“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” Proverbs 17:15
It happens all the time. A victim of abuse finds the courage to step out of the shadows of her shame and fear to reveal the truth about what has happened to her. The trauma she has endured may be a result of molestation or rape, physical abuse, and/or verbal or emotional abuse. She wants to believe that, once she shares her terrible secret, the people to whom she reaches out will hear her, validate her and comfort her. But as horrible and shocking as it may seem, she may not receive what she needs. For reasons that defy logic, many may rise to defend her perpetrator, and she may instead find herself shamed and shunned and even persecuted. Such is the absurdity of the See-No-Evil Disconnect. Continue reading The See-No-Evil Disconnect: Abandoning Victims to Protect the Status Quo
“You have heard it was said,‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
This is a powerful verse that is often used to compel victims of abuse to remain with their abusers. The pretense is that no matter how we are treated or by whom, we are called to love and pray for those who persecute us.
But is that what Jesus is really saying? I don’t think so. Continue reading Love Your Enemies?
Upon separating from my abusive husband, a whole new realm of emotions surfaced: a constant fear of what new tactics my abuser might employ to torment me now that I was no longer within easy reach, fears with regard to the kind of future my children and I might face, and on top of it all there was the heartbreaking realization that some people whom I considered friends clearly could not accept the reality of what was going on my life.
Unfortunately, what might have been deemed simple ignorance was insufficient to enable me to dismiss some people’s responses to me. It went much deeper than that. It felt more as though they simply refused to believe that something so penetratingly dark could have possibly invaded our lives. Many came alongside to whisper, “There, there,” and pat me on the back and insist that things couldn’t be that bad. Those ignorant or insensitive or foolish people only made things worse.
Continue reading Misunderstood
One of my readers referred me to Marriage Builder Weekly, a series of weekly articles designed to “save your marriage,” headed up by Jimmy Evans at Marriage Today ministry.
Over the past several weeks, I have responded to a few of the articles to inform the writer (presumably Mr. Evans) of my areas of disagreement, with regard to how the principles they espouse might actually be harmful when applied to a victim of abuse. I have not yet received a response to any of my messages.
Today, I read their latest piece which arrived in my inbox with the title, “How to Change Fear.” I was borderline horrified.
Continue reading Response to Marriage Builder Article, “How to Change Fear”
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”
As we seek to understand God’s way for us in the midst of an abusive relationship, there are times when the Scriptures can provoke us to doubt or fear the heart of the One who loves us. The Scriptures indeed acknowledge that there are times when enduring harsh or inappropriate treatment serves as a powerful testimony and can bring glory to God. But too often we are inclined to believe that, if we are suffering in marriage, we are called to pray, perfect ourselves to attempt to earn our abuser’s love, and hope for change.
But what if a hostile husband’s behaviors have nothing to do with a lack of understanding, a difficult phase in his life, his struggles at work, or a traumatic childhood? What if the one with whom you share your bed is an utterly self-absorbed, abusive – even wicked – man? What if he knows exactly what he is doing, doesn’t care if you are hurting and uses your faith to keep you bound to him? Does your commitment to sacrifice yourself to his will minister to him or merely enable him? If it is the latter, you must ask yourself: Is that what God would have me do?
Continue reading Suffering Love: A Redemptive Force or an Enabling One?