Where does Focus on the Family stand on abuse and divorce?
Olivia submitted this comment to our Hall of Blind Guides page and with her permission we are publishing it here rather than on that page.
God led me to your website. I’ve been receiving calls from a counselor from Focus on the Family. She quoted Chronicles and other scriptures before she began stating that it is the position of the church and Focus on Family to not advise divorce, only a legal separation. She said that God’s word is clear, and divorcing is not a woman’s option. However, separation is permissible in God’s sight.
She encouraged me to file for legal separation versus a divorce. She stated most abusers won’t tolerate legal separation, opting to divorce. According to her she is also writing a book. The above approach (according to her) keeps me from disobeying God. It will be my husband who will sin not me using the above approach. Also she encouraged counseling with abusive husband allowing God to change him. She stated you’d feel regret if you divorced him and God changed him. Then you’d want him again so allow God to work through you as he’s working on your husband. The book/author she recommended bothered my soul.
I stated I don’t believe The Lord can be tricked by using the above methods to avoid sin etc. Also I felt in defense of myself and that there was no empathy for my occurring abuse and desire to be free of him/divorce. Instead I felt wrong, sinful, and that divorcing him will require me to remain single per the word of God.
After so many years of church misinformation both written and verbal I found myself free when by “accident” I discovered your website. I have been praying to Jesus for real truth and support and He answered. For so many years I’ve been taking on the role of a praying wife filled with guilt, apathy, resolve and continued connection-seeking with my abuser. Even participating in disastrous couples counseling. All of sudden at 2 am yesterday I googled yet another desperate question about abuse, divorce, Christianity and guilt finding your website. Praise God.
I was shocked (and immensely relieved) when I discovered your list of unsupportive abuse victim resources, i.e the Focus on the Family organization.
May The Lord continue to bless, guide and strengthen you all.
Updated 28 Dec 2017: While Focus on the Family has made some good statements about abuse of late, we still do not believe that they are ready to be given our confidence. We, ACFJ, will still not refer abuse victims to them.