About the author


Jane Gibb

Jane and her husband Steve ministered at Trinity Baptist Church in Cairns, Australia for fourteen years before moving to serve as missionaries in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Jane has a bachelor of education. Jane is active in ministry in Vanuatu as well as being a busy mother of six.


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    Thank you for trying to present a more balanced post. If I may add to point 1 answering Kez – there are unfortunately many cases where abused (genuinely abused) wives cannot go to the church for help because their husband is the pastor or deacon! Any abused wife knows that she doesn’t dare go for outside help because that will make things worse for her behind closed doors, especially if keeping up his public image is important to her husband.

    She needs counseling to encourage her, whether he agrees to going along also or not. If he will not allow her to go, then she needs to separate for a time to let him know that she is serious about not allowing him to continue sinning against her.

    Before going to go to the police, if that is needed, she will have to have a place of safety to run to.

    Someone’s position of authority in the home, church or school should not be allowed to be a shield to hide criminal activity behind. In fact, being a leader requires a higher standard of godliness, according to God.

    She should check her attitude throughout the whole situation to make sure it is humble before God, meek and quiet and that her intentions are to help him be all that God intended him to be and enjoy. Obviously, before going to outside help, she should attempt to quietly discuss his treatment and reactions. She should desire godly “repentance unto sorrow” on his part and full restitution, not have revenge or relief from her pain be her main goal. Why? “because grace is abundant for slackers too.”

    Most abusers have been abused in childhood, so her husband needs help overcoming his contempt for others and self-protecting strategies stemming from the shame and betrayal in his own life.

    Trusting God who judges righteously (ch 2) IS an important rock for any wife to cling to. However, it came across that you were saying Sarah was trusting God when she lied and potentially was immoral just because her husband told her to. God was holding Sarah up as an example of faith and submission looking at her overall life, but saying that specific situation was condoned by God contradicts the rest of the Bible. That is one of the main points an abusive husband uses to manipulate his godly wife.

    Your point about worthiness was excellent!!

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    Thank you, Jane for your gracious answers to my questions! =)

    Joy, thanks to you too for your thoughts. Excellent!!! =)

  3. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    Joy, thanks for expanding on a point that I had decided not to cover in any depth. I am sure that women who feel trapped in abusive situations will appreciate your insight. Removing yourself and your children from a dangerous situation is certainly advisable and not unbiblical. Do you have an opinion about DVOs?

    First Peter is written to help us deal with suffering, holding up to us the example of Christ who also was cruelly treated by his enemies. In fact, chapter 3 begins with the word “likewise”, reminding wives in difficult marriages that Christ Himself did not return reviling with reviling, but “continued entrusting himself to Him who judges justly” (v.23), “leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps” (v.21). That’s what Sarah did when she obeyed Abraham in the Egypt incident; she trusted God. In the text, she is not implicated in any sin, either by the judgment of God (which fell on Pharaoh–Gen. 12:17) or by Pharaoh’s rebuke of Abraham’s deception. Abraham himself is held fully responsible for what happened in this incident–not Sarah. A man who uses this story to justify asking his wife to do wrong must answer to God for his own sin and twisting of the truth for his own ends. The point of 1 Peter is that we must reflect our Saviour’s spirit of submission in the midst of our suffering. We recognise God’s sovereignty even in our pain. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to resolve or avoid painful situations. But freedom from pain and suffering cannot be our ultimate goal—honouring God must be the goal. “Blessed (happy) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” What keeps persecuted Christians around the world from losing hope is that when all earthly solutions have failed us, we have a just Judge in heaven who will set things right in the end. The last chapter has yet to be revealed, but we know that when it is revealed there will be much joy as wrongs are made right by the Righteous Judge.

    It all comes back to grace once again: God’s grace to us undeserving rebels in giving Jesus for our redemption and God’s daily grace to enable us to endure painful trials.

  4. avatar

    Jason Harris


    I think part of the difficulty I have when reading your comments is that it seems Jesus is being presented as codependent. For instance, statements like “the example of Christ who also was cruelly treated by his enemies” seem to be implying (given the context) that Jesus would have stayed in a marriage with an abusive wife. Do you think he would have?

    And if not, doesn’t that reflect a certain tension? The most helpful answer I’ve found to this tension is in From Bondage to Bonding.

    Also, it seems to me that you’re implying that a wife is not personally responsible for her sinful actions if the husband told her to do it. Can you clarify whether that is what you believe?

    My concern with that is both theological and practical. Practically speaking, this is what Jack Hyles taught and I believe it and the mentality behind it caused staggering damage in Fundamentalist homes and marriages not only in the USA, but also here in Australia.

    Thanks for your continued interaction.

  5. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    Jason, to say that I present Jesus with a codependency problem is to read your assumption into my words. Codependency comes out of our human weakness; Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will in suffering and death was true strength. Hoping in God when life is at its darkest is courage and faith not codependency. Since I said in my previous comment that “removing yourself and your children from a dangerous situation is certainly advisable and not unbiblical”, it should be clear that I do not believe that a wife should stay in an abusive marriage at all costs.

    In answer to your question about a wife not being responsible for her sinful actions if her husband told her to do it, obviously every person must answer to God individually for his or her own sin. It does seem in Genesis 12 that Sarah herself did not sin in this instance although the potential was present as Joy pointed out. Perhaps she believed that God would intervene on her behalf (as He did) just as Abraham believed that God could intervene with resurrection when God told him to sacrifice his only son on Mount Moriah, contrary to the promise God had made concerning Isaac’s future. Both cases are illustrative of their individual faith in God while perhaps neither is meant as an exact model to follow in our own circumstances. The way God tests our faith is tailor-made for each of us, and each of us must learn to walk by faith in our own life’s story. I certainly don’t want to come out on the side of those who teach that blind submission is what God is looking for. Other faith and obedience issues are at stake here too. He seeks those who will trust Him, hoping in His sure promises, whatever the outcome. That’s not blind faith; that’s faith with wide-open eyes that see not only the present distress, but also the future reward.

    When I originally wrote the first post on this topic, I wrote it out of a small situation in my own marriage, a little conflict within my own heart where I had to come to grips with some scriptural realities for myself. I am married to a most gracious and patient man, and we have a wonderful marriage most of the time—thanks to the grace of God. I had not even thought of extending my comments to the unthinkable but all-too-real realm of marital abuse. Should all teaching about the marriage relationship include disclaimers for the abused?

    I freely confess that my hands-on knowledge about abusive marriages is poor, but I do wish to learn more. I look forward to reading the book you recommended, Jason.


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