Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Church - what is missing?

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 11:34 AM

I found this blog entry, and found it very interesting.


I wanted to share with you!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why women won’t talk; why churches don’t listen

3 comments Posted by Hannah at 8:09 PM

If it weren’t for that one line, the one that says women should submit to their husbands, Patty Gaddis’ job might be easier. But the words are in there in the New Testament, along with the part about it being a sin to divorce. Those biblical directives make her job tougher than it might be otherwise.

Gaddis has spent the past 12 months knocking on the doors of 200 churches in the seven western counties, preaching to pastors about domestic violence and the right and wrong way to handle it.

“The church has chosen through the ages to remain silent on this issue, considering it a private family matter,” Gaddis said. “Very often the church is the last place a victim will turn for help.”

When an abused woman does turn to the church, she is rarely advised to leave her husband. Instead, the pastor, trained to keep couples together, sends the woman back to her abuser.

“I’m not sure divorce is God’s will but neither is abuse. Sometimes you’re dealing with the lesser of two evils,” said Rev. David Russell of Bryson City United Methodist Church.

Russell has had to chose between the two evils himself. When he discovered his wife was abusing two of their adopted children, he chose divorce for the safety of the children. But he couldn’t reconcile his actions with his religious beliefs, so he withdrew from the ministry for several years. Today, he is back in the pulpit, offering assistance to women bearing the silent burden of domestic violence. The apprehension of one woman who recently confided to Russell reveals why many don’t see the church as a safe haven.

“She said ‘I had talked to other ministers who told me I needed to stay in there, that it was wrong to leave.’ She resisted coming to me because she thought that was the only thing a minister would say,” Russell said.

But the response an abused woman gets from a minister varies. Pastor Harold Ball of First Baptist Church in Franklin said he would not freely advocate divorce.

“The biblical ideal is to stay as long as it is possible,” Ball said. “Of course, there are times when staying might cost you your life.”

Ball said a lot has changed with the issue of domestic violence in his 33 years of preaching.

“In times past, it was something that was totally taboo. You just toughed it out,” Ball said.

But today, Ball said, if a woman in his congregation confides in him, he would try to find out as much as possible about the situation.

“There’s always two sides,” Ball said. “There are no easy answers, obviously. Every situation is unique. I would certainly try to explore all the alternatives involved.”

Ball’s approach to domestic violence is similar to most pastors, who rely on the seminary training that taught them to help couples work through marital disputes.

But domestic violence is far from a marital dispute, according to Gaddis.

“Couple counseling is the most dangerous thing a pastor can do in a domestic violence situation. Domestic violence is not a communication problem. It’s not an anger problem. It’s a power and control problem,” Gaddis said. “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States, and domestic violence is the second leading cause of death. Studies show violence always escalates over time. It always gets worse.”

A one-woman mission

Gaddis clearly has her work cut out for her. With more than 1,000 churches in the seven western counties, the lack of seminary training on domestic violence issues and centuries of repression of the issue, Gaddis’ personal mission to educate the clergy in the region is daunting.

She began studying the relationship between Christianity and domestic violence nearly 10 years ago. She was working as a counselor to abused women in Haywood County with REACH and noticed nearly all the women she worked with went to church every Sunday, yet had never turned to their church for help. It both puzzled and perturbed her. Furthermore, she was piqued by the number of women who told her divorce was against their religion. So she embarked on a study of the biblical text, spending her evenings poring through passages looking for references to marriage.

“Nothing in the scripture promotes violence,” Gaddis found. While one passage does tell women to submit to their husbands, a rarely cited passage gives husbands similar instructions.

“‘Husbands love your wives like Christ loved the church,’” Gaddis quoted from Ephesians. “If men love their wives like Christ loved the church, he’d be willing to give his life for her, and not take life from her.”

Looking for books to back her up, Gaddis found none. So she wrote her own. Battered But Not Broken: Help for Abused Wives and Their Church Families was published in 1996. On and off for four years, her publishing company sent her on national speaking tours. She discovered that the same problems she had encountered in Western North Carolina were prevalent around the country. There was a failure among preachers to recognize that domestic violence could be happening in their congregations. So last year, she embarked on her door-to-door crusade.

“They have all been very gracious to me,” Gaddis said of the churches. “But a lot of them are not aware that one in four members of their faith community are battered, that they are a victim or survivor of abuse. It’s not something that happens out there. It’s something that happens in here.”

Revising faith

When Rev. Russell went back into the ministry, he had a whole new outlook. After failing to recognize child abuse in his own home, he could only imagine what he might be overlooking in his congregation.

“Not only do most pastors not recognize it is a problem, but they don’t deal with it well either,” Russell said. “All too often they will do it at the expense of the victim being abused. A lot of pastors only think in terms of ‘Divorce is wrong. I have to keep these people together,’ and not realize someone is in a life-threatening situation.”

Father Frank Doyle, a Catholic priest in Maggie Valley, has performed hundreds of marriages but said he does not hesitate to support an abused woman’s decision to leave her husband. She is not the one breaking the covenant, Doyle said.

“It’s already been broken,” Doyle said. “God doesn’t want you to live in that kind of a threatening environment.”

Doyle said since he can only help women who come to him, he’ll talk about it at the pulpit.

“I don’t devote a whole sermon to it,” Doyle said. “But the person in the pew needs to hear the pastor mention this publicly.”

Even then, it takes a lot of nerve for women to come forward. The pastor likely sees both her and her husband in church every Sunday. She’s embarrassed. She thinks she’s a failure for not making her marriage work. She thinks her pastor won’t believer her. Or worse, that he’ll talk to her husband about it and attempt to counsel them.

“It’s a very dangerous situation,” said Doyle. Doyle doesn’t limit his support to women in his congregation. He counsels women staying at the Haywood County domestic violence shelter run by REACH. He also is the co-chair of the Haywood County Domestic Violence Task Force.

Doyle and Russell have joined the group Gaddis started called Partnership for Peace, a faith-based association with the mission to educate churches on how to address family violence.

“We all need a little more education on what should be done, what the steps are if someone comes to them and says they are being abused,” Russell said.

Gaddis’ work — educating one pastor at a time — is being funded with grants from the Duke Endowment, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and several thousand dollars in donations from the Catholic Community of Western North Carolina.

“We’ve still got a long way to go in educating our community on the dynamics of domestic violence, but it’s much better than it was,” Gaddis said.

The first thing pastors need to do is get the victim out of danger and in a safe place, be it a women’s shelter, another church member’s home or a motel room, Gaddis said. The second step is to get professional treatment for the abusers, treatment few pastors can provide themselves. Only then, after true reform by the abuser, should the couple be reconciled, Gaddis said.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hug Bank

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 7:56 AM

Nice video to watch if you need a hug!

Free Hugs Campaign. Inspiring Story! (music by sick puppies)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Example of Verbal Abuse you can hear!

2 comments Posted by Hannah at 10:59 AM

Abuse on Christmas

WORD OF CAUTION: Please keep in mind that this video has harsh language, and may trigger some people.

I reason I'm using this is because it placing a face - a reality - on the cause of abuse. Sometimes you can describe these things, but it not until you can feel it for yourself do I feel you truly understand. You can feel the mindset of this angry person, and you can feel the venom in his tone. You can feel the no logic or reason, and thrashing out of hurt because he is hurt. It shows the extremes and the Mac Truck that runs over people.

The purpose behind using this video is for others to feel the presence of the mindset of a very angry and out of control person. If you listen to this man you can feel the WHY some can’t just “walk away” because they will follow. You can’t tell them at times, “Until you are calmed down I will not have this discussion with you!” because they will attack with more venom at times. This is the type of reaction children see while living with an abusive person, and this is the type of attack you get from small to large infractions. Sometimes there is no reason – they just had a bad day.

What hurts the most is the people (well meaning I’m sure) asking victims:

“Have you spoken to him about this?”
“How open are you able to be with communication with him?”
“Does your husband realize what he's doing? Does he take responsibility for his actions? Is he repentant?”
Or quoting scripture about submission and changing this situation with your ‘chaste’ behavior. Reminding them what the roles are within marriage, and tell them to NOT take things so personally!

Don’t think this man didn’t speak to his spouse like this before he was asked to leave the house! This rampage is WHY he was asked to leave! As you can hear this type of abuse isn’t just calling names, and being ugly on occasion. It’s a clear attack, and they aren’t capable of handling things in a reasonable manner. I’m not saying abused people act correctly all the time either okay? No one person does! What I’m saying is at times no matter how calmly and submissively you handle this – it needs to be addressed at the root! The person doing the raging needs to addressed! What is also very important to understand is that is NOT a gender issue! This is HUMAN issue, and it can happen to both genders….and it does everyday! I’m sure some are saying, “Well we really don’t know what happened beforehand!” Can you say this type of behavior is justified even under the worse of situations? This is an example of what abuse sounds like, and it is for the purpose of an example! LOL Not to judge what happened, how it happened, etc. It gives you a taste of what people have been trying to explain for years, and being frustrated due to being shut down by others stating they are just being to sensitive or not approaching things correctly.

I’m not saying scripture about marriage; submission, etc are NOT something to bring up! I’m saying it shouldn’t be the first thing brought up! I believe people do this because of feelings of helplessness, and they truly have no clue what they are dealing with! I personally wouldn’t have DREAMED people acted like this on a regular basis. I doubt people realize with some of the forms they use to address this they are basically handed the burden back to the attacked spouse, and telling them to try harder! What really needs to happen is the abuser needs to be addressed, and they need to have some type of healing. Someone like this is a victim of himself or herself, and he or she wounds need to be bound up – not a better attitude from their spouse!

Both victim, abuser and family members involved need different types of help for their different issues. Not that traditional ones that many speak of either!

Lets look at was Faith Institute tells people in their article on how to respond, and see if it makes more sense after listening to this man! I’m NOT going to use all of them, but I will supply the link for you to read the entire thing!



For the Victim:

DON’T react with disbelief, disgust, or anger at what she tells you. But don’t react passively either. Let her know that you are concerned and that what the abuser has done to her is wrong and not deserved by her.
DON’T blame her for his violence. If she is blaming herself, try to reframe: “I don’t care if you did have supper late or forget to water the lawn, that is no reason for him to be violent with you. This is his problem.”
DON’T recommend couples counseling or approach her husband and ask for “his side of the story.” These actions will endanger her.
DON’T recommend “marriage enrichment,” “mediation,” or a “communications workshop.” None of these will address the goals listed above.
DON’T send her home with just a prayer and directive to submit to her husband, bring him to church, or be a better Christian wife.
DON’T encourage her to forgive him and take him back.
DON’T do nothing.

For the Abuser:

DON’T meet with him alone and in private. Meet in a public place or in the church with several other people around.
DON’T approach him or let him know that you know about his violence unless a) you have the victim’s permission, b) she is aware that you plan to talk to him and c) you are certain that his partner is safely separated from him.
DO address any religious rationalizations he may offer or questions he may have. DON’T allow him to use religious excuses for his behavior.
DO name the violence as his problem, not hers. Tell him that only he can stop it; and you are willing to help.
DO refer to a program which specifically addresses abusers.
DO assess him for suicide or threats of homicide. DO warn the victim if he makes specific threats towards her.
DON’T pursue couples’ counseling with him and his partner if you are aware that there is violence in the relationship.
DON’T go to him to confirm the victim’s story.
DON’T give him any information about his partner or her whereabouts.
DON’T be taken in by his minimization, denial or lying about his violence. DON’T accept his blaming her or other rationalizations for his behavior.
DON’T be taken in by his “conversion” experience. If it is genuine, it will be a tremendous resource as he proceeds with accountability. If it is phony, it is only another way to manipulate you and the system and maintain control of the process to avoid accountability.
DON’T advocate for the abuser to avoid the legal consequences of his violence.
DON’T provide a character witness for this purpose in any legal proceedings.
DON’T forgive an abuser quickly and easily. DON’T confuse his remorse with true repentance.
DON’T send him home with just a prayer. Work with others in the community to hold him accountable.
DO pray with him. Ask God to help him stop his violence, repent and find a new way. DO assure him of your support in this endeavor.
DO find ways to collaborate with community agencies and law enforcement to hold him accountable.

Psa 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Pro 24:1 Have no envy for evil men, or any desire to be with them:
Pro 24:2 For the purposes of their hearts are destruction, and their lips are talking of trouble.

James 3 speaks about the power of the tongue, and the how you can't have things both ways.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Audio Adrenaline - Big House

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 4:57 PM

'Audio Adrenaline' Big House

I don't know where you lay your head
or where you call your home
I don't know where you eat your meals
or where you talk on the phone
I don't know if you got a cook
a butler or a maid
I don't know if you got a year
with a hammock in the shade

I don't know if you got some shelter
say a place to hide
I don't know if you live with friends
in whom you can confide
I don't know if you got a family
say a mom or dad
I don't know if you feel love at all
but I bet you wish you had

Come and go with me
to my Fathers house
Come and go with me
to my Fathers house

It's a big big house
with lots and lots a room
A big big table
with lots and lots of food
A big big yard
where we can play football
A big big house
Its my Fathers house

Ibidibidee bop bop bow whew! yeah!

All I know is a big ole house
with rooms for everyone
All I know is lots a land
where we can play and run
All I know is you need love
and I've got a family
All I know is your all alone
so why not come with me?

Come and go with me
to my Fathers house
Come and go with me
to my Fathers house

It's a big big house
with lots and lots a room
A big big table
with lots and lots of food
A big big yard
where we can play football
A big big house
Its my Fathers house

Come and go with me
to my Fathers house
Come and go with me
to my Fathers house

It's a big big house
with lots and lots a room
A big big table
with lots and lots of food
A big big yard
where we can play football
A big big house
Its my Fathers house

Friday, January 19, 2007


0 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:48 PM

To hear program click here

Jan Silvious Website

Moody's Midday Connection Website

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tattle to Jesus!

1 comments Posted by Hannah at 8:47 PM

I heard something that made me giggle today. It sounded like something a child would say, except talking to a different person maybe. Its funny how we get so childish when angry at times. Goodness knows I have sat and sulked, pouted, and was a real bear to be around at times. Once I calm down I tend to just roll my eyes at myself, and remind myself I shouldn’t get so upset! It’s normally then that I can calmly think about what happened, and resolve things to the best of my ability.

Some things I have some control over, and handle fairly quickly. There are some things in some aspects may never be resolved. Its mostly times like those that I want justice! I want to be heard, and I need to be released from my anger. I heard this sentence today, and it made me giggle because it is so true!

"Tell on him for hurting your feelings to the supreme Daddy, our Father GOD!"

Sounds kind of childish doesn’t it? It reminds me of the times one of the children comes screaming up to me over some injustice as been done to them, and they want ME to fix it! Even if you have never had children I’m sure you have heard some shrieking child come running to one of their parents for that solution to their crisis! Johnny hit me! Sally pulled my hair! Kenny called me names! Karen is being mean! The saying still makes me giggle, but we all need someone to tattle to don’t we? There have been times I have had the strangest of conversations with him! Frustrated over not finding my keys to the car, misplaced coat or wallet!

People tell others to take their troubles and lay it on the foot of the cross. Some don’t understand that saying. I think I will use my new one in the future. It basically says the same thing! Don’t let your heart not be burdened, ...go on & pour it all out to God. Believe in Him. Let God hear all about your situation, dear. Silently or out loud, take each hurt to Him. He is able to turn even the most painful situations for his own good. He comforts us in ways unimaginable, too. We aren't able to change a single thing about others, no matter how desperately we want to do so. All we CAN do is take it all to God. ‘Tell on him for hurting your feelings to the supreme Daddy, Our Father GOD!” In my experience, often, that is enough. God Bless.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Psalm 23

1 comments Posted by Hannah at 1:40 PM

Someone posted this, and I thought others may enjoy it!

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my Shepherd
That’s Relationship!

I shall not want
That’s Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
That’s Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters
That’s Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul
That’s Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
That’s Guidance!

For His name sake
That’s Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
That’s Testing!

I will fear no evil
That’s Protection!

For Thou art with me
That’s Faithfulness!

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me
That’s Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
That’s Hope!

Thou annointest my head with oil
That’s Consecration!

My cup runneth over
That’s Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
That’s Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
That’s Security!

That’s Eternity!

Face it, the Lord is CRAZY ABOUT YOU!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I'll Change!!! I PROMISE!

3 comments Posted by Hannah at 6:12 PM

Link to the photobucket artist that made this neat print above!!
I hear alot of people question - have they changed, and how to we know?? I think this Pastor has a good list I wanted to share!!

Link to Full Article

How do you know if you're on the path of repentance? What does the penitent life look like? How can you tell if someone you love is really changing? People who are serious about change tend to display similar behaviors that let you know they are on the right track. Here are a few signs you'll find in a truly repentant person:

1. Repentant people are willing to confess all their sins, not just the sins that got them in trouble. A house isn't clean until you open every closet and sweep every corner. People who truly desire to be clean are completely honest about their lives. No more secrets.

2. Repentant people face the pain that their sin caused others. They invite the victims of their sin (anyone hurt by their actions) to express the intensity of emotions that they feel-anger, hurt, sorrow, and disappointment. Repentant people do not give excuses or shift blame. They made the choice to hurt others, and they must take full responsibility for their behavior.

3. Repentant people ask forgiveness from those they hurt. They realize that they can never completely "pay off" the debt they owe their victims. Repentant people don't pressure others to say, "I forgive you." Forgiveness is a journey, and the other person needs time to deal with the hurt before they can forgive. All that penitent people can do is admit their indebtedness and humbly request the undeserved gift of forgiveness.

4. Repentant people remain accountable to a small group of mature Christians. They gather a group of friends around themselves who hold them accountable to a plan for clean living. They invite the group to question them about their behaviors. And they follow the group's recommendations regarding how to avoid temptation.

5. Repentant people accept their limitations. They realize that the consequences of their sin (including the distrust) will last a long time, perhaps the rest of their lives. They understand that they may never enjoy the same freedom that other people enjoy. Sex offenders or child molesters, for example, should never be alone with children. Alcoholics must abstain from drinking. Adulterers must put strict limitations on their time with members of the opposite sex. That's the reality of their situation, and they willingly accept their boundaries.

6. Repentant people are faithful to the daily tasks God has given them. We serve a merciful God who delights in giving second chances. God offers repentant people a restored relationship with Him and a new plan for life. Listen to Hosea's promise to rebellious Israel:

Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. (Hosea 6:1-2, emphasis added)

After healing comes living. Repentant people accept responsibility for past failures but do not drown themselves in guilt. They focus their attention on present responsibilities, which include accomplishing the daily tasks God has given them.

One final thought. Repentance is not a solo effort. God doesn't expect us to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Through His indwelling Spirit, God shapes and molds us to make us pure and blameless in Christ. Listen to Paul's hopeful words: "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13). For many people, the first cry of repentance is, "I can't change by myself; I need You, God." Thankfully, those are the sweetest words to God's ear.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dressing for Sucess in 2007

2 comments Posted by Hannah at 8:04 PM

Link to source of picture

Recently I read an article about how we make New Year's Resolutions, and how January is a good time to reflect on those.

I think one of the hardest items at times to shallow is forgiveness. The Author looked back at this past year, and I guess remembering all the best and worse things. You know the programs I'm talking about! One of the greatest stories on Forgiveness is when we hear about the shooting in that Amish School house! You remember that story?

Biblical understanding of God’s commandment to forgive and the connection between grace and forgiveness. You all remember. It happened in the aftermath of one of the saddest days of 2006. This past October a man entered the West Nickel Mines Schoolhouse and gunned down five Amish school girls. What a nightmare. He did not know the girls and had no particular reason to gun down that group of children. But even in that gruesome story there was beauty. The response of the Amish was a lesson in true forgiveness. Donald Craybill, a professor of Antibaptist Religion at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania described that the blood was barely dry on the floor when the parents of the girls sent words of forgiveness to the family of the one who had slain their children. If you remember the story, not only did they send words but they also followed it up with action. Of the 75 people who were in attendance at the funeral of the killer, half of them were Amish. The gesture even went further than a graveside presence when the Amish also set up a fund for the assassin’s family. The Amish take Jesus’ call to turn the other cheek, to love your enemies, and the forgiveness clause in the Lord’s Prayer as a way of life. This is what they practice. And to me it was a lesson to take with us into 2007, a lesson to try and adapt to our own faith practice and life.

I read this and I thought WOW if I could only be so good! LOL! Its something to strive for isn't it?

And what if we decided to try on some of these spiritual articles of clothing in the New Year? What if we say that in our dress for success world, we want to be clothed in Compassion and kindness, in humility and weakness, in patience, and in forgiveness and love? I personally think the hardest article of clothing for us to put on is the one of forgiveness. Do we really want to wear it? Perhaps we can take those other nice virtues and leave the forgiveness one in the dressing room and not even try it on. Miroslav Volf, professor at Yale University discussed the importance of these virtues in an article called “Letting Go” which appeared in the Christian Century Magazine two weeks ago. He said that many Jews have argued that we must not forget evil. And he is right about that. If we forget, we fun the risk that evil will happen again. But Mr. Volf says that it is important to forgive as when we forgive those who have wronged us, we make God’s miracle of forgiveness our own.

But forgiveness is a two way street. That is pretty clearly spelled out to us in the Lord’s Prayer. Forgive, as we have been forgiven. And as Mr. Volf described, “Do we not long to be accepted as we are, warts and all? Could not the world of perfect love be such a world in which we are loved notwithstanding all our imperfections? We do long to be accepted unconditionally? But we also want others to see past our warts and to concentrate on what is beautiful about who we are. I hope that both these longings will be satisfied. At the transition from the world as it is to the world to come, all of our imperfections will be known, and we will be loved nonetheless – and therefore forgiven, reconciled, transformed. And then in the world of perfect love we will shine in all our beauty, our warts completely cured.”

The article is awesome and very moving! I recommend you give it a look! LINK

I think true forgiveness is the hardest thing to wear! In our anger at times that is the LAST thing on our minds! Forgivness is not something you do for the other person - you do this for yourself! People don't even need to know about it! There are times of course that you may wish to share this, but then there are other times in which it is best to keep it to ourselves! Abusers tend to use forgiveness as a tool of manipulation. "You just can't forgive that is YOUR problem!" "You need to forgive and forget so we can move on!" They are demanding something from you so they may use this as a tool for themselves. Its NOT for them! Do we need to forgive? Of course we need to forgive, but not for the reasons abusers wish it for! We let go of the uglies, bitterness, rage, etc because the energy it sucks from us, and for the focus we can't have that God wishes us to have!

As I was looking for a picture to dress this section up a bit I saw the picture that starts this entry, but I also read a poem that is so great!

Brenda Terrell

When a hurtful word is spoken
Or an unkind deed is done
I always must remember
I am not the only one
Who has ever been mistreated
Stepped upon or pushed aside
By thoughtless harmful actions
Or selfish hateful pride.

The world is full of people
Who purposely abuse
Who lie and cheat and slander
And manipulate and use
Anyone and everyone
Who might get in their way
Of success or fame or power;
No price too big to pay.

God's word is clear and simple
About what I must do
When I have been offended
By friend or foe's misuse:
"Forgive...and be forgiven"
I dare not keep a score--
Seventy times seven
Times seven hundred more.

When I am unforgiving,
The battle I'll not win;
For I need my Father's mercy
To blot out all my sin.
Forgiving is not easy
Yet I know it can be done:
I look to Christ my Savior,
The Holy, Sinless One.

When Jesus died upon the cross
His words rang clear and true,
"Father, please forgive them,
For they know not what they do."
As the Precious Lamb of God
Christ wants me to see:
Forgiving is the power
That sets my spirit free!
Forgiveness is God's wondrous gift
That sets my spirit free!

The author of this site as another awesome picture similiar to the above!! LINK

I'm going to try for my coat of forgiveness, and KEEP the darn thing on as often - or should I say MORE often (Since it is a new year! LOL) than I ever have in the past! I want to say 'often' because I know I will fall at some point, and I want to give myself a break so I can continue to do better this year anyway!

Any resolutions for you this year??

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Activists Take to Prince George's Pulpits To Break a Pattern of Domestic Violence

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:24 PM

Domestic Violence needs to be addressed in the pulpits!

By Avis Thomas-Lester and Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 9, 2006; Page B01 - Washington Post Article about breaking the silence of domestic violence!
picture of debra williams and Yvette Cade addressing domestic violence in pulpit
Purchase this picture of Yvette Cade - click here
(Debra Williams, left, who conceived Project Safe Sunday, and Yvette Cade, a domestic violence survivor, at Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, where they spoke about abuse. (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)

Yvette Cade stepped up to the microphone and the church went silent.

"I am a victim of 'domestic violence'. I was set on fire by my estranged husband," she said, head held high, looking out over the 350 or so people gathered inside the main sanctuary at Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington. "Take a look at my scars. I was burned at 1,500 degrees. . . . One year later, I am here as a witness, a survivor and a soldier on the battlefield for Christ. Stop the domestic violence. Please."

Debra Williams, left, who conceived Project Safe Sunday, and Yvette Cade, a domestic violence survivor, at Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, where they spoke about abuse. (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)

The church erupted in a thunderous ovation. It was more than two hours into the 11 a.m. church service, and Cade, along with other Prince George's County "soldiers" in the war against 'domestic violence', had come to the church as part of Project Safe Sunday, a program started four years ago to bring the clergy into the effort to fight the problem. Prince George's has more domestic violence than any other jurisdiction in Maryland.

According to statistics from the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, 5,085 cases of domestic violence were filed in Prince George's District Court last year, accounting for more than 21 percent of the cases filed statewide. The county has had the highest number of cases filed for more than five years, statistics show.

The other jurisdictions with the most reported domestic violence cases last year were Baltimore City with 4,152, Baltimore County with 3,780; Anne Arundel County with 1,998; and Montgomery County with 1,712. A total of 23,627 cases were filed statewide.

Joining Cade yesterday were Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey (D), who has actively promoted the program, and Debra Williams, who conceived of the program in 2003 after the domestic violence slaying of her sister, Ernestine Bunn-Dyson. Dozens of churches participated in the program.

Through the program, which spread to Baltimore and Northern Virginia this year, victims of domestic violence are encouraged to report their abuse and leave violent homes, and abusers are urged to seek help to stop attacking their victims. A third goal, organizers said, is to work with ministers and other church administrators to change the sometimes antiquated thinking that leads some to believe the Bible justifies a husband's right to abuse his wife.

"Silence has been one of the biggest contributions to the problem," Ivey said in an interview. "The faith community is the place where ministers talk about the private and intimate issues. A lot of women say they turn to the church, but to be candid, some ministers take the view that some degree of [abuse] is permissible. . . . We also wanted to have a dialogue with the ministerial community to address that mentality."

Domestic violence cases filed last year include the September attack on Cade, who was set on fire after a judge dismissed a protective order against her estranged husband, Roger B. Hargrave. Three weeks later, Hargrave went to the store in Clinton where Cade worked, doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. Cade, 33, suffered horrific burns to her face, head and torso. Her estranged husband was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder.

The issue of 'domestic violence' in Prince George's has been under the microscope in recent days, after the publication of an article in Essence magazine highlighting stories of women in the county who were abused for years and kept quiet.

Headlined "The Secret Shame of Prince George's County," the story was denounced by members of County Executive Jack B. Johnson's administration, who accused the magazine of unfairly painting the county as unresponsive to the issue. Aides to Johnson (D) have marshaled statistics showing that county spending on domestic violence issues has risen from $1.7 million to more than $3 million in the past three years.

"How is it possible that you would paint us as a county that doesn't talk about it when we're doing things every day?" said Jacqueline F. Brown, the county's chief administrative officer and top aide to Johnson. Brown, a former family therapist, said she has counseled abuse victims.

Brown cited county support for the Safe Sunday program as a sign that officials have been addressing domestic abuse, in addition to training for 911 operators and a computer system that alerts law enforcement when those accused of domestic violence are charged with unrelated offenses.

It is not the first time county officials have issued a prompt response when the county's reputation has come into question. Last year, Johnson held a news conference to denounce an episode of the ABC television show "Commander in Chief" that featured a fictional president sending U.S. marshals to Prince George's to quell crime.

Debra Williams, left, who conceived Project Safe Sunday, and Yvette Cade, a domestic violence survivor, at Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, where they spoke about abuse. (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)

Ivey, who was interviewed for the Essence story, said county leaders should use the story to raise awareness. He said the high incidence of protective orders and cases filed indicate that the county's pro-active approach has led to an increase in reporting, in victims seeking protective orders and a subsequent increase in the number of cases that go to court for prosecution.

In a case from last week, Jackie M. Lewis, 57, was shot to death in her Fort Washington home by a former boyfriend, Arthur Comer, law enforcement officials said. Comer, also 57, called 911, told a police dispatcher that he had shot Lewis and then killed himself, police said. The judge in the case had dismissed a temporary protective order against Lewis after she told the judge that Comer had not hurt her, according to a recording of the hearing.

The murder-suicide occurred almost a year after the attack on Cade.

Fort Foote Baptist's pastor, Joseph Lyles, said his church began participating in Project Safe Sunday four years ago because he has four sisters "who have each, in some way, experienced domestic violence."

As a minister, Lyles said one of his missions is to change the minds of other clergy, who sometimes play down the seriousness of the domestic violence problem and believe that the Bible justifies a man's right to "discipline" his wife if she disobeys or disrespects him.

"The Bible verse that people often misinterpret to mean that a man has a right to beat his wife is Ephesians 5:22-23, which says a wife should be submissive to her husband, and a man has authority over his wife just as He has authority over the church," Lyles said. "But if you look at Verse 25, it says that a man should love his wife as Christ loved the church. Love has no place in a relationship where someone is using violence to achieve dominance. Being submissive does not mean being abused."

Hopefully, these activisits will make a difference towards attitudes of submission and domestic abuse. Pastors need to realize this among other messages they give contribute to the violence against women and wife abuse. I believe out of ignorance, but wrong just the same.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Found a site where the author speaks about abuse within the Muslim faith

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 1:14 PM

The Modern Religion

I hope it helps people out there!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Using story from Bancroft's book to show repentance and change

1 comments Posted by Hannah at 12:27 PM

Link to Book

If you have this book - I'm talking about a story taken from chapter 14 - Process of change.

Its strange how I reread this story from the past - someone had asked me send it to them. It was in a book that both of us had read, and she had lent her's out - but needed the story for reference on a project she was doing. It kind of reminded me of the style Jesus used in the form of parables. How he told stories of characters, and how they turned their lives around...or what happens if they do not!

Now that the story is fresh in my mind I will paraphrase it. It’s an interesting story to me! In a way it is a story of repentance and penance I guess could say.

One neighbor had this awesome tree that they loved in the backyard! It gave them all kinds of shade in the summer, and the leaves were awesome when they turned in the fall. It was an old great tree - I don't remember the type. I guess they had a next-door neighbor that loved his lawn and his garden, but that tree caused way too much shade in his yard for it to grow to his liking. He asked the neighbor to cut it down or prune it. They neighbor told him any branch that was on his property to go ahead and cut, but they loved their tree and didn't want to make it less than what it was on their side of the property. That royally ticked the neighbor off, and when they family left on vacation he went into their property with a chainsaw and cut the tree down. He left it on their property making sure it didn't harm their house, or lay on their side so that he didn't have to clean up the mess either! Can you imagine? OUCH! Anyway, the guy went home all satisfied with himself...the tree was GONE and his lawn could now grow the way it should.

As you can imagine the man had second thoughts afterwards! How was he going to handle the neighbor reaction? What are the other neighbors going to think of him? How can he deny his actions? What is going to happen, and how can he get away from what he done! Not so sure he could get away with that in my neighborhood...LOL but that is a different thing! The author asked the group of people he was counseling to listen to the steps this person may have to take to make up for the action he did, and also acknowledging the pain that he had caused this family over their lovely tree!

He had to admit what he done was wrong, and he needed to not make it sound like blaming or his acts were justified to a point! You know like, "Yeah I did it, but it was an ugly tree anyway!" He shouldn't say that someone else did it, and what a shame and all that. He needed to admit that he had cut down this impressive and pretty tree that his neighbors loved, and make no excuses about it! Stop saying, "YES I cut down that ugly thing!" You know the attitude!

When he finally admitted to his wrongdoing he should NOT make excuses about WHY he did this! You know like, "Well I was drunk when I did it!" Or, "I wasn't in the right frame of mind - I was enraged by that stupid tree so I cut it down!" In other words stop making excuses and be true about your motives at the time! He did this on purpose and stop blame shifting onto something else! We see that all the time on the news don't we?

He needed to give the neighbors a heart-felt apology. Not one filled with, "Well I was VICTIMIZED by the shade, and they didn't want to do anything about it! Anyway I'm sorry I did it!" BLECK! We see this all the time also don't we?? The icky BUTS in life!

He needs to own and acknowledge the fact that the neighbors were hurt and angry over this act (with his apology)! That they have the right to these feelings! He has to own the pain he caused without a tone "Well its just TREE for goodness sakes! Get over it already!" Apologizing is important of course - and he would need to do that - but downplaying the damage he had done doesn't show real sincerely now does it? He needs to be sincere, and I guess empathize with their pain, and own the fact that he caused it...no excuses! People do try to shift a bit of the uglies off them don't they at times??

He needs to accept the consequences of his actions! It could be replacing the tree, or facing the criminal charges that could be brought against him! If charges are brought against him to NOT fight it, and deal with what happens next! You hear all the time about how people whine afterwards to others to gain sympathy, "OHHHHH this tree caused me so much money! I'm broke now and I can't even afford anything just because they couldn't trim the stupid thing down so it didn't wreck my yard! Wahhhhhhhh!"

He needs to devote his time and efforts to make amends for his action! There is no way he can make the tree come back, or erase the effects of losing this tree due to his actions.... but he can do others things! Maybe go out and buy the biggest tree he can afford! Go to the neighbors house, plant it, water it, feed it, protect it...keep doing this for years because new trees as we know take a while to get established! At least from my experience...I know maybe I am asking too much of the neighbor huh? I'm not so sure!

Even if the man took all the steps he should with sincerity - the neighbors might still be left with pain over his actions. The man can't demand they change those feelings just because he corrected what he did to the best of his ability! He can't tell him how long they should feel bad, since he is the cause of this after all! The neighbors in time may begin to act nicer to him, but that doesn't mean they will like him now! He can't demand that! He can't demand, "We need to be friends now!" afterwards even if he did take all the right steps! He should view their forgiveness towards his actions as an act of kindness, and NOT something he is OWED for replacing their tree and doing what is right! I guess what I'm saying is attitude! He isn't entitled to anything in that legalistic manner!

He needs to treat the neighbors with respect from then on! He can't five years down the road decide okay now its time to go into their yard and axe down their rosebush and then say, "HEY! I was good for 5 years! How about some credit for that! I'm not perfect ya know!" I know a silly example, but you get the point! Asking someone not to cut down the rosebush is not the same thing as expecting perfection here is the point!

He needs to own the negative reactions of the rest of the neighbors towards him over this "cutting the tree down" act out of just plain being mean! He can't go around saying, "Well you know how they are! Can you blame me?" He was the creator of this hostility towards him, and he needs to acknowledge that just because he disliked the neighbors and their tree - that had nothing to do with his actions and the damage he caused. He needs to stop being a bully!

Okay I have you an insane example I know. LOL but its the spirit of the attitude is what I am trying to get across here! Anyway, the author read everything above in much more detail to a group of people he was working with. He asked them, "Do you disagree with any of the steps or comments, or actions I have mentioned?" I guess all the people felt that it was reasonable and right and very necessary...as long as you are talking about neighbors and trees he found out later! When he started to apply these to their lives, and how they treat family members or others close to them...they started to backpedal a bit! You see they were in that group because of awful actions they had taken towards those people. He was trying to get across you need to change yourself, and stop blaming everyone under the sun in order to do it! The sad part was that most wished to own their "moldly mattress", and just maybe throw a blanket over it and carry on with life as usual. Lets just cover what I did, because I don't want to be that man in the story...you are asking too much from me. That is just too much work. Can we go on now?

I think we all can relate to some aspects of this. The story went on for pages, and devoted chapters to forgiveness, repentance, making up for the ickies, and in the end change. It almost dissected every portion of this story. It was a story I had long forgotten about, and was an interesting way of looking at things.

Alot of people tend to skip certain steps, or make excuses as to WHY they shouldn't! Others will accept their blaming, or diverting because its to much work to hold them accountable! If the tree family asks for support in encouraging Mr. Chainsaw to do what he needs to do to make up for the wrong - alot of times they don't really get it in any true form! Maybe you should just leave it alone now! He could get upset and make matters worse! I'm not saying the tree family shouldn't leave their bitterness behind, and move with life okay? We all know they should! Its the fear of accountability that seems to be lacking. As we can see from the above example when that happens it seems to get bigger and bigger! We never truly encourage people to finish the job anymore! Shortcuts are acceptable! They aren't to Jesus I don't think, and I don't think that was his message while he came to earth to show us, teach us new ways - or enforce old ones.

Anyway this story not only showed me how abusers deal with things, but also how most of us tend to 'own' parts of that also. We either skip a step or two, or enable others when we don't encourage them NOT TO!

Dear Lord help me to be the right type of person that you would have me be! Help me to teach my children, and for us to show others how it should be done by what you wish of us! Please forgive us when we fall short, and we will God! Thank you for loving us anyways. Thank you for the forgiveness you have offered us! Thank you for being in my life, and having such a huge impact! Please help me grow beyond what I am now, and help me find ways of showing your love to others so they may follow and do your will as well!


Friday, January 05, 2007

Interesting Comments on Forgiving the Remorseless

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 8:45 PM

Note to a pastor: on forgiving the remorseless

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Is 1 Peter 3:7 saying women are WEAKER, and men are allow to abuse headship then?

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 7:41 PM

The above image is available as a screensaver (its a set of different ones!) from this website

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands, in like manner, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered.

The Author of this article has a different view of what some seem to target on when people speak of the weaker vessel.

So we’ll follow a little tangent before answering your question. Notice this verse’s context. Peter was urging Christian wives to recognize their husband’s headship. He encourages them to do so even if their husbands are unbelievers. In such circumstances, Christian wives weren’t to give in to the fear that their unbelieving husbands will abuse their headship. Left unspoken is the confidence Christian woman have that the Lord knows how to protect his own.

Peter now continues by urging Christian husbands to let no such sinful abuse of headship be found among us. Peter urges Christian husbands to be considerate as they live with their wives. Then comes the phrase we’ll discuss which lists one reason a Christian husband shows such consideration.

The verse above says that men and woman are CO-HEIRS to God's grace. Since women are equal in that way she should be treated with loving consideration. The verse also says if men ignore this fact that their prayers will be hendered. Pretty darn good reason to NOT abuse your headship wouldn't you say?

Peter closes by warning Christian husbands who may be tempted to ignore this encouragement. If we neglect such consideration, we don’t just damage our relationship with our wife. We damage our relationship with our God. We "hinder [our] prayers." If I live as an inconsiderate head towards my wife, I am asking my Head to treat me that same way! That’s enough to send all Christian husbands to Christ’s cross to confess our lack of consideration. Only there in forgiving grace do we find the power to treat our wives as the co-heirs of grace they truly are.

The author says that the husband's don't just damage their relationship with the wife, but they also damage their relationship with God. If I treat her "LESS THAN" I will be asking God to treat me as so! OUCH! The author is correct when mentioning its a pretty darn good reason to make sure you treat your spouse as God would have you treat them!

Why ask Christian husbands to be considerate toward their wives? As far as our bodies are concerned, the wife tends to be at a physical disadvantage. Peter appears to be warning Christian husbands not to abuse their physical strength so as to cause in "the weaker partner" the fear unbelieving husbands often cause. We don’t have to read too many headlines to understand this warning!

It seems the weaker vessel means the women's physical makeup, and it doesn't mean "weaker" in a derogatory manner as some attempt to spin that. It would make sense also! Why would God wish his co-heirs in Grace to be abused just because their physical strength is not there compared to man's? It doesn't mean women are LESS THAN, but made differently! Its says in scripture in many different places to help those in trouble, sick, hungry, and weak both in body and spirit! We are not to help them in this LOFTY way, as in we are BETTER, BIGGER, STRONGER than you! We are to be doing that because of consideration, respect, and love that God wishes us to show towards all! Why would God mean it differently towards wifes/women just because of their physical strength? I feel sorry for the men I hear out there speaking of this differently. Peter warned in this passage what happens to them. If people would feel the spirit of the words, instead of taking things so legalistically they would be much better off! I see so much talk of how woman are LESS THAN, and as we can see that meaning seems to have got a bit twisted!

The author ends by saying:

But I’ll finish by pleading with all who read this verse not to get "stuck" on its "weaker" part ("weaker" only by our mis-perception). As Christian men and women see the beauty of a passage that exalts us as "heirs together of God’s gracious gift of life."

20/20 Special on Recently

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 10:33 AM

20/20 clips on a show they recently did for Domestic Abuse. Her husband had her 13 year old child video tape the assault.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Some mistakes Christians have made

4 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:13 PM

Don't forget to click the title for the source of the information here - above.

1. We have fooled ourselves that domestic violence does not happen in good Christian homes - thus we have failed to hear and failed to believe.

My own experience is that when told of abuse by a man I know, I am inclined to disbelief: how can this be true? He is a Christian; I know him and have even ministered and prayed with him. This discomfort inclines me/us not to hear or believe a victim. This leaves both the victims and the perpetrators in some 'non land' -where their experience is somehow not real. Their struggles are not real. What was happening to them, either as victim or perpetrator, was so far off the Christian radar screen, that they were totally on their own, in a sort of terrifying 'non land.'

I am reminded that Jesus involved himself in the reality of life: including the 'unclean', 'the damaged', the 'messed up' and 'the sinning'. We are to draw alongside those within our flock who were struggling with hidden alcoholism, domestic violence, incest, etc.

Like Jesus, we must be prepared to see what is actually happening and to act on this reality, no matter how messy and seemingly unbelievable it may be. The doctrine of sin challenges our own discipleship and also the possibility of wrong in the other person; no matter how 'Christian' they may appear to be.

2. We have clutched at simplistic tools.

The discomfort and inadequacy we pastors feel when faced with this issue - our own discomfort, often rushes us into suggesting simplistic solutions to both victims and perpetrators. We often clutch at simplistic answers, because of our own discomfort. We can suggest solutions like 'forgiving others' or 'God can forgive you' as a way of trying to bring people's pain to an end: to jam the lid back on the box of suffering. Our forgiveness of others and God's forgiveness of us, are two huge life-changing tools that God has given us to enable us to live in a fallen messed up world - but they are too important to use as some lid to quickly remove a mess from view.

Sometimes we have looked after the victim but failed to adequately challenge the perpetrator. We may believe that because we have had 'a word with the offender', wrong behaviour will have stopped. We may even follow-up the victim, but she may have learned from the beatings that followed her last disclosure, not to tell the clergy, so she lies and says it has all stopped. As pastors we may feel self satisfied that we have solved a problem. But the only thing the victim has learned is that you don't speak up, or seek help. Our fault was that we overestimated the power and influence of our 'having a word with him'. Long-term violence is harder to shift than that.

3. The tools we have given perpetrators have often been inadequate.

If we have challenged the perpetrator, the tools we have given him may well have been inadequate. In practice we have assisted him or her to evade reality or the need to do the deep work of change. We have allowed him to weep about how sorry he is, and that he promises it will never happen again, and plead with us to pronounce God's forgiveness over his 'repentance'. We as pastors are utterly convinced that nothing is too hard for God to forgive, and that is true - but we have often short changed on what repentance needs to look like - and that has left women's and children's lives in danger.

What sort of repentance did Jesus evoke? Remember Zacchaeus. He is an example of Jesus' preparedness to deal with the reality of messed up lives. Zacchaeus met and responded to Jesus, and his repentance was more than 'weeping and saying how sorry he was, or promising never to do it again, or pleading with the victims to forgive him'. He stood in front of Jesus and the community he had wronged and gave half of his possessions to the poor and paid back to those he had defrauded four times as much as what he had wrongfully taken from them. (Luke 19:1-10)

Those who looked into the eyes of Jesus experienced themselves as 'fully known', yet 'called to come closer'. Being truly seen by Jesus took your breath away. Tragically, some responded by being angry or refusing to let go of their power and control or turning away sorrowfully. Others took up the invitation to follow Jesus. Zacchaeus was experiencing the love and acceptance of Jesus, who he sensed saw all his mess, and yet still called to him. Because of that Zacchaeus could face reality in all its awfulness, address the damage and take responsibility. And Jesus concludes, 'this day has salvation come to this house.'

An example of true repentance was outlined recently in The Mercury, page 31, Saturday 3 April 2004, entitled, 'Passion for confession', Houston:

A Texas man who had gotten away with murder confessed to police after seeing Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ and talking with a spiritual adviser. Dan R. Leach, 21, walked into a police station after viewing the film to confess to killing Ashley Nicole Wilson. A coroner had ruled Wilson's death in January by hanging was suicide.
'Something (the adviser) said, between that and the movie, he felt in order for him to have redemption he would have to confess his sin and do his time,' a police spokesman said. Leach faces up to life in prison.

This man's spiritual advisor addressed the hard issues. This is a fine example for us.

We have too often underestimated the grip wrong behaviours have in lives. How do we challenge perpetrators of violence to do more than just be sorry, but to face reality in all its awfulness, address what they have done, and tackle the hard work of change like Zacchaeus did? Those who engage in domestic violence are inclined to try to do all this with soft options like flowers and gifts and promises and pleadings for the victim to forgive them. But we need to direct them to where they can get help seeing reality, and using stronger methods of addressing the damage. We need to give them better and tougher tools that hold them accountable for the thousand small decisions, not just the final ones about hitting out in violence. If we don't address the deeper issues of power and control, the next time a perpetrator's buttons are pushed he will respond the same way as before. If we don't address the deeper issues of his past hell when he was serving in Vietnam, or her past hell when she was abused as a child, the next time his or her buttons are pushed, they will lash out again.

Working with perpetrators of abuse is a highly skilled area that generic counselling training does not provide. Centrecare has a program with people skilled in this area to which abusers can be referred. We must work with other professionals.

Another down side of handing out an easy forgiveness to a perpetrator is that after feeling bad for a few moments, they then feel that they have done their work. They have done all that is necessary: they have felt sorry. Now they believe the next move is up to the victim. Let me quote you a story about a Christian minister who regularly sexually abused his daughter before he was jailed. After confessing his crime with tears to a minister in prison, he then held very firmly to the belief that it was now his daughter's Christian duty to come to prison and pronounce that she forgave him. He sent her messages to that affect. By his five minutes of repentance, he believed he had done all the work required of him, and then he was firmly putting back all the responsibility for restoration, back on the victim. We have to be very careful as pastors not to collude in loading all the responsibility to change onto the victim.

There is a temptation for pastors to collude with offenders that their behaviour is nothing more than a matter of private morality. This is a temptation for pastors as we feel we have much to offer in the area of personal morality. Unfortunately, it is in the perpetrators interest to reduce his behaviour to 'just a matter' of private morality. If the church colludes in this sleight of hand, it can find itself, as it did in the matter of sexual abuse of children, ignoring the fact [a] that these matters are criminal behaviours; and [b] that they have very real long term consequences for the victims.

We must deal with perpetrators of domestic violence firmly, in truth, love and equipping them for true repentance.

4. The tools we have given victims have also often been simplistic.

We know the power that forgiving another has, so we can advocate forgiveness prematurely as a solution to a victim's problems. The Bible says forgive seventy times seven. But, does this mean a victim should stay in a relationship and be beaten up seventy times seven? Definitely not!

Let us try putting ourselves in a victim's shoes. Imagine you are a victim coming to the church; your body battered, and your self esteem battered, your boundaries breached time and time again; your sense of personal self and even reality is somewhat shaky; your sense of what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for has been sabotaged for years by a perpetrator who is an expert in power and control; you have been controlled and manipulated into blaming yourself for years - if when you finally come to the church, your spiritual advisor then says to you, 'The perpetrator has said sorry. Now your very first task and Christian duty is to forgive him.'!!

Tell me, is the very first issue this woman or child needs, a lesson in forgiving others? They have often lost a sense of self. An earlier step is to regain a sense of self-worth, and the corollary, that any offence against them matters enormously and is wrong. Usually a victim of abuse needs help in starting a long journey. This includes gaining the confidence to know she matters, and that therefore any offence against her matters, long before she needs to tackle the forgiveness question.

When it eventually does come time to deal with the forgiveness question, we can also make the mistake of implying that forgiveness only has one shape - that forgiveness always means automatic reinstatement. Thereby placing the perpetrator back in the same position from which they can still harm others. I believe it is quite possible to reach a place of forgiveness, while recognizing that it is not healthy to reinstate certain relationships

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