If God were to love anyone or anything above Himself, He would be an idolater. If we love anyone or anything above Him, we are likewise idolaters. Most within the Christian church would agree with those statements. Yet many, while agreeing on these things, are they themselves idolaters.
Growing up in abuse, I had a heavy investment in my fantasy life. In my mind, life was far more beautiful and safe than it was out where I lived. I sometimes made up people for my alternate life and I sometimes borrowed people from real life to populate my private world. If anyone had told me that I was being an idolater, I would have laughed at them. I loved the Lord; He and He alone was my Rock. But I would have been wrong in claiming that I wasn’t idolizing my fantasy world because it was there–not in Him–that I often found my solace. I prayed, and I learned truth, but I always returned to my haven. I was, I was just too young, too imature in my faith, to know it.
I read widely in the field of domestic abuse. One thing that I’ve found that is sadly missing from almost all of the books that I’ve read is the emphasis on biblical truth–even those written from a Christian perspective; they may be based on biblcal principles but the meat of truth is lacking. God, while often being referred to, isn’t often the center of the focus of these books and His truth is generally greatly watered down or explained away in order to make it more palatable for the general population. Yet, if God isn’t the focus of our lives, we become idolaters–just as surely as I was one when, as a child, I focused more on my fantasy life than I did on knowing Him.
I am not suggesting that every book has to be theology heavy in order to be pleasing to God. What I am saying is that it is by Christ that we live and breathe. He is our Life. Anything that doesn’t honor Him in the way He demands, isn’t glorifying to God. What does He demand? That we obey His commandments. Our desire in writing must be to honor Him. We cannot do that and water down His commands. And yet, so many so-called Christian books written on the subject of domestic abuse skirt around issues, soften the biblical commands of obedience to God, in order to be pleasing to the majority rather than seeking to be pleasing to the One–and then leaving things in His hands for Him to sort out.
God is capable of opening the eyes of His people to the issue of domestic abuse in their midst. But do we really think that He is going to be willing to do so when we aren’t doing all that we do “as unto the Lord”? Just as He’s allowed the church to dig their graves in so many other areas when they’ve gotten off the path of biblical truth (think abortion, homosexuality, and a hundred other areas), so He will allow us to do so in this.
A church that teaches a watered down truth isn’t going to be relevant to God. They may be “relevant” in a society that no longer loves or honors God but God will neither be honored by them nor be honored to use their efforts. The same is true for His individual people who say that they are doing all that they do for Him while in actuality are seeking to please people more than they are seeking to please Him.
We need pastors with hearts for truth who will teach the pure Word of God and Christians with a desire to receive such truth. This Truth cannot be light on loving the Lord with all of our hearts, souls, strength and minds but neither can it be light on loving our neighbors as ourselves. Throughout the Bible, God’s people are admonished to love the least among them, to remember the poor, to care for the widows and orphans, to fight for the oppressed. Always, the emphasis is on doing so within the house of God first. Yes, we are to go out into the world with the Good News of Christ but we must first make sure our own houses are in order. At this point in time, most churches cannot say that. They are either light on theology and heavy on social justice and doing good or they are heavy on theological truth and light on caring for their own. Our neighbors who need our help and our love don’t just live in far off lands or in our own inner cities; they are often sitting right next to us on Sunday mornings.
So let us inform ourselves about domestic abuse–and so many other issues facing our world and our very own members but first let us make sure that our theology is right. When we love the Lord first and foremost in the ways He intended us to, we cannot but help to love our neighbors the way Christ would.
Soli Deo gloria!