How Does God Feel About Domestic Violence?

Proverbs 6:16-19

Do you wonder what God may think about domestic violence?  Often the victims are made very aware of how God feels about divorce because when they seek counsel about getting divorced from abusers they are told by spiritual leaders that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). However not much is usually said about the words that immediately follow: “…and I hate a man covering himself with violence.”  Why is it that victims hear they should not divorce but abusers are not instructed that they should not abuse?  Are victims of domestic violence getting the full counsel of God? Are abusers being held accountable in real and tangible ways.

How does God feel about domestic violence?  A scripture in Proverbs 6:16-19 would share some light on that for us.  Even though domestic violence is not the specific issue being addressed, the teachings are clearly applicable.

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

What does the Lord hate?

Proud eyes. Do abusers look down on those they abuse?

A lying tongue. Do abusers lie to cover up the violence they bring upon their family members?  Do abusers fill the minds of their victims with lies?

Hands that shed innocent blood. Do abusers kill? How many deaths have been the result of domestic violence? Domestic violence causes more deaths and disability among women aged 15-44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.

A heart that devises wicked schemes. Abusers are perpetrators.  When they abuse their victims, their actions and words are thought out.  A myth is that they are out of control.  The truth is they are very much in control.  They can and do shut their rage down instantly and become extremely apologetic and remorseful on the surface.  Their actions are thought out in order to maintain control over their victims.

Feet that are quick to rush into evil. The very act of domestic violence is evil.  Every instance of domestic violence is evil.  When a perpetrator loses control over one victim and then seeks out another person to abuse, that is evil.

A false witness that pours out lies. Many perpetrators of domestic violence will not confess their sins and their crimes when confronted by spiritual or legal authority.  They will lie about their victims instead of owning up to the evil that is within themselves.

A man who stirs up dissension among brothers. What dissension is worse that what a abuser brings into his/her own family because of his violence and abuse? He/she becomes the instrument used to break a family down and apart, the effects of which can last not only for a lifetime but even for generations.

Would domestic violence be something that the Lord hates? Absolutely.  Therefore, victims of domestic violence should know that God and God’s people will always stand up for them against abuse.  Abusers, batterers, perpetrators (whatever term you prefer to use) need to hear that they are opposed by God and by God’s people and they will be held accountable.  Never should an abuser be given a free pass by the church and the victim told to stay in that marriage.  Never should a victim be told she or he must stay in that marriage unless the abuser has gone through significant and sustained change.  Even then there more than likely will need to be separation in order for the victims to be safe.  And when an abuser has broken his/her covenant by perpetrating domestic violence, the victim should have the final say about going back into a relationship with that person.  That decision should not be coerced by the church, family, friends or anyone for the consequences could be fatal if perceived changes in the perpetrator are not real.