A Forward Design had an article on their blog about restoring the broken.
Shauna Gauthier mentions stats that I'm sure we have all heard of, but she continues:
With these revealing statistics, one might wonder why domestic violence is not at the forefront of our discussions in churches and other community groups. Though the topic is gaining some momentum these days, it is still quite clear that the church has struggled to contend with issues of abuse.
Isn't that the truth! I think they truly don't know what the answers are so they choose NOT to deal with them at all. Domestic violence doesn't have easy answers, and at times there are no good choices. There is no clear path to take. To me they seem to spiritualize it more than deal with it.
There was a story the other day on Ibelieve.com that I read about a women that I'm not sure realizes what she is dealing with yet clearly. I think she is beginning to see it, but the AHEM healthy ones can't see it at all!
SHe was speaking about how her and her spouse were having a disagreement about her housekeeping, and it seems she was trying to get him to understand that she was overloaded as it was. He got frustrated and began to call her names among other things. She wasn't that perfect little Christian lady and was a bit sassy in return. He ran up grabbed her as a man would grab another man, and truly began to rage at that point. It scared her as you can imagine! Can we say either of them was innocent? I'm sure we can say both were not innocent, but the grabbing the wife in that fashion was a bit over the top! Can we say dangerous even?
I would add that both of them or at least one of them need to grow up.
Sniping back and forth will do nothing but lead to greater problems whether verbal or physical. One of them need to stop with the sarcastic and hurtful remarks.
The wife needs to talk to the husband if he is trying to talk to her about the situation. Her refusal to speak to him is just as or more inflamatory than snide and childish comments.
She did get some good comments, but of course you get comments about how she shouldn't provoke him to anger. It seemed to me he provoked first!
You know WHEN the conversation really died? When she posted a letter from him to her as he was quoting scripture to show her how wrong she was in provoking him in this way!
Among some of those:
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (I’ve done this buy allowing you to be who you are. I don’t interfere with your hearts desires and wishes. You do as you please with mostly no complaints from me.) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (I told you to clean and you refused.)
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (What advantage is it to you to fight against me? Why do you battle with me? Submission is a hard thing to do but it is a command from God.)
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (A desert land is hopeless: hot, no water, sweat, dry, unbearable!! Is it any wonder the bible uses such analogies?)
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. ... (IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND A WIFE LIKE THIS THESE DAYS!)
and you LOVE this part:
I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO. YOU ARE GOING TO SEND ME SCRIPTURES ABOUT WHAT A HUSBAND SHOULD DO INSTEAD OF FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU CAN BE DOING DIFFERENTLY. I SAW ON THE COMPUTER YOU LOOKED UP “VERBAL ABUSE”. AS IF I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH VERBALLY ABUSING YOU WHEN YOU PUSHED ME OVER THE EDGE. PLEASE START LOOKING AT HOW YOU CAN CHANGE. IF THERE IS ONE THING FOR CERTAIN IT IS THIS: I HAVE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS. I’VE MADE DRASTIC CHANGES. YOU HAVE CHANGED FOR THE WORST. WHY IS THAT?
You know what I found most telling? The 'you provoked him to anger' crowd somehow disappeared, and had nothing further to say after she posted the letter. I guess he was justified in all his scripture.
As the article I posted to at the top stated:
This is what evil looks like. It is the silencing of those in whom God has uniquely and intentionally created to bear beauty in the world. In an abusive relationship a perpetrator, who was almost always a victim at some point in his or her life, utilizes power and control to destroy the beauty of another. Thus, the cycle of abuse is perpetuated.
I'm sure the husband was a victim at one time, and he felt silenced himself. In this case she isn't really heard, and no one has seen this man's brokeness either. To me BOTH are silenced in different ways!
The grander narrative reveals that Jesus came for the marginalized. There seem to be varying contexts surrounding the marginalization of people, but the effects remain the same. In Jesus’ day those who were deemed “unrighteous” were silenced, shamed and ostracized from society. It was his love that granted them a voice. The savior of the world deemed them worthy of love, conversation and the breaking of bread together. As followers of Christ, we are to reveal the incarnation of this love through our own lives. What does it look like to give a voice to the voiceless? How will we reveal and pursue the humanity of victims and perpetrators alike? How will we begin to seek out the beauty of God that each individual was created to uniquely reveal? When we begin to answer these questions as a community of God, then we will be able to begin contending with issues of domestic violence and abuse.
Great questions. How indeed!
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