When Home Hurts

There are some books that I simply wish never needed to be written, this is one of them. I wish this book didn’t need to exist, but I’m glad that it does because of the world that we live in. Domestic abuse is no laughing matter, it is a serious issue that every person should be aware of and gain some basic understanding of. Please, read this review and I strongly encourage you to also buy this book. This book is for pastors, church leaders, family, friends, basically it’s for every Christian to read.

Here’s a snippet from a report published in May 2021 from the House of Commons Library;

“Although there is limited official data so far on the impact of lockdown on domestic abuse, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report that in mid-May 2020, there was a 12% increase in the number of domestic abuse cases referred to victim support. Between April and June 2020, there was a 65% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, when compared to the first three months of that year.”1

Whilst the exact data on the increase of domestic abuse isn’t yet available, the upward trajectory since the beginning of lockdown and the pandemic is pretty self-evident. Christians need to see that this isn’t only an ‘out there’ issue but domestic abuse happens in the church too. We all have a responsibility to care for the abused and to be able to support them, as best we can, when we are made aware of any kind of abuse.

This book is a much needed resource for everyone, but especially for pastors. It is full of helpful information on how to walk with and care for people who are being abused. This book has so many practical tips, so many pointers to other resources and it has a solid foundation of Biblical teaching.

In When Home Hurts you will find a framework, both from a biblical and moral perspective on how to care for the victim, for the perpetrator and how to care for the entire church family as you teach them as you go. The subtitle of this book is spot on and it is exactly what it says ‘A guide for responding wisely to domestic abuse in your church’.

The book begins by defining and explains abuse. However, it doesn’t just give you a working definition, it helps you see the dynamics that could be at play and the role that you have as an agent of God’s love. the second section unpacks how you should, and should not, respond after the initial disclosure. These chapters focus on caring for the victim, how to confront the perpetrator and they help you consider the bigger picture and others who may be affected by the abuse. The final section is all about long term care, it’s about how you help the victim in the long-term, how you help the perpetrator go from being an abuser to being an obedient servant of God and how to walk the church through a very turbulent and difficult issue.

Each chapter is full of wisdom that is so valuable, especially to church leaders. There are also a number of appendices that dig deeper into some of the big questions about abuse (for example; separation and divorce in cases of domestic abuse, a church abuse policy example, what about cases where a man is the victim, etc.). One of the things that I really value about this book is that it takes you to the Bible, it gives you a robust understanding of what the Bible teaches about abuse, about sin, about the language to use, about divorce and marriage and so on. When reading the book you can tell that the authors want to base what they’re saying on the Bible.

There are not many books that I say people need to read, to do so too often can mean a loss of credibility. But, I’m saying it with this one. If you’re a pastor, buy a copy and buy a copy for each of your elders. Whilst this book is not on a topic that I like, it is a necessary book and it is a great book on a horrific topic. Buy your copies (or should I say copies!) here.

  1. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/domestic-abuse-and-covid-19-a-year-into-the-pandemic/

*** I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not change the way I rate the book, my views are my own. ***

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