Catching Marital Abuse in the Church at the Gate

A reader recently asked me to put this comment up as a post, so I’m doing so:

People – especially the church – tend to want to look at physical abuse as the quantifier or qualifier of abuse. Even on Saddleback’s site, on the “Miserable Marriage” clip – Mr. Holladay very specifically limits abuse to repeated physical violence directly against the victim. This is such a GARGANTUAN error, it is mind-blowing. About the time someone gets killed because of that advice, Saddleback and other churches with these policies will have a major lawsuit on their hands.

But the point they are missing is that abuse comes out of a heart motivation. Besides being motivated by power/control, there is a murderous spirit behind it – a spirit of hatred. The first, and primary, expression of abuse is VERBAL – because it is our primary means of expression as humans. The Word says that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart.

The verbal and emotional abuse ARE the most important part – and they are the earliest means of catching and addressing abuse. Why do we have to wait until a crime has been committed many times to acknowledge a very dangerous and wicked problem?

“The prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself. The simple/foolish continue and are punished.”

That doesn’t apply to abuse? Regarding the issue of domestic abuse in the church, the principle of this verse basically says, if we can see the abuse in the verbal and emotional abuse and do not take heed and hide ourselves, we are being foolish and will experience the consequences of that foolishness!

But the reason we’re being fools is because the church is telling us that’s the right thing to do! They are calling evil good – and putting people in very grave danger. We’re not being deliberately foolish – we’re being pushed into it in ignorance by those in spiritual authority. And that responsibility rests on their shoulders.

I completely understand that they are acting in ignorance. So I’m not angry about it. But we have to arm ourselves with knowledge and understanding – and act accordingly.

One Response

  1. Glad you made this comment a post in itself. It is very good.
    For verbal abuse, see Matthew 15:18 and 5:22.

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