NB: This letter is fictional with regard to the particulars, but with regard to the nature of the sins described, it is unfortunately not at all fictional. Consider it a composite portrait, with no particular man in mind. At the same time, if any individual husband recognizes himself in the portrait and humbles himself, I would thank God and say that this was kind of the point.
You were probably expecting this letter, but so there will be no misunderstanding, I still wanted to begin by explaining why I was writing. We have spoken off and on over the years about the problem of anger in your home, and you have consistently said that your wife was simply misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting you. You have described what you do as simply being “firm,” or “stern,” while she has called it anger, sometimes through tears. You have said that your wife must have been affected by feminism or something, and that you were simply trying to exercise a masculine leadership in the home that doesn’t mollycoddle the kids. And because it has always come down to did too/did not, and no external witnesses, the most I could do is exhort you generally.
But having witnessed your outburst at your family last Sunday, I believe I am finally in a position to address the issue with you directly. You were probably expecting to hear from me because of how the outburst started in front of some others at the church picnic, but also, as it happened, I was walking through the parking lot about fifteen minutes later, and though I didn’t hear all of what happened, I know that I heard quite enough. From what I heard, it is manifestly apparent to me that if your wife has been misrepresenting you, it has actually been in the direction of trying to protect your reputation. It is clear to me that everything she has been saying about your anger is true, and then some. The kind of anger on display in what I heard was not a momentary irritation or annoyance, but was rather a manifestation of settled character, and what was manifested there was vile.
And that is why I am writing. This letter is not a substitute for meeting together with me. I simply wanted to describe the situation for you beforehand so that you would have time to reflect, so that our visit afterward can be as fruitful as possible.
Some of what I am going to say will seem hard or harsh to you because for years you have used anger to keep any real criticism far away from you. So while I know it will seem hard, please know that every word here is written with your best interests in mind.
Another way of putting it is that these words will seem hard because they are so late in coming. Angry husbands are a problem to others, to their wives and children particularly. But I want to set everything in its proper context. Angry husbands are a problem to others, but we need to start by remembering that angry husbands have a problem. That problem is that apart from true and genuine repentance they are going to Hell.
“For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col. 3:6–8).
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:30–31).
The settled habit of mind that I heard on display the other night is utterly inconsistent with inheriting the kingdom of God. The reason is that you are not just dealing with anger, although that is bad enough. When someone gives way to ungodly anger, the sin is destructive and bad. But when it is rationalized, when it is not repented, when the angry person does not humble himself before those he has wounded, sincerely seeking their forgiveness in true humility, the problem is overweening arrogance and pride. The episode of anger is like putting stain on a piece of wood — but refusal to repent in humility is like putting a defiant sealant on it. The pride is the thing that is truly diabolical. And when you have been getting angry for years, as you plainly have, and have never once humbled yourself to your family because of it, and have constantly defended your behavior in repeated conversations with your pastor, then it is apparent that your pride has you by the throat and will not let you go.
In the Colossians passage, it says that the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. The children of disobedience are identified by their clothing, by what they wear every day. And what they wear every day is bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, malice, and evil speaking. All of that is plainly characteristic of your heart, your mind, and your mouth, and I need to tell you plainly that you can’t wear that stuff and go to Heaven. And apart from true heartfelt repentance, you are not going to Heaven. The apostle speaks plainly — take those filthy clothes off, and put on Christ.
I used the example of pride as a sealant. The Ephesians passage also speaks of the Holy Spirit as a seal of the day of redemption. Because this is what He is doing it is absolutely necessary for everyone who calls himself a Christians to put away bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these . . . hatred, variance, emulations, wrath . . .envyings . . . and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19–21).
Shall not inherit the kingdom of God. So this is the necessary context for everything I am saying. Your soul is in dire peril. Jesus once said that there is no profit for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul. That being the case, how much more of a bad bargain is it for a man to gain everything he is demanding in his world, in his home, through bluster, browbeating and bullying, and to then lose his own soul right there in his own living room? What comes out of your mouth smells like sulfur and damnation.
Now pride cannot be challenged without excuses and rationalizations coming to mind, so I want to briefly touch on a few that are likely to occur to you.
You may want to justify your outbursts of anger at your family because you think they are only the recipients of your anger, not the cause of it. You may blame your boss, or the long commute, or idiotic co-workers. You think you just come home a little “grumpy” because of these other problems, and you expect (and demand) sympathy from your family. When you don’t get it, you flare up at them, and feel entirely justified. They don’t know how hard you work, they don’t know the pressure, they ought to be more understanding. But the people you have to deal with at work display only a fraction of your irrational cruelties. You have scalded your family countless times, and are then “honestly” puzzled by how cautious they are around you.
You might think that your anger episodes are perhaps a “problem,” to be sure, now that I mention it, and that you do need to work on it sometime. But your silences are likely as much trouble as your outbursts. Your family is being forced by you to live on the slopes of a volcano, and it doesn’t have to be erupting all the time for them to be in a state of fear all the time. To change the metaphor, when you blow up you leave a crater that is fifty feet across, lip to lip, and then you make some symbolic pacific gesture (which is very non-verbal) like throwing an extra carton of ice cream into the shopping basket “for the kids.” This is the equivalent of throwing a couple of spadefuls of dirt at this yawning, smoking crater . . . and even then you miss the crater. Your episodes of anger are not a periodic problem; they are a manifestation of the fact that you are an angry man all the time, and your family is forced to treat your anger as a constant. They treat it as a constant because they are not fools — it is a constant. You are a constant. The problem is not what you occasionally do. The problem is what you are, and you successfully communicate what you are even when you are sitting on the couch saying nothing. You are either exploding like a bomb, or ticking ominously like a bomb. The only way for your family to be restored is for you to humble yourself and repent.
And last, there is a reason why angry men often seek out conservative churches. You want to be able reject “softness,” and you hate the unsound doctrine of “squishy” pop evangelicalism. When you first came to our church, you explicitly told me that you were looking for a church with “standards,” a church that was willing to resist the effeminacy of our age. You were attracted to the fact that we still practice church discipline. As I recall, your first Sunday with us happened to be that day we were disciplining a woman for deserting her husband for another man. You commended me, as I recall, and said that it was refreshing to encounter a church with some discipline. Well, we do practice discipline, but you need to know we discipline for fits of rage, and not just for adultery. We discipline husbands, not just wives.
And speaking of our effeminate age, when it comes to standards, you need to know that angry, bitter, resentful husbands in conservative churches are quite adept at giving liberals one of the few reasonable points they have. That reasonable point is that conservative standards are often abused by hypocrites in order to provide a scriptural veneer for old-fashioned bullying. On this matter, you are not with us — you are working for the other side, confirming as many of their caricatures as you can.
As I said at the beginning, I know that this will be taken by you, at least initially, as sharp, hard, and harsh. And so it is — but you should think of it as a surgeon’s knife. Please know that we love you, and we want you to be free. Not only do we want you to be free, but we want your family to be delivered. You were given to them so that your hardness could be a shield for them. You are called to be hard for them, not hard on them.
Let’s set up a time to talk.
“That reasonable point is that conservative standards are often abused by hypocrites in order to provide a scriptural veneer for old-fashioned bullying. On this matter, you are not with us — you are working for the other side, confirming as many of their caricatures as you can.”
This has multiple applications in a myriad of ways. Thanks, Doug.
How convenient to suggest that issue rests only with angry men, as if there are no angry women or angry wife’s.
There are angry women but angry men are physically stronger. My husband can yell and scream at me, throw furniture, does not allow me to leave the house etc. Once the neighbors heard him in rage and called the police. When he saw a policeman he immediately (!) calmed down , started to smile, and asked what happened. Does it mean he is a coward?
Pastor Wilson, what would you suggest as some steps if you are a teenager and you see yourself starting to develop the kinds of things you are talking about in this article?
Qustions i would ask are, Is this how your father acts? if he does, then a part of you truly believes such behavior is okay. Are you really saved? If not, the anger truly is natural. Is there any sexual abuse in your past?
Wary, I hope Pastor Wilson gets back to you more in-depth, but I’d happily talk with you if you’re worried about seeing anger grow in your heart. As a foundation, if God has moved into your life, He’s going to be transforming you into a peacemaker by the Holy Spirit and through the Word; so dive into the Word and into prayer, with the aim of worshipping and obeying God the more you get to know Him. You’ll see anger diminish rather than grow over time. In dealing with anger specifically, thinking through the emotional tenor of your home can… Read more »
A few weeks ago you posted a quote by C.S. Lewis “We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic”. Now you know the issues of your own congregation but in general we live in a time when men are deliberately enervated and women encouraged in bold rebellion. As a case in point I link this from John Piper’s former church Bethlehem Baptist. If time is an issue you can scroll to the… Read more »
Another comment on addressing the failings of men in the church, Mark Driscoll was prone to correcting the men in his church by means of spittle flecked rants from the pulpit. It is questionably what sort of result such an indiscriminate approach would have but more significantly, it always struck me as a general berating and belittling his lieutenants in front of the enlisted men. Such an approach would lower the moral of all and undermine the command structure. In Driscoll’s case there was always a tinge of “You’re husband is not a real man because of X, I’m the… Read more »
I’ve always found alpha-male chest thumping types like Driscoll, who really display no empathy for the pitiable, obsequious, brainwashed masses of white knight manginas in our culture, to be rather off-putting. Why don’t they ever talk about all the ways that women promote and encourage violence and aggression, as well as gutless servility, in men? Why be so one-sided? Don’t we respect women enough to hold them accountable for their part in this?
True men don’t double down on Adam’s excuse that “the woman made me do it”, ever.
Let me ask you this: The majority of child abuse against boys is done by women, but do you ever hear anyone talk about this? Suppose all the women in our society collectively came together and informed the men that they would not sleep with them if they joined the military to fight an unjust war. How long do you think the war would last? Maybe a couple of days at most? The point is, men become what women want them to become. Women have immense power to control the thoughts and actions of men, especially in a society such… Read more »
The point is, men become what women want them to become. Secular men, yes. For many/most men, this is true.The confusion sown is purposeful and evil . The results predictable and litter Christian Civilisation. For Christian men, they become what God want’s them to become and that is to be something radically different than the secular man. That results are also predictable and they are what built Christian Civilisation. To be a Christian man is to be a good man. The mature Christian man is more Man, than the secular version and his ways are His ways. I fear you… Read more »
In the big picture, yes, Christian men become what God wants them to become. I’m not denying that. But do you really believe that women have no effect at all on how Christian men behave? Does not the wife bear some responsibility for helping her husband become more like a man of God and less like a man of the world (this would apply to the reverse as well)? I’ve heard famous reformed pastors talk to women about how they ought to “encourage” their men to be more Godly leaders of the home when they’re falling short. Why do that… Read more »
“…then the kind of person she picks to build that home with is obviously very important, and she is morally responsible for picking the wrong man, one who will create a toxic environment for her children.” This is blame shifting on many levels. The man in in no way absolved of his sin because the woman made a foolish mistake in picking his sorry butt for a husband. This comes down to shirking the man’s side of the headship, obedience and submission bargain. Look, if the toxicity was coming from the wife’s side of the bargain, I would pull no… Read more »
Why do you insist on calling it blame shifting? Did I ever say anything about the man being absolved of his sin because his wife chose him? Why can’t they both bear moral responsibility in this situation? In this situation the man obviously should be disciplined, and perhaps rather harshly, and I don’t think the woman should be disciplined at all. But why is it being so mean to women to wish that pastors would speak about women’s responsibility in these situations every once in a while, and maybe try and encourage a church culture where women feel a little… Read more »
Ben, you are introducing another scenario that is off-topic and contentious in its own right; your statements are not-well thought out and perhaps its best to step back and think on it for a bit.
Let’s leave it there for now and revisit another time.
That’s fine, and perhaps some day you can tell me how these statements aren’t well thought out, but in any case, I’d appreciate if you wouldn’t misrepresent my arguments in the future.
I look forward to a future discussion; I think it will be profitable then. Out of politeness to the other commenter s, I think it polite that I step away from this conversation for now.
Because you are blameshifting.
Imagine you are that husband.
You look across at your miserable wife and say with a straight face, “It’s your fault for choosing me.”
That don’t really fly does it?
I never said that, and I’ve made that clear in several posts on here. Look at my response to some of your other comments, where I made it clear that I believed the man should be disciplined and that his wife shouldn’t. This isn’t about using the church to beat some miserable woman when she’s down, it’s about creating a church culture in which women are treated as moral agents who are responsible for picking loving, God-honoring men. Look, the only reason I really feel compelled to offer this perspective is because of how much I hear pastors berating men.… Read more »
Of course it should. I think the reason it isn’t condemned as a moral evil is that the woman is usually being punished enough for the terrible choice she made. It would seem like heaping unnecessary grief on someone who knows–none better–that she has harmed innocent children by marrying an unworthy man. I think we are still in a transitional period in terms of how we choose whom to marry. Outside Christian patriarchic circles, parents no longer have much role in guiding their adult children’s choices. Even in my day, it was a rare parent who ran background checks on… Read more »
Yea…reformed Christian culture…so female dominated (wha?!).
You sound like you are giving *an awful lot* of power to women ie – when you say “women have immense power to control the thoughts and actions of men.” Perhaps they don’t have quite as much power as you think and you are distorting the situation – not balancing it – more than you realize.
Sounds like this genuinely may be a personal problem.
Ben, accepting responsibility for something we didn’t do is what being a man is. Should Jesus have respected us enough to hold us accountable? Thank God he didn’t.
Wait, so you’re saying that women shouldn’t also emulate Christ by accepting responsibility for things they didn’t do? Actually, you appear to be saying that women shouldn’t even accept responsibility for things they DID do. That seems highly disrespectful to women, in my opinion.
I don’t have a wife, but if I did, I would be called to love her first. The command is to love your wife, not respect her. Would i respect her? Yes. But love takes priority. So maybe it’s disrespectful to women that in Adams fall we sinned all even though Eve took the first bite. But I will love my wife first before respecting.
She will be a lucky lady.
Ben, the world is rotten in a million different ways. Don’t let it make you bitter. You only need to find one good girl. In the meantime make yourself worthy of authority. From there out it will be you and her against the world and that can actually make for a pretty great relationship.
I guess I did a crappy job of making my point. I suppose I’ll try one more time very quickly: Women are responsible for picking good men to have children with. Women who pick bad men to have children with are morally culpable. Women who stay with bad men for years and years are also morally culpable. The moral culpability of women in these matters is rarely if ever talked about in the church culture. Do you dispute any of this?
I agree with everything you’ve said. Bad actions were once limited by consequences and social shaming and the church agrees with the state that consequences and social shaming should only be applied to white males and then is surprised to have bad outcomes. The church eventually absorbs every nutty idea that the culture can concoct and then puts the authority of God behind it. You can’t change the world and you can’t change the church but you can carve out something nice for yourself. Preserve your sanity by reading Spurgeon, Packer, Augustine in addition to the blogs you’re reading. Try… Read more »
I’m going to exit the discussion now. I tend to hog the comments.
Well, each of us has fallen short of the glory of God. Driscoll’s happens to be more public, be cause he took the responsibility to make himself a public figure. Let’s pray for the man. He has a good many troubles, but has also done a lot of good for the kingdom of God. Let us pray he repents of his anger; for as this article so straightforwardly mentions, anger is one of the deadly sins that, unrepented for, will send us to hell. God have mercy.
Yikes. It’s the wife’s fault for not giving angry husband enough sex. I pray you’re not in leadership anywhere, Barnabus.
Oh, I wouldn’t presume to take the lead on matters such as this. Only a government or church official with an overdeveloped sense of moral superiority and years of study of dumbed down Marx and Freud is qualified.
Anyway, exercise and sex work for me.
Barnabus appears to be exhibit A for the type of person Pastor Wilson was addressing in this article. He continually shifts blame and responsibility. When confronted by it he denies there is a problem. What happens to those poor souls under his leadership if something happens where he cannot have sex and exercise?
I kill them. I kill them ALL!
I think the anger issue has to be addressed first. It is a rare woman who is interested in having sex with an unreasonably or chronically angry man.
It is certainly a deplorable story, and I accept that these four women evidently enjoyed having sex with an angry, antisocial man. But I believe that being a guard in a men’s prison is probably a relatively rare career choice for a Christian woman living in a complementarian marriage. Of course there are women who enjoy angry sex, hateful sex, and degrading sex, but I think they are unusual and they are not the kind of woman involved in Pastor Wilson’s hypothetical.
If time is an issue you can scroll to the bottom and see the a chart of
abuses no doubt compiled by a radical gender studies department but at
least semi-officially adopted by Bethlehem Baptist.
Angry husband would likely be better adjusted if he were to vigorously exercise several times a week and have more sex.
By itself, that approach will mask, not root out the pride and end up merely tempering the hate. The solution is to see the sin, repent of it and begin the process of working it out of ones being.
Would the proper solution look something like this? The abuser (witch, communist/fascist, racist, what have you) admits his crimes before a tribunal and emotionally embraces his identity as an abuser. He agrees to a prolonged course of therapy and reeducation from properly certified authorities. This is exactly how secular society would handle the problem so forgive me if I’m a little suspicious that this may be more cultural than biblical. Isn’t it at least as likely that lifestyle changes would go a long way to rectify the problem. In more extreme cases come cognitive/behavioral counseling may be helpful. Keep in… Read more »
I started to read… Would the proper solution look something like this? The abuser (witch, communist/fascist, racist, what have you) admits his crimes before a tribunal and emotionally embraces his identity as an abuser. He agrees to a prolonged course of therapy and reeducation from properly certified authorities. …and grabbed my sword to race towards the battle yelling ‘prepare to die you son-of-a-bitch!’ Hell No. This is why I lit into Boilerplate Feminist on the cotton ball thread. This is feminist entry-ism designed not to build up but to destroy marriage, women and men. It is evil. If you want… Read more »
In light of my expressed anger here on this blog, I am prayerfully considering this for a time. (per the Holy Spirit, my anger is proportional and appropriate and directed. Per Him and His promptings, I do not feel or think that I am out of line; ). Pastor Wilson, if this is you trying to communicate something to me, please do so openly in these comments or privately via email and I will listen humbly and prayerfully. Checking my heart, Joy is my norm and my day-to-days are happy and smiling and my friendships happy, good and close. My… Read more »
I had a long talk with God as I was doing some gardening and its cool. However, if you disagree, please call me out.
Now please explain what not being angry looks like, because he probably has no idea.
Unfortunately, a wife of an angry husband cannot share this type of post with her husband and the angry husband does not go looking for ‘self-improvement’ reading such as this. You are right about the wife hiding how angry the husband really is. She and the children have to pretend to be something they aren’t whenever people are around. She also has to shield her children at home. It’s emotionally exhausting. The wife and children have to learn to lead double lives. This can draw children/wives away from the church because they don’t want to live that way for the… Read more »
I’ve heard that no bond is stronger than that between a woman and her children, yet for some reason, so many women allow themselves and their children to remain in situations like this instead of getting out. It really baffles me. How can a woman have no exit plan, especially if she’s been putting up with it for years? How can she not have thought this through? Does she have no support system, no friends, no family, no church that she and her children can turn to? If not, then what does this say about the woman and her ability… Read more »
When women are taught that submission is an all or nothing essential quality of womanhood, and that only physical abuse is reason for separation, and that asking for help from their elders is rebellion, and that, as you yourself allude in a prior comment, the root cause for his abuse is her provoking him, they will stay and suffer.
As for wives being somehow “accountable” or “shamed” for being deceived into marrying such a man, as if now his sinful treatment of her is somehow deserved, all I can say is that that attitude is utterly antithetical to the gospel.
I wasn’t talking about situations where the woman says or does something to the man in order to provoke him (though that should be taken into consideration as well). See my next comment on that thread for clarification on what I meant by “promoting and encouraging” violence. I never said anything about the woman deserving to be abused. Please don’t misrepresent my statements. I’m simply pointing out that in the current paradigm, the woman is almost always perceived as purely the victim, which assumes she had no ability to discern before marrying her husband that he might be abusive. I… Read more »
Where are the Christian men stepping in to help out the women and children and firmly, (angrily, if needed) discipline the erring husband*? Pastor Wilson’s post is an example of this interdiction; the language is clear, severe and Biblical. The husband’s behavior will not change (it may be masked, but not changed at root) until the husband deals with his own sin. The way to deal with one’s own sin is to humble oneself and ask God to reveal it to you, for you to see it, for you to repent of it and to ask God to hold you… Read more »
Of course I don’t advocate for shifting all responsibility to the women and children (I’m not sure if you were saying that about me). I simply think that women (certainly not the children) should be held more accountable than they are, by and large, in our society. Women are just as capable of making a bad marriage decision based on lust as men are. Why can’t the church do a better job of holding women to higher standards of behavior when it comes to whom they marry and procreate with?
Ben, by your language you seem like you read a lot of those “red pill” “manosphere” blogs, and I want to go on record as saying that those are completely unbiblical and you should stop reading them, immediately. They are damaging and destructive because they are laced with a few kernels of truth, enough to draw in vulnerable men seeking male mentors, but inside they are pure poison. I know it’s tempting to want to join in with men rising against feminism and being real men, but those blogs will turn you into something that you don’t want to be.… Read more »
Where did I say anything unbiblical? What’s wrong with rising against feminism and wanting to be a real man? What is the true picture of Godly men, and how is it contrary to anything I’ve said?
Edit: By the way, I am somewhat familiar with the Mens’ Rights Movement, and I acknowledge that the core of their philosophy is secular, naturalistic humanism. But that doesn’t mean they don’t say a lot of true things. I don’t see why I can’t agree with some of what they say without adopting their philosophy as a whole.
You keep pointing out how women in the church are blameless forever victims but in my experience that’s just not true. I feel like women are never good enough, never pure enough, never womanly enough, never submissive enough, too submissive etc. Look at the double standard with regard to male virginity versus female virginity. Which one is perceived as “unmarriageable”? That and everything positive about women is seen as “creeping feminism” which it isn’t necessarily. And women ARE chastised for making bad marriage decisions out of lust. Women get plenty of chastising about everything, not all of it undeserved.
When women misrepresent statements or issues brought up by men, as you have here, it makes it more difficult to heal relations between the sexes. Please understand that by picking apart your statements here (hopefully in a way that comes off as kind and benign) I am trying to be constructive. “You keep pointing out how women in the church are blameless forever victims but in my experience that’s just not true.” I never said this at all. I never said that I believed women never get disciplined in church. I certainly wasn’t saying that a woman should be disciplined… Read more »
I think we are talking past each other here. I’m not misrepresenting anything you said nor was I really responding to specific points, I was just trying to give a window into what church culture looks like for a female. (Also, yes I have heard non virgin women called unmarriagable, by commenters on this very blog actually, not to mention tons of manosphere blogs.) I don’t want to get in a battle of the sexes and I don’t think you are being terribly constructive, but it does appear that I hit a sore spot with you, with regard to your… Read more »
Actually, you very much did misrepresent what I said. I never called women “blameless forever victims,” and you explicitly stated that I did. This is deception, plain and simple. I’m calling you out on this out of respect. Moreover, I believe it is constructive to do so in order to prevent you from alienating someone else in the future. You may not think you did anything wrong, but a typical intelligent man who enjoys discussing issues on forums like this will feel offended by what you did. If it’s your mission to reach out to men like me who have… Read more »
Re-read Pastor Wilsons blog post. The topic is a husband who is sinning and there is plenty of background story to fill explain the nature of the sin. It is a too-common sin by men who do not have the guts to love and be loved and who compensate by trying to control and limit what they experience. Your comments lack that detail. It is my opinion that you should ask Pastor Wilson to post on the counter-example where the wife is sinning and the husband and children are suffering because of her sin. Addressing your concerns there would be… Read more »
Actually, I originally just replied in agreement to one of Barnabas’s comments, and then people started responding to what I said there.
Fair enough. You wrote: Why don’t they ever talk about all the ways that women promote and encourage violence and aggression, as well as gutless servility, in men? Why be so one-sided? Don’t we respect women enough to hold them accountable for their part in this? Its the sentence , “Don’t we respect women enough to hold them accountable for their part in this?” that is inappropriate now because within the scope of this topic–the husband abusing his family–it reads as you defending the abuse. That introduces a side-topic (an important one) but doing so detracts from the original important… Read more »
Also, take it from someone who has been there. The MRM is poison, even if adopted in small bites. What if I said the same about third-wave feminism? You can agree with real manhood and non-feminism but be careful what you consume. If you went on a date with a woman who said the same thing but replaced the MRM with “Jezebel” or insert third-wave feminist here, would you get red flags? You can be pro-woman and pro-man but seriously, dude, avoid the movement. It’s toxic. I know from experience.
Thank you, Timothy.
Ben, I’m guessing you are not a pastor or counselor and have limited experience with troubled marriages or people who are new to the church. So, I’m going to try to give an explanation from the woman’s point of view. Each family situation is unique. Not all women have grown up in the church or with good examples, so yes, poor choices are not terribly unusual. Then the woman has to decide if she should face judgement for divorcing or judgement for hanging in there. I get the feeling that if you were judging she couldn’t win either way. So,… Read more »
I think they are reasonable questions, but I think we should clarify the kind of situation Pastor Wilson is describing. I took it to mean a family in which the father is frequently unreasonably angry, so much so that his wife and children go to great lengths not to provoke him. I am taking for granted that this husband is not physically abusive either to her or to the children. A Christian woman in this situation (and never mind for now that she should have noticed his anger issues before having children) is not usually counseled by her pastor to… Read more »
Doug does not appear to be discussing wives here. The issue is anger in husbands: both husbands who have godly and respecting wives; and those who have difficult or contentious ones. Husbands need to deal with anger. Now it may be harder when a wife says and does unhelpful and sinful things; and there may be spiritual issues to address; but anger must be dealt with: it kills.
Another example of a comment thread that would benefit mightily by 1 more level of comment nesting.
Dear Administrator, please add one more level of comment nesting.
Yet makes it impossible to keep up with the comments! Where do you find them? I would rather no nesting and people quote others, or address numbered comments.
Dear Administrator, can we have no nested commenting? Are you able to turn on comment numbering?
Please ignore the irony of this comment being nested :)
That sounds good too.
I totally agree. Finding comments is really cumbersome.
Especially when they come in quickly. The only way I can follow is if I check back frequently to the side bar, which is not really possible day to day.
Also, folks can do as I did here: put my 2 cents in above dan and timothy and the order the comments came in is actually inaccurate and confusing to read later on.
There’s a feature on some Disqus using blogs that flags new comments in real time. A little bar reading “new comments above” will appear at the top of your page if comments have been posted since the last time you loaded the page (or alternatively, it might say “new comments below” if they’re below where you’re currently scrolled. Then you can click on those bars and be taken straight to the new comments. Apparently this feature isn’t turned on here, but maybe we should request that it be done.
I think I’m gonna set up a separate forum for all the “regulars” to fight on about these posts and leave the comment section for people who want to comment.
A lot of people would like to take the cultural opprobrium that we might give someone who punches his wife in the face and aim it at any man who doesn’t meet their standards of niceness and marital egalitarianism. That’s when the bait and switch with the word “abuse” starts. You want to talk about a man who is chronically unhappy or unpleasant to be around then fine. Just don’t try to jack up your moral authority level by pretending you’re talking about actual violence. Most modern Christians would be very uncomfortable in the presence of even a happily married… Read more »
I read some of the impotent letters my pastor and my uncle (also a pastor) sent to my father back in the ’70s. I’m so grateful to now have a pastor who sends letters like the one above.
I’m a new commenter here but I’d love to get some feedback on a tangential issue that came up three times in the letter. 1. “That problem is that apart from true and genuine repentance they [angry husbands] are going to Hell.” 2. “And apart from true heartfelt repentance, you are not going to Heaven.” 3. “Your soul is in dire peril.” All 3 statements sound like salvation (i.e., justification) is contingent upon one’s works. I don’t understand how sola fide (“Faith Alone”) can be affirmed while at the same time making the statements above. Is it not possible that… Read more »
I think Wilson would argue that a man who does not truly and genuinely repent of sin was not saved to begin with.
dan, whatever one’s bigger theology is, Doug is quoting Scripture here. If Paul writes that such will not inherit the kingdom then they will not. My position is different to Doug’s and this is tangential, but obedience is important. A specific sin does not keep us out of the kingdom, we all sin as John tells us. Rather sin hardens us to the Holy Spirit. The man that refuses to repent hardens his conscience. Continuation in sin like this is the pathway of unbelief. If we do not have faith then we are not (will not be) saved. But repentance… Read more »
bethyada…I’m all for quoting scripture! But if there is a group of folks who will not inherit the kingdom, and these are the same folks who have placed their faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins, then you’ve backed yourself into an undesirable corner. Because the conclusion has to be either that these folks have lost their salvation, or that their salvation is contingent upon their behavior (to some degree or another). Since I don’t believe either are viable conclusions, I have to view the Galatians 5 passage as speaking about folks who are not believers.
Not much of a corner as I think men can lose their salvation. But I am not really wanting to get into that on this thread. That’s why I said my position is different to Doug’s. But for all Doug’s high octane Calvinism he tackles the warning passages better than most (Calvinists). Even so, what matters here is what Galatians says. So whatever the (saved) state the angry man thinks he is in, a life of unrepented sin is not one compatible with a welcome into heaven. So if one thinks that such a man can be saved but subsequently… Read more »
Hi dan I struggled with the same thing and the answer is by Christ alone. It takes (sometimes lots of) time for the Holy Spirit to root the evil out that permeates an evil man . As the example Pastor Wilson cites here shows, deep, foundational sin can be hidden from us and others for years. Often we are not aware that it is there; we and others are aware of the fruits of it (in this issue the fruit is anger) but the underlying sin is never in our sight. But, the Holy Spirit is sneaky! He knows what… Read more »
Timothy…Thanks for the response. I agree with most of what you have said regarding our sanctification, but I want to touch on just one particular issue. Oftentimes I hear perspectives that sound like believers (i.e., someone who has been justified and forgiven of their sins) can, as you say, “destroy their immortal soul…and do an about face and get off the road to salvation and start slithering the other way.” That sounds like our salvation must be “maintained” to a substantial degree by us (primarily through obedience). But 1 Cor 1:8 says that “He will keep you strong to the… Read more »
A fish swims, if it don’t it’s probably dead
A dog barks, if it don’t it’s probably dead
A baby eats, if it don’t it’s probably dead
A Justified Believer Repents, if it don’t it’s probably dead.
1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
Perhaps I’m simple minded, but it doesn’t seem that complicated. Have a good one.
Hi Dan, I am not qualified to answer your question as a theologian/preacher/elder. I am mere laity, so take my words with a Lot’s wife dosage of salt. Certainly repentance and obedience are crucial components of our walk with God (that is, our sanctification), but I have to very strongly disagree that a believer can “destroy their immortal soul.” How do you synthesize these passages with you view? Three inter-connected reasons: 1. Matthew 12:31-32: 2. My knowledge of my own sin and the pit into which it leads 3. My knowledge that I (without Sanctification) am capable of Matthew 12:31-32… Read more »
timothy…of the laity (I thought that sounded funny!) I really like the CS Lewis quote, too. Growth and maturity do produce not only a closer walk with Christ, but also, as you say, a heightened awareness of sin–and usually a lower view of ourselves in conjunction. (God’s kinda funny that way, isn’t He…greater growth winds up leading to more and more humility.) But I have a lot of confidence in saying that you don’t have to worry about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. You belong to Him, and He will keep you safe (1 Cor 1:8); you belong to Him and… Read more »
Thank you. G.K. Chesterton ‘Orthodoxy’ and the metaphor of the knifes edge explains the paradox; as the perception of danger increases due to the ability to see it, the peace of God grows greater; so yes, I am both at peace and aware of the danger at the same time–balanced on a knife’s edge.
“We discipline husbands, not just wives.” This is one of the things I noticed in particular when I first visited your church (16 years ago?). After bring raised in churches where the women were kept on short “leashes” and the men ran rampant, it was incredibly refreshing to see there were no gender prejudices in the congregation at Christ Church, Moscow. Thank you for giving me a safe place to grow in Christ.
I’ve been told by people occasionally that I am an angry person, but I would prefer to call it “aggressive humility”.
*giggle* Sounds more like that river in Egypt.
Doug, thank you for this post. What would you suggest the pastoral response be towards a husband who fits this description and has done so for several years in an ongoing, unrepentant, and well-documented way? What type of aid do you see the pastor or elders rendering to the wife and children who are suffering daily under the oppression of an angry man?
Rachel, I think your questions are legitimate ones. One thing that I would ask the wife in Doug’s scenario is if she thinks the anger, which is certainly verbal abuse, could escalate to physical abuse. While there may be exceptions, uncontrolled anger that is unchecked will necessarily escalate. Anger and verbal abuse are terms that can be listed under a wide umbrella. Most human beings get angry from time to time. Christians (most) are no exceptions to this rule. However, to get angry when the dinner burns, or angry when stubbing one’s toe is drastically different than making vile threats… Read more »
Yes, I would say that is the situation Doug is describing in his post and the one I am asking about. Ongoing, unrepentant, documented, and presumably escalating or at serious risk of doing so. We are not talking about someone swearing once in awhile when they stub their toe. When life at home become unbearable for the wife and the children, I would like to know what Doug thinks the pastoral response should be and what the elders should do to support the wife and kids?
The Blog post is the pastoral response. He has seen Kevin’s sin , called him out on it and set up a conversation with Kevin. Will that be the end of the story? Perhaps Pastor Wilson will post a follow up to Kevin’s letter. What I, a mere-Christian- would expect from him is that he would communicate with Kevin’s wife, pray and get on the same page about what is expected from Kevin and then with both Kevin and his wife. He would then set up parameters to make sure that Kevin is in fact repenting and turning away from… Read more »
That would be wonderful. I have never known of a church acting in that way, and it would be marvelous. When my husband left me for someone he met online, my clergy would come pray over me and remind me that I am not allowed to date. It always set my teeth on edge as I needed a basket of groceries for my daughter much more than I needed reminders about dating!
I read once that the Pagan Romans would remark how much the Christians loved each other. For some reason, “Church” has let “process” and “programs”and “systems” replace the Holy Spirit and love and community. That stuff leaves scars.
This blog post is the prelude to the pastoral response. It is a letter saying, “Come meet with me and I’ll tell you how this is going to work.” The “how this is going to work” is the part I want to know. What kind of parameters for the husband is Doug envisioning? Often men called out on this type of thing become more angry and combative rather than less so. What practical steps might be taken to help ensure keeping the wife and children remain safe? As the post noted, they live with this volatile man all the time… Read more »
Rachel, I concur with your cogent and precise response. Having been in a Christian community where situations of spousal abuse and violence took place, I witnessed firsthand the disastrous effects due to not implementing measures to protect the wife and children in a timely manner. In one case, the husband would have seasons in which he would go off the deep end – drinking, cavorting with prostitutes and violent outbursts accompanied by roughing up his wife and smashing whatever was in sight. He would ‘repent’ and all would supposedly be well for awhile. Only, of course, for the cycle to… Read more »
What the pastoral response should be is what the post is about. Call the man to repentance first, then teach and encourage him in how a man repenting of this kind of sin acts. That IS supporting the wife and children.
I am sure this will be lost amidst all the wrangling in these comments, but I grew up in this kind of household. I very much appreciate that you recognize the problem, Pastor Wilson, and so perfectly describe it. I think that what has been lost in these comments is that you are wrestling to bring a sinner to repentance. As an adult daughter in this type of situation, it is an agony to see my dad marinate in Spurgeon and the Puritans and have no concept of his own danger. You said that these men frequently gravitate to conservative… Read more »
Any time there is a counseling failure, whether it is marriage counseling, or some other type, we need to remember that there is a counselor involved. In other words, instead of two sinners (as in the case of marriage counseling) we now have added an additional sinner, or sinners, to that equation. So when it comes to a counseling failure, we need to remember that there is a possibility, that the counseling failure, is the fault of the counselor, and that the underlying marriage problems were never addressed, and possibly exacerbated, because of that failure. There are some clues in… Read more »
Whatever the case, the simple fact that this problem has festered for years with no progress, points to a problem that exists within the counseling; not just within the marriage. er, no. The problem was only identified at the outburst in the parking lot. Prior to that it was hearsay and platitudes. “We have spoken off and on over the years about the problem of anger in your home, and you have consistently said that your wife was simply misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting you. You have described what you do as simply being “firm,” or “stern,” while she has called it… Read more »
Personally convicting. Thank you.
This was beautiful. Would be curious to read a follow up post to see what was said/done in response (presuming this went to some persons at some point in time, though you said it was ‘fictional’?) I also find these comment (below) fascinating as many men seem to default to Adam’s position — “blame Eve; ie – the woman you put me with, she made me do it”. And women are prone to do the same at times. Let us each take the logs out of our own eyes, for we will each individually be accountable to God. This was… Read more »
acha648: You said, “everyone knows men are wrong every christians only talks about men being wrong. but women no just last month Pastor Meyer of Bethlehem Baptist said we should not ask women to submit and a nagging wife is the sign of a bad husband aka according to you christians women never sin…” acha: Our experiences tend to mold and shape our view of the church. My experience was quite the opposite from yours in the first Christian community of which I was a part. The leader/pastor told his wife how to dress – what she could and couldn’t… Read more »
Absolutely spectacular blog post and one all of us husbands need to hear.
My soul is in dire peril because of “variance, emulations?” Problem is, it’s 2015 and we don’t use words like that. I could look it up, but like most guys, I’m just going to keep reading along. My computer has emulations on it. That’s why I can play Super Mario Brothers old-school style on my PC. There are other versions that are true(r) to the original language and have words we can easily understand (without a dictionary) in 2015. All of that aside, something in that quoted passage didn’t seem complete so I went back and read Galatians 5 When… Read more »
Several of you have asked how a pastor should handle that problem with an angry man well let me help as I have been that angry man for over 30 years of marriage (today is my 30th anniversary) 1. First go to the wife and talk to her privately..how bad is it? Is it physical ? What would like us (elders) to do. What do you think his reaction will be if we confront him? 2. I would then make an appointment with a witness to see and discuss this issue with him after much prayer. He probably will not… Read more »
Prayers offered for you. God Bless.
Thanks for your honesty, and prayers for you and your family.
Chuck, thank you for posting this. Stories from men who are in the process of changing this mountain-sized problem seem so much rare than the stories from the women who are buckling under the weight of an angry man that it’s sometimes difficult to even remain hopeful for change. Your honesty and humility here are most welcome. I have a couple of questions for you, but if you feel they are too personal or don’t want to respond, I completely understand. You said that you were out of the house for a year. What did that look like and how… Read more »
Sure I would be happy to answer your questions 1. I left the home after an outburst that reached a level close to violence with a teenage daughter who had been disrespectful. My wife felt that someone was going to get hurt and the police called so we decided that it would be best for me to leave and so I did. I stayed at a friends house and then got my own place,an apt near my house. My best friend, a believer contacted my pastor and he and an elder came to my apt and put me under church… Read more »
Chuck, I just read your response to Rachel. Thank you for being forthright as to the details in your particular case. May God grant you continued self-control and may your marriage remain on a path that leads to healing.
One other thing Rachel is that I did attend another church for the year I was gone. I met with the pastor and explained my situation and all. To his credit he asked to speak with my pastor which I said was fine by me. Unbeknownst to me I later found out that he had contacted that pastor when he was aware in was attending another church, a wise thing to do. For any pastors reading this, I would say please be proactive in confronting this problem especially if you see this going on like Mr. Wilson did in the… Read more »
Was the Holy Spirit doing any work within you during this? If this is too personal, please just decline to answer. I do not want to intrude.
Not at first, I was prideful, felt ganged up on and misunderstood. Through my best friend in particular and others I did some major introspection and realized to some extent how much anger had hurt my family and dishonored Christ in my family. Most of my wife’s family are not believers and so I have done some major damage there in my testimony. My loneliness drove me into the scriptures along with prayer opened my eyes. I was deceived and also had quenched the Spirit from working. Throughout my life Christians, including pastors, along with my wife had warned me… Read more »
My children learned to be careful around me, they are just now beginning
to show signs of not fearing my wrath even when they do foolish things.
That is a beautiful thing!
Chuck, your comments here are quite possibly the most helpful things I’ve seen on any blog ever. Thank you so much for taking the time to post them. Would you mind if I reprinted our conversation we’ve been having here on my own blog? I think your story is hugely valuable.
Absolutely if it helps:-) I am off this week so if I can answer any other questions ask me. I want to help people overcome this if possible and keep from hurting their families .
Thanks so much! The post will be up in the next couple of days. I don’t think I’m going to get a chance to organize it all up properly today. The blog link is my first and last name dot com. (I’m not putting a proper link here because it currently has only a handful of articles on it and I’m not trying to be click-baity). You can plug in your email over there and it will send you a notice when the post comes out. Thanks again.
The post is up. If you wouldn’t mind sending me your email address through the contact form on my site, I’d like to talk to you privately for a few minutes. Thanks. :)
hey Rachel I contacted you per your request.
Thanks! I got it. Will email you soon. :)
Ditto, Rachel. I think Chuck has a lot of courage to comment as he has, particularly on this blog. Let the reader understand. ;-) By the way, what is your blog, Rachel?
Rachel, excellent questions for Chuck. It’s one thing to recognize the problem of an angry husband, as is the case in Mr. Wilson’s post. But that is just the beginning of the process. Measures need to be taken to address the problem. I think, as in the case of Chuck’s marriage, that separation is often a goad to motivate the husband to change. As long as he remains in the household, the husband will likely be emboldened to continue in his recalcitrant behavior. I’m not just thinking of the wife in this situation, but the children as well. Putting space… Read more »
Bless you and bless your family. I work with a man who has a similar story. He is now having to parent his grown children because he entirely missed the boat when they were growing up. He has to accept the path they are walking in now b/c it’s largely his fault. His wife did the best she could but they needed a different daddy than the one they had. But he is patient, and they are forgiving, and he’s hopeful that it’s working out. “Anger is often an outward expression of deeper emotional problems as well as sin.” I… Read more »
Yes absolutely I have many insecurities
This was me to a T. For my shame, I screamed, cursed, and worked myself up that I was nothing more than an overgrown toddler. I was full of pride and the day it finally hit me that I had gone over the cliff I was terrified at the damage I’d done to my relationships. God has been merciful to me and thankfulness has taken over where anger used to be. I lost several friends in my final tirade. I regret that every day. God has fortunately given my wife an equal dosage of bad memory and mercy towards my… Read more »
Holy moly this was my life. It’s nice to feel seen as the disappeared former spouse trying so hard to both stay safe and attempt after attempt to gently get my husband to see his harm in the way he moves in the world. I dont think he started out like that. Is was a terrifying long descent into his becoming like a stranger. I cant make anyone make better choices. Only plead my case and hope for respect. I waited to long and gave everything of myself till I was broken. Too much grace almost broke me down completely.… Read more »