September 12, 2014
In recent days, several high-profile cases of domestic violence involving NFL players have dominated the sports media. Questions are being posed about a variety of things in these incidents, but, in the process, it seems as if the conversation has shifted to the specific personalities and details of these particular events—while shifting away from the larger issue. In our culture, we have a serious problem with domestic violence. While individual and personal accountability is absolutely vital in these incidents, it is not enough to point at individuals and their problems. As a society we must come to grips with the problem of violence against women in the very places where they should be able to feel the most safe—in their homes and marriages and relationships.
Like every man and husband, I have to be willing to look at my relationship with my own wife and honestly own and deal with the areas where I am not loving her as “Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25)… (and) gave up His life for her” (NLT). That is the baseline for any discussion of how a man treats his wife (girlfriend or fiancé fits as well). Am I loving her with the self-sacrificial love that Christ demonstrated or not?
If not, why not?
Building on that baseline, Peter called husbands to treat their wives with honor (1 Peter 3:7), and there can never be a context in which abuse—be it physical, emotional, verbal, or spiritual—is honoring to the person being abused.
And, if we can’t get our hearts around that, maybe even the simplicity of Jesus’ words could at least jump-start our thinking. He said:
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12; NASB)
Where abuse raises it ugly head (or fist), there can never be a whole or healthy marriage or relationship. The two simply cannot coexist. The example of Christ and the challenge of the scriptures call us all to higher ground, so that our marriages can, at least in some small way, reflect the heart and love of Christ and not selfish anger or desire for power.
To read more on domestic violence, go to this link and download the Discovery Series booklet “God’s Protection of Women”.
“When Violence Comes Home: Help For Victims Of Spouse Abuse”
by Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain