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Living with an Angry Spouse

There are many barriers that can tempt a wife to not seek help.

Mar 17, 2021

The angry husbands we are going to talk about today are from every socio-economic group. The first story is of a man in my town who was arrested and charged with murder after he lit his house on fire while his wife was home. She died of the burns she sustained. Another man shot his ex-girlfriend in the face. She is in serious condition. She had been found by deputies at a nearby home where she had fled by vehicle from the shooting scene. Can you imagine? The man admitted shooting her without provocation.

There is the story of a man who was convicted in several criminal cases for assault against two ex-wives. He was also accused but not charged in the shooting death of a woman. Recently, I read the story of a woman professor in my town who was killed by a man who had a history of assault dating back to 1996. He also had another domestic violence charge. He was arrested multiple times and found guilty of assault, battery, burglary with intent to commit assault, trespassing, and damaging a vehicle. 

I’ve just told you some of the worst case scenarios of living with an angry husband, but we won’t often talk with those wives. Most often we will be counseling women who have a man in their home who is screaming, throwing things, slamming doors. Or maybe he’s the one who is so quiet—full of rage—and she is walking on eggshells around him, afraid to do or say anything. Some husbands are super controlling and won’t allow the women out of the house or to have friends or to have money. Some of these men have threatened to kill their wives or have threatened suicide as a manipulative technique. They may destroy property or belongings or threaten to hurt or kill a pet. They may have sexual demands that are out of the ordinary. Chris Moles says that if you see physical violence, there is verbal violence as well. Sometimes the husband hopes to force the wife to beg for forgiveness. His rage causes her to melt and do anything she can to keep him happy.

If you’re hearing about a controlling husband, you should also look for the anger that might be behind it. I counseled a pastor’s wife, and the anger in that household was severe. The family went from church to church, moving every few years to different churches. We should be looking around for people who may be in these situations in our church.

Statistics

In 2010, the government did a study of intimate partner violence as a significant public health problem. Over 10 million women and men in the United States experience physical violence each year by a current or former intimate partner. Further, over one in five women and nearly one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, which is 29 million women and nearly 16 million men.

Safe Alliance, an organization dedicated to providing help for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Charlotte, NC, reports that three women are murdered by their boyfriend or husband every day in the United States. According to their data, the police force responded to more than 37,000 domestic violence related calls last year, which brings us to how the police force is affected by angry men. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund conducted a study that analyzed line-of-duty deaths in which they had a total of 684 cases. The study focused on cases involving a dispatch call for service. Some key findings revealed that calls related to domestic disputes and domestic-related incidents represented the highest number of fatal types of calls for service of officers.

Scripture: Our Best Resource

One of the articles I referenced earlier stated that often people endure interpersonal violence without others knowing and shared that resources are available for victims of this crime. As biblical counselors, we know that our best resource is Scripture. I’m going to begin with Hebrews 13. As we think about what the Bible says, we’re looking at Hebrews 13:3, which admonishes us to remember those who are mistreated, since we also are in the same body. These mistreated people in the body of Christ are part of us. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” As we are in our churches, we should be looking around for people who may be in these situations.

I used to take piano lessons. One day I went to my lesson with my non-Christian piano teacher while wearing shorts, and she saw the bruises on my legs. She asked about the bruises, and I explained that I’m clumsy and had run into things in the garage. And she explained that she asked because she’s had students who were victims of abuse. Now, if an unbelieving piano teacher asks these questions, shouldn’t we be more aware? Shouldn’t we be privately coming up and speaking to people? There may be an explanation, but we should be willing to ask those questions because we care. These are people in the body—we’re part of one another.

I had an opportunity to teach a group of women in Rosarito, Mexico. Our church stayed in a gorgeous home with dorm-style bunk beds and community bathrooms while serving there. We asked why they had this beautiful place and was it for visiting missionaries and were told that it was a safe house that they had built for women and children. But the husbands found out where it was, so they couldn’t use it anymore. This leads me to tell you that we should also be willing to take people in.

We should be willing to open our homes to these women and children or to help them find a place where they can stay, whether it is short term or long term. I have another story to share about a man who set fire to a mobile home where he knew his spouse to be living. Fortunately, the woman and her children had packed up and left before he set the fire. Where do you think this woman and her children could go? She could go to a domestic abuse shelter where she won’t get biblical counseling. If these women are in our church or if we’re available to the community, we can provide help.

The Bible talks about how beautiful and wonderful marriage is, but the fall has broken all human relationships, including marriage. We’re going to talk about how anger destroys a marriage, how the Bible gives help, and specifically how the wife should help her husband. I want us to step into her shoes and find out why she might not want to get help. Then we’ll end with a biblical example.

Anger in Marriage

Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”  Consider how many works of the flesh involve anger in verses 19-21: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” That’s a lot of anger in the works in the flesh!

As we think about the Bible’s teaching about anger, I want to address women first. There could be angry women in these relationships. Let’s just be really cautious and not blame the man for everything. When we’re counseling, we’re being good counselors by counseling the people who are sitting there in front of us. We may have to help her to realize that she may be angry, too. Am I saying she’s guilty and responsible for domestic violence? No! But if we’re going to help her, we need to discern both areas where she is suffering and areas where she may be sinning in response to the abuse. Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Explore ways she may have learned his ways. Often there is sin on both sides. It can take two people to get into a big altercation. Again, I am not blaming the victim of domestic abuse for the violence against her. Galatians 5:15 says, “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” 

Some of these women could just be done with it. They may be thinking, “I don’t know why I’m sitting here counseling with you because I’m just wanting to get out of this situation. This is unbearable.” This could indicate that a root of bitterness is springing up. Think about what you have learned in a bitterness workshop or gather some verses on bitterness for her. 

I’d like to spend some time talking about the woman who was a sweet young girl who grew up in the church. She may have been naïve, and she may have never thought about the possibility of a man being violent toward his wife or family because her father was not a violent man. Then she meets a man, and he seemed so nice at first. So, she marries him, and now she finds herself in this outrageous situation. Or maybe a girl grew up with an angry father, so she thinks this is what men are like. They throw things. They drive crazy. They yell at people in the street. They yell at the waitress for getting the order wrong. Because of her experiences, she thinks this is normal.

I have found it most helpful to talk to this woman about what God thinks about this. Proverbs 29:9 says, “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.” She could be the wise person in the situation, but she’s married to a fool, someone who’s behaving in an angry way. Proverbs 9 can be helpful to this woman. Sometimes all you have to do is read this to your counselee, and she will nod quietly because it says, “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:7-8). Sometimes showing her what God’s Word says about his behavior can help her to see what God thinks. This is the way you start counseling her.

Helping Your Counselee Respond Biblically

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft and answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Am I saying that she’s responsible and guilty for why he’s angry or that she deserves or is the cause of her bruises? I’m not saying that, but I do want you to see that the first step after ensuring that your counselee is safe is to ask, “How are you responding? Are you making it worse?” It’s like a couple I know who got into a big fistfight, and the police were called. She gets taken to jail because they were both guilty.

Some people might want to conceal those little angry outbursts knowing that love covers a multitude of sins. “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11). That might look like her saying to her husband, “Oh, honey! Do you realize the way you talked to the waitress that time? I mean, there’s probably a problem in the kitchen, and maybe you didn’t realize how her face fell when you said that to her. “ That’s an example of overlooking an offense. It’s dealing with it calmly and not necessarily at the moment. This is appropriate when we are not dealing with a violent incident or a pattern of anger.

Let’s look at Mark 11:25: “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive your trespasses.” We hope to have people ready to forgive us when we have our little moments. We can do that with our husbands and do good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” I talked to one wife who said that every time she irons her husband’s shirts, she prays for him and his anger problem. She wants God to work with him and help him.

We also have the log and speck issue, meaning she needs to deal with her anger first. I was in church on Sunday and heard a sermon from Jonah. Do you know there’s a great verse in Jonah? Jonah is confronted by God, and God says, “Do you do well to be angry?”

You know Jonah’s thinking,“Why did you forgive those people?!” Later, God says again in 4:9, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” You know what he says? Jonah exclaims, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die” (v. 10). Some of our counselees will be like that, right? They might say, “You don’t know what I’m dealing with. I’ve got to give it back to him or else he’ll step all over me. I don’t want to be a doormat.” We’re teaching her biblical principles that the world sees as anti-culture and anti-feminist about dealing with anger.

But there are times when she needs to actually confess that she’s got her own anger issues. She’s got her own bitterness, and the Lord is faithful; He will forgive. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Once she’s done that, we’re dealing with the speck that’s in our brother’s eye. One woman said that she saw she had been living with an angry husband for so long that it was just part of life, and she got used to it. It was just how things were. And she expressed regret that she didn’t do anything or say anything earlier because she did want to help him. She realized that there was something way deep down happening with her husband that was creating this anger, and she wished that she had come forward and helped him long ago. Hopefully, we know how to confront sin. But in case we don’t, Galatians 6:1-2 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This involves coming alongside a struggling sinner.

This is where I have found counselees to be resistant. But to tell her that her job as a wife is to be a help to her husband changes everything. This is what we should be doing because we love our brothers. To let him keep living in this rage is not good for anyone.

Seven Principles for Getting and Giving Help

I have a list from Martha Peace of seven principles on how to get help. I’m just going to read you these and advise you to look at her book The Excellent Wife if you want more information. 

1. Be objective. 

2. Direct counselees to solve their problems biblically using the Word of God instead of going too much into their past. We may need to delve somewhat into their past to find out what the root of the sin is, but we’re using the Bible to solve problems.

3. Direct counsel toward restoration. Be careful not to encourage gossiping or tattling.

4. Caution the wife to not slander or speak evil of her husband when she seeks counsel. This can be hard to control. We’re in the counseling center or in the counseling office or at the coffee shop trying to help her. We could be thinking that she’s just reacting to how she has been treated. But we need to be cautious to not allow her to sin in her angry response to being sinned against. 

5. Caution her to limit the number of people she talks to about her husband’s sin.

6. Encourage her to follow the biblical admonition that older, more mature women are to teach the younger women. She will come, hopefully, to an older person, somebody who’s had experience and ask for help. We’re all older than somebody else.

7. Encourage her to seek counsel from the leaders of the church.

Role of the Church

Sin has consequences. Proverbs 19:19 says, “A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.” If you want to stop repetitive behavior, a pattern of sin, it may be necessary to bring in the elders. Maybe not as the first step, but it could be a step you’re willing to encourage her to take. This is really hard for women. We need to be the ones who listen, the ones who care and be willing to say that we will go with these women to talk to the pastor and elders. According to Matthew 18:15-17, she should talk to the husband first. If that doesn’t get a response, the Bible directs you to take one or two others along to talk to him. I know my husband has talked to a man privately and asked him if he realized how he was talking to his wife. He told the man that it sounded like he was putting his wife down. So many wives are grateful that some man would come and talk to their husbands.

Then you’re moving into the next step of getting somebody to help him. If he continues to be unrepentant, the next step is to tell the situation to the church. Our objective eventually is to restore and bring these men into a good relationship with God, with his wife and with the church. I will commend to you Chris Moles who has an outstanding book on helping men who are enraged and are abusers of women called The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home. Simultaneously to talking to the church, we may need to involve the government, meaning we may need to call the police.

Don’t be afraid to do that because it may help you keep one of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not murder.” I’m not afraid to call and say to the police, “Would you please come over here? We’ve got an out-of-control situation.” We know that restraining orders do not always work, but they may be a good place to begin. You may find that a man who doesn’t respect the leaders of the church will respect the guy behind the badge if he comes and hauls him off. That’s God’s gift to us.

Barriers to Women Seeking Help

I want to talk a little bit about why the wives might not want to talk to you about what’s going on at home as well as my exhortation for every biblical counselor. Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” As we’re sitting in counseling, we’re hearing about these difficulties at home. Maybe you’re hearing that they’re having trouble or they’re not being allowed to spend money. Maybe they share that they are not in a church and that they’re doing home church. You’re hearing clues, and you are the “man of understanding” who is going to draw out, and it might take a while. It might take a lot of trust on her part to be able to admit what’s happening, but you need to be very patient and loving. You need to communicate to this woman that, “I’m going to walk with you through this. We want to restore your husband.”

She might not know what to do. This is a really hard situation, and we’re going to need to put ourselves in her shoes and to think about all these emotions she’s feeling when she’s in this kind of marriage. She might have the suffering martyr attitude, thinking, “I just have to suffer. The Bible talks about suffering. This is what I have to suffer through.” Maybe on some level there’s going to be suffering, and these verses are going to be beautiful to help with her later, but to prevent getting help by being the martyr and the sufferer is not biblical. We need to stand up for the weak.

Another woman may talk about her horrible life and horrible husband every time she gets together with her female relatives and friends. Maybe she really likes complaining about her situation or enjoys the attention she gets when she talks about her situation. 

She may not understand what submission is. This is a huge problem. She may think she’s just supposed to be quiet, and it could be he’s telling her that. He could be telling her that the problems in their marriage are because she is not submissive enough. On the other hand, a woman could be reluctant to get help thinking that she is honoring her husband by keeping quiet. It is important to understand what the Bible teaches about biblical submission. When a woman seeks help, she should make sure she is talking with someone who can help. We don’t want to be gossiping about our husband with anyone. But seeking counsel from someone who can help is important.

Regarding submission, we need a balanced approach to the Word of God. We need to obey God rather than men. We need to evaluate what we’re being told about submission and how it affects domestic violence. We need to ask what God is really saying about this controversial topic. That’s why we need Scripture.

The wife might be full of fear, which makes her really irrational. She might be so fearful, that she can hardly think of what to do. She may fear that perhaps that he’s going to retaliate if she says anything. She may fear that he could divert his anger onto someone else, like the children. She might also be fearful that nobody will understand or listen. I’ve had women tell me that they have gone for help, and people don’t believe them. They think he’s so nice at church, and he’s always smiling. “What are you talking about?” they might ask.

We need to be willing to go with these women and say that we have heard them tell these stories. We need to stand up for her and say, “She has shown me her bruises or she’s let me into her home, and I’ve seen what happens in private.” You are her advocate. Abusers are manipulators.

Let’s look at 1 Peter 3:6: “Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” We’ve got the aspect of doing good that is a type of submission to God’s plan, “I’m going to be able to help my husband by telling and getting help.” She may be worried about her future. “What is the end of all of this if I’m talking about my angry husband? Where will my children and I end up in five years?”

Here’s a woman who writes, “Can you be stalked by your spouse? My husband checks my phone for messages, checks the mileage on my car, opens all the mail, and listens in on all my phone conversations. If I’m late from work, I call to let him know, but he returns my call to make sure I’m where I said I was. He accuses strange cars that drive on our street of belonging to my boyfriends. He says this shows his concern for me. I’m being smothered. Please help.”

We can see the fear and worry a woman in this situation can have. She might be worried about her own reputation. And I’ve also heard women say, “I don’t want to be a divorced woman. I’m worried that he will become enraged and leave me. I do not want to be divorced in the church.” It’s a stigma for some. We can encourage her with Scripture. She might be worried about his reputation. He’s the pastor. He could lose his job. Her reputation is tied up with him. Don’t think that’s two different things; it could be a reason she’s not reporting. She’s worried perhaps about the effect on the children. She may be worried she’ll be a single parent if she talks about his anger. 

She might also worry about the effect on the children by them being in the home with this, imitating the anger. Sometimes that’s why these women are coming to see you. She may say, “Well, Johnny’s screaming and throwing things. He put his fist through the wall.” When she talks about anger in her children, ask her about her home life. It may be her children’s safety and well-being that drive her to get help. I had a woman who came for counseling. She had been dealing with her husband’s anger for years and years. But when he pinned their teenaged son up against the wall, she finally got help. She realized that it wasn’t just about her anymore. It became about helping her children. 

She may see that she’s going to have to get a job to support herself and her children. That’s why she might just sit quietly and not seek help. She may be full of guilt. She may have been told the violence is all her fault. She’s the cause of his rage. She might believe that; someone might be telling her that. And she may really be guilty; she may be provoking him, too. There’s all this guilt. Be sensitive. Don’t admonish her for not seeking help sooner. She doesn’t need more guilt. We’re addressing guilt and worry and fear all with the Scriptures that she needs to bolster herself and to trust God even more. It’s part of being a helper to seek help for herself and her husband. This is caring for his spiritual health, their marriage, and her safety.

There’s the story of a man who was accused of pointing a gun at his girlfriend and trying to strangle her in his apartment. The girlfriend escaped to a nearby car wash and barricaded herself in a restroom. He followed her, and the deputies found him with a gun. He was jailed on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, assault by strangulation, assault on a female, communicating threats, and carrying a concealed weapon. The next day, the deputies responded to a stabbing at the girlfriend’s home. He was accused of shattering glass on a rear door before entering the home, hitting his girlfriend’s mother, and stabbing an 18-year-old friend of his girlfriend multiple times, including in her stomach. The girlfriend hid in a closet during the attack and was unharmed. He left the house, drove around for a while and drove through a few fences. They finally caught up with him. He was charged with first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury, attempted first-degree murder, and felony violation of a domestic violation protection order. The protection order didn’t help that family.

Sometimes she won’t go in for help just for herself, but if it’s her children, or if you can convince her that this outrageous behavior could jeopardize people on the road, could jeopardize neighbors, she may seek help.

My great-grandmother was killed by a man who came into the home of her friend. He killed my great-grandmother in front of her two little girls who grew up without a mom. There are so many reasons to be willing to ask God to get the right help for your husband. In another situation, I was aware of the women who came to the church with a broken arm. She made excuses until he hit their son in the face. Now she’s ready to get help.

Abigail: A Discerning Wife

We’re going to look at a situation in the Bible and learn from it. We’re in 1 Samuel 25, looking at the story of Abigail. A counselor could use Abigail for so many examples, but in this situation, let’s look at what we can learn from it for our counselee.

“There was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful.” I like that—maybe we’re not beautiful, but we can all be discerning. “But the man was harsh and badly behaved.” 

I’ll skip down and summarize the story. David had been protecting Nabal’s sheep. He sent men to ask to join Nabal on his feast day as compensation. “They said all this to Nabal in the name of David, and then they waited. And Nabal answered David’s servants. ‘Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?’ So, David’s young men turned away and came back and told him all this.” So, we have one angry man!

“David said to his men, ‘Every man strap on your sword!’ And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And about 400 men went up after David, while 200 remained with the baggage.” Now we have two angry men, who are deadly and violently angry! “One of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife,” He may have understood that she was discerning. “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields as long as we went with them. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such a worthless man that one can’t speak to him” (vv. 14-17). Abigail didn’t sit around; she made haste. She collected a bunch of food, and she went down to talk to these young men. She told the young men, “‘Go on before me; I come after you.’ But she did not tell her husband Nabal” (v.19).

She was submissive, but she was taking care of things. The passage continues, “And as she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, behold, David and his men came down toward her, and she met them. Now David had said, ‘Surely in vain have I gathered all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. God do so to the enemies of David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him’” (vv. 20-22).

The situation was escalating. “When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, On me alone, my lord, be the guilt” (vv. 23-24a). Interesting!

“Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let not my Lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. But your servant did not see the young men of the Lord, whom you sent” (vv. 24b-25).

Then she plants the idea of David doing the right thing. “Now then, my lord as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal” (v. 26). She gave him the gifts. She asked forgiveness and blessings on David’s house in verse 28. 

“David said to Abigail, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation [avenging myself] with my own hand. For surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male” (vv. 32-34). 

David had calmed down some at this point, and Abigail returned to Nabal. Here again is where she’s wise. Encourage your counselee to see Abigail’s wisdom. She lets him have his party. He gets very drunk. “So she told him nothing at all until the morning light. In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And about 10 days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died “(vv. 36b-38).

You know the end. David took Abigail as his wife. He recognized her character. I’m not saying that this applies to all of these marriage situations we’re talking about. But we are looking at the character of this woman who was blessed by God. 

Now we turn our counselee to the gospel, and in Hebrews 4 we read about Jesus Christ Himself. You’re giving her this advice while you’re helping her walk through this trial. Hebrews. 4:14 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Christ was screamed at, wasn’t He? He was physically beaten. He understands the woman in this kind of situation. Then read verse 16 to her: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” And she will need it. She may have a long road to walk filled with grace.

Additional Scripture 

I’m going to close by giving you some more verses that will help, and these verses are going to be so beautiful and helpful for her. A lot of what we will do is just sitting, listening, and caring. Sometimes these women just break down and say that nobody’s ever sat and listened to them before. Tell her that she can live for God through this. She can be a living sacrifice as we read in Romans 12. Second Corinthians 1:8-11 says, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

We can find great comfort in the Psalms. Several of the Psalms talk about the wicked, just living and enduring with the wicked around us. We might also call this person a fool, someone who behaves in a foolish way. Psalm 37:1-6 says, “Fret not yourself because of evildoers.” That means don’t get stirred up, but rest in God.

The psalm continues, “Be not envious of wrong-doers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday.” A Bible study of Psalm 37 could give her the spiritual strength she needs.

Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Do you see how that answers some of those issues we brought up for emotions?  Continuing in verse 6 we read, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” In verses 17 and 18 we read, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” That’s a good memory verse for her.

Continuing in verse 19 we read, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” As you are teaching these promises in the Old Testament, you’re telling your counselee that our deliverance may not be as we expect or as we might wish. But if we’re drawing closer to God through this, and we’re seeing the body of Christ work as it should, God will bless us through this. And we will grow in our understanding of the lesson God is teaching.