October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. As the article in the Houston Chronicle says “This is not a woman’s issue; it’s an everybody issue.”
The past few posts have addressed abuse of women, and this will, too because it is indeed everybody’s issue. When children can’t bring their friends home with them, the children hurt. These are memories they take with them every day for the rest of their life. When daddy beats mama, how do these children grow up to love and respect their husbands?
And yet, as we know, churches demand that girls grow up and respect husbands. Many girls have seen and felt far too much damage in their own homes by the violence to ever have a good relationship with men. As we also know, churches are busy telling women what they can’t do, and giving males lordship over their wives and children. These attitudes bleed out into society and affect people who never darken the steps of a church.
The apostle Paul has been credited with much of what we think we know about women and submission. But what we have chosen to ignore is what Paul said about wife abuse. As far as I know, this is the only time it is addressed in the Bible. It is completely ignored by readers today. They read Ephesians 5 and linger over the passages that tell a wife to submit.
In these letters, Paul is again trying to equate the love relationship that Jesus has for his church and uses the marriage situation to describe it. It is while he is telling men how they are to love their wives like Christ loved the church, that he suddenly realizes that this is not a real good illustration because many husbands abuse their wives. So, without missing a beat, he tells husbands that they ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.”
In other words, “You wouldn’t give yourself a black eye, don’t give her one.”
This is not just a woman’s issue, but what if it were? Wouldn’t that be enough to spur people on to do something? Obviously not.
Please click on the menu at the top and read what John Piper says. His words should disgust you. His attitude should disgust you. But sadly, it is the attitude that we find around us.
Will you speak up against violence against women? Will you speak out against a belief system that devalues women and allows such attitudes to find acceptance in the home and the church?
Note: Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) has free downloads on abuse they are offering through Saturday, October 15, with membership, or renewal.