Physical abuse by one’s spouse is not a biblical reason for divorce, says a pastor at Saddleback Church in southern California.
Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at the megachurch founded by best-selling author Rick Warren, says the Bible only gives two cases where divorce is acceptable: abandonment and a physical affair.
“I wish there were a third in Scripture having been involved as a pastor with situations of abuse," Holladay said in an audio clip posted on Saddleback Church’s Web site. "There is something in me that wishes there were a Bible verse that says, 'If they abuse you in this-and-such kind of way, then you have a right to leave them.'"
Physical abuse, he defined, is someone “literally” beating another person up regularly.
"I don't mean they grab you once. I mean they've made a habit of beating you regularly,” he clarified.
But while Holladay believes divorce is not a biblical option in cases of domestic violence, he strongly recommends the couple to separate. During the separation, the couple should undergo counseling and try to mend the marriage, he said.
“Separation combined with counseling has been proven to provide healing in people’s lives,” the pastor said, noting that his church, Saddleback, offers such a program.
“There is no where in the Bible that says you should put up with abuse,” he emphasized. There is no where that says it is an “attitude of submission to let someone abuse you.”
It is logical to think that divorce will offer an escape from the pain, the pastor acknowledged, but in reality it doesn’t. The pain of a broken marriage continues for the rest of a person’s life.
After a divorce, there is an “immediate release” from pain and people can think that freedom and joy are coming back into their life. But in the long term, the pain recurs every time the two former spouses deal with the children or communicate. And even events in a new marriage can trigger painful memories.
Holladay recommends instead of the “short-term solution” of a divorce that will involve long-term pain, people should endure “short-term pain” and find “God’s solution” for “long-term gain.”
Tom Holladay, The Christian Post, "Saddleback Pastor: Domestic Abuse Not Reason for Divorce" 33 Comments
[1/21/2009 2:41:56 AM]
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