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The Abuse Pendulum (Part 1)

I am thankful to God that many necessary and important books and articles are being written to increase awareness of physical and sexual abuse as they affect both the society at large and the Christian community in particular. Spiritual leaders have been rightly admonished for their failure to protect at-risk women and children.1 [1]Because most cases of abuse involve women I will refer to the victim as being female. I acknowledge that men can also be victims of spousal abuse and have counseled men in such situations Abuses which should have been exposed have been covered up, leading to more unnecessary suffering which grieves Christ. Battered wives have been wrongly told that if they were just more loving and submissive, their husbands would change and the abuse would stop. They are then wrongly sent back to take further verbal and physical beatings. Many church leaders need to repent of their failure to “rescue the weak and needy; [and] deliver them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:4).

While I affirm the importance of understanding the dark nature of abuse and protecting the victims of abuse, I am concerned that some, in their zeal to correct the failure of the past, have swung too far the other way. This can lead to false accusations and unnecessary family breakups. I would like to give a few examples of what I believe to be common overstatements, and for each one, I will describe the good intention behind the statements, the harm which can be caused because of imbalanced thinking, and a more balanced way of expressing the same concerns.

*This is part of a series of four blogs about domestic abuse by Dr. Jim Newheiser. The next blog will be posted Friday, November 5.

The Abuse Pendulum (Part 2) [2]

The Abuse Pendulum (Part 3) [3]

Genesis 39: Responding to Sexual harassment [4]

This blog was originally posted at BCC, view the original post here. [5]

To read ACBC’s Statement on Abuse and Biblical Counseling visit our Committed to Care [6] website.