With the latest NFL scandals with Ray Rice and others, domestic abuse is thankfully more front & center in the mainstream discussion. I have yet to meet a person that thinks from a deeply heartfelt conviction that domestic abuse is a good thing – duh. Domestic abuse is bad, full stop; it shouldn’t happen and we shouldn’t allow it, end of story.
Here are some interesting questions from Bible people in relation to domestic abuse:
- Jacob and Leah: there is nothing overtly abusive that can be observed in this marriage, but there was certainly emotional trauma, neglect and preferential treatment. While Leah didn’t leave Jacob, she nestled into her relationship with God, as is evidenced by the names she gave her first four sons (Reuben – I’m seen / noticed, Simeon – I’m heard; Levi – attached; Judah – praise)
- Hosea: this is an interesting perspective because it’s from the man’s viewpoint. Hosea married a prostitute, Gomer, who was extremely unfaithful to Hosea and yet because of God’s help, Hosea remained faithful to Gomer and ultimately the marriage became a more healthy relationship for both participants
- Abraham and Sarah: Abraham told Sarah twice to pretend that she wasn’t his wife, so as to protect himself from possibly injury. Was this domestic abuse? Interesting question – maybe it was domestic neglect?
- Samartian woman at the well in John 4: Jesus called out this really cool lady, exposing the litany of marriage failures in her life (5 broken marriages). Was there domestic abuse in her life? We don’t know any of the details of this woman’s broken relationships, but we do know that after her conversation with Jesus, she was a different person and she brought her transformation to her city, who also became transformed by connecting with Jesus
Moral of the story: don’t accept domestic abuse and Jesus heals all things, including the damages from domestic abuse!