Victims of Spouse Abuse
"For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body." - (Ephesians 5:25-30 NLT)
Thoughts for Today
"According to Detective Sgt. Don Stewart, a retired police officer who handled domestic violence cases for 25 years, one out of every four Christian couples experiences at least one episode of physical abuse within their marriage. In fact, battering is the single largest cause of injury to women—more than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that 3 to 4 million women are beaten in their homes every year. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 2,000 women are murdered every year by an intimate partner." (Today's Christian Woman)
Spousal abuse reaches epidemic proportions and affects even Christian homes. Dr. Grant Martin in Counseling for Family Violence and Abuse says that victims of spouse abuse must seek healing in several areas of their lives: victimization, self-esteem, unrealistic hope, isolation, and emotional dependency.
This week we will look at each of these areas and steps that can lead to healing.
Consider this …
Many batterers try to use the excuse that the Bible gives a husband total control over his wife. However, today's scripture clearly instructs a husband to love his wife as himself and to lay down his life for her. Nowhere in God's Word does he give a man permission to abuse his wife or his children. The Bible does tell wives to obey their husbands (Ephesians 5:21-24). However, it is important to separate the commitment to marriage from an unhealthy tolerance for violence and abuse.
Peter offered further instruction to husbands:
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 NLT)
Father, help me understand my role as a wife. I know I am to submit to my husband, but I see in your Word that my husband is instructed to treat me with love and care. Help me understand how to reconcile all this with the way he is treating me. Help me know how and when I should take a stand. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Restoring Families: Overcoming Abusive Relationships through Christ by Janet M. Lerner, D.S.W. This study helps to minister to families caught in the cycle of abusive relationships. The curriculum deals with overcoming these abusive relationships through Christ and is recommended for use in support groups and Christian counseling.
- Ministers to families from abusive relationships
- Ministers to victims of family violence
- Deals with wounded emotions
- Deals with control and intimacy issues
- Presents a strong message of Christ as healer of abusive relationships
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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