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Book Review – Is it My Fault?


Book Review – Is It My Fault?

I first picked up a copy of Is It My Fault? after reading God Made All of Me by the same authors. Abuse has so many different manifestations and all of them are tragic. While God Made All of Me is a book written to help parents prevent sexual abuse of their children, Is It My Fault?  looks at the tragedy of abuse from another angle; that of the the adult victim who is suffering abuse in her home. Sadly, this is happening in more households than we may suspect.

Justin and Lindsey Holcomb understand the gravity of the situation. As a clergyman, Justin Holcomb sees the dark side of this sin on a regular basis and Lindsey works with victims of domestic violence on a regular basis. So what exactly is domestic violence? According to the Holcombs,

Domestic Abuse is a pattern of coercive, controlling, or abusive behavior that is used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, exploit, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound an intimate partner.

It’s important to note here that this is not a situation in which, in the heat of the moment, a man may foolishly exhibit one of these behaviors. This is a pattern of behaving in this way rather than something that is done once and  immediately confessed and dealt with. When the normal behavior of a man is to use his power to control we have a serious sin issue. Serious enough that God in Malachi 2:13-14 says that he absolutely will not receive a man’s offering who deals treacherously with his wife.

And this is the second thing you do:You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,  With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously;Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.

Is It My Fault? is a wonderful resource for those who are suffering from domestic abuse. It offers aids to help women clear the smoke and see clearly so that they can begin to see that their abusive relationship is wrong. It identifies key traits of men who abuse women. Traits which we should all be aware of. The book also includes a well written chapter on why men chose to abuse; a question that victim’s need to come to grips with in order to stop blaming themselves for their partner’s abusive behavior.

One of my favorite things about Is It My Fault? is the way in which the authors framed the discussion on God around his high view of women and his deep concern for the helpless and oppressed. This is a book that I would recommend for just about anybody. The high rate of domestic abuse make it likely that everyone will know someone who has been abused or who is currently in an abusive relationship. Those who are in an abusive relationship themselves will gain a lot from this book. They will learn the patterns of destructive behavior and common traits of abusive men. They will also find a number of resources listed in the book to help them escape. In fact, the book includes an appendix to help a victim make a safety plan and escape their situation. Pastors will also benefit from this book. It is a wonderful resource to have on hand and should be required reading at every seminary. The fact that sin has tarnished the entire world is obvious from the horrific acts done against women by men each day. This book as added a much needed voice t the dialogue and offers significant help to those who are in need.

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About the Authors

jlholcomb Justin and Lindsey live in Orlando and are parents of two young children. Justin is a minister and seminary professor. Lindsey now works at home, but previously served as a case manager at a sexual assault crisis center and a domestic violence shelter. Together they conduct a variety of training seminars to service providers, churches, and organizations about how to prevent, recognize, and respond to child, sexual, and domestic abuse.Lindsey earned a Master of Public Health (Touro University) and Justin a PhD in theology (Emory University). They helped co-found REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and Justin serves on the board of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).

8 thoughts on “Book Review – Is it My Fault?

  1. Judy

    I have lived much of my life, 53 years, believing that abuse was my fault. It wasn’t until two years ago and that someone finally told me that I was not to blame. This is an experience I had in my childhood, in all of my relationships as a teenager , through college, and finally in my marriage for many many years. The issues are very complex. There is a huge web of entanglement that I am still escaping from but praise Jesus there is liberty in the gospel.

    • Judy I thank God that you are healing. I will pray for you dear sister!

  2. I’m so glad that you guys are taking an interest in this! My sister is currently in an abusive relationship. Well she has been for years but it is just now all coming to light. I have no idea how to get her to open her eyes.

    • Stacy I am praying for your sister and for you as you walk this path with her.

  3. This is big topic for the modern church. We have conferences for all sorts of things except for dealing with this sin that is eating away at us and standing for those who are victimizes. It’s to our shame.

  4. When will this all end people???? I am so sickened by stories like your sisters Stacy. Just the other day I heard of a woman at out church whose husband has been abusing her with severe emotional abuse calling her all kinds of degrading things, forcing her to participate in sexual acts that degraded her and which she did not enjoy and the pastors asked HER if she was egging him on!!!! As if she wanted to be treated like trash! I’m just so sick of it.

  5. I hear ya Michelle. The heart of the issue is what we want in our church leaders. There is a reason why Paul spelled out what to look for in those who aspire to be Elders (or whatever you call them in your tradition). He didn’t say to look for the dynamic speaker, the celebrity personality who draws crowds and cameras, or the one who can run a multi-program church. We want these things in our pastors so we can brag to our friends about what church we attend but we don’t want the narcissism that often accompanies these things. I’m not saying every dynamic speaker is a narcissist but we need to watch out for men who have these traits and not the Biblical traits. Give me a plain, slow of speech awkward pastor who faithfully administers word and sacrament each week over the dynamic one focused on his image more than ministry. Give me that man every time if he has the fruit of Biblical eldership. THAT man will do the right thing.

    • Eric I think you are on to something. Good insight!

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