How Pastors Enable Domestic Violence From the Pulpit
Not discussing domestic violence from the pulpit IS enabling domestic violence.
There I said it.
Keeping quiet when we should be speaking up is enablement.
Shepherds have failed the sheep when the pews are waiting for clarity and hope, and none is forthcoming.
Pastors, leaders, authors, and influencers, we’ve got our work cut out.
1. We need to address the fact that some married individuals are only interested in the perks of marriage and will do anything to keep the tap flowing.
They will do anything to stay married, including pretending they are trying to change when in reality, behavioral-wise, they are not. Ultimately, they have no interest in carrying the responsibility of a relationship. They just want a marriage relationship to facilitate their unhealthy and toxic beliefs, mindsets, and behaviors. See The Strength of Women is Not for the Rescue of Destructive Men
2. We need to be clear that marriage is not where Christlike character and decency go to die. (Romans 8:5-9, 12-13. Psalms 1:1-3.) We must address the outcomes of neglect, abuse, infidelity, disrespect, deception, addictions and chronic immaturity.
3. We need to address the lie that God hates divorce and clarify that He hates abuse more (Malachi 2)
4. We need to address boundaries and explain that love without limits is no love. We must articulate how loving without boundaries devastates the giver’s soul and enables unhealthy toxic people.
5. We must discuss equality and mutuality in marriage and how the baseline is that both spouses submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21.) It’s one of the ways we stop enabling domestic violence from the pulpit.
6. We need to tell the truth about unrepentance and hard hearts: that some people will claim to be followers of Christ, while their evil deeds say otherwise. (Romans 8:5-9, 12-13.) The Bible does not say to cover hardened hearts and unrepentance with “more love and forgiveness,” prayer, faith, community, or long-suffering.
Instead the Word of God is clear: we’re to expel the wicked person, to not even eat with such people (I Cor 5:9-13), and to have nothing to do with deeds of darkness but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:3-13)
7. We need to talk about how the faith community is a magnet for sex offenders1 and how we can protect vulnerable children.
When 30% of women2 are waiting for cues of safety and words of hope from the pulpit, when 1 in 4 highly religious marriages are waiting for clarity3, it’s a complete abandonment of responsibility by the shepherds not to speak up and address the unending terror and confusion.
Domestic violence is a real issue within the Christian faith community.
And until we sermonize destructive relating patterns the same way we do “regular marriage issues,” we’ll continue to participate, intentionally or unintentionally, in the destruction of God’s children.
Evildoers are among us. The Bible says so. And we can no longer continue as if the Bible didn’t tell us what to do about them.
Enabling Domestic Violence: Resources to Help Christians Identify and Address Abuse
(Some links are affiliate.)
1. Explore the different categories of mistreatment and danger that are all part of Domestic Violence. This is a free course for women who are scared to ask the question but they really need to know AND an eye-opening resource for all the people who help other people e.g teachers, therapists, doctors, counselors, professors, pastors/clergy, youth leaders. Click here to sign up.
2. A free playlist that will take pastors, survivors and people-helpers through a solid progression of educational awareness, scripturally based. Click here.
3. Too often parents put off awkward parenting conversations — things like abuse, pornography, sex education, and how to discern toxic behavior – because they don’t know how to address these topics in age-appropriate ways. A free play list on how to those difficult conversations with their children. Click here to watch.
4. A Workshop and Checklist to empower your ability to discern the Fruit of an UNholy spirit. Click here.
5. Is It Me? Making Sense of Your Confusing Marriage: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Hidden Emotional and Spiritual Abuse. Check it out.
6. The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended. Click here to check it out.
7. The Untwisting Scriptures book series is written for victims and survivors of spiritual abuse, (and people-helpers who want to support them) to help them unravel ways God’s Word has been used to keep them prisoner. Click here.
8. A video about circular conversations and recognizing emotional/verbal abuse in relationships. Click here to start watching.
9. A free one-hour deep bible study about leaving abusive marriage. Click here to start watching.
10. A free playlist with 40+ short videos about all kinds of clarity topics on abuse. Click here to start watching.
11. SHERO is a self-paced online course for those ready to move from survivor to warrior, and you feel drawn to reach back into the vortex to make a difference. It’s for those who love someone who has suffered trauma or abuse, and their pain has sparked your desire to become an advocate. It’s for those who serve in a professional role such as clergy, counselor, attorney, or law enforcement, and you want to be more trauma-informed. Click here to sign up.
1 “93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious” and that this category of offender may be the most dangerous. Other studies have found that sexual abusers within faith communities have more victims and younger victims “Abel Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study, from the website: Not in Our Church. For more, check out JimmyHinton.org
2 Estimates published by WHO indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. When you include other types of violence, like emotional, psychological, financial, sexual etc the percentages are much higher.
3 Family Studies have reported that 1-in-4 highly religious U.S. marriages have interpersonal violence. Stat from Life Saving Divorce.
Thanks so much for this article and putting all these resources in 1 place. I have already forwarded this to many people that need the hope that is contained in this letter.
Thank you, Mary!