God's Response To Spousal Abuse
We see throughout the Bible that God is not passive about violence committed against women. God acts decisively and compassionately through Jesus Christ to call all people to love mercy, act justly, and nurture healing and justice for everyone—most especially when power is used to harm others. The God of the Bible, then, is one who honestly tells the story of women who are abused—such as the rape of Tamar (2 Sam. 13)—not to justify violence, but to tell the truth that when men abuse women, God sees it and God’s heart breaks for the abused. God acts clearly through the life and death of Jesus to take an ultimate stance against all forms of violence, oppression, marginalization, and abuse, declaring that ‘God is love’ and God’s love will not stand passively or silently when women are abused (1 John 4:8).
We never see the word ‘abuse’ in the Bible, but the term ‘oppression’ (meaning crushing or burdening someone by the abuse of power or authority) is everywhere. The Psalms in particular portray oppression in a manner that echoes the way abuse survivors describe their abuser: time and again violence and abuse is associated with wickedness and condemned as “detestable to the Lord” (Psalm 11, Proverbs 3 & 10).
It could not be more obvious that God hates violence and abuse within families and society as a whole. Loving justice and acting justly means refusing to tolerate abuse, exposing it (Ephesians 5:11-13) and stopping it. It is also vital that local authorities punish those who commit offences. Many acts of domestic and family violence are against the law. We can and should embrace the God-given authorities of human government and law enforcement to stop abuse and bring perpetrators to justice (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, Acts 23:12-22). It is when God's judgement is on full display and weighed on one's heart; repentance from sin and faith in Christ is most compelling and likely to be accepted by the offender.
Sincerely, Dr. Arthur Belanger
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When You Suspect Spousal Abuse. Physical and emotional abuse of wives and woman in general (and to a lesser degree, of men) occurs in the Christian community, as in all others. There is minimal precise data on this phenomenon because many victims in such circumstances are frightened or ashamed to speak out about it. Yet, God is very obvious about his reaction to spousal abuse.
God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). When ministers counsel quick reconciliation in marriages ravaged by abuse, the Lord says, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jer. 6:14,). The essential communication an abuser should experience from the minister of Christ is that the eternal wrath of the Lord burns hot against those who heap up violence and oppression. Their abuse has not escaped the watchful eye of the One who declares, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Rom. 12:19,). The first step in putting God’s justice on full display is getting the proper authorities involved. The most unloving thing a minister could do in a situation of abuse is to dampen the severity of God's retribution by offering false grace. Perhaps God will bring true repentance in the life of an abuser. But it will never happen until he stands condemned in his sin before the burning anger of the eternal Creator. Then and only then is he ready to receive forgiveness at the Cross. Simply put; God has ZERO tolerance for spousal abuse.
The essential message an abused woman should hear from a minister of Christ is that the Lord is the protector of the weak. The Word of God unequivocally calls a vulnerable woman to the safety of Jesus Christ: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.." We make that safety tangible by surrounding a victim with advocates, counselors, and resources to help her make the difficult choices that lay ahead.
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