Follow after the things that make for peace (Romans 14:19)
“Hierarchy is a breeding ground for domestic abuse!” declared the instructor. I almost fell off my chair in shock! How could he be so dogmatic? In an effort to better educate myself, I was attending a state certified program on batterer intervention. Although we do a great deal to work toward abuse prevention and the healing of victims, we have addressed little of our attention or effort toward the ones responsible for the abuse in the first place. I was there to learn what I could.
While many consider the transformation of an offender almost hopeless, surely those of us in the body of Christ must know that “with God all things are possible.” There are a few faith-based intervention programs, and the research of Nancy Nason-Clark demonstrates that they are more effective than community-based programs. But how can we understand the issue? How can we make room for the healing power of God’s grace?
“Why do men batter?” asked the instructor, because many “still believe in rigid hierarchical gender roles” that objectify and devalue women. Many perpetrators see their mission, he said, as being that of remaining in charge of their domestic situation, and all methods are legitimate to obtain their goal. Then the instructor delivered the real shocker: “Equality is perceived as a loss by the batterer.”
These are the things being taught to staff members of public and private agencies across the state. Have we perceived biblically-based equality as a major weapon in the battle against domestic abuse? Have we had the courage to articulate it in the public arena, in our pulpits, Bible studies and prayer groups, our parking lot conversations, our neighborhoods and homes? Let us seek to bring the peace of Christ to every dimension of life.