Last July Australian icon Johnny Farnham made a surprise appearance at a Brisbane concert. The event was raising awareness of domestic violence in Australia. The 68 year old sang “You’re the Voice” and added his influence to a very necessary campaign.
Queenslanders were shocked this year when Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay was found guilty for the 2012 murder of his wife Allison. When reporting the court-case newspapers chose to publish the photo of the glowing couple at their wedding, a stark reminder of how their life together spiralled.
Last year, 2016, seventy one women in Australia died. Reports from this year, 2017, show women are five times more likely to require medical attention after being abused by their partner. On average, in Australia, one woman is killed every week.
I am concerned about the prevalence of violence nationally but in Christian homes it is absolutely unacceptable. Some excuse it by distorting scripture, for instance… “Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.”(Ephesians chapter 5, verse 22)
The Greek word translated ‘submit’ is ‘hupatasso’ and it means co-operating, carrying a burden together, assuming responsibility. Christian submission is voluntary not coerced.
We submit some way every day. We Christians submit to the authority of Christ and His word. We also submit to secular authority. It is our choice! We are not programmed robotically. We have made choices.
It is refreshing to study what the Apostle Peter had to say. He instructed husbands to live with your wife ‘in an understanding way.’ He called for ‘unity, ’a tender heart’ and ‘a humble mind’ (1 Peter chapter 3, verses 7 and 8)
Paul made the marriage relationship even clearer. ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.’ (Ephesians chapter 5, verse 25)
How do you want Jesus to relate to you? That is how He commands, we relate to our marriage partner.
I am over church leaders who embrace a theology that enslaves women. It is not the mind of Jesus! How can a God who is love, be represented in such an enslaving, dominating way? It is crazy!
Consider the marriage instructions all the way back to the Book of Genesis. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cling to his wife and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis chapter 2, verse 24)
‘Cling to his wife!’ As a little boy no doubt he found comfort clinging to his mum. As he grew he found security living with the folks. Now the clear instruction is to go, make a new life with all the love and loyalty he can bring.
But there’s more! In this Genesis story, woman is presented wholly as the partner of man, his counterpart. She is first described for her personal value before any reference comes of her maternal role. Both are made in the image of God and He treats them the same.
“He will not live, until he loves,’ is a phrase from a commentary by Derek Kidner. (Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary, Derek Kidner) Love brings life into living.
A much more liberated lifestyle
Women living in nations influenced by Christianity enjoy a much more liberated lifestyle than is offered elsewhere. A most appropriate verse drives home the point. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Genesis chapter 3, verse 28)
Focus Ministries focus on domestic violence and provide consultancy to churches. They published a list of domestic violence issues including: humiliation, manipulation, financial control, name calling, shaming, insulting, ridiculing, using words of violence and self-worth destruction. They then focus on physical assault – slapping, hitting, punching, beating, choking and then sexual assault. (www.focusministries.org)
Domestic violence is never acceptable at any level but in a Christian home it is outrageous.
Ravi Zacharias wrote: “Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”
We must not be silent when we are aware of brothers or sisters in Christ, suffering in such an abusive, unrighteous and ungodly way. If you are in such a situation I recommend you seek help and support from your pastor. Visit a church, talk to a close, trusted friend but find a healthy way forward for your life. I know there are many reasons to suffer in silence but ‘the truth will set you free’ is a promise to you.
Years ago, I remember a famous author, wanted to write a book about prayer. He surveyed many Christians looking for one thing – a husband and wife who actually prayed together. It is so important to make prayer a priority because the quality Christian marriage has the Lord in the centre.
In Youth With a Mission I met with many well known preachers and teachers. We enjoyed times of quality fellowship. One wise comment stuck with me. Pastor Bob Mumford one day said, “If someone wants to preach from my pulpit, I must first of all meet his wife.” He wanted to see if the lady was radiant or not.
Domestic violence hurts the heart of God. His plan for human relationships—particularly those among family—is a beautiful depiction of who He is. Family is meant to reflect God’s love. It saddens Him when a home turns into a place of pain.
God’s desire for those involved with domestic violence—both victims and abusers—is healing and wholeness.
Claim this verse: “For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians chapter 5, verse 1)
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html