I am convinced that domestic violence is an imago Dei issue; It is not a gender issue nor is it about getting our "roles" right. If men and women are equally made in the image of God, then both deserve honor and respect as His image-bearers. If the Gospel is applicable to both men and women, then both have equal standing before God because of Christ's merit.
But in direct opposition, abuse takes place when one human being attempts to gain power and control over another human being through whatever means to achieve that result. This is nothing more than an attempt to usurp the authority of "God" over another image-bearer. And this is why all forms of abuse, physical and nonphysical, are evil irrespective of gender. It is God's prerogative alone to exercise His rule over every aspect of creation because He is Creator.
And lest we forget, Jesus explicitly said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-28.
Likewise, when it comes to confronting abuse, there should be no respecter of persons. There should be no allowances made and immunity given to excuse this sort of behavior. To do so is to admit that the victims are not equal in terms of their humanity or the dignity with which they should be treated. To excuse or provide cover for the abuser in inexcusable and a contradiction of Scripture.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21-22
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:8-9
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:7-10
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21
These verses apply to all human relationships including (and especially) marital and familial relationships. Among God's people (the Church) abusers must not be excused; they must be disciplined. No human being has the right to abuse another person who is made in the image of God. No exceptions. No excuses. Period.
So I pray that the Church-at-large would:
- Repent of where and when it has sided with abusers and learn from its mistakes.
- Recognize domestic abuse in all its forms and refuse to harbor it within its walls.
- Pursue justice on behalf of the victims.
- Be a place of safety and healing for the victims.
- Take a biblical stand and declare, "My brothers, these things ought not to be so."
(Written by Persis at triedbyfire.blogspot.com for DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS. Used by permission and edited by me; Ralph M. Petersen)