By Dr. Adenike Yesufu
In Luke 10:5 when Jesus sent out his disciples two by two, He told them that whatever house they enter, they must first say ‘peace to this house’. This brings my thought to family violence. How many homes experience peace?
World Health Organization (2002) states of violence within the home. Violence pervades the lives of many people around the world and touches all of us in some ways. To many people staying out of harm’s way is a matter of locking doors and windows and avoiding dangerous places.
To others, escape is not possible. The threat of violence is behind those doors and well hidden from public view. Violence in the home is not a recent phenomenon. It has long been a characteristic of family life. It is clear that whenever people enter into interdependent relationships the potential for conflict and even violence exists.
Family violence cuts across all socio-economics, racial, ethnic, gender, age and even religious boundaries. Violence and abuse can be found in many cultures and environment. Abuse and neglect can be found in all types of families and interpersonal relationships. It violates the sacred function and purpose of family. Violence is perpetuated in the form of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Children are usually abused by persons responsible for their care. Adults are abused by others who are significant in their lives. Violence/abuse in intimate relationship is, ugly, brutal, and terrifying whether experienced or witnessed. Family maltreatment has devastating consequences on physical, mental, and psychological health. Violence in the home impedes the quality of life for family members and in extreme cases can result in death.
Violence, abuse and neglect occur with enough frequency in various home and family settings that some have concluded that it is an inherent part of human condition. Family violence is quite pervasive even in Christian homes. One is tempted to ask who the Lord of those homes is.
We know that the Bible contains accounts of wars, murders and even fratricide which is killing of one’s brother, rod of correction is mentioned, so is ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. But how do Christians draw the line of discipline, corporal punishment and child abuse?
Parents are urged not to provoke their children, children are urged to honour their fathers and their mothers. The Bible does not sanction child, spousal, parental, elder or sexual abuse, all of
which have become pervasive in our world. Why do we have a significant number of Christians as perpetrators and victims of family violence and abuse? How do Christians resolve the issues of power struggles that result in violence and abuse?
Christians are all urged not to kill, nor harbour anger in our thoughts. Believers are urged to get rid of bitterness, rage, slander and all forms of malice. We are urged to be kind, compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave us. Among believers there is supposed to be no hint of sexual immorality.
In James and Timothy we read about treating elderly relatives and other senior with care and respect. There is no place for any form 01 violence/abuse among believers. Jesus even has a word for victims of abuse and violence, who may harbour the tendency to retaliate in self defence or out of provocation. He said to us to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors and forgive those who sin against us. Tall order, some will say, but we know that with God all things are possible.
But does it mean that we must submit passively to repeated beating. harassment and other abuse? Of course not!
Society, more so the household of God, has the responsibility to help prevent abuse and protect victims from harm. God is opposed to abuse, so must his people. We must all subscribe to God’s divine ideals that form the bases of peace in the home. All of us, must trust God for inner peace in the midst of difficult life situation, to ensure peace in the home, at all times.