I would like to introduce you to my new friend, author Rose Saad. She was visiting my city a few weeks ago, and took time out to meet me at a coffee shop. It was like meeting an old (new) friend. We clicked immediately.
Rose lives in Maryland, loves photography, and has three adult children. She is a Christian, a survivor of domestic violence and a registered nurse. In her experience as an emergency room nurse and a member of her faith community, she noticed that both trained professionals and mature Christians frequently misunderstand the abused women* who come to them for help. She also noticed a lack of resources designed to help Christian women suffering from domestic violence. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in pastoral counseling and speaks publicly on the subject of domestic violence.
Rose left her abusive relationship over a decade ago. She told me she isn’t in a hurry to remarry. If God brings her the right person, great. If not, that’s great too. She is passionate about helping Christian women and churches understand domestic violence.
Rose began writing domestic violence materials while running a domestic violence support group; these materials eventually became the foundation for her book entitled, A Path to Hope: Restoring the Spirit of the Abused Christian Woman. **
I was so impressed with this book. It is one of the few books I’ve read about domestic violence that is geared specifically toward Christian women who have been abused. Here are some of the highlights of the book:
In Chapter 2, she gives a great description of the dynamics of domestic violence. She says,
“Education is the first step toward empowerment.” I agree 100%. Tweet This
Rose details many types of abuse including:
- Verbal Abuse
- Abusing trust
- Threats and intimidation
- Emotional withholding
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Economic abuse
- Spiritual abuse.
In Chapter 4, she does an awesome job of sharing scriptures to help the Christian community understand domestic violence from a biblical perspective. She shares the story of Abigail, wife of Nabal in Samuel 25:2-38. Rose compares the character of Nabal, (whose name means “fool”) to that of an abuser. Nabal is said to be “crude and mean” in all his dealings. He is verbally abusive, “he screamed insults at them.” He is ill-tempered, out of control emotionally, refuses to listen to anyone and makes it difficult for others to approach him. Yep. That sounds like my ex.
Abigail on the other hand is beautiful and intelligent. When her fool of a husband speaks abusively to David and David is about to slaughter him and every male in his household, Abigail comes to the rescue. She doesn’t “submit” to her foolish husband. Instead, rather than following Nabal’s irrational wishes, she decides to protect her household. Rose gives us these insights from Abigail’s story:
1. Abigail made the protection of her household a priority over obedience to an irrational and violent husband.
2. Abigail didn’t wait for her husband’s permission to do the right thing.
3. She wasn’t afraid to correctly identify her husband’s character. She called him wicked and ill-tempered, and a fool.
4. She was strong in her faith and trusted in David as God’s anointed.
5. God punished Nabal for his actions. He died ten days later.
In Chapter 6, Rose quotes Jef Gazley, M.S., LPC, who says that healthy relationships are NOT characterized by unconditional love. Unconditional love characterizes the feeling of a parent toward a child because most parents love their children regardless of behavior.
“Adults demand to be treated with dignity in order to stay in the relationship.” Tweet This
This was a completely new perspective for me! I have always been told we should love each other unconditionally. I think that is true to a certain extent. I am happy my husband doesn’t seek a divorce because I annoy him at times. But, I know if I began abusing him, he would eventually give me the boot . . . and that would be the right thing to do. No one deserves to be abused.
In Chapter 7, Rose says that an abuse victim must have the opportunity to grieve and express her anger in order to heal. She says, “Anger is energy. When a woman suppresses or denies the energy of her anger, it will be internalized. Internalizing anger may lead to physical and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.” It can also lead to drug and alcohol abuse, which the victim uses to block the emotional pain behind her anger. One of her tips for dealing with this justifiable anger is to have a specific plan for dealing with anger-inducing situations before they occur.
Chapter 8 is entitled, “How Can the Community Help the Abused Christian Woman?” In this chapter, she disputes a myth many believe, that “Domestic violence is none of my business. Abuse is a private matter.” She points out that the health related cost of intimate partner violence against women in the United States is $5.8 billion a year! Domestic violence costs 1.8 billion in lost productivity or wages each year in the U.S. Rose says,
“Domestic violence is a family affair, a community affair, and a national affair.” – I heartily agree! Tweet This
Most of all, I was impressed with the bible verses Rose shared that identify domestic violence. Check out the verses below. They are all from the NIV unless otherwise noted:
- Psalm 11:5-7 (NLT)
- Proverbs 6:12-15
- Proverbs 15:5
- Proverbs 26:12
- Isaiah 58:4
- Malachi 2:16
- Matthew 5:21-22 (The Message)
- and Galatians 5:19 – 21 which says:
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I asked Rose how she discovered all the great bible verses about DV. She said that during her daily quiet time, she asks God to help her understand His word, and to help her apply it to her life and circumstances.
I highly recommend you check out Rose’s book. Thank you Rose for writing it, and thanks for meeting with me!
Question: Do you have a favorite bible passage that explains domestic violence? If so, please share it in the comment section.
May God give us all clarity as we search and apply his word to our lives.
* Rose’s book focuses on female abuse survivors. Abusers and their victims can be either male or female.
** Rose Saad, A Path to Hope: Restoring the Spirit of the Abused Christian Woman, (Sisters, OR: Deep River Books, 2016).