How God feels about abuse is simple to grasp when we understand that Jesus came to end abusive, evil, corrupt behavior within the religion of the Jewish people. The entire time Jesus walked the earth he was being abused by the Pharisees, up to the point that they killed him. Also when we look at the story of the Exodus, we see how God saved and removed his people from oppression and abuse as slaves to the Egyptian pharaoh.
From the beginning of The Bible to the end of The Bible, the Word of God focuses on teaching us to love and how to love one another. Love is frequently defined through actions of kindness, unselfishness, and generosity. I Corinthians 16:14 challenges us to “let everything you do be done in love.”
If someone is abusing you, or if you are abusing someone, then that is not love. Love is defined in Paul’s words in I Corinthians 13:4-8 as “enduring with patience and serenity, being kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious, nor does love brag and is not proud or arrogant.”
Love is not:
- Provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]
- Jealous or envious
- Taking into account a wrong endured
- Rejoicing at injustice
But rather love is:
- Bears all things [regardless of what comes]
- Believes all things [looking for the best in each one]
- Hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times]
- Endures all things [without weakening]
Love never fails, fades, nor ends. By not taking into account a wrong endured, love does not keep a score or record of all the offenses we have suffered.
Love is not one-sided in a relationship. You cannot do 100% and the other person does none. When faced with an abuser, you are faced with someone who keeps score, is self-seeking, easily provoked, filled with jealousy and envy, arrogant, and regularly offended. Abuse harms, stems from evil intent, and is disrespectful. Your partner does not respect you if they abuse you.
How God Feels About Abuse: Abuse is Wicked & Evil
God flooded the Earth because the wickedness of man was too great and every intent among man was only evil continually. God showed favor and grace to Noah because he walked and lived in habitual fellowship with God. God destroyed Sodom because of evil intent and abuse, specifically sexual abuse. Sodom was full of rapists and batterers. God then sent His son to spread love, humility, kindness, grace, and forgiveness to the world. He made the ultimate sacrifice so that anyone who comes to Him through Jesus and genuinely seeks forgiveness and the opportunity to change their ways can receive grace.
We are all children of God. And when we think about our own children we basically teach them, “you messed up, you need to say you are sorry, and you don’t need to do that again.” Y’all that is exactly what God wants us to do. This is supposed to be literally the basis of relationships and communication because we all make mistakes and mess up.
Breakdown of Basic Communication
The problem we face in abusive relationships is the breakdown of this basic communication. It is biblical that we should be able to go to someone who has hurt us and say “This is what happened or was said and it hurt me.” The person who has hurt us should then be willing to accept that they hurt us (intended or not) and apologize – and then it is back on us to forgive them and move on and continue to build that relationship up. If you tell me I did something that hurt you, I will apologize and then turn to God for further conviction. I will then seek His forgiveness and make an actual effort to change and not repeat the same mistake. Forgiveness 101.
What we run into with abusers and narcissists is that when we try to tell them that we are hurt by something they said or did, they refuse to accept any wrongdoing. It is still our part to forgive them and move on – however, this type of relationship cannot continue and be built up if the other person doesn’t do their part. There is no voice of reason or room for negotiation in this type of relationship. And a key factor is missing: Love.
Because of God’s grace, we should also show grace by not destroying that person who is the way they are because they are deeply hurting in some way that they will not recognize or show. But we cannot control, change, or fix them. Only God can do any of that work in them. The best thing we can do is lean into God and pray for the abuser. But in this type of situation, it is best to pray from a distance. It is important to steward your safety.
An Abusive Person is a Nicolaitan
Nicolaitans, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds. To understand how God feels about abuse, simply understand how God feels about Nicolaitans.
An abusive person can claim to be a Christian and know God. But if that were true; they would follow the Word of God, lean into God, continually seek God, listen to God, and they would live in habitual fellowship with God, and finally they would embrace the opportunity for growth. Spiritual growth and maturity include the willingness to recognize and own our personal wrongdoings and mistakes. Then it means the willingness to make necessary changes in ourselves and then not make the same mistake twice. This is the actual simplicity of what it means to be a Christian and follow The Bible. Being humble and kind towards others is how we show the love of Christ as we are called to do.
God warns us to not be unequally yoked with non-believers to protect us and protect our hearts. We are also warned to look out for wolves in sheep’s clothing. This does not mean that just because someone doesn’t believe in God they are immoral, abusive, or a bad person. God looks at and knows the hearts of every one of us. But pay attention to the actions and the fruit of another person, and not just what they say, but also how they say it.
Think of an abusive person or a narcissist as a scam artist. If it seems too good to be true, sadly it probably is. Refer back to the previous posts on red flags and signs of abuse. God warns us of these things because they are not what He wants for His children, whom He loves and wants to protect from harm. And if we get duped and stumble into a relationship or even a marriage with an abuser, He doesn’t want us to stay in harm’s way. He will use the bad for good. But that does not mean that we are supposed to stay with the toxic person so that we can be the good to their bad. God doesn’t want you to remain in darkness.