A Reference for Healthy Relationships: Christ and the Church

My father taught me that the best way to spot a fake is to familiarize yourself with the original. Dupes come in various shapes and sizes, excelling at one thing and failing at another. But the true specimen remains the same.

There are several dysfunctional relationships recorded in the Bible, including cases of betrayal, incest, rape, and murder. But instead of dwelling on abusive relationships in the Bible, I believe it would do us greater good to reflect on the Biblical reference of true love.

The relationship between Christ and His church stands as a profound example of love, devotion, and mutual respect. Juxtaposed against the experience of abusive relationships, this divine bond becomes even more significant. Let’s explore three key points that highlight the stark differences and emphasize the importance of a healthy, Christ-centered relationship.

1. Divine Love vs. Abuse: Christ and His Church

At the core of Christianity lies the profound concept of Christ’s love for His church. Ephesians 5:25 (NIV) beautifully encapsulates this sentiment, stating, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Here, Christ’s sacrificial love serves as the ultimate example for husbands, emphasizing selflessness and devotion.

In contrast, abusive relationships are characterized by manipulation, control, and disregard for the well-being of the partner. Abuse goes directly against 1 Corinthians 13: it is unkind, it twists and manipulates the truth, it is impatient and easily provoked, and keeps a record of wrongs.

2. A Love to Count On: Yesterday, Today, and Forever

The Bible affirms that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” Hebrews 13:8. His love does not depend on His mood or your actions. It is constant. His love draws out fear and gives you peace.

Abusive relationships, on the other hand, are cyclical. At one point, the abuser may be pleasant, loving, and repentant. The next, everything changes. While the trigger isn’t always clear, the partner can often sense a shift, causing fear and uneasiness. Abusers often behave well in public, but at home, the mask falls.

3. Mutual Respect and Partnership: A Biblical Mandate

The relationship between Christ and the church is not one of dominance or subjugation but of love and self-sacrifice. As stated in Ephesians 5:21 (NIV), believers are called to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This mutual submission fosters an environment of equality and collaboration, where both parties contribute to each other’s growth and well-being.

In contrast, abusive relationships often stem from a desire for power and control. Instead of mutual respect, there’s a toxic dynamic where one partner seeks to dominate the other, leading to feelings of fear, inferiority, and isolation.

The Role of Christ’s Example: Nurturing Healthy Relationships

When Christ instructed husbands to love their wives as He loved the church, He set a high standard—one rooted in selflessness and empathy. This mandate leaves no room for abuse, as true love seeks the well-being and happiness of the other above all else.

You are forgiven in Christ! He has paid the price at Calvary so you can live a life free from abuse, and that testifies of His love for you. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7. We cannot serve God of a sound mind if there is someone else controlling it.

Let us strive to emulate Christ’s example in our relationships, promoting Divine principles in how we love and how we are loved.

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