Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Perhaps no issue is as confusing to Christian abuse survivors as trying to untangle who is responsible for what in an abusive environment.

If you ask an atheist who is at fault if a child is sexually molested by her father, without hesitation he answers that the father is guilty of a horrible crime against the child. But talk to a Christian survivor and she is often stuck in a maze of confusion. How can she still honor her father? How much of what happened is God's fault? Is it her fault, was God punishing her for some wrongdoing?

If a wife is abused by her husband. Many in our society automatically assume that the correct course of action is to divorce that "loser" as fast as possible. If you are a Christian, however, church people may give you the idea that it is your job to save the marriage, convert the husband into a true believer, and bear your "cross" with patience and goodwill. Christian abused wives struggle over how to submit properly, how to forgive divinely, how to protect God's reputation as a marriage-saver, and how to love well enough that their husbands won't feel like abusing any more.

If a Christian husband is abused by his wife, I think he probably goes through a lot of the same issues except instead of struggling with how to submit, they may be struggling with how to properly love that woman who is out to kill them (psychologically and/or physically).

How can Christians help one another through these intellectual and spiritual struggles? I would love to hear your thoughts in emails to me or as posts on the website. I have heard from a few women that their posts are not reaching me. If you have tried to post and never received a response from me then please use the email ( to make comments, and specify if you would like me to post your comments on the site. I have posted all the comments that have shown up for moderation. I moderate the comments to keep the site safe for those who are in the process of recovering from abuse; I will not post any abusive comments (which has not happened yet).

The next few posts will explore answers to the questions of who is responsible for what in abuse and in recovery from abuse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The April 30th post really hit close to my heart especially as the question about how Christians can help one another with the struggles of domestic violence and abuse was asked.

Speaking from my personal experience, the church I was in, and I emphasize WAS IN, provided no other resources further than maritial counseling. That church professed a very backwards "take-it-to-your-elder" style of problem solving which was ignorant of modern day professional training or counseling. The church members were not able to help. One could never have just called another church member to ask for help, as I know I could do now, in my church today.

We as Christians certainly need to reach out with "the love of Jesus Christ" and truly represent ourselves as his disciples when we have the opportunity to help console or help a person caught up in the darkness of family abuse or violence. Prayers work better when accompanied with action. I think that is why we need to support each other at home, at work and here too; for those who find healing by reading this blog. Reach out and tell one another that you care, that you will pray for them and that if they need to come over tonight to just sit and talk, to go ahead and call. They are that important to you; you are that important to them and ALL of us are that important to God.

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft