We already know that what we are about to say is not going to be liked by too many people. This is a very difficult topic to deal with and the subject was brought to our attention through the following article: Domestic abuse has no place in Christ’s Church
No, it doesn’t and we will extend that to say, NO SIN has a place in Christi’s Church. Lying, stealing, cheating, rape, libel, gossip and many more do not have a home in Christ’s church.
But, they are there and we need to apply the correct biblical principles to deal with them all.
One in four women has been the victim of spousal abuse, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline… This means that on any given Sunday in a congregation of 100 people, it is likely there are 25 women who have been or are currently experiencing some form of intimate partner abuse, and in many cases are worshiping next to their abuser.
To be both fair and honest, women are not the only ones who are abused and those abused people, men, and children, also sit in church next to their abusers. If we are going to deal with the topic, we must include everyone who faces some sort of domestic violence.
Yes, women may be the larger of the three groups but it is hard to say as men do not report the abuse done unto them. Then we must be cautious as to how the definition of the terms ‘abuse, domestic violence, abuser’ are applied. far too many people paint with a very broad brush and claim abuse when none occurred.
Married to a veteran suffering from PTSD, Beth and her two young daughters lived in a home where guns and knives were pointed at them regularly and new holes in the walls were not uncommon.
Is that really abuse or is it the result of a disease that the US medical military and worldwide counterparts can find no cure for? Calling it abuse covers up the real source of the problem and makes the women ‘victims’ when in reality, the real victim is the man suffering from the disease.
The medical profession has certainly let him and many other veterans down by being incapable or unwilling to find the right cure.
Because her husband’s military service was held in high esteem, she was coached by fellow Christians to hold him responsible for his actions but not to resort to divorce.
We are going to get this out of the way right now. There is only one reason for divorce. The unbelieving world has created a myriad of reasons but in reality and truth, there is only one- adultery.
Since God and Jesus get to make the rules, there are no substitutes. While the unbelieving world feels that they are more compassionate and more moral than God, they keep coming up with new ways to break up a solid family.
Sadly, the church has followed the unbelieving world and added far more reasons than the one Jesus gave. Many years ago we were in an online discussion with a woman on this very topic. We stated our position, as above, and she came back with, ‘My pastor said abandonment’ is grounds for divorce.
We came back with a solid no and restated adultery and her response was always the same – ‘and abandonment. her pastor was wrong and so are all those people who add abuse or domestic violence to the list.
Domestic violence is a sin but it is not a reason for divorce. In fact, encouraging people to divorce an abusive partner does not make the situation any better. Many women are killed after they have moved out and divorced their husbands.
Those deaths came at the hands of their ex-husbands. Then some men suffer the same fate. No gender is free from the sin of domestic violence or murder.
How does it happen, in a case such as Jennifer’s, that admittance of a rape she endured when she was 4 years old was an invitation to her pastor for sexual advances?
Unfortunately, we do have bad pastors who have not conquered their sins and have let those sins get a strong hold over them. They do act in sinful ways and that too is wrong.
However, as teachers, we have experienced the sexual advances of many married students. We talk about these in our book God, Korea, and Me. We know of many English teachers who carried on affairs with students, married or not.
It is just not going to be men who are at fault here. This is not just a man as the inciter problem as many women are known to try to seduce married preachers.
None of this belongs in Christ’s church. But, the people who do these things need to take the first step and seek help. If you are a pastor with problems in abuse or sexual issues, resign, take a leave of absence, and find a true Christian to help you. Before it becomes a crime not after.
And what do we do with Amy’s story? Barely 5 months into the marriage, her new husband (the son of a minister) began asserting his “biblical authority” over her, demanding she not attend prayer meetings unless he was invited, too. His emotional, verbal, and physical fits of rage escalated to the point where she feared for her life.
It is not good to take a lot of examples from newspaper articles as all we are getting is one side of the story. One side is not the truth. For the church to do something, the truth must come out. The purpose behind finding the truth is to find a just punishment, or strategy that will solve the problem.
Not to find revenge or hurt someone. Those two attitudes are sin as well and do not belong in Christ’s church. No matter what action the church takes, it will always be in the wrong. One side will feel betrayed or ganged up on no matter the solution.
It is a no-win situation for the church. Because it will also have authors like the one we have been quoting from trying to change the way the church operates. You will notice in that article, the author does not even try to present God’s solution to all of this.
She presents her own ideas, hoping the church will accept her ways as the solution, not God’s. that ending ruins her credibility and disqualifies her from bringing advice to the church.
There are three key passages that need to be written here and we will do it in short form as you already know them. The first is ‘do unto others as you want to be treated.
The second is ‘return good for evil and the third is to pray for your enemies. In the case of domestic violence one’s spouse, or parents can be their enemy. The key to applying these verses is that there are not one set of verses to follow for one sin and another set to follow for another sin.
All the verses apply to all sins and situations. There are no escape clauses saying that domestic violence is an exception to the rule. God does not have exceptions to the rule. He expects his followers to obey him all the time.
This is not an easy thing to do when living with abusive family members. But it must be done and God will provide the strength and wisdom to handle these situations if you ask.
We do not follow the secular world’s ideas or solutions to these issues. They do not have a clue, they are not greater, more compassionate, or more moral than God is.
One thing to keep in mind. Those verses, and other ones, are not a magic pill. Applying them does not mean that the other person will magically change in an instant. It may take time for God to get through to them.
But as the Bible says it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. There is a bigger picture here that most people do not see because their emotions block their sight.
Does this mean we are condemning people to abusive relationships? No. We are telling them not to sin in response to the sins committed against them. Sinning in response does not solve the problem either.
Remember Jesus was heavily abused by his family and the Romans, yet he did not sin in retaliation. He set the example. He is the one to follow. Can spouses and children bring charges against their mates and parents?
This is a delicate issue and one has to use the law wisely. Punishment is not for revenge or to hurt others. It is to bring the offender to repentance. You cannot achieve that goal if you sin in response or deal with the offender unjustly.
We remember at the trial of the Green River Killer, the father of one of his victims stood up and said “The bible tells me I am to forgive you. So I forgive you.’ The father was being honest and sincere. We watched that video many years ago and the impact, the example was immense.
We do not sin when sin is done against us. Forgiveness does not make everything go away or make it better. Nor does it remove punishment but it helps us see clearly and find the just punishment for the offense or offenses committed.
Revenge is mine saith the Lord. Our duty is to allow God to lead us to the just punishment and not let our own will get in the way.