By Bridget Sengu
Recently the media in Zimbabwe has been awash with stories of domestic violence. Most of these cases are exacerbated by serious shortages of resource and cheating.
It cannot be doubted that religious teachings can contribute significantly to reduce these prevalent cases of domestic violence. The church is guided by biblical verses that ranges from God’s unwavering support, love and the importance of respect and equality within a couple. It is the role of the church to use these doctrines and religious philosophies to bring peace and unity between couples.
In the bible, God is also referred as the Prince of peace which means God does not tolerate any form of violence. If he is the Prince of peace, we expect the church to mould peace loving congregants who shun domestic violence. This means peace should start in the church then it overflows in the community.
Romans 12 verse 18 says, ‘if it be possible, as much lie in you, live peacefully with all men.’ The church then must be filled with peace then this peace starts to cascade in all spheres of the believers’ lives.
However, today the church fails to uplift the peace and putting an end to domestic violence because the church only encourages women to be submissive to their husbands and the need to bear everything for the good of their children and family.
One more question we can ask is, “is the message of opposing domestic violence preached on the pulpit and how often?” My worry is domestic violence is increasing daily yet we have so many churches in Zimbabwe, which has the ability to tame domestic violence perpetrators.
Church leaders can help in ending domestic violence through sermons, prayers, education and pastoral care. The church can also serve as a platform to tell how people experience domestic violence, to give a voice to the voiceless victims.
The church can serve as a sanctuary for both victims and perpetrators. Domestic violence inside or outside the church can never be justified.