2005-03-01 - Domestic Violence
Marriage & Sexuality, Part 2
Colossians 3:19, "Husbands love your wives..."
On Wednesday, in my class, we are going to hit on Domestic Violence. This is another hard topic. On Monday, when we covered the dangers of premarital sexual involvement, one of the students asked me, "How come nobody ever talks about these things?" "Why have we never heard this stuff before?" Well, this is another topic like that. We don't talk about these things, because they are things that we keep in the closet. However, these things need addressing, and the Lord is clear that a husband is to love his wife (Colossians 3:19). I am going to focus on the abuse of the man upon the woman, because it is most common that it happens that way. However, it can happen that the woman is the abuser, and the principles we will discuss today can be applied in that manner also.
First, let us be clear that abuse is always wrong. But abuse is not always physical assault, as in the form of hitting or injuring. This is the one we focus on in our culture, but there is also sexual assault, where one imposes their will on another. This can often leave wounds that never heal. There is also psychological assault, which includes isolating the other from family and friends, financial dependence, verbal and emotional abuse. This form of abuse can also leave lasting wounds that extend far beyond the wounds of physical abuse. There is lastly abuse by attacks on property or pets. Slashed tires, drowning the gerbil, etc. are all forms of abuse against another. Abuse is always wrong.
We might ask who the victims of domestic violence are? The truth is that abuse crosses all lines of society. The religious, and non-religious, rich and poor, educated, and uneducated -- all have abusers found in them. It is often the hidden sin. But it is not hidden; we all know it is out there. It is sin, and we need to remember that the Lord hates sin. In 1983, William French Smith, the US attorney general, said that battering women was the greatest cause of injury to women. This exceeded rapes (which is a form a battery), muggings, and auto accidents. In 1987, C. Everett Koop, the US Surgeon General, identified Domestic Violence as the number one cause of health problems for American women. He said that Domestic Violence causes more injuries than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Thirty-one percent of all women killed in the United States are killed by their husbands. These are hard statistics to take, and knowing them, I am amazed how silent culture is on this issue.
Some practical suggestions (and I am not that great at practical stuff, I
am much more theoretical).
Lastly, let us consider those who have been abusers or have been abused. If you have been an abuser, know your sin is huge. Your sin is awful. You have hurt someone, and you had no right to do so. In some respects, and there is no nice way to say this, you are a monster. However, Christ offers forgiveness, even for the monsterest of sins. Christ offers forgiveness to "whosoever" will come unto Him for forgiveness in repentance and faith. This is not just for abusers; this offer of "whosoever" is for all sinners. If you have been abused, please know that you have done nothing wrong. You are the victim, but you need to try to put the past behind -- as much as possible. You will never forget how you were treated, but part of moving on is forgiving as Christ has forgiven us.
Abuse is always displeasing to the Lord. This topic is hidden, but, as Christians, we should not be afraid of it. We have barely scratched the surface on this topic, but let us pause and seek the Lord. How have we emotionally treated people improperly? Even in this area, we need to repent, and ask forgiveness of that person. Asking forgiveness might be humbling at first, but when done, it is liberating. May God give us grace to live up to the high calling of being followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,