• The Busy Praying Mom

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Who is sinning: the person who abuses, or the victim who wants to leave?

It may seem obvious that the person who abuses is the sinner but some Christians have attempted to justify or excuse abuse using Scripture to back them up, however, this goes against the very nature of God, who is love. The Bible views all forms of domestic violence as sin (Malachi 2:16-17; Psalm 11:5; Colossians 3:19), including verbal abuse (Prov. 12:18; Prov. 18:21; Colossians 3:8), and exhorts us to protect ourselves from violent people (Proverbs 27:12; Prov. 11:9). Even in troubled relationships were one is provoked, the Bible speaks out against responding with violence (Ephesians 4:26; Luke 6:45). Furthermore, God’s heart is to deliver the abused (Psalm 5, 7, 10, 140; Acts 14:5). Any form of abuse, then, is unacceptable behavior which directly defies God’s calling for Christ-followers to relate to each other in love. The person who abuses is sinning, the victim who wants to leave, is not in sin. While not everyone has the ability to leave an abusive partner, it is not wrong to attempt to do so if possible, the Bible encourages victims to seek safety (Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12; 1 Samuel 20; Luke 4:28-29; Acts 9:23-25; Matthew 18:15-17).

As men had the power and privilege in family and societies in biblical times—and still today in most situations—Jesus addresses the marginalization and abuse of these women by the men who should have protected and provided for them so they could flourish. By speaking to these, and other women in Scripture, Jesus brings them back into a position of status in society. This is what gets Jesus so angry that he flips the tables in the temple: it is the misuse and abuse of power and control by the religious leaders that perpetuates oppression and abuse against the vulnerable (Matt. 21:12).


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