International Student Chaplaincy (ISC) posted a sermon about domestic violence that I wanted to share today.
A Sermon by Rev. Waltraut Stroh. Held on the 9th March 2008, ISS, The Hague. The theme is the domestic violence.
A new letter of Paul to Christians in all continents
Dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I received a letter signed by many sisters and some brothers from different countries asking for my opinion and advice on a family issue which they call domestic violence. I was shocked to read about the behaviour of many husbands all over the world. Therefore I write this letter and I strongly urge you to read it carefully.
My brothers, how can you treat your wives in such a way, beat them and misuse them? Were they not given to you by God? How can this happen within the church of Christ? Did you forget what I wrote earlier to you, that you are the body of Christ? That all parts are of equal importance and should be honoured equally? That if one part suffers, all the other parts suffer as well? How can you make your own body suffer? Did you forget that I wrote to the husbands to love thier wives as their own body?
And you, who are brothers or neighbours or colleagues of such husbands, do you say, “Am I my brother’s keeper? This is only a family affair”? Should you not bring your brother back to the right path?
I was even more shocked that many husbands use my letters as an argument to controle their wives and eventually even batter them. God behold. When did I ever allow a husband to beat his wife? Yes, I told the wives to submit to their husbands and to respect them. But does this allow men to treat women as slaves? Did you not continue to read what I told the husbands further, ‘love your wives and care for them’? Some of you may have paid a bride price when you got married. But this does not mean that your wives are your property. Each one of you, men and women, are the property of Christ. He paid for you with his own blood to make you free people. If I wrote to you earlier “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free” I dod not mean the freedom of men only. Respect therefore each other’s freedom. Through your faith in Christ Jesus you are all children of God. There is no difference between rich or poor, black or white, man or woman, not in the eyes of God. In the beginning God created man and woman in his own image. Discover the image of God in each other. Every stroke on your wife’s body is a stroke in the face of God.
I want to be clearer than in my letters before as they were misinterpreted. Hereby I tell the wives, ‘love and respect your husbands’ and I tell the husbands, ‘love and respect your wives’. Treat your partner as you want to be treated. Any other attitude does not come from Christ.
Some husbands refer to my letters and call themselves the head of the family. They use this argument to defend their dominant role. They controle and discipline their wives they way they like. When I wrote that the man is the head of the woman I referred to Christ as the head of the church. Christ is the head of all believers, women and men. But he is not a head that seeks control and power. Although he had divine authority he humbled himself to be a servant. He was prepared to suffer and to carry his cross. He sacrificed his life for our sake. Are you, men, willing to identify with Jesus, the humble servant? Or do you prefer to identify with Jesus, the Lord and Master? Why is the attitude of humility and servanthood mainly preached to women? Jesus told us that the church is different from the world. Whoever wants to be first must become a slave. Christian families and christian husbands should give an example.
You, who were baptized in the name of Christ must confirm yourself to him. Did you forget how Jesus allowed Mary of Bethany to be his disciple and called her sister Martha to give up the role of housewife? Did you forget how he was involved in a theological discussion with a samaritan woman at the well and with Martha at the grave of her brother Lazarus? How he praised the faith of a foreign woman whose daughter was sick and learned from her that his mission was beyond Israel? Jesus took women serious. Do you, my brothers, know better than Jesus?
And you, my sisters, don’t give up. Let yourselves be encouraged by the example of your sisters in Christ, the women who stayed close to Jesus in his hour of agony, the women who were the first witnesses of the resurrection, the women who became my coworkers and leaders in the christian churches: Priscilla and Phoebe, Lydia and Dorcas and many more. Without their strong commitment to the cause of the gospel my mission would not have succeeded.
Christ gave us the commandment “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Is your wife, is your husband not more than your neighbour? My dear brothers and sisters, let your hearts be filled by the love of God. Let this love be shown in your homes and in your behaviour as husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers to the glory of God.
Peace to you and grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with unending love,
apostle and servant of Christ.
Thank you Rev. Waltraut Stroh for sharing this with the world!
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