Posted at Pastor Dave Online:
One in four women. Those are the startling national statics for cases of intimate partner violence. For many of us within the church those numbers reveal just how desperately our world needs Jesus, but we fail to realize that domestic violence is a serious problem within our walls too. In fact, domestic abuse is not just a problem within the church, sometimes we can make it easier for abusers to hide and justify themselves. There are two major ways that the church can unintentionally provide a safe haven for abusers.
The church is often the most ill-equipped and unprepared to intervene in cases of abuse. We can cultivate a safe haven for abusers, then, simply through ignorance. Victims of abuse may often go to their pastors for help but in reality pastors are often unaware of what abuse looks like, how to identify it, and how to help. If abuse does not reveal itself in the form of classic aggression, violent behavior, and bruises on the victim then the average pastor won’t see it. In fact their very narrow definition of abuse may lead them to do more damaging things, like offering marriage counseling to the couple.