As a survivor of domestic abuse and former ‘Chrisitian’ I have had the privilege of meeting and talking with women leaving their abusive situations. Even though the type of abuses vary our stories are similar, and once on the outside, we find ourselves on a journey to reclaim who we were prior to the abuse. More often than not part of the journey involves the church.
All of creation is an extension of Divine Love; created by the energetic love of God and to God, we will return. Our interpretation of God and our journey are personal, and many look for God within the walls of the church. It’s just how we are conditioned, but God is not confined by the walls of a building or doctrinal belief. God is everywhere; in the quiet of the morning, the crash of ocean waves, the serenity of the mountains, in the laughter of a baby, the trust of an animal, in the complexity of a snowflake and the simplicity of a cool afternoon breeze.
I tried to get back into church life but it didn’t resonate with me any longer. From the pulpit, women are told they need to be submissive to their husbands. Throughout my years in the church, the definitions of submission changed periodically to make it more palatable to the modern world. In the end, no matter how many times the sharp edges are knocked off and spit-shined, submission is defined as “accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person”. (Dictionary source) I don’t have a problem with yielding to God; I do take issue with the declared superiority of another human in any relationship or marriage.
Bible studies I attended over the years spoke of the woman’s responsibility to pray for her husband, set the example for kindness and love and less than kind and loving husbands will get the message and step up to care for their wives and families like Yeshua (Jesus) cared for the church, or so we are told. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to work that way for me or many women I have spoken with who left abusive relationships. Handing off the responsibility for their mate’s behavior to women only compounds the weight she already carries believing the abuse is her fault.
Teaching submission of women and the superiority of men is an archaic mindset and perpetuates abuses in the home. According to the church God hates divorce and many interpret this to mean people are to stay in abusive relationships, continue to pray the abuser will see the light and for what purpose? The Bible teaches throughout each of us is responsible for our own behaviors, words, and decisions, and yet the responsibility for an abusive partner’s behavior, words, and decisions has been placed at the feet of women. It’s time for the church to step up. All are equal in the sight of Divine Love…..