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Why do Christian Husbands Abuse Their wives? Part 2
Question: Dear Sir, my husband is a lay leader in a popular church in the Bahamas. We have been married for more than fifteen years and for the past five years he has become very abusive. He was first emotionally abusive, then physically abusive after he was chosen to serve in an outstanding church position. The church members do not believe that he is abusive because he is so "nice" and popular. The members often make me feel that I am the problem. Why do Christian men abuse their wives? Need help.
Answer: This is part II in response to this serious question. The fundamental reason for spouse abuse stems from belief in male dominance or gender hierarchy. It emerges out of the greed for power and control that began in heaven with Lucifer. Lucifer was jealous of God’s power and wanted more authority and recognition. What did he do? He began the first political campaign ever and convinced one third of the angles to vote for him. But it did not work. He was thrown out of heaven with his host of imps. This greed for power and control is very, very, very contagious. Satan had to find more converts outside of heaven. So he tried Eve and was successful. His strongest point of conviction was the issue of power and control. He convinced Eve that God was really lying when He said that they would die if they ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and Good and Evil. He also persuaded Eve that they would have MORE POWER and that she and her husband would actually be like God, but God did not want to tell her that. It worked! Yes it did!
FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME
This greed for power and control has revealed itself over the millenniums first through gender hierarchy, then slavery, racism, communism, totalitarianism, spouse abuse, incest, child abuse, murder, rape, etc. A basic assumption of all these forms of abuse is that one group of individuals feels it is superior to another group of individuals. Satan knew that if he could destroy the egalitarian plan of God for the family, eventually all other forms of abuse would follow. Thus, his campaign for supremacy would be successful. God himself stated in Genesis 3:16 very clearly that gender hierarchy was a direct result of sin with the words "and he (man) shall rule over you (woman)." This idea was not God’s plan. It was Satan’s strategy--a result of sin. "God created man (human beings) in His image. In His image God, created He him (human beings), male and female created He them." (Genesis 1:27). In addition, God gave Adam and Eve--both of them--dominance over the animals not over each other (Genesis 1:28). Clearly both Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. Together they reflected God’s image. In essence, male dominance teaches that males were created in the image of God and females were created in the image of man. There are no Biblical texts or teachings that support the idea that Eve was to be subordinated to Adam. Jesus told his disciples: "When you see me you see the father . . . I and my father are one." This was to be the example of male/female relationship.
When Jesus came to earth almost two thousand years ago, He met a world infested with national prejudice, religious abuse, slavery, racism, and male dominance. He showed by His own lifestyle how we should treat each other. He was gentle, kind, nurturing, compassionate and loving. Jesus cried publicly at Lazarus grave side. In Christ’s day and even today, these expressions are considered emotionally weak and feminine and are not to be expressed by men. Jesus lifted the level of women from that of unimportance and inferiority to that of great prominence and equality.
One of the most effective ways that greed for power and control has reigned supreme is through religious abuse. This was demonstrated through the dark ages when emperors, kings and religious leaders slaughtered millions of Christians---non-Protestants were superior to Protestants. Its ugly head was again revealed during the holocaust, when millions of Jews were killed---Germans were superior to Jews. In the past two years, we have seen it in Bosnian, Kosova, and Rwanda---one tribe superior to another.
We have learned that religious abuse, a form of emotional/psychological abuse, is a way many Christian Bahamian men abuse their partners. Religious abuse occurs when someone makes you feel that it is your Christian duty to stay in an abusive relationship. It is using texts out of context to perpetuate domestic abuse, to encourage a partner to be submissive to an abusive mate. It is also when a husband constantly reminds his wife about her "Christian duty" to be submissive and to respect him as the head of the house, and placing himself as "king of the castle."
Our Bahamian society is poisoned with the venomous sap of family abuse. How could a "Christian nation" be so poisoned, so sinful, and wretched? In reality, the churches have laid the foundation for such abusive behavior. The church is powerful. It has preached submission to husbands "no matter what." The church has taught that reconciliation is staying with an abusive partner because "a gentle, Christlike, meek spirit will win him over." It has taught that Christian forgiveness means returning to a threatening, dangerous relationship. It has kept quiet in a world which resonates with cries of abused women and children. It has denied, covered-up, and minimized the abuse of church leaders, and other Christian men, thus demanding no accountability, no change. Who has to change? It is always the woman. In reality this is not ministry of reconciliation. Christian Psychologist, James Alsdurf says "The church is called to bind up the bruises of women who have suffered not only form the violence of their spouses, but also from the passive violence of a church which has failed to recognize their situation and intervene on their behalf." It is time to teach that true reconciliation and healing can occur only after the spouse separates from an abusive partner, the police are called, and he is held accountable for his behavior.
The prophet Ezekiel gives a timely message to pastors and church leaders today. He gives a warning to those who have been appointed to "take care of the flock" and who have failed in their responsibilities. Ezekiel does not mince words: "You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured . . . You have ruled harshly and brutally" (Ezekiel 34:4). "And, because of such harsh rule, because of the dismissal of the plight and pain of the sheep, because of the complicity of the shepherds (pastors) with evil, "I am against the shepherds (pastors) and will hold them accountable for my flock, I will remove them from tending the flock." (Verse 10)
If you are a pastor who would like learn more about he dynamics of abuse or hurting person in need of help, or you have request for counseling, write to P.O. Box N 896, Nassau, Bahamas or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 242 393 2818
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Permission is granted to print these pages and to make the necessary copies for your personal use, friends, seminar, or meeting handout. You must not sell for personal gain, only to cover the cost to make copies if necessary. Written permission (email) is needed to publish or reprint articles and materials in any other form. Or you call at 242-323 8772. Copyright © 1999 Sounds of Encouragement. All rights reserved. Articles written by Barrington H. Brennen, Counseling Psychologist, Marriage & Family Therapist. P.O. Box N-896, Nassau, Bahamas. This Web page last modified: May 02, 2005 . email@example.com
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