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There is currently a great deal of discussion among many churches across the country revolving around the issue of abuse of women in the home. There are, for example, instances where the abuse of one’s wife is “tolerated” (if not condoned) in “christian” homes (as anti-Christian as that seems to me).  This tragic fact has a bit to do with the general lack of dialogue due to what some consider to be “none-of-your-business” for anyone outside the immediate family. But it is also more than that.

It is not just the result of a lack of conversation or even a lack of understanding by men, but rather a sinful disposition in the heart and the working out of rebellion against God. It is therefore necessary for us, if we are truly committed to a right relationship with God, to confront it, confess it, and repent of it. God maintains an expectation that men be the antitheses of “misogynists” and no woman should bear the ungodly burden of fear for her life and well-being. If a woman is in actual danger because of abuse, the Church has the responsibility of being an agent for her safety.

Let us be clear on this: abuse (mistreatment and/or harming of another, especially one entrusted to you relationally such as a spouse or a child) is unacceptable at all times, under all circumstances. No one “deserves” to be mistreated even if the Church seems, in many people’s experiences, to not only be vague about this, but to endorse certain forms of it.

Perhaps one of the chief sources for confusion on God’s expectations of how husbands and wives treat one another is found in the mishandling of Ephesians 5. A crass and superficial reading of some verses in the passage notwithstanding, the point and premise of Ephesians 5:25 is, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

Clearly, the idea of love here is personified in Jesus’ tender regard and whole-hearted pursuit of the welfare of His people, the Church (which includes you and me through faith). The welfare of His people and His laying down of His life was and is paramount in our understanding of how men and women are called to relate to each other. Accordingly, this principle should completely eradicate any illusion of an excuse for men to mistreat women (wives or otherwise).

Nor are men licensed to maintain a condescending and “superior” mentality to women or their gifts and callings. Even though the Bible consistently implies different roles and callings typically associated with men and women respectively, only a mishandling of 1 Peter 3 would be interpreted to mean that men are “more important” in the grand scheme of things than are women (just as it is not correct to assume the opposite either!). After all, wives “are heirs with (husbands) of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).

Too often, we inflate our own sense of importance and use distorted interpretations of Scripture to support it. In the case of men and their attitude and behavior towards women, this has too often been true.

To my sisters in Christ, I am sorry for the ways that you have suffered abuse and that the church has failed in hearing you, supporting you, and protecting you. I am also sorry for those moments and occasions when even well-meaning Christians downplay your value in the Kingdom of our Savior and Lord. Your presence matters. Your calling matters. Your voice matters. The Church must learn to appreciate your role and your contributions. The Church must learn to recognize your many areas of gifting and serving, valuing you as dear daughters of God. I hope that I, as well as my other brothers in Christ, will uphold you and support you, believe in you and in God’s working through you.

We are not only blessed by you, but also through you as our Heavenly Father has pressed forward in the building of His kingdom. Thank you and thanks be to God for you.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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A Letter to my Wife on Mother's Day

Diane, you are, as my wife, the best of friends and an enduring and lavish blessing to me. As a mother to my children, you are an amazing provision from God!

Dearest Diane,

Of all the blessings entrusted to me by God, after Jesus’ atoning work, the gift of His indwelling Spirit, and the Father’s eternal acceptance of me through Christ, you rank as chief.

It’s been said that “a good woman is hard to find,” and Proverbs 31:10a asks the question, “An excellent wife who can find?”  It is abundantly clear to me with the rising of every sun, that I have indeed found (rather, I have been given) a most excellent wife.

You remain to me a treasure far, far “more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10b) and brighten each day a “the delight of eyes” (Ezekiel 24:16).

Your faith, as a precious well-spring of instruction to me and inspiration to those who really know you, flows like a bubbling mountain spring, refreshing those it touches.

Your character as a godly woman is a model of what true womanhood is really about.  Not only are you a truly beautiful woman on the outside, your beauty as it flows from your heart is of “the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very beautiful in God’s eyes” (1 Peter 3:4).

I have watched you time and time again overcome trials, hurts, disappointments, and loss with wisdom, dignity, and faith.  It amazes me how you’ve endured grief and persecution, as well as hardship and even betrayal, with a patient spirit, Christ-like forgiveness, and redemptive grace, thinking not of the harm you’ve received, but of the spiritual need of another.

Thank you for being you, for loving the Lord Jesus, and for honoring and supporting me in our life together (Ephesians 5:22).

I know that you’re not one to look for (or even feel comfortable with) the recognition I would lavish on you (if I could), but, as a truly “virtuous woman”, how can I not praise you “in the city gates” (Proverbs 31:31)?

You are, as my wife, the best of friends and an enduring and lavish blessing to me.  As a mother to my children, you are an amazing provision from God!

In love,

Your husband,

Thom

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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