(this post is an excerpt from my upcoming book on spiritual abuse in the Christian marriage.)
Wow, Jessica. You’re really passionate about this. You seem kinda angry and scary. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with how vocal you are. You sound like a feminist. Shouldn’t you be more meek and Christ-like?
Well, let’s talk about that. What was Christ like? When was He ever angry?
We often see Him miffed at the Pharisees for hypocrisy, and placing law and institutions above the sufferings of individual people.
We see Him get hangry and curse a fig tree.
But what is the big one we all think of when “Jesus” and “Angry” are in the same sentence? The temple. Money changers. Buying and selling livestock. Tables overturned. A whip.
Wow, Jesus, shouldn’t you be more, I dunno, Christ-like?
Buying and selling in the temple. “You have made it a den of thieves.” Commerce. Exchange. Profit. Self serving. Gaining. Instead of a house of prayer, seeking unity, relationship and connection with the living God, Our Lord was enraged to find it being used to sell things in the name of God.
Travelers who wanted to offer sacrifice were being taken advantage of, having to buy at the temple. Essentially, they were put in the position of having no other option but to serve the merchants, or else they could not be clean in God’s eyes. And the priests (who received a healthy cut) were happy to reinforce this idea. Serve the merchants on their terms under law… or go to hell.
This made Jesus very, very angry.
Now, please take a deep breath for what I’m about to say. Maybe go fix yourself a cup of tea or put on your fuzzy socks. Hear me out. I do, really REALLY love marriage. Our Lord’s first public miracle was at a wedding. Throughout the bible God calls himself the Bridegroom and his people the bride. Marriage is sacred. Marriage is beautiful. And it is from a deep respect and love of marriage that I write this book.
But not everyone who goes to the altar for a wedding is approaching for a marriage. This is a point Pastor R.C. Blakes Jr makes again and again. He’ll say you had yourself a wedding, but you ain’t got yourself no marriage! Just wedlock.
God hates divorce. But was there ever really a marriage?
Jesus overturned tables and chased merchants out of the temple with a whip for buying and selling in God’s holy house. And yet today, at the altars in our churches, we are buying and selling every single day. But not just lambs and turtle doves. We are selling women. Selling them as wives, to men who have no intention of being husbands. (How many of us have said “I feel like I’m married to a single man?”) Right there in the holy, of holies, selling them into bondage, instead of marriage.
And doing it in Jesus’ name.
A man with a fundamentally entitled view of womanhood and married life isn’t there for a marriage… He is there for a transaction.
And the church will tell the woman, once they are declared man and wife, he pretty much owns her. She must serve him. Submit to him. Honor him. Obey him. Give him unlimited access to her body. Be his helpmeet. Forgive him no matter what he does, even if he continues doing it. Never speak about anything he does to her. Accept that she was probably to blame anyways. Apologize. Try to please him better in the future.
And never, ever leave. Leaving, even if it’s for her own safety (physically or psychologically) is never an option.
And in this book, I hope to show that this isn’t God’s plan for the beautiful gift of marriage!
When this law is followed with an abusive man, this isn’t marriage. It isn’t an image of how Christ loves the church. It isn’t holy. It isn’t about relationship, unity or connection. It’s ownership. Lives being bought in the temple, then sacrificed on the altar of the law. But instead of sheep, oxen, and doves, it’s women. Our sisters, daughters, mothers, friends. Us.
What do you call it when someone is contracted, must serve and obey without question, has no say over their body, or life? What is it when someone can be punished by another for not being pleasing enough? What is it when someone is forbidden to have opinions, speak their mind, or choose their own destiny? To only do what another tells you. To be charged with keeping another person happy, with household services, sex, support, adoration… And to know this is forever; you may never leave. It is slavery.
Slave trade in the temple.
Serve the merchants on their terms under law… or go to hell.
Am I anti-marriage?
Did Jesus drive the merchants from the temple because He was anti-worship? Not at all. He loved the temple. It was the house of His Father. He loved worshiping there. He loved teaching there. He loved ministering to the hurting there. He loved it so much He could not allow anyone to make a mockery of it. He was restoring it.
So yes, we’re making a stand here. We’re flipping some tables. We’re calling out the truth.
Not to argue against marriage…
But because true marriage deserves to be fought for. Restored.
And so do the King’s daughters.