Friday, October 25, 2013

Perspective On The Evil Of Spousal Abuse-A Confessional

The hardest thing in the world is to get abused women to realize that the men they married who abuse them have taken on an EVIL HEART! Having done it myself to some degree because of frustration and a bad relationship with my own dad, I am very aware of the evil it takes to make someone realize they have no power to save themselves from your torment. While I have finally realized some years ago my sins and the evil of perpetrating them on someone helpless to defend themselves; except for the grace and forgiveness of God alone loving me into that realization, I would remain just as evil. My failures were great, but my future is filled with hope because I am so aware of the evil behind abuse whether verbal or physical. Can a man change who abuses...yes! Will church attendance and reading the Bible help him change...more than likely NOT! It can make an abuser realize how short they fall, change requires real repentance and real repentance requires knowing you have to totally change-and NOT BLAME YOUR SPOUSE FOR THE EVIL YOU PERPETRATED!  It is not that God is not all powerful-HE IS! It is not that the scriptures don't contain the wisdom necessary for change-THEY DO! It requires dealing with the issues that make men and women abuse and being willing to OWN THE EVIL THEY DO! The other factor is this...the abuser has to want to change completely not just his or her actions but their whole life-the way they deal with life and relationship issues!

Upon learning a woman is abused, I have no problem suggesting a woman leave her abuser immediately! Why, because during the process of working through abuse THEY WILL ABUSE AGAIN! Whether you declare for a divorce or separation, you must distance yourself from your abuser for the sake of your sanity and the safety of you and your children and enter a biblical counseling program. In most cases your denomination or church is not prepared or able to deal with ABUSE, but that is changing. Abusers are not born, they mimic and accept as normal what they see in the dominant parent. If you want your children to learn to love their intended spouse in marriage as Christ loved, GET AWAY NOW! If the ABUSE counselor says it is reasonably safe to participate after a long period of counsel and you still feel that there is indeed hope for reconciliation then weigh all the information and make a decision but only after you have gotten real help for yourself and your children. You must never become your abuser's enabler again!

Why Pastors Struggle With Confronting Domestic Violence Being Evil
John Shore

1. Domestic violence is fundamentally an unbelievable evil. Like all true evil, domestic violence is basically incomprehensible. Most people find it simply inconceivable that any so-called Christian man would systematically victimize his own wife and children. The monstrousness of it renders it unimaginable. So I think it's easy for pastors to, in fact, fail to imagine it. When faced with a woman saying that her husband is abusing her, pastors must sometimes immediately and even instinctively assume that in some fundamental way the woman must be mistaken. He assumes that her perception is suspect; that she's exaggerating; misunderstanding; rushing to unsupportable conclusions; too upset; too emotional. He hears a woman complaining that her husband is abusing her as he would the same woman complaining that a Sasquatch keeps eating her roses. It's just sort of... not possible. Must be an ape that escaped from the zoo. Must be a bipedal deer wearing a faux-fur coat. Must be a bear desperate for sweet-smelling breath. Must be anything but a Sasquatch. Nothing else makes sense.

2. Wife abusers are masterful manipulators. I've known guys who I knew were beating their wives, and while I was talking with them I could not for the life of me see it in them. Guys who abuse their wives and children are typically the friendliest, most sincere, open, warm, kind, generous, good-natured people you'd ever want filling your hat with horse crap when you're not looking. Next to a wife abuser, the most successful car salesman in the world is a groveling blubberer in a confessional booth. Wife abusers are sociopaths and many are in fact, psychopaths. They could talk the stink off a skunk. And guess who's at the top of the list of people the abuser is determined to fool? Exactly: The family pastor. Who is very much inclined to love and trust people. Most pastors don't stand a chance against a perpetrator of domestic violence.

3. Pastors think spousal abuse only happens in certain kinds of families-usually impoverished.  Most people still have the idea that spousal abuse only or primarily happens in certain types of families -- in poor families, mainly: in the kinds of families whose members have no particular reason to care one way or another what anyone thinks of them. This stigma has stuck. I used to know a handsome, extremely successful lawyer who regularly beat his beautiful, extremely successful lawyer wife. (He struck her on her back and stomach, where the bruises wouldn't show.) When she finally began telling others of her suffering, most responded like she was the Queen of England complaining about the blinds in one of the palace sun rooms: a concern, perhaps, but not exactly a crisis. It just didn't make sense to people that a couple so rich, good-looking, and successful could be involved in the sort of dreadful behavior that most of us have no trouble whatsoever associating with poor white trash. And pastors are just as susceptible as the rest of us are to the unfortunate assumptions of classism.

4. Pastors haven't thought enough about the gray area between "submit" and abuse. A lot of pastors hold to the traditional Biblical definition of the proper relation between a husband and wife. (Which would be defined by Paul, at Ephesians 5:22: "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.") But I hardly think that from that pastors typically extrapolate that it's acceptable for husbands to abuse their wives. Most pastors know that the rest of that passage from Ephesians enjoins husbands to "love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... ." I think it's safe to say that pastors get that it's evil for a husband to beat or emotionally abuse his wife and kids. But I also think that not enough pastors have spent the time their positions dictate they should thinking about the broad, fuzzy line between biblical submission and repugnant victimization. You start throwing around words like "authority" and "submission," and you've put yourself on one slippery slope straight toward one demoralizing place. Pastors need to face and acknowledge that. They need to take case-by-case responsibility for drawing a clear demarcation line between the kind of "submission" they and the church has traditionally understood as healthy, and the kind of submission everyone knows is just plain evil. In Ephesians, Paul is delineating a principle. Principles divorced from thoughtful, practical application almost necessarily harden into tired, toxic dogma.

5. Pastors believe what they preach. Pastors believe, rightfully so in most cases, in the power of Christ to heal, to bring new life, to reclaim, to save, to resurrect. They believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to correct and ennoble. They believe in the efficacy of prayer. They believe that, through the community of church, God radically and permanently transforms people's lives. They believe in the enduring, righteous strength of marriage and family. A pastor faced with a woman saying she's being abused at home is about as inclined to advise that woman to leave her husband as a brain surgeon is to advise someone diagnosed with a brain tumor to seek out the healing powers of a shaman. Pastors don't advise divorce; they don't recommend the shattering of a family unit. They believe not in dissolution, but resolution. By virtue of their vocation, pastors believe that if a husband and wife will only remain in union, keep attending church, and continue to bring their strife to God, all will be well between them. A pastor advising an abused woman to just stick it out with her husband is actually being quite sweet. He's also being really stupid and harmful. But it's sweet, insofar as his advice reflects his love, hope, and belief in God. However we must realize that the perpetrator has given himself to doing that which is evil in the sight of God.

6. Pastors simply aren't trained about domestic violence. A pastor faced with a domestic violence problem is like a football player faced with a curling stone: he kind of knows what to do with it, but not really. What do pastors know about domestic violence? They're not taught in depth about it in seminary; the subject never comes up at their conferences, retreats, or seminars. Domestic violence is simply not a subject present on the big pastoral radar. So just as a football player told to do something with a curling stone might try to punt, hike, or... well, pass the stone, so a clergyman faced with a domestic violence problem is likely to counsel patience, forbearance, and the discernment of the will of God. Each man is just doing what he knows. And in so doing each, of course, creates pain.

It's not enough for us to simply desire that our pastors do a better job of handling issues of domestic violence. We must accept the fact that we are dealing with the face of evil and confront it as Jesus did. As the hands and voice of our Savior we must help those who have had to live with evil in their midst. We must also help pastors and victims to obtain the training necessary for dealing with the evil that abuse triggers in generation after generation. While at times I disagree with John's views on how Christians should conduct their lives, this one that really hits the nail on the head. Spousal abuse, whether physical or emotional is a true evil as are those who perpetrate it! God will never allow a real believing man of God to remain an abuser, and neither will he require a woman to remain married to an abuser!

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