Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. (1 John 2:9-10 ESV)
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)
God’s Word repeatedly instructs (commands) Christians to embrace truth and reject falsehood. Walking in the light of Christ’s truth is the only consistent manner of living for a Christian. Lies characterize the kingdom of darkness whose prince is called the father of lies (John 8). It was by this serpent’s lie that sin and death came into the world (“oh no, you won’t die. In fact, you will be like God”).
The Christian’s mind is being renewed: progressively set free from that which is false and led into life-giving, freeing truth. The gospel by which we are saved and which we proclaim is often called “the Word of Truth” in Scripture. We are to speak truth to one another and give up lying. Abuse victims know the power and freedom of truth as they experience its destruction of the lies they have so long believed by which they were held in bondage.
Therefore, let me ask all of those pastors, theologians, church elders, and Christians in general – “How can you send a victim of abuse back to her abuser? How can you tell her to go back and do a better job of submitting to him? How can you buy into his supposed ‘repentance’? How, in other words, can you maintain that light and darkness can co-habitate. How can truth and falsehood live under one roof?” In light of the teaching of God’s Word, I think those are pretty good questions!
Think about it. Living with an abuser means living in darkness and living with a lie. Anyone who knows anything much at all about abuse surely must confess this to be true. Lies, lies and more lies. Now, it is the Christian’s calling to expose those lies, not to be taken captive by them. Therefore, in dealing with her abuser, the victim’s role will be to call him/her out on deception. Quite often though, this cannot be done safely. Darkness doesn’t like light very much. Truth just can’t live in harmony with a lie. And yet, isn’t that exactly what so many people are telling victims they need to do? Do their best to be at peace with lies? That sounds a whole lot to me like something we call enablement, and it is my understanding that enabling evil isn’t really a very good thing.
The fact of the entire matter is simply this: when a husband or wife determines that they are going to walk/live in darkness and lies, then they have chosen to travel a different road than their spouse who is choosing the narrow road of light and truth. They have created a fork in the road. Forks divide. And it is the one who chooses the evil way who has effected the division. The evil road, you see, the way of the lie, is the path that is the detour. Not the other way round.
If then the Word of God calls Christians to put away falsehood, to cease lying to others, to walk in the light of truth, why is it that we would ever tell them to remain bound to someone who is practicing just the opposite and demanding that they do the same? We tell people that Christians must not be bound together with evil. That we are to come out from among evil and be separate from it.
Why is it then that abuse victims are an exception?