- ‘Why do you always mess things up?’
- ‘How could you make such a stupid choice?’
- ‘A good Christian wife does not question her husband, she just submits.’
Many Christians believe that when you are married, you have to forgive, forget, and make excuses when your spouse disrespects, degrades, or demands you to do something harmful to your Christ-identity, value, mind, spirit, heart, or body. To enforce his abuse, the abuser will make excuses or use rationalizations that he is in charge. Christian victims also fall into this trap of excuses to try and make sense of what is going on and because they have been deceived by false beliefs that no matter what happens in your ‘Christian’ marriage it is okay.
Definition of Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse is not God’s will, nor is it Christ’s definition, design, or example of his perfect love. Verbal abuse happens when an individual chooses to use words to manipulate, coerce, or to control another person through insults, criticism, anger, blame, accusation, ordering them around, minimization of victim’s emotions and value, degrading, or threats.
How Christians Get Confused About Verbal Abuse
Several factors work together to deceive and lure victims into verbal abuse. When you have felt love-starved and you don’t know the types and signs of abuse, you can be deceived. When you don’t know Christ’s true love design, you can only operate out of your broken love design.
In your broken love design, you are unaware that some of the communication and behaviors of your imperfect design of love are in fact, abusive. When you have grown up believing that it’s okay for women to be disrespected, degraded, and dishonored with or without an apology, you do not realize that you now see abuse as normal.
When Christians are not taught about domestic abuse, including verbal abuse or Christ’s design of love, there is no way for them to recognize it and address it according to God’s word. Unfortunately, many Christians have misinterpreted or twisted scriptures and used them as spiritual abuse to keep the abused quiet and controlled so they do not have to address abuse. Ignoring abuse, allowing it to go on, and not having support and love for the victims and their children goes against the heart, nature, and word of God and Christ’s love. Abuse is NEVER God’s design or His will.
Signs of Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse usually starts out subtly. Your abusive spouse starts insulting you and if you object, they try to justify their abuse as ‘a joke.’ This form of manipulation is used by bullies, mean girls, and abusers. When the abuser is questioned or held accountable, they turn the tables by telling the victim that they are being too touchy or sensitive. They are deflecting their responsibility and the truth.
Abusers also use the tactics of treating you well in public and then treating you like the devil in private. They use their good words to give you hope and they use their deadly words to keep control over you. These tactics make them look good to others which makes it difficult for the victim to get anyone to listen to them or believe them when they reveal that they are being abused. Words leave no visible scars, but they slowly slice away at your heart, soul, and spirit.
When the person who claims to love you criticizes or embarrasses you in front of other people, they constantly correct you, they bark orders at you or call you names, they are verbally abusing you. The tactics of verbal abuse do not come all at once, or you could see them. The goal of the abuser is to gain and maintain control of you one step at a time. They use your emotions, your need to feel loved and valued, and your desire to make your relationship work to control you.
Our Responsibility to Mirror Christ’s Words as His Disciple
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to follow in his footsteps outlined in Luke 4:18 TLB. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”
The victims of abuse are the images of these verses. It’s time for the body of Christ, the church collectively and individually, to stand us and support the victims and their children. We must bring new awareness and education that abuse is NEVER God’s will or Christ’s love! Stand with me in support to end domestic abuse and all abuse and join my professional Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Pages.