Naghmeh Panahi, the ex-wife of persecuted Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini, has thrown her support for Proverbs 31 Ministries founder Lysa TerKeurst, who recently announced that she is divorcing her husband of 25 years due to infidelity and substance abuse.
Last week, TerKeurst announced in a blog post on her website that she would be pursuing a divorce with her husband, Art TerKeurst.
"For the past couple of years, his life has sadly been defined by his affection for this other woman and substance abuse. I don't share this to harm or embarrass him, but to help explain why I have decided to separate from him and pursue a divorce," TerKeurst wrote, referring to her husband.
TerKeurst explained that she and Art had tried intensive counseling and that she has repeatedly forgiven him for his infidelity, but she said he continued to "abuse substances, be unfaithful, and refused to be truthful to me and our family."
Panahi, who just got divorced from her husband in April, expressed her support for TerKeurst in a Facebook post.
"I was so heartbroken to hear of this news today ... It is the sad condition of many lives/marriages and the church. It is something I have cried over, wept over, and prayed about for the last few years," she wrote.
The Christian Post reported that Panahi and Abedini were already living apart just three years after they got married on June 30, 2004. However, Panahi had advocated for the release of Abedini in 2012, almost until he was freed from an Iranian jail in January 2016.
During their divorce proceedings earlier this year, Panahi said that her former husband abused her within the first few years of their marriage and that she feared for her life.
In her Facebook post, she wrote that through her suffering, she realized that not everyone who professes to be Christians is truly Christian. She contended that the most loving thing that believers can do for unrepentant sinners would be to separate themselves from them.
She also said that she learned through her ordeal that "no amount of submission" helps, and she contended that it is not honoring to God to submit to abuse and corruption.
TerKeurst, who is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, said that she will take a brief break from Proverbs 31, but she will continue on with her ministry and speaking engagements.
In her blog post, she asked her followers to pray for her family, the Proverbs 31 team, and her husband Art.