Your answer might depend on the size of the fire.
You’d certainly make an effort to put out a small fire and thereby save your home.
But if it were a large, raging fire, most of us would clearly make the decision to abandon the house and thereby save your life.
I know at least two women who are in abusive relationships.
Both of them live with the men who hurt them.
Both are unmarried.
Both are professing Christians.
Domestic violence is not something that only happens with non-Christians. It can touch any couple from any walk of life — black, white, old, young, rich, poor, married, unmarried, Christian, non-Christian.
In many cases, the men are otherwise decent people. We’d be surprised to know there are men we associate with and possibly even admire who raise their hands against their significant others behind closed doors.
But this isn’t a balancing act where a preponderance of good outweighs this one bad trait. This is a matter of personal safety and peace of mind, and potentially a matter of life and death.
One of these ladies recently showed me a swelling over her right eye and told me that her mate was responsible.
The other woman recently texted me a photo of a bloody scratch on her neck. She told me her fiancé was to blame and that it wasn’t the first time.
This time, she said, came during a heated argument, and that he says it was an accident. But all women should understand this: There’s NEVER a reason for a man to strike a woman.
It speaks to a deeper issue, a dark heart, a lack of understanding about what it means to be a man.
But there’s hope ...
I know a young man who has climbed and continues to climb out of that darkness. Several years ago, he savagely attacked his girlfriend. She lost her ability to respect or trust him.
Realizing how far he had fallen, he turned to God … and he came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Confessing his sins and surrendering to Christ allowed God to change his heart.
He stopped drinking, and his attitude toward women changed.
He learned through God’s word that men are to love and cherish and honor and respect women. (1 Peter 3:7) And, with the help of the Holy Spirit, he now has the power to do just that.
Short of that type of spiritual transformation, a woman owes it to herself to protect herself and her children.
If a relationship is having a financial problem or a communication problem or even a fidelity problem, there’s room to work at it, to make an effort to save the relationship.
But what we’re talking about is not something small or trivial or even predictable. This is violent, physical abuse.
Stop waiting for him to change.
Stop walking on eggshells, hoping to avoid whatever might set him off next.
Stop hiding your wounds from your family and friends.
Stop sacrificing real happiness and true love for convenience and familiarity.
Stop being a punching bag.
Your house is on fire.
Star Managing Editor Anthony Cook is pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-235-3558. On Twitter at acook_star.
‘By the Book’
Anthony Cook, managing editor of the Anniston Star, has published a collection of his columns on faith, along with sermon notes and speeches.
‘By the Book’ (WestBow Press, 418 pages, $30.95) is available at LifeWay Christian store at Oxford Exchange, at Family Christian Stores at Quintard Mall, or online at booksamillion.com or at bookstore.westbowpress.com.