“Christ in you, your hope of glory.” – Col 1:27
I love this verse, and it strengthened me in my struggle to escape religious domestic abuse.
But how does it work?
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower his followers. These powers include guidance, comfort, and healing. But the major truth to remember for those living in abuse is power.
The entire work and message of Jesus is to elevate human lives. During this season, globally, Christmas is celebrated as light overcoming darkness.
A woman living in religious domestic abuse are given platitudes about why she should stay, try harder, pray harder, save her husband, and other man-made teachings that only serve to keep her in bondage to the abuser mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
This is not Jesusâ€™ message and He left the Holy Spirit to dwell within us when we face such challenges to our relationship with Christ.
Wealthy foreign wisdom keepers traveled to honor the presence they saw shining from afar. Humble people came to see their hope for a better life, an escape from oppression and cruel domination of governments.
There is no indication that the birth of the Christ child would leave people in suffering. The joy was in the opposite expectation.
How is your relationship with Christ living with a rager, a person disrespecting whom he is supposed to love as Christ loved us? A person who cannot control his own spirit as the Proverbs urge? The Proverbs are in the Old Testament, so Jesus called us to even higher relationships. The abuser you are with is not even meeting old Jewish standards of marriage, much less Christian love.
The reasons you stay are many or perhaps just one. But before all else, I had to believe I could be free. I knew that my heart could not hold a close relationship with Christ when confronted daily by hatred. To honor and commune with the Holy Spirit within that Jesus sent me, I had to have the power to leave. And I knew it was Godâ€™s will I do. I believed I would be guided and supported in refusing degradation. I would have power.
May you honor the Holy Spirit given to Godâ€™s beloved. May you rejoice in the birth of Jesus, a man with Godâ€™s spirit within, who preached liberty to the captives.