The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
-Proverbs 12:22, NLT
When my first marriage was falling apart, my (now) ex-wife would make statements and tell people–including my own family–that I was threat to her. I even have an email from her father where he states I am such a threat that she was not to meet with me alone ever (which she did knowing–in my opinion–that it was a lie).
My interpretation of such words and actions from her and her cohort was that they were trying to paint me as a “wife-beater” and abuser. This was one of the most painful lies spoken or implied about me. It took some significant time for me to heal from this sort of attack.
One of my fellow Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) students was angry when he heard of these accusations leveled against me. This individual saw me for extended periods of time and commuted to and from the hospital on a regular basis with me. He got to see my heart as our sessions together in this program required self-disclosure at some of the deepest levels.
He was angry about my ex and her cohorts because he understood such clearly false claims–as he saw them as well–devalue the real claims of abuse.
This is true.
After this very painful personal experience, I am slower to agree with people alleging “emotional abuse” as I understand how that term can be weaponized. That said, I still firmly believe emotional abuse is real and incredibly damaging. (In fact, I believe the lying and gaslighting many faithful spouses experience from the cheater are real examples of such abuse–speaking as a pastor and not a mental health provider here.)
-Naghmeh Abedini Situation-
My painful history was triggered as I read the story regarding Saeed Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, filling legal paperwork and speaking out about the domestic abuse in her marriage. I could hear the old accusations from my ex and her cohorts as I read her thoughts on FB regarding her marriage situation. For those unfamiliar, Saeed Abedini was one of the Iranian prisoners recently released and happens to be a pastor with celebrity status among evangelicals due to this international situation.
Back to the story regarding domestic abuse, I had to sort through my own baggage on the matter before I was able to offer my voice in support of this sister in Christ. What sealed the issue for me was an article exposing a conviction of Saeed for domestic violence in 2007.
Domestic violence is no joke, and I have a zero tolerance view on it. This article demonstrates through exposing the conviction that the abuse issue is not a “He said/she said” situation. He was convicted.
I hope more pastors stand in solidarity with Naghmeh and exhort Saeed to real repentance. I, for one, support her from my perspective–hence, I am writing this today–and I hope she has good people encouraging her even now as it is tough navigating such matters with so much outside pressure to overlook one’s legitimate fears.
Personally, I think Satan seeds lies into our lives not only to destroy us but also to cut us off from supporting others who may find themselves in vulnerable situations. Sadly for him, the lies he sowed into my life have failed to stop me from supporting people like Naghmeh with my voice, which stands firmly against domestic violence and in support of protecting its victims.