I want to give you advance notice about a teleseminar and live-streaming event Chris Moles and I will be hosting next Thursday evening at 8:30 pm ET. Chris is a pastor as well as a Batterer Intervention Specialist in West Virginia. He works with abusive men who have been court ordered for treatment. Together we are going to talk about whether or not destructive/abusive people can change and how that change process happens. We will also be answering your questions as time allows. The seminar will be FREE of charge but we will have limited space. If you’re interested in joining us, click here.
Today’s Question: I am now separated from my husband. He has carried on affairs for the past 12 or so years of our marriage, even when I suspected and asked, he lied directly to my face and denied it. He has sent other women money, went on vacations with them, and who knows what else. He is also emotionally abusive and very controlling. I chose to get myself and my kids out of that environment until he has proved that I can trust him again.
I have filed for child support and legal separation in order to protect myself and the kids financially (he has not always made wise decisions). The courts have decided on the amount and are going to garnish his paycheck since he hasn't been paying. He is telling me that I am going to bankrupt “us”, and that it is my fault. I believe that he should pay child support, and that if he does lose the house, etc., it is a consequence of his sin. Am I correct?
He is trying to manipulate me and have me believe that I am ruining him and trying to get revenge. I am trying hard to live as God wants me to, but it’s hard when my husband is always pushing his own agenda on me, and he has the ability to make you doubt your own decisions.
My question is: Is child support okay to seek as a Christian? He keeps telling me that we shouldn't let the ungodly determine what we do with our family. Thanks.
Answer: Your husband tells you that you shouldn’t let the ungodly determine what you do with your family – meaning you shouldn’t involve the secular authorities in family affairs. Your husband is twisting the meaning of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 where Paul encourages believers who are in lawsuits with other believers to settle things without using secular courts. Peacemakers, a Christian organization, has tried to fulfill that mandate so that believers who are in dispute can go before other believers and receive godly counsel and mediation.
However, Peacemakers would not be an appropriate venue to settle your child support dispute for three reasons:
- Your husband is a liar and acts like an ungodly person himself. He cannot be trusted to keep his word or mediate fairly or be faithful to carry out the terms of the mediation.
- Peacemakers is powerless to hold your husband legally accountable to the terms of the agreement and given his history, he needs accountability with legal teeth in it.
- Your children will suffer if they do not get the financial support they are legally entitled to from their father.
In Romans 13:1-7, Paul tells us that God has put secular authorities in place to help protect us against ungodly and evil people. He writes, “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong”. …And, “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He (the government) is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
Your husband twists the Bible to suit his own selfish purposes. He doesn’t want to pay child support. His strategy is for you to feel guilty involving the secular authorities so that you will rescind the court ordered garnished child support. Please don’t do that. If you do it would remove the accountability the courts have set up to ensure that he does pay his child support.
God cares about the welfare of wives and children. Here’s what he says about your husband supporting you and your children. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
Read Exodus 21:10-11. If a man treated his wife poorly and did not provide food, clothing or love (regularly) it was grounds for divorce. She could leave the relationship.
Your husband has already demonstrated that he is not trustworthy. He’s lied, he’s cheated, he’s been foolish with money and yet he’s accusing you of ruining him and finances. You said it well when you said that it’s his own foolish financial decisions that have landed him in his financial quagmire, not your requiring he pay child support.
But deep down you already know the answer to your question, don’t you? That’s why you’ve separated and filed for child support. Please don’t allow this ungodly, unfaithful, foolish, deceitful man to influence your thinking for one more moment.
Ladies, this is why it’s so important that you get counsel from wise people and not the foolish, even if they profess to quote or know the Bible. People do influence us and the more we listen to fools, the more muddled we become. It’s also important that you read God’s word for yourself. See what it says. Don’t let someone take things out of context for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in all truth, which Jesus says, is one of his main jobs. (John 16:13).
Friends, when you feel confused and muddled and tempted to doubt the course of action you are taking, what do you do to get clarity and wisdom?