Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: This week on Revive Our Hearts, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Holly Elliff have been fielding some questions from wives. Today we’ll tackle this one.

Maria: I think more than we realize there are people whose lives and the lives of their children who are truly in danger. Could you just address that? I know there are people whose lives are genuinely threatened.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, July 14th.

When you married your husband, you had dreams of a wonderful life together. But for some wives, those dreams were horribly transformed into a nightmare called abuse. Today, find hope and practical help in the midst of what might seem to be your hopeless, helpless marriage.

Here are Nancy Leigh DeMoss and pastor’s wife Holly Elliff with more.

Maria: I think more than we realize there are people whose lives and the lives of their children who are truly in danger. Could you just address that? I know there are people whose lives are genuinely threatened.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Holly, we’re not going to do this subject justice, but would you just give a very short answer to what is a big question that Maria is raising? We have talked about this some on the broadcast, and we’ll come back to it; but I just want a quick statement there, and then I want us to pray and take a moment to internalize and respond to what we’ve just been saying here.

Holly Elliff: Maria brought up the issue of domestic violence, and what if you’re being abused in your marriage—you’re in an abusive marriage. I think that word is greatly misused in our society. So sometimes, maybe you’re in a tough marriage, like Shirley mentioned earlier, where for 29 years you’re experiencing verbal abuse. Maybe your husband is coming and going. There are tough issues.

Many times in our society that’s viewed as abuse. But you’re talking about literal, physical abuse where you’re in danger. I would say we need to first of all go to the Lord for wisdom in that circumstance because every situation is different. So there’s no way that Nancy and I could say, “Okay, this is what you do if you’re in that circumstance.”

I would encourage that woman to draw godly counselors around her who know her, who know her husband, who know her circumstance on a firsthand level. Go to those godly counselors—I’m not talking about just somebody in the business of counseling. I’m talking about maybe a pastor or another couple that you know has a godly marriage, people that you know are believers in God’s Word that will give you wisdom and counsel based on Scripture. I would enlist their help.

Then, if the husband is a believer, there are steps given in Scripture. Matthew 18 clearly outlines steps of church discipline. So if the husband is a believer, you have that resource, if you can find a church or pastor who will practice that. You have the freedom from Scripture to follow those steps in Matthew 18.

You go to him first and confront him with the truth. Then, if he doesn’t listen, you go back to him with two or three others, and you confront him with the truth. If he doesn’t respond, then you widen that circle and you draw more people into that group of folks who are helping you to face that issue.

If he never responds, then Scripture says you treat him as an unbeliever, and you pray for him to come to salvation. But it’s really critical for that woman to have around her a circle of counsel and friends who will come alongside to help her in that.

I think if she literally is in physical danger, then with those godly friends she confronts her husband with that truth. Then I do think, at that point, there are times when she may need to separate herself—not for the purpose of severing that marriage, but for the purpose of protecting herself or her children.

The bottom line is what her heart is toward that marriage, because God’s heart is going to be redemption of that marriage. So if her desire is not just to separate—just to seek her own way, as Proverbs says—but if her desire is to separate for the purpose of physical protection, then I believe she can do that.

Nancy: Keep in mind that God, according to the Scripture, has given two institutions that could come into play here. For a woman who is walking with the Lord, first, as Holly said, she goes to the Lord. But then there are two other human institutions God has provided to help deal with this kind of situation.

One is civil authority. There are laws, and if a woman’s husband is breaking the law, then God has given to her the civil authority as a means of protection, and as a means of protection for that man from himself.

It is not wrong for a woman, with a spirit of restoration and redemption as her heart, to draw in civil authorities to deal with the law-breaking. She should not take the law into her own hands. She doesn’t attack her husband back. That’s not her place. It is the law’s place to deal with that.

And then the local church. One of the problems we have today is that so many women who are in these desperate, difficult circumstances are not plugged into the life of a local church. There’s no accountability. There’s no protection.

Listen, Revive Our Hearts cannot be your local church, and neither can any other ministry that isn’t a church. God has intended that you should be under the spiritual protection and covering and leadership and teaching and guidance of elders, pastors, whatever they call the spiritual leaders in your church.

If there is this kind of situation going on in your home, it’s absolutely appropriate for you—having gone to the Lord, having spoken truth to your mate in love—for you then to go the spiritual leadership of your church. If you don’t have a church or you haven’t put yourself under the authority of a church, where are you going to go?

That’s why you need to be in a church, so you can go and say, “This is my situation, and I’m coming to ask you for protection, for direction, for guidance. I’m placing myself under the spiritual authority and leadership of this body.”

Now, sometimes the civil authorities, and sometimes the church authorities, will not know the best ways to deal with all of this. They may misstep sometimes because they’re not accustomed to dealing with this a lot.

But you can trust God, as you’re taking advantage of the means of grace and protection that God has provided, that God, if necessary, will overrule any human authority to provide what you need to deal with that situation.

Holly: I would think, too, that drawing in at least two or three other people who know your circumstance, who know you and who are biblical thinkers, is a tremendous need and advantage. I would also say we need to be careful not to underestimate the power of that group praying for you and for your husband and for your marriage.

We have seen God do so many things just through God intervening through the prayers of that group, that body of believers surrounding that person. We need to not discount that.

Leslie Basham: That’s exactly what we’re going to do here on today’s program. We’re going to pray. Nancy will be back momentarily.

First, I’d like to quickly remind you of some of the resources we’re making available to you as a wife this week on Revive Our Hearts. The main one is the extended version of the question and answer time we’ve been listening to.

Nancy and Holly and others had more to say than we heard here on the radio, and you can get a copy of the full conversation for a gift of any amount when you contact us. I’ll give you a phone number if you’d like it (800-569-5959), but it’s simplest to go online and to do it at www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

While you’re there, look at our 30-Day TV-Free Challenge coming up for August. Find out how to make this an attractive escape for the family, and have us send you an exclusive from Revive Our Hearts. We’ve created an eye-catching 7x10 reminder that sticks easily and neatly to your TV screen. It works kind of like a Post-it note. Again, that’s at our website.

Well, it’s been a great week, hasn’t it? Here’s Nancy to recap it for us, and then we’ll turn to the Lord in prayer.

Nancy: I’ll tell you, whether you’re single or married, trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your steps, your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6, paraphrased).

That’s really what it comes down to, whether you’re 19 and single (I don’t mean to embarrass you) or you’ve been married 19 years: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Tell the Lord from your heart. Just express to Him what is the point of action you think He’s prompting you to take.

It may be that 30-Day Challenge; it may be something about reverencing your husband. Some of you may need to leave here and make plans to go sit down with your husband and just speak words of reverence and gratitude and affirmation to him that you’ve been thinking, or you have felt, but you haven’t said in a long time; or you may need to go back to your husband and say, “I haven’t honored you. I haven’t reverenced you. Would you please forgive me?”

Lord, thank You for the beauty of Your ways. Thank You for the testimonies we’ve heard. I want to pray for each of these women. Lord, I especially pray at this moment for women who are married. We join our hearts in praying for spiritual protection over every marriage represented in this room.

There’s not a marriage represented here that doesn’t need Your protection and Your help and Your wisdom. So we pray that Satan will not have any inroads into any marriage represented in this place.

I pray for each of the wives represented here, that they will learn how to honor and love and respect and submit to and serve and bless their husbands; that they will be clothed with humility and kindness and forgiveness; and above all these things, that they will put on love. Show them how to love the men You gave them.

And, Lord, for a marriage, one or more in this room that may be in a place of true crisis, we join together in praying that You will intervene, that You will give wisdom to that wife, that You will give her hope, that You will extend Your helping, healing hand into that marriage, beginning this day.

Lord, You can do it in miraculous ways that are instantaneous, or You can do it in that slow, long way of a wife being faithful and waiting on You to do Your work in the heart of her husband in that marriage. Regardless, Lord, will You make these women faithful to You and to Your covenant.

I pray that the marriages here will not just survive, but they will thrive, that they will be blessed, that they will reflect the wonder of the church’s relationship with the Lord Jesus.

For those who are widowed, divorced, single moms, never married women, women who aren’t currently married, I pray that they would find You to meet all their needs, that they would cry out to You for grace, and that You would protect them from temptation from the Evil One.

Lord, help us, those of us who aren’t married, to find ways to be an encouragement to those around us. There are women in this room who have baggage and past relationships that they need to go back and deal with and seek forgiveness or extend forgiveness; or even someone that You’re wanting to pursue reconciliation, as we heard earlier.

Whatever it is that You’re saying to us, Lord, would You have Your way in our lives. I pray, as a result of these moments we’ve had together, that You would be glorified in our lives and in our hearts. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie Basham: On Monday, Dr. Henry Blackaby joins Nancy to explain what true revival is like and why we need it. Don’t miss it.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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