Defenders of Women. It speaks of the insecurity that some women feel about approaching the church when they truly need help. When they truly need to be validated, and supported. One of the stories within the article showed how legalistic people can be, and pretty much throws common sense to the wind.
After several years of being battered, I was finally divorced from my husband. I began attending a church and became a Christian. When I talked to the pastor about church membership, his major concern seemed to be whether I had obtained a "scriptural" divorce.
He did not tell me how glad he was that I had managed to stay alive; or how brave I had been to protect my children all those years by deliberately bringing my husband's wrath down on my head whenever I saw him heading for one of my children. He didn't tell me how great it was that I had finally found the courage to leave.To be honest with you? I don't understand this. You are talking to someone that has just escaped a dangerous circumstance, and his first priority was it make sure her escape to safety was scriptural? Seriously! That makes no sense to me!
Do you know WHAT that says to people? My grace towards your situation is conditional upon a couple MORE questions from YOU! I realize you mentioned you and your children were terrified, but I need to make sure you did this right first!
I do know there are men that have been in circumstances that scared them to death as well, but I guess there isn't enough of them out there or something.
Picture YOU are the boy in the green shirt in the picture!
Lets say you go the principal of that school, and complain that you want to transferred elsewhere! You are scared and feel uneasy due to the fact he beat you up last night, and terrorized you during breakfast. The principal looks at the you and says, "I have a couple of questions for you son to make you qualify for a transfer. Did you do anything to egg this boy on? Were you EXTRA nice, and even TRY to make friends? Did you have a look on your face, or have sarcasm in your voice? I'm going to have to talk with him as well to get his side of the story. We all know there are two sides to everything. Come back next week to talk with me again. In the meantime TRY to be on your best behavior, and MAKE this work! We all know 'boys will be boys', and maybe your just need to toughen up a bit as well. We have the strictest of conditions that need to be met before we can transfer you. You stating you are scared of him only tells me maybe you didn't try hard enough to be friends. Why don't you go back to class, and think about what I said!"
NOW as a small boy, and NOT as the man you are today HOW would this make you feel?
You know SOON as that principal gets done talking to him that he will come home ready for retaliation. You can 'be nice' but is that going to stop the bully from punching you again? Or will he just pick you up and place your head in toilet? How about destroy your things? Mock and ridicule you for being a pansy?
WHY would that NOT be okay, and yet the response from the pastor IS?
What he wanted to know was whether or not my former husband had actually hit me and who it was that began divorce proceedings. As soon as I assured him that my former husband had discarded me like an old shoe just as soon as it was clear to him that I was no longer willing to be a puppet suspended upon strings of fear, my pastor's face cleared and he told me that, since my unbelieving husband was the one who instigated the divorce, I was free to serve God even in my divorced state. My stomach twisted into a knot. I realized that if I had been a member of my church at the time I actually left my husband, I might not have been given the kind of advice I most needed ... namely, get out of there and don't look back! I wanted to weep. My pastor is a wonderful, compassionate man. He cares deeply for his people ... even the women. I have to assume that his response was born of ignorance.
It is ignorance. Susan Hunt wrote the article stating the church needed women to be the go between for the church leaders, because I guess they can't relate to this at all. Its sad to think that men need women in the fashion, because they completely miss the point of the danger right in FRONT OF FACE! Where is the common sense there? How is that the LEAST bit rational???
You know what that tells me? You hear leadership speak of roles, and how God placed it out there THIS WAY. They seem to be concentrating to MUCH on how we are different due to gender, but to never truly attempting to understand the differences relationally. I have heard many pastors state 'how women are'. They can't be all that knowledgeable in those areas regarding 'how women are' if stories like this happen. They are to be protectors of the weaker vessel, and yet the system is set up in a way that intimidates them. I hope the next study or book they write is around that 'red flag'.
She spoke of another lady that had to go and face a room full of elders before the church could make a decision support her welfare, and before she went INTO that room she completely feel to pieces. She was scared to death to face them. HOW will I prove my case? How do I act? What do I say? How do I answer? Her entire world as she sees it is dependent on a bunch of men that want her to come to court, and prove her case. THEY like the pastor mentioned prior first priority is in the complete opposite direction of where it should be. I guess they don't realize its seen as her pain is frivolous to them. They can CLAIM that is not what they mean to do, but unless you do something to change it? She is going to feel it. When she leaves if she doesn't prove her case to their satisfaction, and sends her on her way with a 'We will pray for you!' only? She is not going to feel safe in this environment. Men deciding she is just acting like the stereotypical 'silly and emotional' woman, instead of going the extra mile to understand WHY she is scared? To me it shows lack of discernment.
Some men have this awesome gift of realizing when they need to show compassion and empathy. They realize they need to find a way of placing this woman at ease, and make her feel safe. They truly make an effort to understand WHERE she is coming from, and are able to work around what makes her feel the safest.
It seems to me that most men are approaching these women in times of need like they are MEN instead of women.
In doing so they completely miss the BENEVOLENT RESPONSIBILITY of leadership they claim must be present for men. They are not providing the protection they state is needed towards women in ways that they can feel protected. It seems to me like a one size fits all. It works for us men, so it must work for the women as well. We are different remember? I honestly think they may not have stopped to think about that. I know we all giggle about our differences, but it sounds like they might have forgotten to take that extra STEP!
I thought the last portion of her article was worth repeating:
I have to ask does the following statement sound SAFE to abused women when spoken from a church leader? Remember the PICTURE as well!
Making church a safe place is not a safe thing to do, but it is the right thing to do. It takes courage, and I am not courageous. The only reason I have been able to speak and write about this is because God has called me to do it and because some of His daughters surround me with prayer. When I think of those brave women whose letters I have shared with you, Isa 62:1 burns on my heart:
- Church members should be taught that injustice is sin and that submission does not mean that a woman must submit to the sin of abuse. Women should understand that it is wrong for a wife to enable a husband to continue sinful practices. She has a responsibility to him to take this to her pastor and to the elders of her church.
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.We must speak for the victims, the fatherless, the needy, the afflicted who have no one to help. But notice, we do not do it just for them: We do it for Zion's sake, for Jerusalem's sake. We do it for the sake of God's church. We do it so that the King of the church will not be appalled, but will be honored.
Now that’s one kind of situation. Just a word on the other kind. If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.
You see from the prospective of abused women within the church? That is along the same lines as the statements from the principal I gave above about the bully.
When you turn the woman away with these types of statements - the pastor is taking sides with the abuser.
You are not safe when we hear things like this. Learn to endure the sin for a season, and maybe even endure a slap - THEN we will help? Did no one think that MAYBE that was little late? We were scared when we asked your advice to abused women, and you stated endure ... does that make you safe? When you are hurting and scared does this sound like words to protect with? If this is BENEVOLENT RESPONSIBILITY you seriously need to look at it again. There truly isn't anything benevolent about it. If they are asking - someone is scared chances are! WHY tell them to endure a little, and then come back? Something tells you aren't partnering with women that can help you relate.
Why place something on a website as advice, and then don't bother using it? That doesn't make you safe. It shows you say one thing, and do another!
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