Am I allowed to leave my abusive marriage?

In marriage, couples go through different challenges. Some are more dire than others. The rise of abusive marriages continues globally, and Kenya is not left out of this equation.
Tirop, a top Kenyan athlete was stabbed to death at her home in October 2021, a month after she set a new world record and two months after running at the Tokyo Olympics. Her partner has been charged with murder in her killing.
This and many other sad abusive and murderous situations have become a scary norm in our society. Jonny Depp, an American actor, is currently in the middle of a court case concerning alleged abuse toward him by his wife. This tells us that even men are experiencing abuse in their romantic relationships.
A question that comes to mind, is what would the godly solution to handling abuse in marriage be?
Many churches have had a one show fits all answer when it comes to divorce and specifically abusive marriages. But, we may need to take a deeper look at this particular marital issue, separate it from other unique marital trials, see how we can shed light, and be sure to do good instead of harm.
Mike Winger, a renowned Bible teacher says “Radical danger or harm justifies separation and divorce.” The perspective in this statement is derived from the instances in the bible where Jesus explains various exceptions to certain rules. Found in Matthew 12:3 onwards He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? This concept can be applied in the context of abuse.” He continues to say “When a woman leaves or flees because of abuse of herself or her children, to tell them that they are required to stick with that person and are to stay faithful in that marriage I think it condemns the guiltless, and I think it is violating the God-desires ‘mercy and not sacrifice’ principle. So if you’re saving someone and you are healing life then leaving the marriage follows this principle. (Matthew 12:11 says “I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ [a] you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.)
From this passage Winger continues to explain “Yes it is good to do good on the Sabbath. You don’t work on the Sabbath but you can do good, well it is good to encourage a woman to leave an abusive marriage that’s a general good. So unless you are saving or healing life, the exception is that you are healing life.”
It is agreeable that there are exceptions with different life scenarios which the bible still gives us guidance on. We must keep the bottom line in mind whenever we are faced with the trouble that seems complicated, and that is, who is LORD over all the laws, rules, mind-sets, and ideals, it is Christ, the one who came to make all things complete, and all things are complete in Him.


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