Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell
Question: This is a follow-up question to "What should a wife do whose husband will not support her?" He has not kept a job - but is either fired or walks off of the job. He does not seem to have the ambition to support himself or his family. There are 5 children involved in this marriage.
Answer: It looks to me as if you have discussed this problem with your husband, and that he has had counseling - but to no avail.
I believe it is time for drastic measures - or "tough" love. Make sure you have a strong support base - family, friends, and church family. I believe that it is time for you to separate, or move out of your home.
"10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
"13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." (2 Thessalonians 3:10-15)
This passage says that if a man does not work, he should not eat. It goes on to say that if a man does not listen to this instruction, that you are to take note, warn him, and not associate with him.
Please notice that I am not advocating that you divorce your husband. I am saying that you need to separate from him. That means you need to live somewhere else!! Let your husband learn to meet his own needs. If he gets hungry enough, perhaps he will begin to see the need for and importance of holding down a job.
"11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing." (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) This means that a person should work with their own hands, and not depend on others for their support.
Colossians 3:23 says that whatever work you find to do, do it as unto the Lord. This means that even if we do not like the work we are doing, or the people we are working with, we still need to do our work the best we can, because we are doing the work for the Lord.
You may also need to go to your pastor and church. There comes a time when the church leaders need to step in and rebuke and admonish a person who is not living the right way, and taking care of his duties.
All of this should be done in love. The desire is for your husband to become the leader in his home - and to take on the responsibility of supporting his wife and children.
This process will take a lot of time, patience, prayer, and love.
Proverbs 6:6-11 says that we are to provide for our families.
"Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep- So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man."
Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 20:4, Proverbs 26:15-16 all talk about the sluggard (or lazy person). These verses tell us that a person who is lazy gets nothing except he becomes hungry and poor.
I know it is hard to be in this situation. Please be patient. Trust God, and ask Him to perform a miracle!!
In Christian love,
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Gary Tomás Panell
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Keywords: financial support, marriage, work, respect, family