We do not provide counseling services of any kind. Contact your local domestic abuse shelter, dial 9-1-1, or reach out to a trusted friend/organization.

Is Scripture All You Need?

by | Jan 16, 2024 | Article | 0 comments

There are many reasons church leadership may be uncertain or unaware of the dire need to learn more about domestic abuse. Consider this common opposition and how Clarity in Action might help your church with its half-day training (in person or via Zoom): 

“The Holy Spirit and God’s Word are all we need to recognize and navigate abuse issues in a Godly manner if and when they arise.”

According to a study by the Christian Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 75% of women experiencing domestic abuse said they would go to the church first for help, but of those who did, only 4% said they would do so again. 

Countless women, in the most confusing and painful season of their lives, courageously ask their church for help.  They are met with unloving, endangering counsel that contradicts Scripture’s commands.  God commands His people to care for the oppressed, downtrodden, and exploited just as He does.

Unfortunately, much of the counsel victims receive from their churches places blame on them while overlooking or defending the perpetrator. Here are common examples:

  • An unbelieving husband/wife is sanctified by a believing spouse. That’s why God put you there.” This is a misapplication of 1 Corinthians 7.  Through Paul, the Holy Spirit is addressing an unbelieving spouse who is committed to the believing person.  This marital relationship does not manifest cruelty, abuse or oppression.  There is no mention of one spouse repeatedly sinning against the other spouse 
  • “You’re a sinner, too.” This is called sin-leveling and it dismisses the fact that one individual’s sin has a much greater impact–and is more egregious than “being” a sinner. Misusing authority, resources, and oppressing others is a choice. 
  • “Maybe you’re not trying hard enough. Read Scripture, pray, and do something to make him feel special.” This puts the responsibility for one person’s sin on another. This is never biblical or appropriate. Ezekiel wrote, “The soul that sins shall die” (18:20). Biblical counsel will reflect individual responsibility regardless of marital status. 
  • “Forgive and forget.” “Give grace.” These statements do not reflect the Person or character of God. Yes, we forgive. Yes, we give grace. But biblical forgiveness and grace do not negate sin and consequences. Jesus openly condemned religious people whose hearts nurtured lawlessness, self-indulgence, and extortion. (Mt 23:25,28). God desires repentance, not hypocrisy. 

Churches with little knowledge of abuse dynamics, abuser manipulations, and victim impacts may unknowingly perpetuate abuse in the name of Christ. Those leading and counseling women in and through domestic violence could mislead and place her in greater danger unless they understand the complexity of the perpetrator and her situation.  

Proverbs 19:2 instructs, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” When we choose humility, we admit we don’t have all the answers. If we misdiagnose marital oppression, we fail to “rightly divide the word of truth,” love, and counsel others in a God-honoring way. 

Clarity in Action Ministries exists to change the fact that only 4% of women who initially went to their church for help would return. If we are to reflect Christ, we must do better in representing compassion, truth, justice, and love, especially for those living out the effects of abusers. 


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