“Because life can be tragic for women, it is crucial to have a biblical
understanding of how the church can protect and care for women at risk.”
– Lindsey Holcomb, The Church and Women at Risk
Too often, churches don’t realize the great opportunity they have before them to offer victims of violence the care and counsel they desperately need.
Over at The Gospel Coalition, Lindsey Holcomb provides clear, biblical rationale for welcoming the exploited in her brief article “The Church and Women at Risk." In it, she describes 7 practical ways that Christians can reflect Jesus’s heart for those who are oppressed and abused. (Read all 7 of them at the full article here.)
Here are the first 4:
1. Stand with the vulnerable and powerless. Don’t enable or grant a pass to those who use their power to exploit others (Jer. 22:3).
2. Believe the women; don’t blame them. Being believed and listened to by others are crucial to victims’ healing.
3. Respond graciously, offering comfort, encouragement, and protection. Also respond with tangible, practical care.
4. Get informed and inform others about the prevalence of women at risk. They can be found right under our noses. The prevalence is staggering.
Lindsey notes that many victims will reach out to churches in times of need, but the kind of un-Christ-like treatment they receive often only compounds their suffering: blame, disbelief, suspicious questions, empty platitudes—none of these reflect the heart of Jesus.
How can you help prepare your church to be a safe community that shows the transforming power of the gospel? An excellent resource for further reading and help is the excellent book Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence (Moody, 2014) written by Lindsey, along with her husband, Justin Holcomb. Another great place to start is to watch Justin in this brief video answering the question: “What is sexual assault and how can victims find hope and healing?”
Your turn: Are you and your church prepared to reflect Jesus’s heart for women at risk? Join the discussion in the comments below.
Alex Crain is the editor of Christianity.com