Psalms 62:1-2 ESV
“For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”
I read a meme on Facebook (social media) today that was supposed to be a joke, but I did not find it the least bit humorous. The story being told was of a man whose wife was missing. He obviously had reported his wife missing to the police, for what ensued was his conversation between himself and the police officer. Basically the officer was trying to get from the man a description of the man’s wife, but the man was really struggling to describe what his wife looked like, her color of hair, weight, and age, etc.
His wife had gone to the store the day before, but she had not returned, and that is why the man reported her missing. Then, after the man failed to adequately describe his wife to the officer the officer asked what kind of vehicle she was driving to which the husband responded that she had gone on his motorcycle. But when the officer asked the man to describe his motorcycle, all of a sudden he went into massive detail about that. To that the officer responded, “Take it easy sir, we’ll find your motorcycle.”
My response to the meme was to say this, “Wow! That’s really sad. Do you know what it is like to be treated like that? It’s not funny, not funny at all. The thought of it brings tears to my eyes. Many women are being treated like this and it is horrible. I feel for them.”
And within a few minutes I had people (probably mostly women) putting “like” or “care” or “heart” on my comment. And I received a few comments which I did not find to be supporting my comment, both from men, I believe. The first man wanted to turn it around and to say that women treat men like that, too, but that wasn’t the subject matter of the meme. The second man wanted to imply that the wife must have done something to cause her husband to treat her that way. And to that I responded:
“Some people are like that before they marry and they bring that attitude into the marriage relationship. It is wrong to assume that she did anything to cause him to treat her that way. He may have been that way before they married but he covered it up well, and it didn’t come out until after they were married. It is not an unfamiliar scenario. But regardless of what she did or didn’t do he was still wrong in how he treated her. We don’t treat others badly just because they treat us badly, if that is what happened in that scenario.”
Now, again, this is a meme, and this one is a story, and this one appears to be made up with the intention to make a joke out of it. But if you have ever been on the receiving end of being treated in such a manner, you will not find it humorous at all. For spousal abuse and/or neglect, which is what this is part of, is not a laughing matter. But a third man said, “Have you noticed this is a joke and are you familiar with the concept?” I did not respond.
When a husband or a wife loves (prefers, embraces, or pays more attention to) other people or to other objects of affection over and above and in place of the same care and affection for the spouse, that is not a good sign. Especially if the spouse, in this case the husband, is displaying other signs of abuse, this just adds to it. Men who are abusers (this could be reversed) will often mistreat their wives but then turn around and treat another person opposite of what they treated their wives. And that just adds more hurt.
The neglected and/or abused wife is used to her husband not listening to her, not remembering critical conversations about abusive behaviors, not treating her with honor and value, and not regarding her pleas for him to stop mistreating her. But then he turns right around and remembers conversations he had with other people, or he notices how another woman is dressed or the color of her eyes and how she turns her lips, etc.
So, if you are finding yourself identifying with the wife in this scenario, and you are married to someone who is abusive and/or neglectful who treats other people well while he treats you badly, and who remembers details about other people and their conversations but who can’t remember a critical conversation with you where you have pled for him to stop the abuse, the encouragement here is that we have a God who loves us.
Not only that, but he sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins and for our hurts, our pain, and our suffering. If you don’t know him, he invites you to believe in him, to surrender your all to him, to leave your life of sin behind you and to follow him in obedience to his will for your life. And then (and this applies to all who know the Lord) he will comfort you in all of your troubles, and he will fill you with his peace regardless of how you are being treated, and he will give your life purpose.
Psalms 62:3-4 ESV
“How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah”
Many abusers are liars. They are still in bondage to sin and so they cover their sin with lies and with deception. Also not all abuse is physical. Not all abuse leaves marks to where someone can see that you are being abused. Much abuse is mental and emotional, and it is done with words and not with fists. And so it is nearly impossible to prove. And many abusers are charmers and are well liked and they are manipulative, too.
So if a woman (or a man) is being abused by her spouse, and the abuse is with words, with manipulation, with trickery, and with gaslighting, etc. while he then denies he did the things he did or said the things he said, and so he tries to make it out that his wife is the one with the problem and not him, and while he pleads ignorance, as though he did not know what he was doing when he did know, it is impossible to prove. It is he said/she said.
Psalms 62:5-8 ESV
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
“Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah”
So, if this is where you are, i.e. if you are the abused, please know that you can trust God with your life. If your life is surrendered to him, he is there to comfort and to help you and to fill you with his peace. Find your hope in him. Know that he loves you. Trust him fully. Don’t let what other people do to you or say to you or about you define who you are. Be who God created you to be and rise above the mistreatment that you receive.
Then love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who mistreat you. And pray for God’s wisdom in knowing how you are to proceed. I cannot advise you there. You have to make that decision for yourself between you and God. But don’t let your suffering turn into bitterness and hate. Forgive everyone who has ever hurt you in this life.
Forgiveness is not permission for continued abuse, though. When Jesus forgives he says, “Go and sin no more,” and he sets moral boundaries for us to live by. And I believe we can set boundaries, too, for our own protection.
By Ann Aschauer
So shine on through the darkness;
Be the salt and light for all your world.
Live for Jesus, ’til you see Him,
And your faith has its reward;
Shine on through the darkness;
Let His love shine through you all your days.
Go and win your generation for the Lord.
c 1990 Ann Aschauer