Domestic Abuse Within The Church
Domestic Abuse Within The Church
Domestic Violence Within the Church
Unfortunately, this topic is not a new one, but it continues to invade the homes of Christians in our communities. I believe that God is compelling me to speak out on this subject, not to point fingers but, to hopefully open the eyes of all God’s children in regards to Domestic Abuse.
When I received Christ as my personal savior I was thirty-two years old. Years ago I was approached by one of the Elders of my church who was assembling a counseling ministry and who told me that I was one of the twelve that God had chosen to be a Biblical Consultant. I did not question the call and proceeded to take the necessary training. When we began the counseling ministry we were bombarded by members of the church who were in obvious need of counseling. To my disbelief Domestic Abuse amongst members in the church exceeded that of non-Christians. Further, my observation was that many Christian men were under the illusion and misconception that God gave them the authority to mistreat their wives. As a new Christian and member of the Biblical Consultant Team at that time I never questioned the general rule of the authority of the church which was if there was no physical danger involved then we would not recommend that the client leave their spouse. The more cases that I reviewed, the more my spirit grieved. I was not at peace so I began to seek God’s will. Suddenly my eyes were opened and I began to see a pattern of verbal abuse from our Pastor towards his wife. There is no doubt in my mind that this was always present, it was only when I began to seek Gods truth that the veil was lifted to reveal that which was hidden.
The Bible teaches us that “Life and Death is in the power of the tongue”. Now if this be the word of God, then why is it that we have a tendency to over look verbal abuse? I can recall a case where a sister came in for counseling; it was apparent just by looking at her, that she suffered from low self-esteem. She had been married for ten years. She related to me that after the birth of their daughter she gained weight and the name calling began. “You fat Bit---- ! “I don’t know why I married you?” She had been referred to as a Bit—so much that she said the words played over and over in her mind like a broken record which she just accepted. The words which her husband repeatedly spoke out of his mouth had power over his wife. Knowingly or unknowingly this man had abused his God given power, and in doing so he wounded the precious gift which God had given him. This woman of God began to believe that she was useless. The very God that she was called to serve she thought was punishing her for some hidden sin which she was unaware of. She starved herself trying to lose weight only to end up gaining more. This atrocity continued as their ten year old daughter was filled with anger towards her father and obviously had no respect for him at all. When her father called her mother names their daughter began to call him names in the defense of her mother. Does not the Bible say in Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers provoke your children not to wrath.” Further, in accordance with scripture, we teach our children that if they don’t respect their parents they will live a short life. Now in all reality who do you think God is going to hold accountable? I began to pray earnestly for this family as things continued to spiral out of control. Eventually this woman stopped coming to church and to counseling. A year later she revealed how bad things had gotten and that she had finally left her husband and went to stay with her sister. She shared with me how God had taken her out of bondage and began to lavish her with love once she recognized that it was not God’s will for her nor her daughter to remain hostage in the enemies camp.
I have witnessed the same situations at other churches. God placed the man to be a protector over his family. His scripture says “Husbands love your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow-heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Truly God is not at all pleased with such hypocrital representation of who He is. Something is wrong within the house of God when a man or a woman has to live in fear and/or walk around in shame. As leaders within these churches fast and pray, diligently seeking new members and blessings from God, their prayers are being hindered by these flagrant misrepresentations of God’s word. How dare we sit back and think that God who sees and knows all things will answer the prayers of those in authority i.e., deacons; elders; teachers; and even ministers, whose very mouths are those who spew abusive behavior and/or condone it.
I once heard a minister say “No one said you are supposed to be happy in your marriage, but that you are obligated to remain married no matter what you’re going through.” So does this mean that we should believe that God who loved us enough that He sent his only begotten Son to die for us would not care that His beloved daughters are being abused...? I believe instead as Paul admonished, “let her expose her shameful husband for what he is--disobedient to God's word--by telling the church.” If the church refuses to deal with the problem then call the police. The only way we can win the battle of Domestic Violence is to expose it for exactly what it is. We certainly have to stop hiding it within the house of God. The Church must address those issues that are in the world so that we can continue to be a light that shines bright for Jesus. Domestic Abuse is infectious and is rearing its ugly head in our children and the manifestation of the horrific actions/crimes which they are committing as young as 8 years old.
I remember a deacon who had been struggling with alcohol and lost his license to work. This man was also mistreating his wife by verbally abusing her. It was brought to the attention of the Pastor that this brother needed to be removed from the deacon board so that he could effectively deal with his issues. The brother was removed for a brief moment only to be placed back in the position as a deacon. There is no wonder that this church continues to struggle with unheard and unanswered prayers.
When we come to God sick, as the abuser or the one who is being abused, His word promises that you can be cured and made whole. You do not have to remain infected unless you choose to. When we hide these issues within our homes and especially within our Church, we are making a mockery of God. As I stated in the beginning it is not my intent to point fingers or place blame; God will judge in His own time. My hope is that on behalf of those who are being abused that they will know that their cry for help has been heard and the abusers will recognize that what they are doing is not of God and is indicative of their own lack of understanding. I pray that those in leadership and authority will manage the Church in accordance with the word of God. I pray that they will recognize the impact of this insidious disease and prevent further tearing down of our families. God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It is time to bring love and hope back into our communities and the lives of our abused families so that they will have a future. God is ready to restore but we must do our part here on earth.
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