Moon and Sun

Nature reflects God’s eternal nature and glory–none of us would deny it. And just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, we are created to reflect the light of God.

Moon and sun

Unfortunately, many of us think we’re stars. Abusive individuals are like that. In longing for adoration and approval from some, they put selfish, ungodly demands on others. They don’t realize we’re all moons. Instead of using God’s light to serve others, they bow to another god altogether. That god may be power, money, status, titles, possessions, or influence. They are blinded to the fact that this worship is about themselves, not the object. They want power to feel powerful, control to fight off fear, possessions, money, titles, and status to feel valuable and important. It is not about the opinions of others as much as how those opinions reflect their worth. In that way, they continue to be moons–reflecting the pale, limited light that comes from other darkened moons.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus said,

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:22-24)

In realizing an abusive individual is not a star or sun, we acknowledge that they do not deserve our adoration or glory the way God does. In fact, when we put everyone on a level playing field and God in His rightful place, we begin to question an abuser’s demands. We call individuals “abusive” when they abuse the power and influence God has given, using it for themselves instead of serving others. To allow one’s self to be used as another’s light source doesn’t work, either. Only God is self-sufficient and independent; the Source of all light and glory.

Some use the Scripture, “the woman is the glory of man” (1 Corinthians 11:7), to imply that a wife should never dishonor her husband. Take another look. That statement is preceded by the phrase, “man… is the image and glory of God.” Man is to reflect–and represent–the wonder and beauty of God. As He does, his wife will reflect that goodness in her own life.

A godly, loving, sacrificial man is seen in his influence on his wife and family. When he loves them well, cares for their needs, is sensitive to their struggles, prays for/with them, and gives of himself, it will be evident in their contentment, joy, peace, generosity, and gracious responses. They will love others and reflect God in their relationships and faith-filled responses to life.

A glory-hoarding, anxious, demanding, stingy, manipulative man is seen in his influence on his wife and family. When he demands adoration, affection, respect, attention, and care for himself at the expense of others, it will be evident in his family’s unhappiness, discontent, fear, anxiety, and inability to serve others. They are bound by chains of power and control; stifled, hurting, isolated, waning. They reflect his glory.

The Greek word for “glory,” means an opinion, view, splendor, or brightness. A woman will reflect her husband in the same way he reflects God.

All that to say, if you live with an abusive man, God does not expect you to be something you’re not. He isn’t asking you to be one way in public and another in private. He says, “It is what it is.” Your job is simply to reflect the sun. The question is, “Who is your Sun?” If the Lord Jesus is the center of your universe, you can reflect Him well even while responding honestly and courageously to a wicked man. If another moon is your sun, you will wither and wane; your light is but darkness.

Come to the only true Light. He will not cast you out. He is there to rescue, deliver, and care.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You! (Psalm 84:8-12)

Anger

Anger is a charged, dangerous word. Anger brings pain, sorrow, anguish, conflict, shame, guilt. It is an abuser’s weapon of choice, his way to hammer home expected behavior when coercion doesn’t work. Anger is inherently out of control, unpredictable, unstoppable.

Anger is also a proper response to injustice. Anger is the needle on our moral compass. An abuser believes his wife and world revolve around him. He–the husband, father, provider, man–is the center. Anything that fails to meet his desires is morally wrong.

But he is not the center of the universe. He is not God’s gift to mankind. Jesus is. And Jesus reflects all truth, authority, and glory back to the Father. He does not sinfully absorb it. He does not gloat or demand; lash out or strike. He loves and cherishes. He willingly lives and dies for others. He gave His life to protect the unprotected.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep… I lay down My life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, 15)

“A battered reed He will not break off, And a smoldering wick He will not put out….” (Matthew 12:20)

“In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” (Isaiah 40:11)

The Father is angry. His glory has been stolen. The Father’s love has been rejected. The Father’s authority has been mocked. The Father’s truth has been disregarded. The Father’s Son has been scorned. The Father’s will has been ignored. The Father’s child has been beaten, mocked, belittled, isolated, abandoned, betrayed, bullied.

God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.” (Psalm 7:11)

“Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done?
They certainly were not ashamed,
And they did not know how to blush;
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time of their punishment they shall be brought down,”
Says the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:12)

“Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
It speaks deceit;
With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor,
But inwardly he sets an ambush for him.
“Shall I not punish them for these things?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:8-9)

Anger is the correct response. King David was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). The things that pleased God, pleased David. The things that angered God, angered David. David saw things the way God sees them. He responded the way God responds.

If we are to be people after God’s own heart, we must take a stand that reflects His character. We cannot afford to be deceived, manipulated, coerced, or bullied into silence and acceptance. If we are to be people after God’s own heart, we must step in to protect and provide for His sheep, the battered reed, smoldering wick, nursing ewes. We are His body. We are His earthly manifestation. We are the church.

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:7-17)

The Nunya Zone

As you work through how to respond to an abusive husband, it is important to understand the Nunya Zone. It is discussed in more detail throughout the book, Sanctuary, but not by that name.

Nunya is a term I use regularly in counseling sessions that refers to those things that are not my responsibility, as in “That’s none ya’ business.” Even in a healthy, normal marriage, couples get their wires crossed when one or the other overreaches. Paul Tripp, in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, writes that rather than striking a perfect balance, each of us tends toward taking either too much or too little responsibility for ourselves and others. In an abusive situation, determining nunya’s is complicated, twisted, misapplied, and misused, requiring an extra measure of wisdom and grace.

A wife is not responsible for her husband’s decisions, spiritual growth, leadership, financial integrity, or responses (among other things). She is responsible for her own decisions, spiritual growth, expressions of love, prayer, and responses. This means she cannot change her husband–and God does not expect or ask her to. A husband may make poor decisions–but it’s a nunya. A husband may tarnish his name. That’s a nunya. He may create extra work and spitefully use others. What he does is a nunya. It affects you, it is sinful, wrong, evil, wicked. But it is his decision, no one else’s. A wife can  determine what to do next–and that is a nunya for her husband.

man-yelling-at-woman
http://vk.am/blog/14583.html/man-yelling-at-woman

Working through your end of a nunya (as the current victim in an abusive relationship) is addressed in the book, SanctuaryRealize, however, that nunya’s work both ways. In a relationship driven by one partner’s dominance, it is common for the abusive partner to overstep the boundaries God has set in your life.

Understanding what the Bible says about you as an individual, created by God for His purpose, dependent on Him for change and growth is the basis of a biblical response. Your husband is one means God has provided for your spiritual growth, but he is not–and was never intended to be–the source of it. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

You have personal tastes and preferences that can and should be expressed because you glorify God as no one else can. You have a responsibility to steward your time, resources, abilities, and talents in a way that uniquely glorifies God. These are nunya’s.

As a couple, you should have shared goals, dreams, plans, and desires. As an individual, you also have goals, dreams, plans and desires that are not necessarily dependent on your husband. And that’s okay. You are you. You are not him. You do not belong to anyone but God Himself. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

The primary audience and recipient of your life’s glory is God (1 Corinthians 10:31). If that is being hindered by another’s sin against you, it is right to be angry. God is angry about that very same thing (Psalm 7:11). That is the right response. But anger is intended to move us to solve problems, seek reconciliation and Christlikeness. Our example is God, whose wrath against ungodliness and unrighteousness coupled with His love moved Him to send Jesus (Romans 1:18; 3:25). Jesus lived a perfect life in this sin-cursed world and died unjustly. In Christ, God provided a holy, radical solution to pay for our sin. When we experience God’s incredible love, we respond with gratitude, praise, devotion and obedience–and God is glorified. He gets all the credit! We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). This gentle, submissive attitude brings Him glory.

The same should be reflected in the marriage relationship. The biblical description of marriage is that of a wife responding to her husband’s great love, sacrifice, and devotion with affection and submission (Ephesians 5:22-33). Submission is not a dirty word, it is a beautiful, godly gift given to another. Jesus submitted to His Father. It was a choice; a personal, God-glorifying decision. Submission that is choked, required, or faked results from fear of judgment (1 John 4:18). It may look the same on the surface. But God knows. You know. A husband who requires submission is in the Nunya Zone. It is outside a husband’s jurisdiction to make demands on the human heart. A husband who requires an appearance of submission does so because he himself is failing to initiate the love of Christ. Instead of overreaching into his wife’s personal responsibility, he is called to take care of his own: to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. That means a husband’s love of his wife is outside the wife’s Nunya Zone.

Whether or not he loves her well, a wife can choose to submit to his preferences and direction as she lovingly submits to Christ. Submission is her choice, a gift she will either give or withhold. But when she views submission to an unloving man as an act of worship to God, that, in itself, guides her choices about what to submit to and how far she will submit. Will God be honored and glorified by her submission to a particular request? If yes, then she will offer it as a sacrifice of thanks to God Himself. If no, she will decline, graciously refuse, remove herself or report illegal and sinful actions (as she’s able) because it’s all about God’s glory–not her husband’s. God is clear, He will not give or share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11).

Nunya’s–it’s not about my rights, but God’s glory. Finding the biblical balance of responsibility and concern is a constant growth process, but we are not alone. God has given us His Spirit, His Word, and His Body in the form of the local church, to help us along way. If you haven’t already, read about God’s love for you in His Word, pick up a copy of Sanctuary , find a woman to help, and make yourself at home with in your local church.