There are times, even for a Christian, that forgiveness is a struggle. We know that Christ like love requires us to forgive those who have wronged us. In Matthew 18: 21-22, Peter asked Jesus, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, seventy times seven. To our natural man, this seems like a lot to put up with. Just because we release wrongs that have been done to us, doesnít mean we must continue to endanger ourselves or the ones we love. Forgiveness can be simply leaving vengeance in Godís hands like we read in Romans 12: 19 - 20. It says, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Domestic abuse, in its many forms, can be a complex issue for the Christian family. It bundles physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges into one overwhelming crisis. First, lets deal with the physical. Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) We are valued in Godís eyes as a temple, or a sacred place. God does not want his temple defiled by violence. Other scriptures that can speak to abusive situations, are John 10:10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Jesus is saying that some people are among us to hurt us, to steal our joy, and to destroy our lives. When He says we can have life more abundantly, He is not only referring to material things. He also means spiritual abundance. Godís will is for us to feel safe and unafraid.
Emotional abuse is another type of suffering that does not accomplish a greater good, like the long suffering that is talked about in the Bible. No one deserves to suffer at the hands of a family member or loved one. When children are involved, emotional abuse is extremely harmful. Ephesians 6:4 tells parents, And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Children are vulnerable and depend on adults to take care of them. As Christian parents, we will be held accountable for how we treat and raise our children.
When we look at domestic abuse with a spiritual eye, 2 Timothy 3: 1-5 stands very clear. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. The best way to help an abuser other than forgiving him is to love him enough to rebuke his actions. Removing yourself and your children from harmís way holds him accountable for his actions and may allow him to repent more quickly. The abuser needs to seek help, but only God can change his heart.
Katrena J. Kilpatrick
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