October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. The Light Network which produces a number of great podcasts providing solid Bible teaching and encouragement is seeking to bring awareness to this topic in the church. They have several podcasts on the topic this month and are coordinating a blog hop. They are asking various writers to contribute posts on the topic. You can see all the other posts at this link. I encourage you to check out the other ones and their weekly podcasts.
Domestic violence could be compared to the leaves of plant above ground which is seen. The plant’s existence above ground indicates that there is more to it below ground. So it is with domestic violence when it is finally exposed and seen by all, it also represents some major roots below the surface that caused and produced the violence. Our criminal system is focus on the outward acts, as we also often are in the church. If we are going to affect real and sustained change in the person, and eliminate the violence, we must address the root causes. Jesus does this all through the sermon on the mount, when he takes outward acts and then goes to the heart that produces the acts.
Here are 8 root causes of domestic violence that we should consider. We must address these causes to help prevent, and also stop violence.
- Anger – So often connected with violence is uncontrolled anger. Jesus calls us to self-control and quick reconciliation. Too many allow their temper to be an excuse for sinful behavior.
- Fear – Anger is often motivated by fears. With domestic violence, it is often the fear of losing a relationship or of not having control that causes the violence. The fear of not being able to get another relationships, support oneself financially, or looking bad in public all play a part in this issue.
- Poor examples – The Bible speaks of sins and punishment for sins being passed on to the third and fourth generations. So much of domestic violence comes from people not having good examples as they grew up and then falling back on these poor examples. Even though an abused child determines never to do this to their children, when they become a parent, they often know no other way.
- A lack of valuing other people – Jesus taught us to love other people. He teaches husbands to cherish and nourish wives. Wives are supposed to love and respect husbands. Fathers are not supposed to provoke children to wrath. Yet, all of this involves seeing the intrinsic value in other people. So much violence comes, like it did in the book of Judges, because there is an unhealthy respect and value for other people. In Judges we see women mistreated and abused by the Jewish society. Jesus saw the value and worth in lepers, women, and Samaritans. We should see the value and worth of every person!
- A lack of self-love – Jesus and Paul both assumed that we would love ourselves. When we do not love ourselves it creates all kinds of problems. Much of domestic violence finds its roots in low self-worth issues. Men, who feel they don’t have what it takes to be the husband and father they need to be, resort to threats, power-plays, and force to gain a psedo-respect. Women, who don’t feel lovable and valuable, get out of one abusive relationship, only to quickly find themselves in another, or even back in the same abusive man’s arms, because they inwardly don’t feel they deserve to be treated differently.
- Alcohol and drug abuse – The roots of much violence are connected with the stimulants put into our bodies that make us impaired and irrational. Often before the violence can be stopped, treatment and help must be received for a drug addiction.
- Hypocrisy – Domestic violence lives in the darkness. It lives under the pretense of privacy and family business in many “good Christian homes.” Yet it will one day be exposed just like all sins. Often it comes out within this lifetime. It is sin, and needs to be exposed to the light of the gospel, but it will not be, if everyone stays quiet and lives in the hypocrisy.
- Failure by the church and Christians to teach and know God’s will – A final root to this sin is the lack of clear teaching on these roots, domestic violence in general, and a godly marriage. The church must confront these sins, be an advocate for the innocent and abused, be a source of strength and protection for the hurting, and a lighthouse to lead those in dark.