Sunday morning’s lesson in children’s Sunday School was on Jonathan and David. This is a well-known story to those of us who grew up in the church, but allow me to summarize:
In 1 Samuel 20, it is explained that David, running for his life, meets with his best friend Jonathan, who is Saul’s son. He tells Jonathan that Saul wants nothing less than death for David, but Jonathan doesn’t believe him, because his father usually tells him everything he is planning. But once David explains things to him, Jonathan agrees to do what is asked of him and goes to test his father.
Well, things don’t go well. In fact, they go so poorly that Saul tells off Jonathan and then tries to kill him as well. Jonathan, rightly, I hope you agree, is angry and left.
At the pre-arranged time, he goes out to the field and meets with David and tells him that, yes, Saul does plan to kill him and that David should leave.
But, what if Jonathan was stupid? And by “stupid” I mean, what if he was a modern religious leader? The type who, like my pastor in high school, taught that, not only does a woman not have a right to divorce her abusive husband, she can’t ever truly leave him and must constantly be working toward reconciliation.
What would that have looked like?
Well, according to modern religious belief, Jonathan is the first sinner here. See, he ought not to have not been angry about his father telling him off and trying to kill him. So, first Jonathan needs to deal with his anger. Having dealt with the situation like a good “Christian” in the first place, he could then go to David and explain that David really needed to forgive Saul because Saul needed to have David’s witness so he might repent and be saved. Jonathan, if he was stupid, would have told David to return to the court even though he knew Saul’s intent was to kill him.
This is exactly what pastors and other religious people are telling victims of abuse when they force them to remain married to their abusive spouses.
Let’s look at a few stats, in case my admonitions are not enough for you.
In the end, you can argue “divorce is unbiblical” until you die, but you will never save a woman from being murdered by doing so. I find it to be sick irony that pastors and others who claim “err on the side of love” deny women that love, choosing instead to enable the abuse to continue in their commitment to the idolatry of an institution that is, in the case of 1 in about 3, or 1 in 4 (depending on the stats you read) marriages, nothing more than an excuse to abuse someone.
This is not what God intended when He created marriage. And pastors who force women to remain in these situations will be held accountable for the destruction they encourage, both physically and spiritually.
…for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’