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Domestic Violence Doesn’t Make Sense, Because It Is Not Love (via Sarah Balogh at Gospel Coalition Australia)

Sarah Balogh reflects on the evil that befell Hannah Clarke and her children in Brisbane last week from a personal and professional standpoint.
When the question revolves around variations of what went wrong for someone to perpetrate such an act we find ourselves trying to make sense of of something that cannot be made sense of.
Whenever we think of such acts as love gone wrong we neglect the reality that love was never present, however the relationship looked, or whatever the perpetrator expressed about their victims.
Perhaps we recognise some warped expression of love for self, because that’s all the relationship was ever meant to serve. But even then it is a desire that is ultimately self-destructive.
It is the opposite of the love that is at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and makes all the more wretched any compulsion exercised by Christians for victims of domestic violence to continue to expose themselves to perpetrators.

An excerpt:

As a psychologist, I am familiar with stories of domestic violence. I know how victims (especially women) struggle against the manipulation of their abusers. I’ve heard them try and make themselves responsible for the abuse of others: “It was my fault … If only I hadn’t said … But he said sorry.” The stories are so familiar. And yet … always so painful.
Sometimes it stirs a fury in me and I want justice.
Sometimes after they leave the counselling room, I cry.
Often, I pray “come Lord Jesus.”

Domestic violence doesn’t make sense to us.
It doesn’t make sense when someone says they love you, but seeks to control you or your family or your friends. It doesn’t make sense when someone who promised to care for you tries to put you down or call you names—or, worse, tries to pit your children against you. It makes no sense when that someone hits you, and then says sorry … and does the same thing again next week, or next month, or next year.
We can’t make sense of it because it doesn’t and shouldn’t make any sense at all.
Domestic violence doesn’t make sense, because it is not love.

A loving husband treats his wife like a queen, not like a slave. A loving husband lays down his life for his wife—the same way Jesus laid down his life for his church.


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The Australians Of The Year Who Never Were

This week’s article for Mount Gambier’s Border Watch.
The effects of our situation still impact my family and our relationships to this day.
It’s challenging and complicated.
The hope for those of us in Christ is that these experiences don’t define who we are, though.

The Australians Of The Year Who Never Were

Rosie Batty is the Australian of the Year for 2015. A domestic violence campaigner, Rosie endured the murder of her son Luke in 2014 by Luke’s father. Growing up in a home where domestic violence was a regular part of life, the recognition Rosie has received speaks to me of the quiet heroism that so many women demonstrated to protect them and their children from harm. Many times they would endure injury themselves in order that their children would be protected.
For hundreds of thousands of brave women there will be no official award apart from the appreciation of the families they held together. Many mark the change in divorce laws in the 1970s as a reason for contemporary family fragmentation, but for me they primarily made it possible for women and children to escape situations of torment and uncertainty with a little more dignity intact.
This experience is the reason I personally find it so frustrating that situations like that which Rosie and Luke endured can still exist in this day and age. No one should live in fear of physical or psychological abuse, particularly in an intimate relationship; nor should they have to feel that their children are at risk in that relationship.
I find it detestable too, that there have been those who have sought to use the words of the Bible to justify such behaviour. The Bible does talk about relationships, and the relationship of a husband and wife. Though some might take issue with aspects of its teaching, and there is a variety of positions on the relationships of men and women, in the area of domestic violence no one can maintain that a husband has the right to injure or terrorise his wife, or that a wife should willingly endure such treatment.
Nor can it be maintained that criminal acts performed by those in an intimate relationship against each other are to be ignored or accepted by those around them.
The model of marriage for husbands in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament that speaks most clearly to Christian experience, is that of service. Jesus said he came not to be served, but to serve. A husband does not use a wife to meet his needs, but should give of himself to meet the needs of his spouse. The ideal of marriage is for the wife to do the same. No one takes advantage of each other, because each is seeking the best for the other.
It is so tragic that domestic violence is still so prevalent in our communities. It is encouraging that the various areas of society where the perpetrators may have felt acceptance are speaking out against this attitude and behaviour. Christian churches stand united with the community in this. Many women, like my mother, will never receive an award, but their experience and quiet heroism is not in vain.