Love and Kindness Can Win the Worst of Men
“Suffering may be an unpopular way to know Christ. But many saints who have suffered the most will be the first to say that having God near was worth every tear” (John Piper).
An older woman shared a story on my Facebook page of a woman she knew and how this woman had won her evil husband to Christ. No, it wasn’t a pretty story and the woman suffered greatly but it sure made women angry and offended with this woman for telling this story. Should she not have told this story?
Darla wrote, “I know a lady whose husband physically beat her at times and after he went to bed, she would earnestly pray over him. During the days, she would clean the house and make her home beautiful for him and cook wonderful food. Now, he is a strong Christian and he leads people to the Lord. It is true that it can really work. What is suffering when you can bring someone into eternity with you?”
Kaydee responded, “Darla, actually that sounds pretty deranged and at the least codependent, but at the worst Stockholm syndrome. I hope you didn’t know her while the abuse was going on, because you’d be a terrible person for not doing something to help her get out. This mental gymnastics game that you’re playing about how when they’re dead they’re going to still be together making it okay is literally the worst thing I’ve heard in weeks.”
A man then responded to Kaydee, “So, woman stands strong in her faith through trials and tribulations. God sees her through and works a heart change in her husband, and now they have a good marriage and you call that deranged? By your advice, she would be divorced, who knows what shape spiritually her husband would be as bad or worse than before but yeah, sounds like your plan is good.”
Few would believe this woman should have stayed with her abusive husband. Most would have told her that she should not have submitted to this type of abuse and that she had every right to seek the authorities and find protection. Maybe some had told her to leave but she refused. Most of us would agree that she shouldn’t have had to live like she did but she did and now her husband’s soul is sealed for eternity! Why can’t someone give this testimony without women becoming angry and offended? Darla didn’t use this story to encourage other women in these types of situations to stay but in order to give an example of a woman who won her evil husband without a word (1 Peter 3:1, 2).
Personally, I would never counsel a woman in this situation to stay with her husband and I don’t think many would. Maybe this woman truly did love her husband. Maybe he worked hard and provided for her family so she could stay home full time with her children. Maybe her faith was so strong that she knew that when she was suffering, she was suffering for Christ. Maybe she read and studied 1 Peter 2 and knew that as Christ had suffered for her, she was willing to suffer for Christ.
Yes, her story ended wonderful. Her husband is a powerful man of faith. Yes, love and kindness can win even the worst of men, and we must NEVER down play the powerful influence that praying to a Living God may have; for He hears our prayers. No, we shouldn’t be offended at stories like this but be in awe that a woman was willing to actually lay down her life, pick up her cross, and obey the Lord even while suffering greatly. Christians all over the world are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ (this is promised in His Word) but if a wife is persecuted for trying to win her disobedient husband, people respond in horror? I don’t. This woman has stored her treasures in heaven and has a husband who will live in eternity with her. Just because I am relaying this story and writing these things doesn’t mean I believe women who are in physically abusive marriages should stay.
This is just one story of a woman who did. There is no promise that all stories will end like hers but hers did. It’s worth retelling so others can understand the power of a transformed live in another human being, even an evil human being, and the power of the Gospel being lived out. This woman poured burning coals of love upon her husband’s head and was rewarded for it. How can anyone fault her for this?
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
1 Peter 2:19-21
8 thoughts on “Love and Kindness Can Win the Worst of Men”
I am glad things worked put for the couple. I think it is not a sin for someone to leave a partner who is abusive but neither is it necessarily a sin to stay. As a child, I begged my mum to leave our emotionally and mentally (and occasionally, physically) abusive dad before one of us got killed or ended up committing suicide (my sister and I both came close, sadly) but my mum stuck it out. I left and my sister did when we could, which was right for us. My mother stayed because she was afraid she would not find another man and also because she thought it was her fault and that God could turn things around. Well, things are not great between them but they ARE getting better.
Maybe my mother did the right thing? My mother has great faith in God and has grown to keep her head down and stay quiet when my dad is angry….if he insults her and calls her fat/stupid/worthless, etc. she ignores him and carries on. She is kind and always polite to him, but she does not try anymore to change herself for him. It looks like she has found a good balance of loving herself and still respecting my dad? So sometimes it can work.
Your mom bore a heavy burden and no, she wasn’t in sin for staying. But I do believe it’s a biblical option for a wife to leave in a situation such as this: “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” (1 Cor. 7:11). Too many women in situations such as this believe that the abuse they are enduring is their fault and this is wrong thinking. They are free to seek authorities and get help!
I don’t believe part of healing from something like this comes with learning to love ourselves but understanding who we are in Christ, all of the riches we have in Him, and how much He loves us. This is where true freedom comes from, not in loving ourselves.
Hurting people hurt others. it doesn’t matter if it’s the husband doing the hurting or the wife doing the hurting. It’s the nature of sinfulness.
We are all broken and offend in MANY ways. These kinds of responses, that say to give up on a husband, only serve to show the true heart of the one making the comment. They believe themselves above reproach and therefore have the right to judge what is an acceptable sin in marriage and what is not.
Pray for them … they are truly on “thin ice”.
Leaving an abusive husband does not necessarily have to be a permanent thing, but often is a very necessary step for the safety of the woman and children. Here in New Zealand it is a crime to allow a child to witness domestic violence.
I would never encourage a woman (or a man) to stay with a physically abusive spouse , but neither would I encourage them to divorce. A temporary separation often works wonders.
Yes, I think this is the best option, KAK. Let him have a taste of his life alone and pray for his repentance and salvation.
Sure, I agree with you, but that is where liking myself better came from- when I realised how much God loved me, I realised that if He loved me I had to do the same. That meant having safe boundaries away from any man or woman who is/was abusive. I learned to forgive and love from a distance. Bless you Lori, thanks for your response!
What a beautiful testimony this woman shared. The fruit she is experiencing from her severe trials must be most joyful and such an amazing testimony to her children that lived through it. Thank you for sharing Lori.
I see how we can be happy that her husband changed and sad that she went through that pain. I agree with you that leaving to protect herself (and children) is Biblical and can see how some would be afraid that hearing the testimony would encourage some women to stay when they really need to leave. It’s a tough issue.