I read with a heavy heart, Hidden Violence, in a recent issue of World magazine. Caption under the title: “Spousal abuse is a widespread sin that many churches ignore at their – and their members’ – peril.”
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of physical violence in an intimate relationship. The stats are even higher if you include emotional abuse. We are wrong and naïve if we think this doesn’t sneak into Bible believing churches. It does.
And its wrong. Most of the damage from domestic abuse is invisible: it involves repetitive behaviors that terrorize and dehumanize a spouse. Men and women keep quiet about such abuse out of fear – or pride, wanting to appear like they have it altogether. Tragically verses about male leadership are ripped out of their context. Chauvinism is alive and well in the church.
Biblical counselor, John Henderson states, “Abuse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride.” This is worsened by an unbiblical view of submission as well.
Nothing in the true biblical model of marriage even comes close to abuse. Husbands love their wives with a sacrificial, Christ-like love and women willingly submit to their husband’s leadership as Christ does to the church. May we as men and women respect and cherish our spouse – both physically, verbally and emotionally.