Domestic Abuse

I’ve watched several friends stay in abusive marriages, and several divorce because of abuse. There are many reasons why people choose to stay in these relationships, though it’s hard to image why. I’ve listed some reasons at the bottom of this post, but lets attack the topic of boundaries for a moment:

We need boundaries. Without boundaries we will become victims of abuse and adopt a powerless mindset. We should have a standard set for ourselves of how we will allow others to treat us. If people do not treat us as we have designated, then we should not listen or continue in relationship. Here are some things that we should require, and reject, in relationships and conversations. These actions will encourage hope and self-control (empowerment), and help us escape abusive relationships. Boundaries cause the abuser to face the consequences of their own decisions while empowering us with the choice to leave if they don’t treat us with respect.

– 2 Chron. 7:14 – IF my people, my God-defined people, respond by (1)humbling themselves, (2)praying, (3)seeking my presence, and (4)turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

What we should require & reject:

  1. Humility instead of pride & arrogance 
    Verbal abuse, or other means of belittling you, should not be tolerated.

  2. Requests (prayer) instead of demands
    Use of fear tactics, physical abuse, or other means of control, should not be tolerated.

    God gave us dominion over everything but people. We need to respect others and protect their ability to make their own choices. If their choice is to abuse you, then you need to make the choice to leave.
  3. Seeking presence instead of things
    If someone wants something from you, without wanting a relationship with you, then its un unhealthy relationship. This should not be tolerated.

    If you are married and your spouse habitually has sex with you without trying to connect on an emotional level, it’s abuse.

  4. Turn away from wrongdoing instead of continuing to wrong you
    Refusing to change, though you respectfully ask and show them how they are hurting you, should not be tolerated.

Notice also that God waited for these 4 things from His safe place, Heaven.

– Heb. 10:26 – For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins


If you are in an abusive marriage, you need boundaries. Consider a temporary separation if you do not want a divorce. Once faced with the consequences of their choices, if they repent then go back to them:

– 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

If they do not repent then divorce them:

– Rom. 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death


There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. Here are a few:

– My partner will kidnap the children and disappear.
– My partner will spread horrible rumors about me.
– I’m nothing. I don’t deserve better.
– I was brainwashed to believe that I couldn’t cope without my partner.
– I’m more comfortable with what I know, than the unknown out in the world.
– My children will blame me and resent me.
– My partner will turn the children against me.
– My partner doesn’t let me out of the house.
– I have no friends or family to call for help anymore.
– I believe my partner when he or she says that it will never happen again.
– My marriage vows.
– My religion.
– I love her or him.
– My partner has all the money.
– My partner charges up all my credit cards.
– My partner will lose her or his job if I report this.

Other reasons why women stay in abusive relationships


Make a list of your reasons and confront them. Get out of the situation. There are churches, programs, and safe houses designed specifically to help you. It’s scary facing these reasons, but its wisdom to escape the cause of these abuses. Say no to the abuser and leave them today.

– Prov. 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight

– Ps. 18:6-19 – In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

– Ps. 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

– Jer. 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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7 Quotes from the Cross

Jesus went through His worst day, to help you through yours. When we go through junk, it makes us masters and gives us wisdom for those going through the same struggles. In one day Jesus was emotionally distraught to the point of sweating blood, was physically beaten, strung up naked for public humiliation, rejected by all his friend, suffered the most agonizing death, and yet he still perfectly taught us how to get through a bad day. He said 7 things on the cross, and all of them are significant for us today:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)
  2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)
  3. “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)
  4. “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)
  5.  “I’m thirsty.” (John19:29)
  6. “It is finished.” (John19:30)
  7.  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

Fix your Eyes on Jesus– Heb. 12:2 (MSG) – keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.


1. On your worst day, forgive people
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)

– Eph. 6:12 – we struggle not against flesh and blood but evil forces in the spirit realm.

If you need someone to be mad at, get mad at the devil.

Leave It, or be a Slave to ItForgiveness is not:
1) Minimizing the seriousness of the offense
2) Instant restoration of trust
3) Resuming the relationship without changes

We need to forgive because:
1) Our own emotions can’t be healed from the pain until we let go of it
2) Everyone has done something wrong
3) If we can’t forgive, we can’t be forgiven by God or man
4) Jesus forgave us
5) The people who hurt us were victims too


2. On your worst day, help someone else
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)

Criminal on Cross– Luke 23:39-43 – One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus was dying on the cross, and He didn’t fear piling on more rejection from people, or harm from the soldiers – He still spoke the truth. He talked to the two criminals hanging next to Him. It was a 50/50 shoot. He took the chance and He saved one! One criminal accepted Jesus as his savior. The other, more or less, said, ‘Get yourself off the cross and I’ll believe what you have to say; why should I trust you if you are in the same position I’m in?’ It didn’t faze Jesus.

Help othersWe feel like we don’t have the right to try to help others when we are going through the same struggle that they are. Jesus shows us otherwise. On your worst day, and in the middle of your worst situation, you can still speak Life to someone else. ‪It probably comforted Jesus to have a friend hanging there next to Him, going through the same pain He felt; especially after all his so-called friends had rejected Him that day. It’s easy to say ‘I can’t take anymore’, but what if helping someone else is God’s way of lifting our pain? Taking our mind off our own problems can ease our anxiety. Seeing someone else go through the same struggle can give us a different perspective that can help us. There are countless ways that God uses helping others, to help ourselves.

– 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

– Col. 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


3. On your worst day, take care of those who are important to you
“Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)

Jesus helps Mary from the cross– John 19:25-27 – Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Joseph, Mary’s husband, was dead and Jesus, her son, was dying. Jesus’ situation was really bad, but He still did what it took to take care of those He loved; even if it meant getting a friend to help Him do it.

The people closest to you, usually get the brunt of your bad day, but Jesus took care of the people closest to Him. What a great example!


4. On your worst day, you’ll feel like God has forsaken you
“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)

Job forsakenSometimes we try to make God tell us why, before we do what He assigned to us.

– Job 3:23 (MSG) – What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?

Realize that there are going to be some questions that you don’t get an answer for. We live by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. God says His plans for us are good, so we have to take His word for it sometimes. When you get to heaven, and get the answer, you will say, ‘Oooo, ok. I couldn’t see that, but I’m glad that happened the way it did.’ God’s plan for everyone is good. Job basically said, ‘God, make this mess in my life go away, or at least tell me why my life is so messed up.’ There are 35 chapters of that, before God responds from a scary storm:

– Job 38:2 – Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

– Job 38:1-5 – Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

– Job 38:18-21 – Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!

– Job 40:2 – Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?

God creates UniverseBasically, we assume that if God gave us an answer that we would be able to comprehend it. Gods understanding far exceeds our own. Sometimes the answer is too complex for us. We can only understand it once we get to heaven and see how it played out with our new, more capable, mind.

God got a little sarcastic with Job. God who has lived infinite years, said ‘Surely you know, since you have lived so many years!’ The point is, we don’t have to understand everything. We can just trust Him. Paul & Silas did:

– Acts 16:22-23 – The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison

Was it God’s will for them to be flogged and imprisoned? No. It happened because God gave people freewill, and the ability to make their own choices. Freewill is a gift, but unfortunately it is one that is highly abused. God chose not to control us, or make us slaves, and I thank Him for it, because I’ve had enough control and manipulation in my life to be sick of it. Anyway, they were flogged and most of us would be wondering why God would allow that to happen. Yes freewill, but yes, He could also save them. God could’ve rescued them. God rescued several other people from things like this. Nonetheless, they weren’t offended that God didn’t rescue them. In fact:

– Acts 16:25-26 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Paul & Silas in PrisonGod delivered them. He came through. Not on their timing, but with perfect timing. They went on the mission to spread the gospel. The free people didn’t receive the message, but God knew who would. The people in the prison had been mistreated the same way Paul and Silas had. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Paul and Silas had freedom, and that freedom got on everyone. God allowed Paul to go through the flogging so he could save all the prisoners. Since that was Paul’s intentions of going to the city anyway, I don’t think he would’ve had a problem with being flogged, once he knew how many people it saved. But Paul didn’t have to know God’s plan in advance. He knew God and trusted that His plan was good.

Remember:
1. God is always with you; even in the depths of hell (Ps.139:7-8 )
2. God is never late (Hab. 2:3)
3. God knows best (Heb.11:39-40)
4. God cares (James5:11)


5. On your worst day, you have needs
“I’m thirsty.”
(John19:29)

Jesus drinks Be human enough to acknowledge your need. We feel like we can’t have feelings or emotions. We like to act like we have it all together, but God Himself acknowledged His need. We need people in the church to start being real with each other.

We all have hidden weaknesses, a desire for approval, and past hurts that need healing. We need support, growth, protection, and unconditional love. This is what the church should look like.


6. On your worst day, you need to know that it doesn’t last forever
“It is finished.” (John19:30)

HopeBe confident that there is a purpose, and an end, to every suffering. No struggle is pointless. No suffering is unending. This life is temporary, but the glory to come is eternal and every tear will be wiped away.

– Ps. 126:5-6 – those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

– Rom. 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He works everything out for our good.

– 2 Tim. 1:12 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

1. I know that God loves me
2. I know that God wants the best for me
3. I know that God has a plan for me
4. I know that God will bring me through

– Lam. 3:21-22 – Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

– 2 Tim. 4:18 – The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


7. On your worst day, you can give it to God
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

quoteJesus felt abandoned by His father, but He still knew that He needed to trust Him. Surrender your day to God, and let it go. I’m going to turn this loose and let you have it, God. I want to hold onto this, but take it over.

– 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

– Phil. 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Worry is a control issue. Are you going to be in control or is God going to be in control? The root word means to choke or strangle. It means a divided mind. Worry is unreasonable, unnatural, unhelpful, and unnecessary.

– Matt. 6:27 – Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

RestWorry doesn’t make life better, it shortens life. Ever heard the phrase: ‘I’m worried sick.’ Worry is bad for us. Remember God promises us 7,000 times, in the Bible, that He will take care of us.

– Matt. 6:32 (MSG) – People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

– Matt. 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1. Get to know God
2. Put God first in every area of your life
3. Live one day at a time


For more on this topic: How to Live Through A Bad Day – Highlands Sermon Series
Worship: Where you Go, I Go, by Jesus Culture


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The Heart of Eve

I’m going to a group study with some girls from work and we are reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It’s about the fall of man and its affects on the human heart; particularly a woman’s heart.

Woman, in the garden, was made to be a helper, a beautiful life-giver. Women want to know that we are beautiful; and we were. We were the crown of creation, until the fall. Since the fall we have been cursed with dominating and desolate spirits; leaving us trying to control others, or leaving us with an overwhelming sense of loneliness, or a combination of both. That combination, is a recipe for ugliness. Let’s explain this phenomenon so we can start feeling beautiful again.

What made us fall?
The question of trust.

Can we trust God? Eve was convinced God was holding out on her. She wondered if she could trust God’s heart toward her. She wondered what God’s reasoning was when he told her not to eat this one fruit.

Eve couldn’t see that God’s request was out of love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, because you will die; and I want you to live.”
(Like telling a child not to touch something hot, because it will hurt them.)

Instead, she chose to see it as God withholding love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, or I will kill you.”
(Like telling a child if they touch something hot, you will kill them. Which is ridiculous!)

We continue to believe the exact same thing. We continue to question Gods commands and His motives! Why does he ask us not to covet, or lie, or have affairs? It can’t be that he loves us enough to warn us, because he knows that it will bring us death. It has to be because he wants us to suffer, and struggle, and fear his punishment. Well, which of these sounds like God and which sounds like the lies and perverted/twisted half-truths of the enemy?

What was the curse for our actions?

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” – Gen. 3:16

“the product of sin is death” – Rom. 6:23

Stasi, while contemplating this curse, states,

These things were not supposed to be so, but our sin caused them. Women today still struggle with this curse. We are cursed with loneliness (relational heartache), with the urge to control (especially her man), and with the dominance of men (which is not how things were meant to be, and we are not saying this is a good thing-it is the fruit of the Fall and a sad fact of history.)

Is your vast capacity for intimacy ever filled in a lasting way? Are you comfortable trusting your well-being to someone else? Most women hate their vulnerability. We are not inviting-we are guarded. Most of our energy is spent trying to hide our true selves, and control our worlds to have some sense of security. That self-protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real love, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God. It is our gut level response to a dangerous world.

The lonely women are certain that if others really knew us, they wouldn’t like us-and we can’t risk the loss of a relationship, so we hide. We hide with angry silences and punishing withdrawals. We hide our truest selves and offer only what we believe is wanted, what is safe. Bringing us into many damaging relationships.

The controlling women, feel like they can’t trust anyone but themselves to do anything. Not allowing children to play, because they might make a mess. She believes that she had to take things into her own hands to get what she wanted. She took the fruit herself, because in her mind, God couldn’t or wouldn’t do it for her, and certainly a man could not.

Are we looking in the right place?
Whether we dominate and control, or withdraw in our desolation and hide, still the ache remains. When we feel the pain, we fill it with shopping sprees, second scoops of ice cream, romance novels, gossip, or anything else that can substitute-for a while-the real thing. But they never satisfy, so we have to continue to fill the emptiness with our indulgent bad habits; forming addictions and wondering if its possible to live without them. We take the fruit. We choose not to trust God. We get taken along the path to sin and broken relationships; And not until we finally break, finally realize that these substitutes will never cure us, do we look to God.

“I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” – Gen. 3:10

We hide from him and others. Masking our pain and unfilled desire for love, for freedom. And He seeks us out! He sees his lover and comes to the rescue

“God called to the Man: “Where are you?” –
Gen. 3:9. “Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife” – Gen. 3:21

“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

God had mercy on us, to clothe us and to give us a hope in the image of the first sacrifice, foretelling his plan to come die in our place; to take on the price of our sin on the cross. Now Christ has cleansed us with his blood and clothed us in righteousness through his death. We now have his blessing, and the way out from under the curse that Eve’s/our sin brought. By looking to him we can find wholeness and abundant life.

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him – Col. 2:9-10

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – John 4:13-14


Personal Testimony

This past week, of seeking God, has filled every void of loneliness and every void for intimacy. The hunger to know Him, and be known by Him, has been more than enough to fill me up. Luke 24 tells us that a couple of the disciples were walking along talking about Jesus, then Jesus showed up and started explaining things. I had a similar experience yesterday. After thinking and studying the word for a week straight, giving God as much time as I would a boyfriend, He started talking to me. He told me one of his purposes for my life, which blew me away. He showed me the path that he’s had me on and how it would play into this role. He brought up talents that I have thrown away, that He wants to restore and use for His glory. He even taught me more about them and how to use them. He brought up, and cleared up, issues of confusion from past gifts. He is all-knowing. He is intimate. He wants to give me a good life. He has prepared the way. He is guiding me into it even now; even before, when I could not see. I can trust His plan for me. I don’t have to take control of the situation, and I don’t have to hide from him, because he is here to bring healing and break down walls and set up banners of victory. I don’t have to keep him out, because he is safe. He is love. And he is my fortress of protection.