Have you seen the recent news regarding imprisoned pastor, Saeed Abedini? His wife, Naghmeh, revealed to her inner circle of friends abuse she has suffered from her husband. The letter was somehow leaked to the media.
Here are my thoughts on the matter:
If it is true; oh, please don’t think unkind thoughts of her. Abused people don’t always make sense to the outside world. I speak from experience as one who has been down the path.
Search my past posts:
Many abused Christian wives are simply doing the best they can at the time. Most of all, they are attempting to hear the Lord and be obedient to the calling He has placed on our lives.
And here is a thought you perhaps have not thought of: Sometimes God calls people to marry a person who is unfaithful and/or abusive. If you think this goes against everything God stands for; think again. Read the book of Hosea for starters. God ordained for Hosea to marry Gomer; who was unloving and unfaithful. We are reminded through this story how undeserving we are of God’s always faithful, unconditional love. His love is constant and our salvation, eternity living in His presence, is guaranteed to those who place their faith in His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. God is Sovereign—although I admit I don’t always agree with or understand His ways or timing—I do trust Him.
Although abuse cannot be verified, it is possible that Naghmeh has survived and blossomed under her, supposed, oppressive relationship with her husband. She may have suffered in silence for many years while being viewed as nothing more than a man’s piece of property; without losing her sanity, integrity in Christ, her ability to raise her children, and obedience to follow God’s calling to advocate for those wrongly imprisoned and for the persecuted church. She may have needlessly, in some regards, and obediently in others, sacrificially given of herself.
I speak from experience when I tell you that it can be nearly impossible to reconcile in your heart and mind a public man who boldly teaches the word of God and prays, with the private man who secretly treats his wife in the home with ridicule, resentment, the silent treatment, physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse due to his addiction to pornography.
Naghmeh may be on her way to healing, if it is all true, while still not seeing Saeed’s sin in full. I remember those days all too well. When I was divorcing my abusive husband years ago, I had two different attorneys tell me I was still protecting my husband instead of revealing his problems. I was told I was the text book example of an abused wife and that I would need extensive counseling to help me find my way through the fog. They were right! I pray the Christian community, and well known Christian counselors, make themselves available to Naghmeh and her children for ongoing therapy, Bible study and prayer.
Naghmeh talks of Saeed’s love and passion for Jesus, which I believe, but if he abuses his wife; even though his salvation is secure, Saeed is out of fellowship with God and his prayers are not being heard. (John 9:31, Proverbs 28:9, Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 59:2, James 4:3, Galatians 5:22-23) And as for Saeed being, “An amazing dad who pours spiritual truths into his children’s lives;” the bigger truth is perhaps, if he is indeed abusive, that proclaiming scriptural truths at the same time as abusing your wife has huge, profound ramifications on your children’s perception of God and their ability to follow after Him. And if it is true, for her children’s sake, I hope a counselor is able to teach her how to help her children understand that daddy’s abusive behavior is not normal, healthy, or acceptable to God. Should Saeed be freed from prison; and healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation be found they will know how to set healthy boundaries and protect their heart, soul, mind and strength if any generational abusive tendencies resurface.
Naghmeh showed her vulnerability to her closest friends, but I’m glad she chose it none the less. Women aren’t always believed when they finally find the courage to expose their abusive husband. Sometimes women are accused of being vain, other times people turn away in disgust, or think the wife is looking for sympathy or fame. Naghmeh wrote to friends whom she believed would provide safety and hope for healing and peace. Sharing her secret pain has most likely been the greatest sacrifice of her personal feelings. If she did so out of obedience to the Lord; she can trust it is God working out His plan for her family’s life.
My family has been praying for Pastor Saeed’s release from prison for three years; as well as, for God’s heart and will to be done in this situation. We will continue to pray the later while praying for Naghmeh and her children’s healing, and we will pray for Pastor Saeeds restoration, healing and freedom from injustices.
Here are the original articles:
The below letter is from Naghmeh Abedini’s personal but public Facebook page published yesterday, December 7, 2015:
“To my dearest friends,
After a month of resting and healing and sitting at the feet of Jesus, today I felt led to share.
Three years ago, when Saeed was put in the Iranian prison for his faith, the Lord called me to get up and not only advocate for Saeed, but also to share the Gospel message and to advocate for the persecuted church. I was freed from so much fear and it was a step of faith for me to get up and move. When I did obey, I could see that I could DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME (Philippians 4:13) That by Grace of God I could get on airplanes. That by God’s Grace I could speak in front of heads of governments, parliaments, the congress, thousands of people and our own president and I was able to open my mouth through the Grace of God and represent Christ and to share Christ with so many. It was overwhelming seeing how Jesus had become my STRENGTH through my utter WEAKNESS.
A month ago, the Lord asked me to stop and sit. It took another step of faith to stop everything and just sit at the feet of Jesus and to hear from Him. It was freeing to see that by Grace of God none of the fame and attention or praises of men had gotten to me and that I could drop everything the moment my Savior told me to drop it and to go back to being a single mom in Boise, Idaho. It was freeing to let go of the FALSE SENSE of SECURITY that money was bringing into my life (through speaking engagements) and to know that the only thing that all I desperately needed was Jesus. That my true security rests in Jesus. That Jesus is my day to day provider.
I had to turn off every voice including my own and only care about what Jesus was saying to me. It was hard. With the news that came out recently (an email I had sent to prayer partners was leaked to media), stones were being thrown at me left and right and many religious leaders who saw me wounded and bleeding passed on by afraid to touch me or this whole mess/situation. It was hard, but Jesus kept telling me to be silent and to look to Him.
The truth is that I still love my husband more than ever and my advocacy for him has taken a new form of interceding on my knees. The truth is I can not deny Saeed’s love and passion for Jesus and that he continues to suffer in the Iranian prison because of his genuine love for Jesus and his refusal to deny Him. I can not deny the amazing dad he has been to our kids and the spiritual truths he poured into their life until the moment he was arrested. But at the same time I can not deny the very dark parts of our marriage and serious issues Saeed continues to struggle with.
So I open myself up once again and become real and raw in asking you to join me in praying for Saeed. This time not only for his physical chains, but the spiritual chains that have bound him for so many years. Those chains that have stuck to him from the culture he was raised in (Middle East) and from his former religion (Islam). I believe that God will use Saeed’s imprisonment to break Saeed of these chains and to refine him and use him as a vessel for the work that He has prepared for him.
I am not sure how often I will be providing updates, but I will share as the Lord leads. Starting January 5, I am going to start another 21 days of prayer and fasting. It will be a time of drawing closer to the Lord and sharing what He lays on my heart. I hope they will be a source of blessing and encouragement to you as well.
I praise God for all of the ups and downs, excitements and disappointments, and for the many pains and tears. They have been good for me. They are a great tool to refine us and keep our eyes on Jesus.
With much Love in Jesus