Helping Widows – Women Married To Pornography / Sexual Addicts
The parable of the unjust judge explains a lot about how to care for widows who are hurting because of their husband’s spiritual death, often caused by his pornography use and subsequent lies and hypocrisy.
In Luke 18:2-9, Jesus teaches the parable of the unjust judge. A widow comes to the unjust judge and asks him to hold her “adversary” accountable. At first the unjust judge does nothing. He’s unhappy with her continued requests for help. He decides to pacify her with words.
Jesus Teaches That Leaders Need To Do Something To Protect Widows
Jesus adds here, listen to what the unjust judge “saith”, making a point that there is no action done on his part to avenge the widow.
The unjust judge placates her, feigning righteousness, “Will not God avenge you? You pray to Him all day and night, and He listens to you. I’m sure God will help you. When Jesus comes again, will He find that you have faith?”
Christ targets this parable “unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.”
As this kind of widow myself, when I read this scripture, it rang so true to me. I have found myself in this exact situation.
We know the judge is unjust. So this is an example of what not to do.
One of the most common examples of a widow petitioning for help is a wife wanting her church leader to hold her husband accountable for breaking his covenants: lying, pornography use, and abuse. She does this because she loves her husband and she wants to save her family.
Related Behaviors Of Porn Users
Active pornography users exhibit some or many of these behaviors, but the severity differs from individual to individual:
- Lashing Out In Anger
- Neglecting Emotional Needs Of Family Members
- Emotionally Abusing Family Members
- Neglecting Household Duties and Other Family Responsibilities
- Narcissistic Traits
Men who exhibit these behaviors have lost the privilege of being in a family. It’s emotionally and spiritually unsafe for wives and children to be exposed to these types of behaviors. Women who have lost their husbands to pornography need to be protected. Support people need to hold their husbands accountable. They need to “avenge” these spiritual widows to enable the family to heal.
Many times, at the very beginning of the disclosure / discovery process, widows don’t recognize the lying, manipulation and abuse. So she too might not understand that setting boundaries and holding her husband accountable is the only way to safety.
Because she is compassionate, she too may think that being supportive, forgiving, and loving is the answer – but what judges and widows miss is that setting boundaries and holding someone accountable is the most compassionate, forgiving, loving thing you can do for a person who desperately needs to cleanse the inner vessel. Luke 5:37 “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.”
Since there is a lack of specifics and guidance when it comes to policies about how to help pornography users and victims, women are not given consistent help. In my work with thousands of widows all over the world, the responses and ways to deal with it are all over the map – even if the behavior in the men is fairly consistent.
Telling a woman that her husband hasn’t committed adultery because is he hasn’t actually slept with someone isn’t helpful because she knows full well that Jesus himself said it is. She also knows full well how she feels. Her heart is breaking, her family is at risk because he has committed adultery in his heart.
“Freedom from accountability means that the abusive man considers himself above criticism. If his partner attempts to raise her grievances, she is “nagging” or “provoking” him. He believes he should be permitted to ignore the damage his behavior is causing, and he may become retaliatory if anyone tries to get him to look at it” (Why Does He Do That? 58).
It is essential that friends, relatives, courts, and communities understand . . . and give the woman the most complete support and protection possible, while simultaneously taking steps to hold the abuser accountable” (Why Does He Do That? 101).
Abusers think that their wives dwell on grievances and refuse to forgive “because she sometimes attempts to hold him accountable rather than letting him stick her with cleaning up his messes – literally and figuratively” (Why Does He Do That? 142).
Contrast that parable with Acts 7:24-25
24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed . . .
25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
I interpret that to mean, when he saw the suffering, he defended her and avenged her. He supposed that other leaders would have understood how that God by his hand would help her save her family and heal her marriage – by holding her husband accountable for his misdeeds and helping him through the process of sincere, back-breaking repentance. But they simply told her to pray and read her scriptures, and that God would help her. Have faith, they said. But they understood not that they should be God’s hands to help.
In light of the pornography epidemic, and the lack of understanding around the topic, including the severe emotional and financial suffering of the widows involved, Acts 6:1 seems especially pertinent: “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring . . . because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.”