“Do SOMETHING to help me!!!” That is an outcry of many that are wounded because of the domestic violence they are suffering from within their homes. They reach out for help, and no one is there to give a supportive and empowering hand.
The whole issue of domestic violence and abuse is something that needs to be addressed. This is particularly true within the Christian body. It just isn’t being dealt with as openly as it should be. I believe that’s one reason why so many victims are crying alone within their homes and aren’t seeking the help they need. This is a darkness that needs to be exposed to the Light.
Part of the reason I know this is because it’s so difficult to find articles and Christian literature on this subject. Because of the work within Marriage Missions, we are continually looking for resources to help those who reach out to us. And in my search, I’ve found very little.
Ignoring God’s Leading
I know that in Christ, God is transforming us into His image. But I also know that many people ignore the Lord’s leading, counsel and empowerment. They end up instead doing what they want to do despite the power available to them to do otherwise. Tragically, abuse is not absent from the church. It SHOULD be, but it is not. People gravitate to sin and embrace it, rather than embracing the good that God has for us instead.
So, on this subject of domestic violence I have come across some articles that may be able to help you and your church fight AGAINST domestic violence instead of turning a deaf ear or a blind eye to it. If you are already doing something, maybe this article will help you all the more.
I recommend that you click into the following Hidden Hurt.co.uk article to learn what the Bible says about abuse and violence in the home. It also goes into what it calls the church to do about it as well. Please read:
In my studies on this subject, I came upon a blog that deals with the subject of abuse against women. But it needs to be said that many men also suffer from abuse. It’s just not looked at in the same way, which is wrong. Abuse is abuse, whether it’s a man slapping a woman or a woman slapping a man.
But this particular blog addresses women (although many of these principles can be applied to a man’s abusive situation). Below I will supply a link so you can read it in its entirety. But before I do, there are a few parts of this blog that I’d like to point out because I think they are especially noteworthy. April Gilford gives the following insight:
“I understand Christian marriage to be a covenant whereby two people affirm before God their commitment to love, to respect, and to cherish one another in all of life’s circumstances. With God’s help, the couple promises to love another just as God loves us. Domestic violence is a violation of this covenant. It should not be tolerated in a Christian marriage. It is the role of the church to provide a safe and loving environment for the victim of the abuse. There should be help the abuser to see the wrong in his/her actions and to seek repentance and help for what he/she has done.”
Silent Too Long
I believe for too long, the church has closed its eyes or looked the other way concerning domestic violence. This takes away the “safe and loving environment” that should be contained within the covenant of marriage.
It reminds me of the parable Jesus taught of the Good Samaritan (in Luke 10). Even the religious leader, who should have known better and shown the most mercy, ignored the person needing help. Jesus pointed out that the Samaritan who stopped was more of a “neighbor” who was doing good than anyone else. This would include the religious leader. He said to the person (and all of us), “Go and do likewise” in referring to giving help to others who need it.
As a church, we simply can’t keep looking the other way because we don’t know what to do with the situation of violence in the home. We may not know NOW what to do, but we need to make it our business to find out. We also need to pro-actively minister to those who need help. Marriage is a sacred commitment of love and faith and mutual caring for one another. And when one partner is violating another in such horrendous ways, we as a body of Believers, need to help in whatever way we can, to cause the violence to stop.
To help in this mission:
Please read the following articles posted on the Crosswalk.com web site. I believe it will help your church to reach out to those who are suffering in abusive situations. I also hope that your church will talk about this issue from the pulpit. It’s important that what is being done in darkness, will be exposed to the Light. That way it can be properly dealt with.
The first article deals with Pastors and reasons why they and their church members often shut their eyes to violence in the home. It doesn’t justify this. It just gives a fuller perspective on reasons WHY this could be happening.
Please click onto the following article written by John Shore to read:
Please read the following Crosswalk.com articles. They could help you if your pastor and/or church members want to get involved in dealing with violence in the home:
Another article to read is written by Tiffany Sanders. She points out that although a woman Biblically is to submit to her husband, Peter and the Apostles pointed out in Acts 5:29 how there exceptions to following man’s ways if they violate the greater picture of God’s will. It says “We must obey God rather than men!”
Tiffany writes something that many people look past when it comes to domestic violence:
“A woman must not, then, risk her life or serious injury in submission to her husband. It violates a higher duty to protect human life and welfare. It also cooperates in her husband’s sin. Many ministers, in fact, agree up to this point. Many agree that a woman must flee to protect herself, but must “return and submit” when the danger has passed.”
Tiffany goes on to point something out that we really need to note if we are going to help the victim remain as “safe” as possible. She writes:
“When, Exactly, Has the Danger ‘Passed’?
This ignores a fundamental reality of domestic violence: the danger does not pass. A woman who calls the police for help in a moment of crisis can usually expect to pay for that call when she returns home. It could be an hour, a day, or a week later. The dynamic of an abusive relationship is one in which there is never a moment of safety. Even the most careful, most observant, most vigilant of victims can be blindsided at any moment.
Something she does inadvertently might be the trigger. Something that happened outside and she doesn’t know about might be the trigger. Also, something her husband imagined might be the trigger. The moment when it’s ‘safe’ to ‘return and submit’, if it comes at all, comes after long hard work with a minister or counselor or anger management program.
“It’s clear that a woman has not only a right but an obligation to protect herself from physical harm, and that protecting herself requires more than simply getting out of the house for an hour to let her husband cool down.”
The point I want you to understand here is that domestic violence does not have a “one size fits all” solution. Sometimes leaving is the best way to protect oneself from further violence. But other times it will just increase the resolve of the abuser to find and hurt them even more. Sometimes, getting through the situation so the victim can come up with a plan for the future is a better way. It’s a very difficult thing in which to be involved.
Please don’t counsel abuse victims to do things one way that makes immediate sense to you. Be prayerful and careful in your advice, giving them many options that they can use and then helping her or him to discern which would work best for the dynamics of their situation.
The important thing is to realize that abuse must be stopped. No one deserves abuse. And if God wants to use us in some way to help in stopping the violence, then we must have our ears and eyes and minds open to His leading.
More to Read
In the blogging article I refer to, Tiffany then goes beyond this to explain more about abuse against wives, which you really should read. You may or may not agree with all she says. And some of you may even judge what she says because of some doctrinal stands she makes for her religion which you may not hold.
But let’s not miss the forest for the trees. While you may agree whole-heartedly, or disagree on certain points for whatever reason, the bigger picture is that domestic violence outside of the church and within the church needs to be addressed. People are dying here. They’re dying physically and also spiritually because as we turn a deaf ear and/or we look the other way, the compassion that is to be so evident within us as Followers of Christ, is no longer being seen.
God wants to work in us and through us to help others to know Him better. He wants to use us to poke holes in the darkness that surrounds peoples lives. And this is one of those areas of darkness that I believe He wants to use us. This is so that sin is exposed to His light for cleansing and healing.
Each one of us may not be able to do a lot to address this issue to help those who are being violated by domestic abuse. But if each one of us does something —it can be like a mighty rushing water. Each drop combined with others contributes something to moving this terrible situation into one in which God’s mercy can wash away the debris. It can then be better seen and dealt with, within the church body.
To help in this cause, we are going to give links to articles we hope you will prayerfully and carefully read —both for your own education, but also to see if while you are praying, you can visualize how God can use you to help fight AGAINST domestic violence. We pray this will make a difference.
The following articles can be found on the Crosswalk.com web site that may be enlightening to read:
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Abuse in Marriage