Domestic Abuse in Christian Homes

By | June 27, 2016

Domestic Abuse, are you a Victim?  Many women experience domestic abuse in the marriage or dating relationships.  A Christian woman is not exempt from this abuse.  I have even known of well-respected Pastors and spiritual leaders who abuse their wives and husbands.

What do we mean when we say abuse?  What is domestic abuse?  It is the practice of physical, spiritual, emotional, financial or verbal maltreatment, by a person living in your household.  It is usually a spouse or boyfriend, but can also be a child or someone else in your home.

It is God’s desire that we live together in peace and harmony, but just like everyone else has, Christians have issues that do not go away, just because they have received Christ.  These issues have to be addressed, with the Word, the Holy Spirit, and prayer.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Many Christian women live in homes where they are subject to physical abuse by their spouse.  Abuse can also include physical mistreatment of a husband by a wife.

Some spiritual leaders and men try to use I Peter 3:1 to say a wife has no rights and must totally submit to her husband in everything.  This is not correct and an abuse of scripture.  “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”

alt="domestic abuse"A woman is to obey her husband, but not to the point of disobeying God’s will or Word. eg.  Being beaten by your partner. An addicted spouse wants you to use with him.  Your spouse wants you to perform and ungodly act with someone. Your spouse wants you to be abusive to your children in the name of discipline. There are many situations where you must obey God rather than your husband/wife.  God also expects us to have common sense in these situations.

Being physically or emotionally abuse is the opposite of true love. True love puts others first and seeks to consider the needs and desires of the other person. The Bible says, “Love is patient, love is kind…. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

Domestic Violence in Christian Homes

When domestic abuse takes place in a Christian home, there is shame and confusion.  Both abuser and the abused feel ashamed,  and a feeling this should not be happening, I am a Christian.  Often the family is so ashamed, one or both parties do not want to let their Pastor or spiritual leader know what is taking place in the home.  Yet, every Sunday the family dresses up and attends church life the perfect loving family.

Often the one being abused is accused of causing the abuse themselves.  Victim blaming is a common way of the abuser deflecting their behavior as the responsibility of the victim.  Sometimes both are abusing each other.  Either way, this is a dysfunctional way to live.

No one can make you angry, but if you become angry, God gives a warning. Anger is a response a person chooses to make any given situation.  Many others may experience the same situation and choose to act differently.  Ephesians 4:26 KJV -26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Counseling, prayer or therapy can be helpful, ‘if’ the person wants to change their behavior.  Tell someone what is going on in your home, do not suffer in silence.  If you partner does not want help seek help and guidance from a professional, but do not tell them.

A Pastor or women’s domestic abuse program may have the resources to either help you keep your family together, or to find a safe place for you and your children to live. Too often women are advised to stay with an abusive husband or wife, using the scripture that God hates divorce. You can leave your abuser and not divorce them.  I have seen Christian women take abuse for 10 and 15 years before the get out.

It does great harm to the person being abused and the children watching the behavior.  Too often women want to remain in an unhealthy relationship for the sake of the children.  The fact is, it does more harmful for children to children to live in a home where it is violent than a single parent home.  Do not teach your children this is normal behavior.  Psalm 37:8-9  An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

What Domestic Abuse Sound Like

  • You are so Fat
  • You’re stupid
  • You made me hit you
  • I wish you were dead
  • Why did I marry you?
  • Why do you make me angry?
  • No one else will want you
  • I will commit suicide if you leave
  • If you leave, I will kill you

What Domestic Abuse Looks Like

  • Breaking things
  • Throwing things
  • Taking  your car keys
  • Taking your money or not giving you any
  • Destroying your clothes
  • Not allowing you see friends or family

What Domestic Abuse Feels Like

  • Black and blue bruises
  • Forcing you to fast
  • Forcing children to fast
  • A slap in the face
  • Spitting on you
  • Pulling your hair
  • Causing a miscarriage
  • A punch in the stomach

Do you want Help?

If you are in an abusive relationship, please get help.   Marriage counseling can help people see their triggers and learn how to deal with stress in a healthy manner.  When counseling is not successful, and you or your children are in danger, it may be time to leave.

Fleeing for your protection and divorce are two different things entirely.   If you are in an abusive relationship, your first priority is the safety of your children and yourself.  Do not be condemned if you feel you need to leave your abusive environment. 

It is not God’s will for you to be a physical or emotional punching bag.   Do you have children? When children experience or witnessing abuse it is harmful to them emotionally and changes them forever.  You are your children’s most fierce advocate keep them safe!  Children learn from what they see and experience. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

When you must Leave

If you feel you need to leave your home, this does not mean you do not love the other person.  Sometimes separation will push the abuser to get the help they need and have their marriage restored.  Continue to pray the deliverance and Salvation of the person. Leaving an abusive spouse can be dangerous if they have emotional problems.  If you fear for yourself, it may be necessary to move to an undisclosed safe location.  An order of protection does not guarantee you safety.

Please get professional and legal counselling if your spouse is mentally unstable and you want to leave the home.

 Resources

DISCLAIMER:  Ask God for wisdom and direction in your relationship. We are not professional marriage counselors and encourage you to use your own judgment concerning your situation.  However, we advise you to get professional and legal counsel to get help to make positive changes in you family.

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