For too long we have assumed that violent societies are to be found somewhere else, in lands distant and less developed than our own. The reality is, violence is an everyday occurrence in the suburb or town where we live. And the statistics are simply horrifying
The home should be the safest and happiest place in the world, but for many Australian families it is filled with fear and uncertainty. After working in the Mentone community for 10 years I have seen and heard the damage caused by men who will not control their anger, and of the fear and shame that they have inflicted onto their families. The shame belongs to these men alone, but often they are very effective at adding psychological scars to those physical injuries
At Mentone Baptist we oppose any and all violence toward women and children. We also recognise that there are circumstances where a woman is abusing her husband. And abuse is not limited to physical violence, but includes sexual, psychological and financial abuse.
We want Mentone Baptist Church to be a safe church for victims of domestic violence. This includes:
- protecting your privacy
- not allowing the abuser to attend the church
- offering pastoral support and helping you to connect with professional care & assistance
- offering practical care where we can
- making you feel welcome in church services and in small groups, and through them providing opportunities to build friendships
The expectation that the Bible lays on husbands is incredibly high; we are told that husbands are to love their wives as ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25). How did Christ love the church? He sacrificed all he had for her good. He laid down his life for the church, and he continues to care for and to provide for the church’s needs. The word used in verse 27 is ‘radiant’, and speaks not so much of physical beauty, but of inner beauty. The Lord Jesus is committed to seeing the church grow in its glory, and husbands are to live similarly for their wives.
There is no place for violence or harsh words or manipulating for sex or controlling money or making threats. Blaming tiredness or stress, or alcohol and drugs doesn’t cut it. These things are symptoms of a deeper issue in the heart of the abuser. All such things are inexcusable and fail to live up to the example that the Creator of marriage has set for husbands.
The bar is set high, but God also promises to provide us with a helper, the Holy Spirit. And through the Gospel God also promises forgiveness to those who fail; it is why Jesus died. However, forgiveness is conditioned by repentance, and repentance means genuine change of heart and action. Forgiveness does not mean that everything is ok. Forgiveness does not mean that there are not criminal consequences or that spouses should remain living together.
Through the web of cultural and psychological fears, and even religious blackmail, women can feel as though there is no escape, but there is.
If you need to talk to someone please follow this link for the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria. There are people trained and ready to help you.
If you live in or around Mentone and would like counselling, please contact our counsellor at firstname.lastname@example.org