By Danni Moss
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[To read all the articles in this series, see Is Dr. James Dobson’s Advice to Abuse Victims Dangerous, Series A link to the next article in the series is provided at the conclusion of this one.]
2. “…a crisis must be created and managed very carefully.” There is a very serious problem in this statement.
While this has the apparent effect of giving women empowerment to proactively separate from an abuser, the motivation is all wrong, and will end up not only being ineffective, but also leaving the victim hamstrung in the long-run, because her empowerment is not based on the truth that would actually set her free.
By saying “a crisis must be created and managed” it is clear that Dr. Dobson is recommending an church-sanctioned manipulation of the abuser. This is a motivation God can never bless because it is self-empowered, not God-empowered. We can’t use a Satanic method and ask for God to empower it.
Even more, manipulation is an abuser’s stock-in-trade. If a victim and the church attempt to use manipulation this is just going to bring out an abuser’s A-game. Believe me, an abuser is way better at the manipulation game than a victim or the church will ever be! By stooping to manipulation, the church is giving the abuser an upper hand because it puts the “game” on the abuser’s home turf, where he has all the advantage.
But worst is the fact that endorsing manipulation ignores the correct motivation. It ignores all the Scriptural principles that:
- The victim cannot express true love for the abuser by enabling him to continue in sin, which her presence under his power accomplishes.
- God persistently declares that He stands for the oppressed and afflicted and He demands that His people do the same. So the church is supposed to stand up for the oppressed and both support and encourage the safety of victims. And victims are supposed to stand up for themselves as oppressed ones in the same way.
- An abuser’s treatment of his wife demands her literal idolatry – putting her abuser and her abuser’s wishes and treatment of her over God and His Word, and God’s directives for that abused spouse. God does not condone or tolerate idolatry – ever.
- God’s word establishes a system of accountability for the punishment of marital sin in the body and for the ultimate freedom of victims
These are all far greater motivations for separation in an abusive marriage, and do not require the motivation of simple manipulation of the abuser. They also give the victim long-term hope and validation.
You can see the entire original exchange and related posts here: