October 2013, “Ending Domestic Violence … in the Christian Church”
The findings sicken my heart. Recent studies reveal . . .
Globally, 1 woman in 3 is beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way, most often by a man she knows—her husband, domestic partner, or another male family member.
- Astonishingly, 1 woman in 4 is abused during her pregnancy.
- Worldwide, 275 million children witness domestic violence—the vast majority perpetrated against their mothers.
These stunning statistics bring to mind the week I was speaking at a large missionary conference in South America. With hearts deeply grieved, a group of dedicated missionaries told me about local pastors who routinely instruct the men to “beat your wives into submission.”
Tragically, this is not an isolated incident. In many countries around the world, husbands and wives are taught—in church—that the wife’s acquiescence to physical, verbal, and emotional abuse is “God’s plan,” and they use Ephesians 5:22 to support their wicked thinking: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands . . . .”
Completely absent from this teaching is any instruction about the context for this verse. The verse just prior (v. 21) says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” And three verses later (v. 25) the Bible tells husbands to live with sacrificial love toward their wives.
Candidly, never have I talked with a battered woman who has heard Scriptures presented from the pulpit encouraging her to move out of harm’s way and seek the protection that she so desperately needs. No wonder so many abused wives feel disheartened, confused, and distressed. They wonder, Must I really suffer at the hands of someone who has pledged to love and protect me? And where is God when I am hurting so much?
Does the Bible ever teach that we are to be abused? Is that the heart of Scripture? No! Instead we read: “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Psalm 11:5). These words are not ambiguous!
In fact, our gracious God gives specific instruction about dealing with those whose anger is out of control . . . including abusive husbands: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered” (Proverbs 22:24). And listen to this—“A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again” (Proverbs 19:19).
Women suffering abuse in other countries get very little help from those around them. But help is available from Someone above—the Lord. He promises to be “close to the brokenhearted.” Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Whenever I speak on this topic, the greater truth is that God is not only with those who suffer abuse, but He also states that it is His will that we move out of harm’s way. The key is getting His Word into the hearts and minds of husbands, wives, pastors, Bible teachers, and spiritual leaders . . . all around the world.
I recently returned from Latin America with a renewed urgency to “rescue the perishing.” How I wish you could have been there with me to look into the eyes of the people I met as I shared God’s heart on Self-Worth, Forgiveness, Verbal & Emotional Abuse, and other pressing topics.
Imagine greeting the staff and clients working at Hope Centers dotted across Mexico and South America—centers filled with our Spanish counseling resources that present biblical hope and practical help. How moving it would be if you could witness the “light-bulb” moments of eager students, teachers, pastors, and professors when I teach in schools and seminaries on contemporary topics . . . topics often tinged with misunderstanding.
Over the last three decades, Hope’s International Ministry has been a source of inspiration to countless people who, today, have transformed lives. But it has also provided me with the most compelling, tragic examples of wife abuse that continue like the plague . . . in homes and churches around the world.
The best medicine for this plague is the truth of God’s Word—the same truth that permeates all of our practical teaching materials.
Because of your support, Hope For The Heart is now training international pastors, counselors, seminary leaders, and other “people helpers,” sharing the hope and help that comes from the wisdom of God! And with your continued prayers and financial support, we can help many more as we develop walk-in Hope Centers—spiritual “safe spots” for sharing God’s truth, empowering resources, biblical counsel, and uplifting prayer—throughout towns, villages, and neighborhoods.
Will you consider partnering with us this month as we focus on reaching the world with God’s Truth for Today’s Problems? Your generous financial gift not only underwrites international Hope Centers, broadcasts, and print and audio resources . . . it also sends a resounding message of encouragement—to both me and our dedicated staff—that you stand with us to change hearts and lives everywhere around the world.
Please pray and ask God how you might participate in this important work. If you are led by the Lord to invest in the lives of others through our ministry, you have my deepest appreciation.
Yours in the Lord’s hope,
P.S. Every gift is needed—from $30 to $3,000 or more—to expand and continue our work overseas.
If you’re on Facebook, I invite you to connect with me at Facebook.com/June.Hunt.Hope. And if you’re not, take it from me: You’re never too old to start! See you there!