Patsy Rae Dawson, Gospel Themes
“After 35 years of teaching both the positive and negative aspects of marriage and looking back at what happened to many of my first students, I highly recommend Not Under Bondage. Barbara’s insights and teaching is badly needed by Christians who often neglect God’s righteous solution of disciplinary divorce for certain problems.
If more people exercised God’s way of escape by divorcing for impenitent sin in their homes, I believe Christians would exert tremendous peer pressure on wayward spouses as they acknowledge that God does not tolerate such ungodly conduct. Sin thrives on secrecy and a mate falsely thinking, “It’s my fault,” instead of demanding accountability.
As Christians, we often focus so strongly on saving the marriage that we fail to recognize the other person’s free will in choosing to be abusive rather than loving. Love is a choice as is demonstrated by the commands in the Bible to love others. We don’t earn another person’s love. And often the justifications for refusing to love are utterly ridiculous and selfish.
Every person who feels trapped by God in a loveless or abusive marriage needs to study this book. It may not have been God, but man’s ignorance that ensnared them. The irony is that when God’s people believe they are trapped and then work hard “to just survive,” they are actually creating an environment that allows the mate’s sin to flourish.
Barbara will stretch your mind as she explores word meanings, the context, and the consistency of how words are used in other passages. She skilfully proves that our slogan, “God hates divorce,” ignores both the meanings of words and the grammar in Mal. 2:16. After you read this chapter, you may want to correct the way you quote that catchphrase.
The eye opening chapter, “What is abuse?” makes the whole book worth reading whether you agree with anything else.
An abused woman herself, Barbara clearly answers the question I’ve asked abused women for nearly 20 years, “Why do you stay?” Most victims do not know why they continue to “spend all their energies walking on eggshells and trying to ‘fix’ the relationship.”
Basically, they stay because in the “dynamic cycle of abuse” tension builds until an episode of sin occurs, then the abuser offers just enough “buy backs” of affection that the victim is happy and hopeful for her marriage without core problems being addressed. The victim believes the buy backs and her fantasy of happily ever after. No doubt, Barbara’s words will wake up many victims to their codependence with sin.
I highly recommend Not Under Bondage to help you examine the scriptures from a fresh perspective and to look anew at one of God’s ways for waging a spiritual battle against sin in the home.
I pray God’s blessings on Barbara and her efforts as she deals with “Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery & Desertion” and ultimately, our own better treatment of those who falsely assume they are trapped in marriage to an abuser.