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Do I Condone “BDSM” or “Christian Domestic Discipline”?

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

Because I use the word “submission” in my blog a good bit (referring to the biblical concept of submission of a wife honoring her husband’s God-given leadership), I often receive questions about if I support or teach “Christian Domestic Discipline” or “BDSM.”

  • BDSM emphasizes a slave-like definition of “submission” of a woman to physical/emotional abuse. It is a master/slave way of relating that is consensual. For some people it is more of a fantasy and play-acting. For others, it is extremely serious.
  • CDD emphasizes punishment of a wife by her husband, (i.e.: spanking or time out).  Usually, a husband uses punishments that usually would be something maybe a parent would do for a toddler who was disobedient.  It is more of a parent/child way of relating than an adult/adult dynamic, in my understanding.

Greg and I do not support or condone the idea of a husband spanking, beating, punishing, shaming, and/or humiliating his wife to “discipline her”or to treat a wife as if she were a slave or a child – even with her consent. We have never practiced either of these lifestyles and we don’t teach them.

** We also do not condone wives treating their husbands this way and we don’t condone abusing children – or anyone- in any way: physically, emotionally, financially, sexually, or mentally.

We believe these lifestyles are twisted definition of the biblical concept of “submission” and that they can be harmful. 

Our view is that a wife should think of herself – and be treated as – a grown adult who has equal value, worth, and dignity, and who willingly and lovingly uses her gifts, talents, wisdom, love, insights, and personality to bless her husband and participate as equals in God’s sight with her own unique complementary role as helpmeet.

MY RESPONSE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO BE ABUSED

Just because someone wants another person to physically hurt her does not mean that it is a healthy thing for her or that I should participate in hurting her.

As a pharmacist, if I have a patient who is cutting herself, I don’t get a razor blade and help her hurt herself – I seek appropriate help for her and counseling so that she does not harm herself. I want her to get better, be healthy, and not desire to hurt herself anymore.

There are other, even more deviant mindsets and lifestyles where people do force pain, violence, and abuse on others against their will. This is completely heartbreaking to me. These things are not appropriate for those who profess to live for Christ.

LEADERSHIP

God DOES give husbands the position of leader in the home (Eph 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:1-7, Titus 2:3-5.)  (And God gives wives influential authority.) Godly men are to lead and love selflessly, sacrificially, humbly, gently – in Christlike ways – not by lording over their wives or inflicting any kind of violence or abuse on them and not by treating them like slaves or young children.

If a husband misuses his God-given position or abuses it, there should be men in the church or in the government (like the police) to help women who are being abused. God gives people positions of leadership to care for, provide, protect, nurture, and bless others. Never to harm them.

A wife of a Christian husband should be safe from all harm physically, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually in her home and in her husband’s arms – and a husband of a Christian wife should safe from all harm in his wife’s arms, as well.

There are many different personality types and leadership styles – different husbands will lead in different ways. But with a godly husband, a wife should be able to share her thoughts, ideas, needs, desires, and concerns freely and respectfully. She should be able to think for herself and have her own opinions. She should have access to her own God-given free will. She should feel safe to be vulnerable without any fear of humiliation, shame, or any kind of abuse whatsoever. Husbands should have these same freedoms in Christian marriages, as well.

I understand that women desire strong men to lead them. That is a good thing when a man is a godly man who deeply loves, protects, nurtures, cares for, honors, provides for, prays for, and seeks God’s best for his wife. A strong, godly man is very attractive. But the love God talks about here is a I Corinthians 13:4-8a kind of love. Not a worldly kind of love.

GOD’S DESIGN

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8a

God also commands believers to be filled with the Spirit and that our lives are to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit all the time in all circumstances:

love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

God’s design for husbands and masculinity:

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself Ephesians 5:25-33a

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Rom. 13:10

God’s design for femininity.

 

Some further resources:

Women and men have equal value, worth, and dignity in the sight of God and in marriage. Men and women are made in the very image of God (Genesis 2).

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

LET’S CHECK OUR MOTIVES

A good test would be to examine motives and to test my heart for any lies about God, myself, or others  –

  • Why do I want to be treated as a child or as a slave? Is it just fantasy or do I have deep emotional/spiritual scars that I need to address?
  • Do I believe I don’t have value?
  • Do I believe that God can’t love me?
  • Do I believe I am unlovable?
  • Am I uncomfortable with being treated as and thinking of myself as a grown adult who is responsible to God for my motives, thoughts, words, and actions?
  • Am I hanging on to lies of the enemy? Or are my motivations firmly rooted in God’s Word and in His truth?
  • Do I find security in Christ alone?
  • Do I think rightly about and respect myself?
  • Do I understand that if I belong to Christ, my body is His temple, He dwells in me? All that I am and all that I have is His and I am to honor Him with my body and sexuality.
  • Am I treating my sexuality, my body, my spouse’s sexuality, my spouse’s body, and our marriage as something that is precious and sacred?
  • Is it the love of God that is motivating me?
  • Is my goal to greatly please Christ and to obey Him in all things and to bless my spouse, or is it something else?
  • Do I think I need punishment to help me have victory over sin? Or do I understand that God’s Spirit is the only source of victory over sin?

His Spirit empowers us to walk in obedience. Yes, other believers can help sharpen us and we may need a loving, gentle, firm rebuke at times if we are in sin – but others are not responsible to force “good behavior” on us. God’s Spirit gives us the ability and strength to walk in God’s holiness and righteousness.

Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Colossians 2:23

  • Do I have deep wounds or scars that have warped my understanding of love for which I need to find healing?
  • Have I ever known godly, safe love where love did not involve humiliation, shame, and physical pain?

If not, perhaps I don’t really know what godly love looks like and I need to find out!

A WIFE SHARES HER STORY OF DELIVERANCE LATER THIS WEEK!

In a post next week, I plan to share the story of a wife who is healing from the world of “Christian domestic discipline” and “BDSM.” I praise God that no one is beyond the reach of God and that the blood of Christ is able to cleanse anyone from any sin!!! I don’t have the wisdom and power to heal people. But Jesus DOES!

Do I Actually Need a Spanking? – By OneSoLoved

 

RELATED:

Brent Riggs’ take on CDD  “No Christian man should ever consider engaging in this practice”

Brent Riggs on how a wife should respond to abuse

What Is Christian Domestic Discipline? by www.gotquestions.org

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

Why I Don’t Write for Women with Abusive Husbands

Prayer for Abusers and for Victims of Abuse

It IS Possible to Be Too Submissive

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

Spiritual Authority – God’s design for spiritual authority for believers in the government, the church, and the home by a minister at my church, Rev. Weaver

A Precious Example – a godly example of what the sexual relationship in marriage should look like from a couple who has been married many decades

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood www.radical.net

John Piper – Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood www.desiringgod.org

If you are in a truly abusive relationship as the abuser or the abused spouse, please, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel. If you are not safe, please try to get to a safe place. I don’t want anyone to be harmed or in danger.

RESOURCES:

The Salvation Army has counselors that are available to  help women (and men) in abusive relationships and in a wide variety of issues

If you are in a consensual BDSM or CDD relationship and want to stop this lifestyle but don’t know how, please seek help from a trusted, godly pastor, a trusted Christian counselor, www.xxxchurch.org, www.focusonthefamily.org, or a trusted godly pastor or experienced godly counselor. I don’t have all of the resources that wives who are truly abused will need. They will need very specialized, experienced, one-on-one counseling as they heal from abuse.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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