A Biblical Response to Domestic Abuse
You may have heard the phrase, ‘God is love,’ and wondered what that means in the context of domestic abuse. If you’ve even quickly skimmed through the Bible—especially the Old Testament—you’ve seen many stories of violence - from rape, to slavery, and war. The Bible recognizes that violence and abuse exist in society. While Scripture may have been used to keep us quiet about our experiences of abuse, to urge us to stay with an abusive partner, and even to justify the abuse, the Bible is clear that God opposes those who oppress, marginalize, and abuse others.
But Jesus doesn’t talk directly about abuse
The life of Jesus is the biblical model for understanding God, and also a key way for us to identify how God responds to violence and abuse. Jesus’ ministry is about exposing injustice, and advocating for the marginalized, oppressed, and abused. He is particularly concerned about women and children, who are most often considered less important in society, and made vulnerable by oppression and abuse. Jesus reminds us that the vulnerable are violated by the denial of justice, revealing God’s heart for compassion, healing, and restoration to a full and equal life (Luke 11:46, 17:2, 18:1-8, John 8:1-11). This is why Jesus stops the stoning of the woman under suspicion of adultery (John 8:1-11), heals the bleeding woman (Luke 8: 43), and speaks to the woman at the well who’s had five husbands (John 4:1-42)—not because they have done something wrong, but because the men in their community had acted unjustly towards the women.