In fact, pastors and Christian counselors can be some of the worse offenders as it comes to spiritually abusing faithful spouses.
I cannot imagine most pastors or therapists dispensing the same sort of advice if faced with a different situation of abuse. Yet they think they are dispensing “wisdom,” which really just reveals to victim how tone deaf these blind counselors are.
What if the pastor was violently mugged and the money needed to support their family was stolen…
1) The police officer telling the upset pastor that he “needs to forgive” probably would not be welcome as dispensing “wisdom.”
Such would be to ignore important justice issues.
2) The peers telling the pastor he must be “bitter” for requesting the money back probably would not be welcome advisers by this pastor.
Such is to ignore the need to right a wrong and the real debt owed to the pastor’s starving family.
3) The minister telling this pastor that he “needs to own his part” in the mugging and theft probably would not be welcomed with open arms by the mugged pastor and his starving family.
This is victim-blaming pure and simple.
Pastors say these sort of things all the time to faithful spouses:
- They act puzzled by the intensity faithful spouses express in their desire to see justice served.
- They take a faithful spouse seeking restitution as a sign the faithful spouse is “bitter” or lacking in “true” forgiveness towards the cheater.
- They actually believe or teach as if the faithful spouse had control over whether or not they were cheated on and/or abandoned.
Responding to faithful spouses is just as unhelpful as responding to a mugging victim in these three ways.
Just don’t do it!!!