Critical Thinking

The Message is Clear…

Last week, the world lost a treasure. Gospel Artist Osinachi Nwachukwu was killed by her husband, who reportedly kicked her on the chest, causing complications in her health that led to her death. Just like that, the life of Osinachi, mother of four, was snatched away…and the Church laments.

Why did she have to die that way? What had been happening in that marriage? Did anyone know? Why didn’t she leave before it got to this stage? What could have been done to prevent this from happening? What else can we learn from this?

The messages going around at this time, generated mostly from female Christian ministers, convey that women should not abide in abusive marriages or marry anyone who is abusive. Unfortunately, it seems, before now, that message was not clear. Many have not understood the meaning of abiding ‘for better or for worse’ and enduring ’till death do us part.’ Though some teachers have spoken out about this before, they were looked upon with suspicion, as though they were the ones saying only what ‘itching ears want to hear…’ But with Osinachi’s death, the message is loud and clear; This is not the will of God for you.

Yes, love endures all things, but wisdom is profitable to direct in all things. Love is not apart from wisdom. As I have said elsewhere, Love and Wisdom are one and the same entity, two sides of the same coin (or Person).

There are some people that must be loved from a distance if we are to be victorious in life and fulfil our purpose. Yes, we are called to even love our enemies, but we must not live with them to do so. How we love them is by treating them with understanding and compassion – and that understanding acknowledges their threat to our lives and doesn’t result in us making ourselves and our children and family vulnerable to the dangers they pose. With wisdom, we will know when love (and justice) demands that we leave and abide no more with someone.

You cannot love when you are dead. You cannot serve when you are experiencing a mental breakdown. You cannot give when you are destitute. Your marriage is not a place or circumstance that you must endure, but is a place of opportunity and growth, where you should thrive in love and service; where and through which you should fulfil your purpose. But even without marriage, your can still fulfil your purpose.

Marriage isn’t the mission. Love is. And we are all able to love, married or not.

It is true that your marriage may go through challenges. Neither of you will be perfect. You will both make mistakes, but your love is expressed in the goodwill you have towards one another. Where love exists, there is respect, there is sincerity, there is goodness. An abusive marriage, by contrast, is characterised by disrespect, insincerity, and wickedness. The evil we are to overcome when we endure for better or worse in marriage is not evil that is bred by our spouse, but that is a result of living in a fallen world. This, we overcome together, not one fighting or enduring oppression from the other.

Till death do you part does not mean that you have promised to stay in your marriage until your spouse kills you! They are not supposed to kill you. They promised to love and take care of you. By the time they are mistreating and preparing to kill you, they have already broken the vows of love they made, and you would be within your rights to walk away.

Till death do you part means that you promise to abide in a loving, fulfilling relationship with your spouse even when they fall sick and life happens…you will remain faithful and loving, and HOPEFUL for their healing, until death takes them from you. You will neither be the cause of their death nor their suffering, but will be a CARER for them, even when they are on their deathbed.

So, we know now that violence was common place in Osinachi’s marriage. It was not the first time her husband had been physically abusive to her. Even before it became physical, there must have been mental and emotional abuse at work, tempering her to accept the physical manifestation of his wickedness. And we know now that she stayed and prayed believing she could not leave her marriage, because God hates divorce. But God also hates abuse!!

Please, do not be a victim in your marriage! Marriage and abuse have no fellowship. It is not just the physical that is wicked, even the emotional, even the unspoken wickedness, God sees it, and He abhors it!

Is it not Jesus who said anyone who is angry at his brother without a cause is guilty of murder?! Is it not He who said anyone who looks with lust at someone who is not his or her spouse is guilty of adultery? All sin originates in the heart, and all abuse begins with emotional abuse, and all is vile. Even if others are unable to see the abuse that is festering in your marriage, know that God sees all, and His will for you is not to die there – first by heartbreak, then by mental breakdown, and finally by physical assault.

The message is clear. Let there be no more justification for those who sin against the body of Christ, against the temple of God, which you are… You were bought at a price, do not become the slaves of men (1 Corinthians 6:20).

If you are not sure whether or not you are in an abusive relationship, talk to someone you trust about what is going on. Seek marital counsel from people who have shown themselves knowledgeable and wise. No longer think that you cannot talk about what is going on behind closed doors. That’s what the enemy wants you to think, but everything hidden must be and will be brought to light. For it is only the truth that will set you free.

However, the first person you should seek to talk to is your spouse. If you cannot talk to them, then it is almost a guarantee that you are in an abusive relationship. In which case, you need help.

Marriage is probably 99% communication. If you were forced to be silent, unable to speak your mind, unable to air your thoughts to your spouse, or to anybody else, that would be some form of unbelievable torture. Anyone who loves you, even if he or she doesn’t agree with you, if they care, they will want to help you and understand you and will seek for someone to mediate so that you can resolve whatever issue is troubling you. Marriage is not hard when we appreciate that it is all about love. Real love that cares and submits, not an oppressive show of strength or power that demands what it cannot or refuses to give.

So, women, pastors, wives… Do not be deceived, and do not deceive others. Call a spade a spade, for that is not wickedness but truth. Do the work of liberating the weak, the oppressed, and the ignorant by teaching what is true and exposing the lies of the enemy. Let there be no more place for evil to mascarade as good. As you seek to be gracious to those who offend, also be gracious to those who are offended, because God loves them too.

I pray for justice for Osinachi and her children, left motherless by their father. I pray for the emancipation of all women, whether married or not, from every stronghold of the enemy. I pray that the gospel of Christ will not be hindered by the witness of a few.

Check out my books, The Naive Wife Trilogy and The Marriage ABCs, for more around this theme of marriage and abuse.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth…” (3 John 1:2).

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