DOMESTIC VIOLENCE — not in the name of the Father

By Not Known

Domestic violence is a too-common problem behind the door of many homes. The violence may be verbal, psychological, sexual or physical. Spouses may abuse their spouses; parents may abuse their children; children may abuse vulnerable parents; or householders may abuse their helpers.

Domestic violence often involves some abuse of authority. One very nasty form is the abuse of religious authority. Thus a local social worker tells of a supposedly Christian husband who calmly read Ephesians 5:22 to his wife, told her he would teach her what it meant and then beat her.

Let’s say it loud and clear: domestic violence is never acceptable or defensible. There should be zero tolerance, especially among Christians.

Why is domestic violence always wrong for God’s people?

  • All people have equal honour and value in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27).  We answer to God for violence against another (eg Gen 9:5-6).
  • We are to love all people, including our enemies (Mat 5:43-48). No matter how greatly we may think a family member has harmed us, we are to love them by praying for them and seeking God’s blessing.
  • Those with authority in families are to follow the pattern of Christ. Their authority is not for self-service but for other-service (Mrk 10:35-45). In particular, husbands and fathers are to serve their families with Christ-like love and gentleness (Eph 5:25-28; 6:4).

Violence against one diminishes us all. It is a communal problem. Family, neighbours and friends often know when violence is inflicted. If we know and are silent, we are part of the problem.

How can we all help with this terrible problem?

  • If we are abusive or violent, seek help before our violence spills over. There is no shame in admitting to this problem and seeking help.
  • If we are being abused, seek help. You don’t have to protect the family member who is violent. You need help and so do they.

In the name of the Father – let us be a people who refuse violence.

David Burke