A sports story broke yesterday afternoon that a player who is accused of domestic violence was signed by a team. I say accused because he hasn’t been formally charged to my knowledge. But there is video evidence of what happened. My point in this post is not to debate whether there are special rules for special circumstances or special talent. It isn’t to debate whether this particular person deserves a second chance. My point isn’t even to wonder aloud what the team that signed him was thinking. I don’t know the man, I don’t know all the facts, and I don’t know anyone in the organization and all the behind the scenes things that went on leading up to the team signing him. My point here is that we have an epidemic in our nation, that we need to address.
If you are a man, there is never a reason to lay your hands in a physically harmful way on a woman, period! I understand that sometimes the woman is the aggressor in these types of situations. For the record, I don’t think it’s right for a woman to physically strike a man. But one thing I try to instill in my sons is this, you don’t ever, for any reason lay your hand on a woman. If you feel yourself getting angry and you think you might strike out, you better walk away. If she is the aggressor and punching you, you still don’t have the right to strike back, you better walk away. I see domestic violence much the same way I see abortion and elder abuse. They are sins that as a Christian man, I must stand up against and call out. They all show a systemic disregard for human life. This cannot be tolerated in any form, in any fashion, or for any reason.
A verse that is often trotted out in Christian circles is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart.” Unfortunately, that is a verse that is often abused, and it is often used in a way that doesn’t comfort a hurting parent of a wayward child. Rather, often it only heaps guilt upon them, because the parent feels as though they have failed somehow. The truth is, a parent can only model and teach so much. There comes a time in which our children have to own their actions, and accept the consequences of those actions. This is why the current trend of coddling our children for longer and longer, and focusing more on their self-esteem than the type of human being they are becoming is so harmful. But that is another post, for another time. We often use Proverbs 22:6 to speak primarily in the spiritual sense. If you teach your children about God, if you model a Christian life at home, and if you take them to church; then your child will turn out ok. Again, there is a lot of issues with that line of thinking, but I won’t go there now. My point is that Proverbs 22:6 is talking about the spiritual formation of a child, but it isn’t only talking about the spiritual formation of a child. Training a child up also means modeling and teaching them a strong work ethic (Prov. 6:6-8; 2 Thess. 3:10). It means teaching them that every action, whether positive or negative, as a consequence. Training them up means modeling and teaching them how to treat people in general. It also means modeling and teaching them how to be a loving husband or wife (Eph. 5:22-25). Training them up means modeling and teaching them what it means to be an involved parent.
As a Christian, all of this flows from our relationship with Jesus. We are to model for our children, the relationship that God has modeled towards us. Training a child up means modeling the life the Bible says we should live. Then it also means to teach it to our children. In most, not all, domestic violence cases, a survey of personal history reveals that the person was either witness to or a victim of domestic violence. This is a cycle that we must break. It begins first by valuing all human life. It begins with us men. God gave us a special and specific role in the beginning, and it hasn’t changed. We are to nurture our families, teach our families, and protect our families. I try to tell my boys, when it comes time for you to date, I want you to treat your date like you would want a boy to treat your sister. But all the talk in the world, won’t change a thing if they don’t see me modeling this for them. How I treat my wife, their mom, will go a long way in how they will grow up and treat their wife. Men, we can do better. We must do better.