As I was scrolling through the News24 App today, I found a few articles that have relevance to the theme we have been working through over the past few days. It is that of asking how we as Christians ought to respond to the Governments “sixteen days of activism against women and child abuse”. I have chosen three articles to boost my plea to Christian men to be just that … Christian men and not an excuse for a man proving the woman of the world right in saying what they do about men.
(1) Oscar Pistorius has been moved to an Eastern Cape Prison to entertain dialogue between those offended and himself and a runner up to possible parole hearings as he has served half of his 13 year sentence for murder. He murdered his model girlfriend on Valentine’s Day years ago.
(2) Staying in the Eastern Cape, a police officer has been arrested after he allegedly shot his girlfriend six times after she walked in on him with another woman. The girlfriend went to his house and found her boyfriend (the policeman) in bed with another woman. There was an argument … he shot her dead.
(3) In Krugersdorp a 55 year old woman was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a mentally challenged man. She was his caregiver. Just to balance the books I include this last story where a woman is the abuser.
How safe are women and children when the marriage or the relationship fails or goes through hardship? I have tried to explain the role of the husband and wife in the family to create an understanding that the husband (father) may be selfish and self-centered, meeting his own needs, desires and wants before being the Biblical husband and father and using every means possible to care for, protect, provide and love the wife (children) as God’s requires. Yesterday I mentioned that often husbands and fathers abdicate their responsibility and do not prepare their wife for Jesus. They do not love sacrificially and unconditionally as the Lord Jesus loves. All too often to satisfy personal desires and lusts, men abuse alcohol, money and indulge in extra marital affairs. Sometimes they shipwreck their marriages because they squander money; sometimes it is because of alcohol (what woman will be happy with a drunk for a husband even if it is a temporal drunk?) and sometime it is because he violates the marital bed.
Heb 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
How many marriages have been destroyed this way? It might be fantasy, it might be womanizing, it might be physical adultery and it might be impregnating another woman. As said before … often when men fail in marriage, whatever their excuse might be (and some are very creative is taking their sin and turning it around to condemn the wife), they fail because they have not got the guts and gall to sacrifice self for the wife. They are selfish and self-centered. Let’s look at the family for a while. Because you teach your children the way of the Lord does not mean they will become Christian. You pray to this end and you serve God to this end but once they are out of your house and into the world anything can happen.
1) No father (or mother) can expect their children to be obedient to them and the Lord if they do not have a Biblical example to follow. One of the saddest experiences is to see children following in their father (parents) footsteps. How often do girls marry guys who turn out to be alcoholics (or at least get drunk from time to time)? How often do girls marry guys who start to play the field looking for fresh prey in the shape of other girls? How often do girls get divorced because their parents were divorced? Take the husband / father I have been speaking against. Does he fulfil
Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord
and does he prevent
Col 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
(1) Exasperate means serious irritation and or frustration.
(2) Embitter means resentful.
Did you notice that in both Ephesians and Colossians Paul speaks directly to the father? We often feel that an aggressive or harsh father leads to exasperation and bitterness … yet the delinquent father who either wastes money so that the children cannot enjoy a reasonable life; who abuses alcohol and becomes abusive to the children and their mommy or has a string of girlfriends or divorces mommy for another women generates exasperation (serious irritation and or frustration) and embitterment (resentfulness). These result in the father not being around to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”. They have already ceased to prepare their wife for Jesus, now they cease to prepare their child for Jesus. Now wonder the children become discouraged … with daddy and with God … and now the mother needs to assume the role of mother and father. Whatever happened to Ephesians 5:25?
2) The promised carrot. When Jesus was asked what He thought the greatest Commandment was He responded with total clarity and wisdom because He Himself as God is the true author behind all of Scripture. He said:
Mk 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
I have been through the four stages of perfect love before …
(a) heart = emotions;
(b) soul = spiritual;
(c) mind = intellect and
(d) strength = physical.
As we have said before, you cannot love yourself until you love and are loved by God. So as soon as this love relationship (a-d) is in place with God, then, because your identity is found in Jesus, you are able to love yourself in a Biblical way, enabling you to love your neighbor as yourself. Should the husband’s relationship with the wife breakdown and lifelong sacrificial, unconditional love ceases, then the love relationship with God has been affected seriously. The point I am making is that as soon as ones relationship with the spouse fragments, the relationship with self is affected and most of all the relationship with God is affected. Where a husband (father, man) becomes abusive in any format towards his wife, children or other woman, he is saying my relationship with God through Jesus has been affected. He is saying, “I am not the man I was.”
Father we pray for all wives, mothers, women and children. Please protect them from abuse. Drive husbands, fathers and men who live for self and behave abusively to their knees in repentance and faith. Amen.