Spiritual Abuse in Marriage

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This is part 1 of a 2 part series.

Wives - Husbands - Scripture - Weapon - Beth

I often sit with wives whose husbands have used Scripture as a weapon to control them. Beth was one such woman. When I asked her how her husband, Joe, prays for her, she shared the most recent example. “Last week, he prayed Matthew 6:24 over me, ‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.’ He asked God to help me not be so selfish and greedy, and that Jesus would save me from serving the wrong master. He pled with God to watch over me because I cannot be trusted.” Through her tears, she continued. “He prayed that my inability to control myself means that I do not serve God and God would be right to cast me out of his kingdom. He pled with God to grant him the ability to tolerate what God barely can.” After more conversation, I learned this was how Beth’s husband—an elder at their church—responded to her overspending on groceries for a family of nine by $6.

After years of having Scripture prayed over her in this way, it was nearly impossible for Beth to open her Bible without believing that God condemned her, just as her husband insinuated. She was wrecked by this. Praying had become near impossible. Worse, she began to confuse the words of her abuser with what God said about her. She came to believe she was unworthy of the Lord and his care.

Husbands - Scripture - Way - God - God

When husbands use Scripture to control and criticize, they are using it in the exact opposite way God intends. God calls husbands to use Scripture in a sanctifying way that lifts shame.

Husbands are...
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