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  • October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Many Christian counselors, pastors, and lay leaders are still woefully ill equipped to handle this very important issue despite 1 in 4 Christian women reporting being in a destructive marriage. I invite you to visit my website that I’ve designed to educate and equip pastors, counselors and church leaders on this very important topic. Please check out www.leslievernick.com/people-helper
    and sign up to receive information about additional training opportunities.

What Does The Bible Say About Domestic Violence?

Leslie Vernick

October is Domestic Violence awareness month. As Christians we need to be more proactive on this devastating issue. Jesus always cared for the oppressed and abused. One way you can be an advocate for the victims of Domestic Violence is forward this blog to your pastor and/or print it and share it with church leaders.

A Biblical Response to Domestic Violence

Every week I receive frantic calls and e-mails from Christian women who feel scared, trapped, hopeless, and helpless because their most intimate relationship is abusive; verbally, physically, sexually or all three.

Church leaders often lack the skills necessary to address the problem in a wise and competent manner. First, let’s take a look at domestic violence biblically.

1. It is always sin. Malachi 2:16-17; Psalm 11:5; Colossians 3:19 Emotional abuse is real. Abusive speech is never an acceptable way to communicate (Colossians 3:8).

2. Violence is never an appropriate response to being provoked. People provoke us all the time but we are still responsible for our response (Ephesians 4:26; Luke 6:45).

3. Biblical headship does not grant a husband unlimited power over his wife, the right to remove her choices from her, or the right to have his own way all the time (Mark 10:42-45; Ephesians 5:1,2; Ephesians 6:21-29).

4. God's purpose is to deliver the abused. (Psalm 5,7,10, 140, Acts 14:5)

So how should a Christian respond? The apostle Paul encountered some spiritually abusive leaders in 2 Corinthians and he tells us not to put up with it (2 Cor. 11:20). He also encourages us in Romans 12:21 to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.

Below are some biblical guidelines that will help you respond to the evil of domestic violence with good toward the victim and perpetrator.

1. It is good to protect yourself from violent people. (Proverbs 27:12; Prov. 11:9) David fled King Saul when he was violent toward him. The angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Jesus because Herod was trying to kill him. Paul escaped from those who sought to stone him.

2. It is good to expose the abuser. (Eph 5:11) Bringing the deeds of darkness into the light is the only way to get help for both the victim and the abuser.

3. It is good to speak the truth in love (Matthew 18:15-17) When someone grievously sins against us and will not listen, it is good to bring the matter before the church for additional support, accountability and authority.

4. It is good to allow the violent person to experience the consequences of his/her sinful behavior. One of life's greatest teachers is consequences. God says what we sow, we reap (Gal. 6:7) A person who uses violence at home does so because he gets away with it. Don't let that happen. (Prov. 19:19). God has put civil authorities in place to protect victims of abuse. The apostle Paul appealed to the Roman government when he was being mistreated (Acts 22:24-29). We should do likewise.

Churches can and should do all they can to combat domestic violence. Start now:

1. Educate teens on healthy dating relationships

2. Teach the proper relationship between husbands and wives and the misuse of authority.

3. Create a healing environment in the church.

4. Have a zero tolerance for abuse of any kind.

5. Become familiar with community resources to help women and families in crisis.

Book Giveaway


The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

by Leslie Vernick

You can’t put it into words, but something is happening to you. Your stomach churns, your heart aches, and the tension in your marriage is making you feel weary and a little crazy. The constant criticism, disrespect, cruelty, deceit, and gross indifference are eroding your confidence and breaking your spirit.

For any woman caught in an emotionally destructive marriage, Leslie Vernick offers a personalized path forward. Based on decades of counseling experience, her intensely practical, biblical advice will show you how to establish boundaries and break free from emotional abuse. Learn to: ·

  • identify damaging behaviors
  • gain the skills to respond wisely
  • promote healthy change
  • stay safe
  • understand when, why, and even how to leave
  • recognize that God sees and hates what is happening to you

Trying harder to be a perfect fantasy wife won’t help fix what’s wrong your marriage. Discover instead how you can initiate effective changes to stop the cycle of destruction and restore hope for the future.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter! (Giveaway only available to U.S. residents)

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” by Leslie Vernick are Chelsea E. and Marilyn M.

Enter For Your Chance to Win

Parental Alienation

By Susan King

Question: Do you have any advice on how to create a safety plan when your husband parentally alienates during a disagreement? My husband will often say “Why is mommy so angry? Or, go away mommy! Mommy is mean! Mommy is angry” When I am oftentimes not even raising my voice, I am just disagreeing and standing my ground. My husband will keep this up for hours! Any advice? Thank you.

Answer: Your question is much appreciated. I am sure many readers can relate to this issue, which is very common in destructive marriages. The tactic of parental alienation can be effective, and you are wise to seek out ways to help yourself with this problem.

I will assume this is a long-standing pattern that you have already tried to address head-on with a conversation. For the sake of the readers, I will give an example of having a private, assertive and respectful conversation with your husband about how he communicates to the children.

What People Are Saying About Leslie’s book “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship”

“The Emotionally Destructive Relationship provides a critical first step down the path of healing and growth for those who find themselves stuck in abusive relationships…with no idea how they got there and no idea how to get out. Those who suffer in these relationships and those who want to help them will find a humble fellow–traveler in Leslie. As always, Leslie meets the sufferer and the sinner with compassion, truth, concrete direction, and lots of hope. I look forward to using this book with my counselees”

―Winston Smith, MDiv, director of counseling services and faculty member at Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States