I urgently need help! I filed for divorce from my husband… because of sexual abuse, infidelity, violation of human dignity, abuse, cruelty, lies, abandonment, and other reasons. A year and a half ago I moved in with my parents along with my three sons who are fifteen, seventeen, and nineteen years of age due to the continual abuse that we were subjected to, and the truth is that I feel more peace without my husband, even though when I leave the house I am very afraid.

My divorce is almost final, and my youngest son has turned on me, besides being disobedient and rebellious. My husband… has talked to my sons about what the Bible says about marriage and has told them that I am doing the wrong thing before God…. What should I do? I love my sons and I don’t want to hurt them…. Should I subject myself to continual abuse and cruelty until it ends in tragedy? Will this keep me out of heaven?

Dear Friend,

All children are hurt when their parents can’t get along. They are hurt emotionally when the parents argue and fight all the time, and they are hurt if the parents split up. Children do not have the emotional maturity to decide which parent is “right” or “wrong,” and they overlook the “facts” because of their emotions.

When my parents split up, I somehow decided that my father was the victim, and I took up for him against my mother. I threatened my mother that I would go live with him. Now, as an adult, I know that my feelings back then were based on my limited knowledge and understanding of reality.

A fifteen-year-old boy needs his father to be a hero. If his father doesn’t fill that role, then the boy may subconsciously deny reality and embrace the fantasy. It is understandable that he is disobedient and rebellious, for even boys from intact and stable homes can be disobedient and rebellious at that age. But your son feels pulled from both directions and is acting out in frustration and anger.

Even though God hates divorce, (1) His Son Jesus Christ said that infidelity is an exception.(2) Among other things, an unfaithful spouse brings the possibility of serious diseases into the home. And a violent spouse only makes matters worse, bringing the danger of physical harm and even death. No one should remain in a dangerous environment.

It’s good that you want to avoid any action that will keep you out of heaven. However, the Apostle Paul taught that all of us have sinned and that all sin will keep us out of heaven.(3) That’s why Jesus had to die on the cross to pay for all our sin. Because of what He did for us, we can ask Him to forgive our sins and to be the Master of our lives. So no matter what sin we have committed, He is ready and willing to forgive.(4)

Ask God to help you do the right thing no matter what your son thinks. Don’t talk negatively about your husband, for this will make your son take up for him even more. Be firm and consistent in discipline, never letting your son wear you down. And be calm, never reacting in anger. Someday the boy will become a man and will understand.

We wish you well,

1 Mal 2:16
2 Mt 19:8-9
3 Ro 3:23; 6:23
4 1Jo 1:9