If I marry a Christian man, I will have a good marriage. This was my belief as I married my first husband, at eighteen. My belief was shattered within the first two months of my marriage as he held a shotgun to my head.
I fell into the trap of abuse because I did not understand the following three facts about domestic abuse.
- Being a Christian doesn’t make anyone immune from being a victim of abuse or from operating from abusive behaviors.
- Not knowing about Christ’s perfect love design or abuse set me up to operate in my broken love design and to be deceived by the initial charm and attention of abuse.
- All abuse is disrespectful, dishonoring, and sinful.
How Was I so Stupid?
I asked myself this question along with hundreds of other victims of domestic abuse I have encountered over the years. These questions are the byproduct of our deceived thinking. Being unaware of abuse doesn’t make you or me stupid. It verifies that we did not know about Christ’s love, nor did we have the information we needed to see an abusive person or how to handle it.
One of the greatest deceptive twists about any type of abuse is the way an abuser takes a victim’s unawareness and turns their abuse into the victim’s fault. The truth is, your abuser abused you, and that is where the blame and sin belongs. You are not responsible for your abuser’s words or actions even though you have endured the abuse. Your abuser is responsible for their choice to abuse you.
How Christians are Deceived
No one is born knowing God’s word and the heart, character, words, and behaviors of Christ’s love design. We learn about love from the messages we hear, from our parents, from our experiences, and from the beliefs we form. Many Christians are unaware that their words, attitudes, and actions are abusive, or they are allowing themselves to be a victim of abuse. They are unaware, because they only know their imperfect and broken love definition and design.
In our imperfect love design, we have subconsciously come to accept certain behaviors and words as loving, when, in fact, they are abusive. We can only do what we know until we learn and do something different. To change our understanding and love design, we must learn and follow Christ’s prefect love design. Our understanding comes from studying and knowing the truth of God. Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. Matthew 22:29 NIV
We must know what it means to be a Christ-follower or Christian according to the Bible to see Christ’s love design. Learning about Christ will show us the true words, actions, and substance of his love design. Knowing Christ’s love design helps us see the flaws in our beliefs about love and relationships we formed over the years from our messages, role models, and experiences. Walking with Jesus every day empowers us to live in his true love design.
We must also learn about the various types of domestic abuse: verbal, mental, emotional, physical, sexual, financial, digital, and spiritual. As we study about domestic abuse after learning about Christ’s love design, we will see how the words, actions, and motives of all abuse are the opposite of Christ’s true love, respect, and honor.
Disciples of Jesus Must Love as He Loves
When you wholeheartedly choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are choosing to go all-in. You are saying you will study God’s word and grow in a personal relationship with Jesus every day. As you come to know him through prayer, praising him with music, and by studying God’s word, you will see his love design and know his heart.
Living in Christ’s love, you will recognize when someone is being disrespectful, dishonoring, or abusive. His wisdom, strength, and knowledge empower you to understand that Christ’s love design puts God first in every area and aspect of your life. It lives out the second greatest commandment to love others AS you love yourself.
His love design is seen in this verse. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV. No Christian will be perfect as only Jesus was. However, Christ’s devoted disciples will walk with him and the majority of their characteristics will be seen as these Holy Spirit fruits.
It’s Time to Make a Stand
It’s time for Christ’s disciples to seek to know the true love design of Jesus and to know the types and signs of domestic abuse so that we are not caught unaware. Because we live in this broken world where the devil has influence, we must prepare ourselves with the knowledge of his schemes. We must never forget what Jesus said, I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:9,10 NIV
Abuse is NEVER God’s will. If you have questions about abuse, please explore my resources at God’s Transforming Grace.