Naghmeh worked tirelessly to achieve freedom for Saeed from being unjustly imprisoned in Iran for trumped-up charges by the Iranian government. I imagine more than anything she was hopeful Saeed’s heart, soul, mind and strength would be physically and spiritually delivered once he left his captors. It was one year ago that Saeed was released and returned to America.
Naghmeh recently disclosed on her Facebook page this message:
“It is with a heavy and broken heart that I inform all of you who have prayed and wept with our family the last few years, that Saeed has rejected counseling for anger and abuse and has filed for a divorce. There will be a time to share more fully, but for now, we appreciate your prayers.”
Prayer warriors who have lived through their own abusive marriages and managed to break free to safety prayed that Saeed would be one of only a few, if not the first, to see he is abusive and desire to seek help and healing. But alas, he took the road most traveled, refused to repent, refused to acknowledge he needed help for addiction and abusive behaviors, and is actively working toward his marriage ending in divorce.
Since Saeed must like his life style and choices, I’m grateful that God has provided Naghmeh the avenue of divorce to achieve safety, sanity and healing.
It has saddened, frustrated and angered me to see people post on Facebook that Naghmeh could possibly try harder, pray more, forgive again, be more fun in the bedroom (this one infuriates me), and…wait for God to change Saeed’s heart. Seriously! If being starved and tortured in an Iranian prison for three years didn’t allow the Holy Spirit to prick his conscience that God wanted to work on his heart condition I don’t know that anything can grab Saeed’s attention!
Why do so many people in the church believe abused wives must stay with their abuser? Why do they believe the wife holds responsibility in how her abuser treats her? God does not love the institution of marriage more than he loves people. Yes, he created marriage but he also created the divorce decree, and He created it for situations like this. Naghmeh has biblical grounds to allow her marriage to end through divorce. Why do well-known Christians still support Saeed through finances, speaking engagements and asking him to help with other prisoner negotiations. Saeed needs to receive consequences from the Christian community for his abusive treatment toward his wife and for his non-repentance.
The church needs to be a safe place for victims; not a cover for abusers. Yes, abusers need the Lord and the church, but in context…for consequences, accountability, serious professional counseling, in-depth Bible study, mentoring, and massive amounts of prayer.
A year later, I celebrate Naghmeh Abedini for her quiet, godly spirit throughout the last year. I adore that as life became rougher, she became calmer—anchored to the Lord God Almighty. Resting in His sovereignty, accepting His peace, waiting on His timing, obeying His voice, and seeking His healing.
Naghmeh tenderly expressed through a brief exchange with me yesterday that the Gary Thomas article, Enough is Enough, “is the heart of what I believe and am praying for.”
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