Abuse and Relationships: We All Have the Right to Choose our Friends
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV (14) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
I believe that by far and large, churches and Christians and pastors and teachers are denying the truth of this Scripture. What are we told? We are told that because Jesus loves everyone (by the way, He doesn’t!) then we are bound to love everyone and that love means that we are required to maintain relationship with everyone who asks us. I think this is why you are seeing books come out like Boundaries and Unsafe People. We are trying to get back the freedom that has been stolen from us.
Christian, YOU have the right to choose your relationships. Did you know that? Have you been taught just the opposite in your church or by other Christians? You do not have to be in a relationship with the “unclean.” Of course we know that this does not mean that a Christian who is already married to a non-Christian is commanded to leave that marriage (see 1 Cor 7). But it does mean that in our lives we do not have to be bound together with darkness and those who represent it.
1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
(33) Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Proverbs 13:20 ESV
(20) Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV (24) Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,
(25) lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
Now, whenever we choose to withdraw from a relationship, and especially if this takes place within the environment of the church, you can be sure that someone — some “concerned brother” — is going to come up and “should on you.” They will tell you that you have hurt the person you are not associating with and you “should” fix it. They will remind you how we are to love one another. And if you want to turn up the heat even more, just draw some boundaries in your own family and extended family! “But she is your sister! Nothing is more important than family!” Yes, but though she is an earthly, flesh and blood sister, she is not a safe person to be in relationship with and I choose not to have that relationship. That is my right. In fact, it is wisdom.
You have the right to choose your friends. You have the right to choose NOT to have or to continue in a relationship with anyone who is unsafe for you. In fact, you might even say that God instructs us — dare we say, commands us — to avoid such relationships! And I am pretty sure that this means an abuse victim has the right before God to separate from and divorce a wicked, abuser-type spouse. That is a yoke that is good to break. That is freedom.