The Friday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a reflection on a recent event or topic. The topic could be something taken from the news cycle, popular trend in culture (e.g., movies, music, etc.), a debate on social media, or the like.
Every 9 seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten. That means by the time I finish typing this blog post, it would be a conservative estimate to say that around 200 women will have been victims of domestic abuse. Those numbers are incredibly sobering, and a little bit infuriating, to be honest!
We have examples of domestic abuse all around us: in professional sports, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our families, etc.\
The one word that summarizes what God feels about domestic abuse, and by implication how we should feel about it, is this: evil. God warns often about our responsibility as Christians to protect those who are being oppressed.
Jesus Himself tells us part of his purpose in coming to Earth was to re-iterate God’s desire to protect those who are victims of abuse – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
The very core of Jesus’ mission was to release people from all kinds of bondage. And those who are victims of domestic violence are living in bondage to their abusers.
Here is a selection of passages that support God’s compassion of the abused and His desire to protect those who are being abused.
- Exodus 22:21-24 – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.”
- Psalm 11:5-7 – “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.”
- Isaiah 10:1-2 – “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!”
- Zephaniah 1:9 – “On that day I will punish everyone who leaps over the threshold, and those who fill their master’s house with violence and fraud.”
- Malachi 2:16 – “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
So, where so we go from here?
If you know someone who is being abused, you need to report their abuser to the local authorities (Rom 13:1-7). And then, you need to rebuke the abuser for his evil deeds of abuse. You need to challenge them on having a perverse view of manhood and womanhood. You need to remind the abuser about the preciousness of the image of God that every person contains. You need to exhort this abuser to repent of their violent sin.
If you know someone who has been abused, you need to patiently and compassionately listen to their hurts. You need to make sure they are protected from their abuser. You may need to step into their lives in a new way to keep them distant from their abuser.
If we love God, we will love what He says. And if we love what He says, we will also feel the calling to protect the oppressed.