle spirit, along with my memory-verse-strengthened “Christ-centered” spine.  I should pray minute by minute for X.  I ought to ignore everything X does to me, my children, my pets.  Shame on me for not trying to filter everything X did in light of his bad childhood, his stress at work, his dealing with his “difficult” family.

They kept playing on what love I had had for X when things were new and better, when X was nicer.  They told me he must be in a difficult place right now for him to act the way he did.  (Never mind that I told them he’s always been that way.  X’s charm was simply a mask to win me and them over.  X’s normal, abusive ways were just intensifying, as abuse does.)  They pressured — didn’t I want to see X come back to his former ways?  (Again, I said X was always that way, it was just intensifying.)  They said he clearly was not acting as a Christian right now (again, I said X was always… oh forget it…), so I needed to win him back.  If he was saved, as he claimed, then he was now living as a “carnal Christian.”   I didn’t want to see him fall under God’s discipline, did I?  So, they said, I needed to be the “means” God would use to reach him to bring him back into the fold.  With a gentle, quiet spirit, without a word.

And if he was never actually born-again-saved, then I needed to be the “means” God would use to reach him for real this time.  So I needed to let God use me to reach out to him.  I needed to win him over.  I needed to love him back into the fold.  I needed to pull him, draw him, lure him.

(Italics added to emphasize where their focus lay.)

But let’s go over my second definition of chum.

“It is a term for when fishermen take what they consider “trash fish”, fish of no monetary value in the marketplace, chop them up, and use them for bait to attract more desirable fish, like “trophy fish,” such as the marlins and sailfish that are stuffed and mounted above a fireplace.”

I needed to be the “means” that God (at least they say it was God) would use to draw him?  Lure him?  Aren’t they in reality saying God (really their program) wanted to use me as bait?  

I wasn’t the fish they were after.  I had no monetary value, no social value, no marketplace value.  I was broke, alone, now a pariah at church, and destitute.  I was the trash fish.

But it was okay, even good, for the church (God, they said) to use me as bait, as chum — send me and my kids back to be crushed more, wounded more, and, as X had threatened, possibly chopped up (not kidding), so that he — a “trophy of grace” — could be won.  If he came back to his “rightful place” as the head of our house (if we were still alive; if not, then coming back as a newly-single, sorry-for-what-he-had-done-to-us man) and he took the next step the church had lined up for him — to become an elder — then truly, God’s grace, power, and mercy would be on display for all to see!  Praise the Lord!  (Stick him on the mantle…)

But I read in the Bible…

Jesus sought out the woman with the issue of blood.  He knew who she was. As an example of Jesus’s knowledge of each person, remember the story of Jesus calling Nathaniel? John 1:45-48 says,

45 Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and *said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael *said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” (Italics added for emphasis.)

So, He knew everything about that woman.  He knew her parents and her parents’ parents.  He knew how many hairs were on her head.  He knew where she was at that moment.  He knew her prayers, her tears.  He knew her.  He may have been on the way to heal the important man Jairus’s daughter, but he could have done that from right where he was.  He could have spoken the word right there.  After all, He spoke the word outside of the tomb of Lazarus.  He didn’t have to go into the tomb.  But he walked the path to this important man’s house.  He walked it to make his way past the woman.  He chose the road where she was so that she could reach out to Him.  And He stopped when she touched Him.  Why?  Everyone in the crowd was touching him.  As a celebrity without a modern bodyguard entourage, he would have been pushing His way through packed, narrow, Middle-eastern lanes and crowded plazas.

This woman was broke.  All of her money had gone to useless doctors.  She had no social value. She was a pariah because she was perpetually ceremonially unclean.  She had no value in the marketplace of personhood.  She was a trash fish.

But He stopped on His way to somewhere “important.”  To acknowledge her.  To speak to her.  To look her in the face.  To see her.  To call her “Daughter.”  To free her from her suffering.

He didn’t use her to reach, to lure, somebody more “important.”  She was important.  To Jesus, this little nobody woman was His trophy.  His trophy of grace — His unearned favor.  In the eyes of her town, a trash fish.  But according to her place in three different books of the Bible, she was His trophy.

But I read in the Bible…

Of the woman at the well.  A trash fish to everyone else.  She had had five husbands, and was living with a sixth man.  As someone pointed out recently, women were not allowed to divorce in that culture.  Only husbands could divorce their wives.  That means she had loved and had married and had been thrown away by five husbands.  And she was trying to find love again.  But she was alone.  She was coming to the well in the noonday sun because none of the “good” people of the village wanted anything to do with her.

Normally Jews walked around the whole area of Samaria to avoid those “disgusting” Samaritans.  But Jesus walked through Samaria.  And Jesus stopped in Sychar, her town.  And Jesus sent his disciples away to go get food.  So He could be alone, so He could be available to talk to her when she came to the well.   He sat down.  And He waited.  For her.

He changed her life.  He didn’t use her to reach the “trophy fish.”  She was the trophy!  His grace, His unearned favor, was for her.  If you read carefully in John 4, Jesus doesn’t tell her, “Now that you believe, I’m using you to reach your village.  Go draw everyone in your village to me.”  He doesn’t.  He reveals himself only to her.  Like Jesus predicted, the joy she has found spills out of her like Living Water, splashing into her village.  The village was reached.  Many believed.  But not because Jesus used her as chum, as bait.  He gave her worth.  She was His trophy.  The others were just drawn to her joy and her Jesus.

There are so many more instances like these throughout the Bible.  God doesn’t use the hurting, the victim, the crushed, as bait.  God doesn’t use the “trash fish” of society to reach a “trophy.”  Jesus sees value and worth where others see none.  God sees.  God reaches.  God searches.  God stops.

So you see, church leaders, we are not your chum.


42 thoughts on “We Are Not Your Chum

    1. Well, we were trained to not trust our feelings, especially if we were female. As “silly” girls, but boys too in a vague way, we were trained to always imagine reasons for an offender’s behavior, e.g. they just had a fight with a relative, or their dog died, or their granddad lives with them and he’s quite a handful, or whatever we could imagine. Then, our thoughts would be changed toward that person, no matter what they’d done. (They picked out only the phrase “taking every thought captive” from 2 Cor 10:5 to mean that we had to get a hold of what we were seeing, hearing, and evaluating. We had to “take it captive,” examine every thought, and ask ourselves essentially… “Is this nice? Is this a nice thought? Should nice, Christian girls be thinking this thought about someone else?”) Next, we had to change our attitudes toward the person and toward their behavior, because now we had imagined a reason for what they’d done or continued to do. We had to change our attitudes to be more open, more trusting, more generous, more tolerant, more accepting. Then that would drag our feelings (which were screaming, “This isn’t right!” the whole way) into line. We would feel loving, patient, and kind toward the offender, and not feel hurt anymore, no matter how they persisted in their actions. That way we would not become passionate about causes, we would not become angry (labeled “bitter”) about injustice, we would not become vocal in opposition to what happened to us, to others, to the hurting in the world. We would wholly “trust God for this situation” and remain gentle, quiet, and placid. We would only feel kindness, generosity of spirit toward all.

      This is why, when I begged my church for help, the truthfully said, “We don’t do that sort of thing.” Because they don’t. They can always imagine a reason for the other side to have behaved the way he did. “It takes two to tango. We have to see his side of things.” So, at church, right in front of other Sunday School teachers, when X sat down next to an autistic child and screamed repeatedly in the child’s ear, no one did a thing. Everyone got busy taking their thoughts of shock and anger “captive.” They imagined reasons why X had just done this thing right in front of them — he had a bad morning, he had a bad childhood, he might be having family troubles. That changed their attitudes about what they had just witnessed. And that got their feelings in line to feel compassion toward X! Even the child’s parent made up excuses for X, saying the child could be difficult and probably drove X to do it. So, handshakes, eating doughnuts together on Sunday morning, supper groups, squeezing in to make more room on Christmas and Easter, and making funeral potatoes for “home-going” services really are about the extent of doing church.

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      1. Pastor I’ve never heard of the train analogy, either!

        Julie, I’m still reading through your post so bear with me. The things (so far) you were told (train analogy, two to tango, hormonal females are naturally over-emotional)—sound more like “pop” psychology than rock hard Scripture. Or, if they attempt to use Scripture, it is to “back up” what they already think—that is not how Scripture transforms YOU by the renewing of your min.

        If possible, I believe we need to learn how to answer people when they throw out these wretched phrases.

        “Hormones and hypocrisy” is how I now react and respond to the nonsense about what females are or aren’t like. “Raging hormones” are often used as an excuse for the lust of males, for example. For a girl, however, developing hormones in her body indicates she is becoming more and more “silly” and “emotional.” It is a clever, yet hypocritical way to elevate males and demean females.

        And both of those are false, by the way. Puberty is hard all around, whether you are male or female.

        The “two to tango” phrase should be put in a hole and never used again. Fine, two people are involved in a tango—-but it only takes ONE to ruin the dance. It does not take a genius to understand that if your partner is not “in step” with you, or is trying to do a whole different dance than you—the dance is doomed. And it is NOT the fault of both dancers.

        A two person dance can be a beauty to behold. At its core, it’s a beautiful way to illustrate teamwork, skill and lots of hard work. What the heck kind of dance is it is it when one the dancers is repeatedly tripping, kicking, pushing or pulling away from their partner? And how is the fault of BOTH dancers?

        I don’t understand why the feelings and behaviors of your X were elevated and idolized as you described (during the church service) He was out of line, but nearly everyone seemed to feel sorry for him. But above, you described your own feelings to have been demeaned, even demonized. I don’t understand (or maybe I do) the extreme, obvious hypocrisy.

        The church in general is sadly “losing it” when it comes to accountability (IMO). A Biblical rebuke, done in the right way—-is life giving. Proverbs 27:5-6. I would say a lack of Biblical rebuke indicates vast indifference, even hatred of someone you claim to love. You simply don’t care.

        I don’t believe the word “abuser” and “Biblical rebuke” necessarily go together because the Bible also talks about not rebuking a fool, or to not bother rebuking a scoffer—-they’ll never listen. And I also don’t believe an abuser is a born again believer, even if they claim to be. They just need to be put out of the church; they’re not interested in anything but hurting others.


      2. Yes, I know all too well what you write of and women and girls are indoctrinated the hardest. It starts early and never really stops being leveled at women and girls. Makes the perfect prey for abusers. And people outside the church environment don’t necessarily know about this. It’s almost like a special kind of built-in victim-blaming. It really messes up women and girls who are expected to be all things nice. Nice, nice, nice!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I was taught that our mind and will need to be the engine and our feelings need to be the caboose and just follow along where the engine purposes to lead, back in the 70’s. There are times when it can be good advice, for instance, when you are tempted to do something that’s not in your best interests, but not as an overall rule, then you would be closing your eyes to everything you ought to be learning from.


    1. The other definition of “chum” was brand new to me. Horrendous, but fits perfectly into how His precious, priceless daughters are often treated.

      “I wasn’t the fish they were after. I had no monetary value, no social value, no marketplace value.”

      Everything in me wishes I could say that I do NOT know what this feels like. But I absolutely do. Our stories are different, by the way—I never want to inaccurately try to align myself with the experiences of another—-but they run parallel.

      “Praise the Lord! (Stick him on the mantle…)”

      I am positive that so many others will be able to relate. I certainly do (different circumstances)

      To be honest, this is one the most spot on analogies I’ve ever heard for what you described.

      I love the Scripture you used in the last part of your post.

      I am begging and pleading any and all believers (male AND female) to pick up on what Julie spoke of regarding those Scriptures.

      If I may add something to it, however:

      Some of my absolute favorite testimonies in the Gospels are by those that we have no names for. The woman with the flow of blood, the Samaritan woman (to add to that), the Roman centurion, the thief on the cross, the man blind from birth, the woman bent over for years, etc.

      Never assume that just because they are nameless, they are not deserving of the accorded dignity, honor and worth that He endows in every human being. He knew their full names AND their full stories, even if we do not.

      “Expendable” is the word that comes to mind when Julie describes “trash fish.” There is a reason that, for example, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, with all those names listed—-is so precious and powerful. Those that fought and died are NOT nameless individuals. They were not “expendable.” They had names. They have loved ones. Their loss is meaningful to those loved ones, even to this day. Please don’t treat them as anything less than what they are worth! To do that, you diminish them to nothing more than “trash fish.”

      I have never seen more righteous anger displayed when someone feels as though their loved ones are not being treated with the full worth that they deserve. If that is how we feel, are there words to describe what the Lord experiences when His creation is being treated so shamefully, usually quite shamelessly as well—-by the VERY ones who profess His name but deny the power of His name:? (2 Timothy 3:5)

      I don’t personally want to be the “chum” of such persons as 2 Timothy 3:5, in EITHER of the definitions that Julie described. They are both disdainful to me. In the first definition, being “chummy” with such persons indicates some form of approval, in how they treat people in the second definition. Leave me out of BOTH. I do not want to bond with people that carelessly put people in bondage.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I will share this with my beloved pastor. I was deemed as the one on the wrong by my former church, since I kept asking for separation and help for my ex church, which supported my ex husband (even he refused to be a member of any church). But the church the Lord in His mercy brought me in, it is a place that is growing to learn how to be a safe place for the wounded, the needy, the victim. Thank you for this. I would like to research more about if women could or could not indeed divorce during Christ’s time… I think I heard from a scholar that there were instances where they would be allowed to pursue divorce but I am not sure about how that worked…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was some of his work that brought a lot of light to me about the nature of marriage and grounds for divorce and remarriage and it is him that I have in mind when I mentioned that I heard about women pursing divorce, from an scholar! Thank you. I will check it out the link.


  2. This is one of the most true and beautiful things I have ever read. It is a precious gift to be able to speak truth that others know, but are unable to express.


  3. I wonder why it never occurs to these “counselors” that they are not helping the abuser when they tell the abused to return to them and continue to allow themselves to be abused. That is nothing more than enabling abusers to continue in their sins, and it’s not scriptural. I suppose it’s just another aspect of what goes on in so many of todays churches where sin is never called out and preaching is crafted to make people feel good about themselves instead of revealing their need for repentance. Avoiding the negative (sin, death, hell) may make people comfortable, but it won’t lead them to repentance and salvation.


    1. I think they are way more focused on catching the trophies that their program can lure in so they can trumpet their program’s effectiveness (at causing “change” and call it God’s grace) when all he got was personal training on how to be better at charming the world, especially the religious circles. Or they are focused on loving the (abusive) one who still has the money, the friends, the clout, instead of the little wifey and the kids with no voice, no home, and no money.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe you are right about this. They want to be the “saviors” and get the credit. They are their own gods and only love themselves and their own image. They are truly evil.


      2. I’ve had the honor of reading wonderful insights into possible reasons why an accused is often supported and embraced, while the accuser is shunned and silenced. Your reply went right along with what I’ve read.

        When the “metoo” movement enabled more and more testimonies to be heard, I was amazed that the victims from the entertainment world and the religious world often experienced similar dynamics.

        It all came down to power. Or money, or both. You do not accuse an actor who generates a lot of income and is well loved. Much in the same way that you do not accuse a pastor who generates a lot of tithe money or is well loved.

        A strong tendency to shame and blame the victims, mostly female. The ones in the spiritual world might be accused on not covering up enough or behaving properly. The ones in the entertainment world might be blamed looking for fame, fortune or attention. Those reasons might be switched around or others may come up. But in essence, these accusers were seen as “troublemakers.” No wonder the accused tends to garner a ton of sympathy.

        You’ve got to wonder what kind of message it sends when the entertainment and church world sends when neither of them will take a potentially dangerous predator seriously. Both seem to be intent on holding onto power (with all its “benefits”) at any cost.

        Hebrews 11:25 comes to mind: “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”

        Moses could have had power to the max, had he chosen to remain in the royal household he was brought up in. He gave up a LOT, because he realized those sinful pleasures were “fleeting.” They had no real or lasting value.

        Moses has my sympathy. The choice is hard and consequential. What he endured, in place of what he gave up—was not what I would call “pleasurable.”

        Then it says: “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

        He looked AHEAD to the reward. I am not quite sure what reward they mean here (he never entered the Promised Land, but it also could have meant the eternal Promised Land). Whatever the case, my hat is off to him. I am honestly not sure how I would have chosen, but I hope I would choose as he did.

        I hope more and more believers look ahead to a Biblical reward, rather than focus the need and greed for power in the present day. Not realizing that in doing that, you might be missing out on an eternal, permanent reward (Hebrews 10:35)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Julie, I can’t thank you enough for this meaningful post.
    After surviving an abusive marriage at the hands of a cruel and devious man for many years, I then experienced much of the same abuse you speak of from my church, in the form of elders , pastor and some congregants.
    It began when my children and I were forced to flee from an abusive X.
    And yes , some of the most painful parts were the way the church leadership treated us.
    I have just now , after almost four years, began attending a new church. Sadly , I still get a sick feeling when I begin to worry ,”What if my X knows someone here?”
    Some of the elders at my former church were “trained Biblical Councilors” from the Institute for Biblical Counseling in Escondido Ca.
    I look back in disbelief and horror at the way my kids and I were treated. I now see their goal was reconciliation above everything else.
    I had attended there about six years , serving faithfully and truly joyfully with my kids. My X attended sporadically but made sure to act super charming to everyone there when he did.
    My kids and I had to hide from him in the evenings , by going to library , or a store or park. I had never believed in divorce and I thought it would be a sin , so I tried to be a patient and loving wife and prayed for him. Finally, t was my kids who helped me to see we couldn’t live this way any longer .
    We took steps to leave to be safe, and that’s when X started being best friends with people at church and began slandering me. I trusted that the elders and pastor would totally believe me and kids because I had been completely honest, and they could see my character for years. However , they listened to my X more than me, setting up meeting after meeting with him, and he took full advantage of it. He relished it in fact, sending emails to them constantly. They told me , “He was reaching out more than I was”, that’s why they kept meeting with him.
    It has been an extremely long road, but God did rescue us, and for that I am forever rejoicing .
    But the excruciating pain my church elders inflicted on me and my kids in the guise of Biblical Counseling was real and pure evil.
    And for that , I pray more Christians will please wake up .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! It is absolutely insidious! I am so sorry. And I understand about church. When we tried it for a while, I couldn’t pay attention much because of watching the door. And I knew people at the new place were big fans of his… so… yeah, I get it. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


      1. Hi Julie , thank you for your kind response to my comment on your “We Are Not Your Chum” post .
        I so appreciated the fact that you said “I get it.”
        I accidentally used an account with my real name on it and I then changed my user name, but it is still there :)!
        Could you delete post for me as I am unable to ? Thank you ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Julie, thank you for sharing this. I believe that no marriage should ever be saved at the expense of a life, or lives in your case. Many churches and Christians can’t fathom the idea but with people like you sharing their experiences, maybe inroads can be made.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved how you put it: “I believe that no marriage should ever be saved at the expense of a life…”

      I’m shocked that that even needs to be said or written, because it should be as clear and factual as something like “the sky is blue.” I never say those words out loud because it’s indisputable and obvious to nearly everyone on this planet.

      I think we’ve forgotten what you speak of. The life or lives within a covenant, and a family unit—-are what need to be preserved and protected at any cost—-because they are what matters the most.

      We are now idolizing the IDEA or IDEAL of marriage, and going down that sad and sorry path means you forget that human life is what God came to redeem.

      A covenant is precious; make no mistake. It matters to Him and it matters to us. Our covenant with Him is what secures our very souls for salvation!

      But we never demean the value of human life in order to preserve a marriage that is demeaning the value of human life!

      If your ministry tries to justify oppression in order to help the oppressed, your ministry is NOT like His at all. And this applies to marriages as well.

      A spouse is in a unique position to oppress his or her spouse freely and frequently, due the the inherent vulnerability that marriage is defined by. So it should be of no surprise that oppression has the potential to exist within such a strong and powerful connection such as marriage. It is a travesty that should never occur, in or out of the church, but since it DOES occur quite often—-we would do well to not close our eyes and close our minds off to such a terrible reality. a


  6. Thank you so much for telling the truth that doesn’t get heard, or even wanted to be heard. In my recent divorce after 34 years and 10 children, I’m realizing that a majority of my post-divorce grief involves not only the hard-heartedness of my former abusive (NPD) husband, but of the hard-heartedness (in disguise) of the Church, both institutional and individuals. The pain is real. Thank you for this article.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing your story and your insights. One of my college friends went through the same thing. No one believed her because her husband put on a face. We believed her when she finally decided to leave him because we knew her first, but didn’t live nearby. I also want to thank you for the part about the sick woman, as I have been sick for a long time and need to be reminded sometimes that Jesus sees me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great insights! Thanks for sharing. I could relate to so many of your thoughts and also especially:
    The one thing I never heard was shock. I never heard horror at what had happened to me and my children and my animals. I never saw sorrow over what X had done to us. I never saw anger at what someone had done to a daughter of the King. I never heard what an old-fashioned chum would say. “Nobody, but nobody, does that to our friend — to God’s friend!” (Because people didn’t want to be viewed as contributing to the break up of a family. They uphold the idolatry of family over justice and truth.)

    The good thing is that I certainly learned who my true friends were. Now I’m so glad I’m free from my abuser plus an abusive church who sided with him because they were basically modern day Pharisees. They upheld marriage (marriage idolatry) over the welfare of the people involved just like the Pharisees, many years ago, upheld the Sabbath over what was best for a person. Yeshua sparred with them the most over this topic.


  9. Julie, I’m so sorry that you were treated like this by the people entrusted to care for and shepherd your soul. Why couldn’t they supported you??
    What you wrote about value really hit home for me. Who is the “prize”?
    My husband is a nurse and until just recently always worked every other Sunday. We’ve moved a lot, attended many churches. What a difference it makes when you enter a church with four kids as a “single” mom. (And you may have experienced this.)
    When my husband would attend, what attention we would get. Senior pastors actually come over to greet us and talk, invitations to home groups, etc.
    With no husband, invisibility cloaked me and sometime even hard, questioning looks come from other women who wonder if you’re there to steal their husbands.
    I’d like to say this is an isolated experience but it’s happened in too many churches over too many years.


  10. That was very well said. I have a friend whose husband was sneaky, cruel and abusive. She actually forced herself through this system “getting all her needs met by Christ” and frankly I think it turned her (and her kids) into a confused, twisted, and tormented person. She is not a very compassionate or understanding person. Her answer to everything is to just sort of check out and “get all your needs met through Christ.” Well, if you are in a situation where you have no choice then maybe that is what you would have to do but we have choices and I think we were meant to be connected to real live people.


  11. I was astonished by this deep well of living water in your beautiful writing. You capture a buried truth about a profound disgrace and debauchery in the church in de-valuing the lives of women. Chum, describes it.. Few talk about it, the victims quietly leave after being stoned nearly to death Why? They are pursuing the righteousness of truth telling and being persecuted for it.
    The low value for a woman’s life and the high value of a male, is a message I’ve heard my entire church going life.
    In my own situation, pastors I went to for help from the escalating violence that injured me seriously never asked this question. “are you okay” As in, physically, do you need medical treatment. I did and I had to lie about the injuries to preserve the Almighty Marriage and Male Entitlement in it.
    My shock and awe after 17 years of escalating assaults by a Christian husband in leadership was the statement of a non-Christian that found out the truth. She she said “are you safe, can I take you and your children somewhere, do you need money, what can I do”? It was the first humanity I’d experienced and it took my breathe away.

    The only message the church gave me was this — climb up on the alter of marriage that we worship, that special idolatry that involves the worship of male privilege too. Get burned alive on the alter because you are entirely expendable as long as we reach the only one whose life we value.


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