I found a cartoon a while back, and I had been holding on to it waiting for a time to show it to others. I found an article today on Jeremy E. Saber called, Open Wounds Never Heal. I loved the way the author described it, and how validation can help heal the wounds of domestic abuse, verbal abuse and emotional abuse...of course forms as well!
In my years of experience with dealing with these hurts, I’ve learned one true thing. Open wounds never heal. They need to be treated. They need to be cleaned, balm applied, dressings applied and handled carefully until they heal. If these things aren’t done, the wound will only worsen. It will become inflamed, infected, worsen in it’s severity.
This makes alot of sense to me! The author speaks about the abuse she endured during her marriage, and how others reacted to it. How it was to uncomfortable for people to truly deal with! I think alot of us have felt that way. She spoke of how she wanted him to take some of the responsibility of the downfall of the marriage, and how even his family couldn't accept his brokeness. I see alot of how the church alienates people away from the fold, because you just don't fit into that perfect mold of how they feel life should be lived!
On that same bent: I suffered a severe laceration that caused me and my husband to leave our home church due to misunderstandings causing a breach in our relationship with members there. I can take a lot of “stuff” without buckling. But, in this case, as in my marriage to the childrens’ father, I HAD perceived, rightfully, a wrong and, biblically guided, pointed it out to the person and the kettle boiled over. Hurt feelings. Authority questioned. I couldn’t stay. Over what should have been an insignificant act. I read once that in modern “institutions” of religion, being a good Christian means not making waves nor asking questions that cause folks discomfort. I had an up close and personal experience with that theory.
I believe that discomfort is more fear based than faith based myself.
She spoke about how her former spouse had a near death experience, and how he finally came clean! He apologized for his awful treatment of her, and how those words started to heal some wounds within her. I think that is awesome, but not all of us will have that experience. It will never handed to us, but other people can hand to us things that will help heal us as well. They can give validation of the wounds, and acknowledge the ignorance within the body. They can speak out and tell people we MUST speak about what makes us uncomfortable! Its okay to say domestic violence is uncomfortable! It IS uncomfortable!
She wrote about how when you speak your mind about your feelings and experiences that made you feel uncomfortable how you were treated afterwards. They do set up an environment of:
Well, my husband and I had decided we were through trying to talk about our feelings at the church. It got us into hot water before. We would go to church. We would worship as we desire to do. But, as far as trying to “win friends and influence people”, we wouldn’t get on that bus.
How often do pastors admit:
I did confess that decision to the pastor and he said the most wonderful things to me. He “V.A.L.I.D.A.T.E.D.” our feelings. And, even explained that maybe what we were feeling in the atmosphere was his fault and he elaborated. He had noted some behaviors, also, and had “managed” the situation as best he could, biblically. I could’ve jumped up and shouted. I was that excited that it WASN’T my imagination. There was basis for what we were perceiving. Another wound had balm applied, a fresh, sterile dressing placed over the hurt and, I am confident, will heal without complication.
With acknowledgement and helping of the carrying the burdens of others see will see:
People are resilient. People can forgive the ugliest “hurts” as long as the wound is managed properly. My wounds have, at long last, been properly cared for. Those wounds, the DEEPEST ones, will heal. I’ll be a better person because of this. I already am.
I have witnessed, on many occasions, what God can do in transforming bitterness into “better-ness”. Don’t give up when something has buried you, seemingly, and appears hopeless. God changes things. In strange and mysterious ways.
I Thessalonians 5:11: “Wherefore comfort yourselves together and EDIFY one another, even as also ye do.”
We as the church need to help balm the wounds of those hurting, and live outside of the bubble they feel safe in. Its uncomfortable at times, but can be so rewarding as well.
The church can help victims of all types of wrongs in the world if they would STOP this message of NOT wishing to see the ugly! We don't talk about that! If they would stop the simplistic advice they give out, and really get into the meat and potatoes of the issues! The church can be a great source of healing for those that experience domestic violence, emotional abuse and verbal abuse within the church.
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