What's on your heart? Ask pastor Lutzer!

Today’s Question and Answer

Q:

I heard you say on the radio, “if you are living with an evil person who’s abusing you—get out.” What if the evil person is your husband?

Are you advising divorce or separation without divorce? I know that living apart without divorce creates its own problems. Does God consider separation as sinful as divorce? Continuing an abusive situation without making any change can be disastrous for the whole family.

Asked by: Frances, Wisconsin

A:

Well Frances, yes, when you live with an abusive person, it can be destructive for the whole family.

And I would say to you, with all of my heart, that if you are in a situation where you, or particularly children, are being abused, you must get out of that situation. You have to go for help.

A separation is not the same as divorce. There are many couples that separate for a period of time so that they’ll be able to get some counsel. But you can’t be in a situation where you or your children are being abused. You ask: does God consider separation as sinful as divorce? No, separation is actually mentioned by Paul as a possibility (1 Corinthians 7:10), but then, Paul says the wife should remain unmarried or else be reconciled. Divorce has a finality to it that separation does not. With a separation you can return to your mate when changes are made; with divorce, you cannot, especially because one of the partners usually becomes involved with another partner.

Could I simply suggest, Frances, that you would talk to your pastor about this? If you say you can’t do that because you’d expose what’s happening in your family, think about what would you rather have: to expose what is happening in your family to a Christian leader, or allow more damage to yourself and especially to your children? You must get the counsel and help I cannot give you in just a few sentences.

In today’s world, where there’s so much abuse, we must be willing to step to the plate and do something about it. And by the way, before I end, let me say that if there is someone reading this who is abusive, I say from my heart to yours, stop it and get help today. For every abused person, there is an abuser.

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