Sometimes women are being abused and don’t realize it, because their male partners are not ripping down cabinets and leaving bruises. It’s important to understand what abuse is: “A pattern of coercive control that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical.”
The core of Jesus’ ethics is servanthood, putting self under others to lift them up, not pressing down on them from above in a hierarchical way. The theme of service is the structure on which Jesus built the ethos he gave the church.
Jesus told his disciples explicitly to do their work and live their lives by serving, not by holding authority over others: “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28, NLT).
When a woman tells you about her relational experiences, and you think she might be a victim of abuse, listen to her. Believe her story. Remind her that Jesus condemns the choices her abuser is making.
Ask specific questions rather than broad ones like, “Is your husband abusive?” Remember that some abuse victims have not yet understood that their spouse is an abuser. They may think what’s going on is normal or that they deserve it. Try questions like these:
Does your husband call you names or insult you? (verbal abuse)
Do you have to account for every penny you spend? (financial abuse)
Do you feel like a child instead of an adult in your relationship? (overall pattern of abuse)
Does he make you do things sexually you do not want to do? (sexual abuse)
Read the whole post here.