Many want to deny, hide their heads, or walk away when the topic of abuse arises. But such silence only gives abuse an open door. I wrote about this four years ago on this blog. It might be best to read that post first:
Thankfully some have begun to bring light to the dark recesses of abuse. Consider
And there are more.
Lisa on this issue
My good friend, Lisa Cooper, tweeted these statements about abuse this morning on Twitter. They are so pertinent to the Christian Church. Here are Lisa’s own words about this:
Because of this whole #FreeKesha thing (which I have been tweeting about in brief this morning), I feel the need to make a few comments:
1) There are SO MANY MORE women who have been abused than you will ever hear or know about. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
2) For all of us involved in the church, this is a REAL thing that we need to talk about, and a real ministry opportunity.
3) Caring about our neighbor means helping them through abuse, rape, and all of the other horrible sins that have been committed against them.
4) This is not a conservative/liberal issue. Because I care about my neighbor, I care if they have been sinned against. This is so important!
5) When talking about purity prior to marriage, tread lightly because ¼ women have been sexually abused. Most cases aren’t reported. This does not make them “damaged goods” or “unworthy of marriage.”
6) As people who represent Christ, we should be at the forefront offering support to those who have been abused, not the ones questioning.
Watch for more from Lisa and Angela in a podcast in the near future.
What Does This Mean?
For the church in general, let’s be aware of this significant problem confronting the Church. There are many hurting people in our midst and in our community. They need love, help, and hope. Ultimately that is what Jesus offers to all of us. As the Gospel has been proclaimed and taught here, some came to me to explain what they thought would be a critical move in caring for the abused. They didn’t need my permission, but I was delighted and supported their ideas.
Our congregation located not far from a well traveled interstate. Those who had approached me wanted to do something that they saw was lacking. They made laminated signs with emergency numbers for abuse victims. They took them to every business to post in the women’s restrooms. All but one place allowed them to post. The women who worked at many places were so appreciative, some in tears. We were addressing something that no one wanted to hear or see, but many on the other side welcomed this as one sign that someone cared. And our members have become not only sensitive to this issue, they have provided ministry to victims.
Pastors and seminarians: let’s not let silence and ignorance about abuse become our mode of operating. Any abuse does not reflect the Christian faith. Become aware of all that is involved. Lovingly and patiently minister and care for those abused, for their families and friends. Let the Church be a community of refuge and love.
Paul provides some great encouragement for the Church.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. (2 Cor. 1:3-7 NAS)
Notice that: 10 times the word “comfort” is used. We are not “comfortable Christians.”
5 thoughts on “Abuse, Christians, and…”
Thank you for taking on this issue. Since Naghmeh Abedini has brought this to the forefront it’s obvious that the church is split on the issue of silence. A vocal pastor recently told his Facebook group that Naghmeh should have stayed silent about her abuse, I suppose, rather than defame her husband in public. I’m not so sure this is the biblical position, and we need to look more closely at the scripture, hopefully to build a more solid defense so that abused women aren’t bullied into keeping quiet.
Lisa, since your husband is a Pastor, perhaps he could delve into this and help bring Biblical sense to this volatile issue.
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Was referred here as proof that this issue is being covered for both men, women, and victim and perpetrator under the Gospel…
Doesn’t look like that’s so. Just women discussed. Just victims discussed.
Here in Lent is a time to consider that Christ came and died for wrongdoers, that the Gospel commands us to love our enemies and do good for those who persecute us, how church discipline might apply to this issue…
But, I guess, baby steps, and while no one will come out and state that the Gospel does not apply to the despicable, we can leave it out by omission and always state we can deal with that later…
As one of the people who volunteers with the people you won’t mention, much less evangelize, I mostly feel very tired when I read these things…
Ministering to people who have been abused is difficult. If you are ministering to men who have been abused, that is great. My ministry (with women assisting me) has been to women primarily. That doesn’t deny the reality of the other.
This is a complex issue, but I have seen the Church deny it is a problem in itself.
Ultimately, if you note I said about: “For the church in general, let’s be aware of this significant problem confronting the Church. There are many hurting people in our midst and in our community. They need love, help, and hope. Ultimately that is what Jesus offers to all of us.”
Actually, I minister mostly to offenders, who themselves are frequently victims of abuse.
The ones you state you cannot.
And primarily I get to preach the absolute Gospel, and make a lot of excuses about the verses the church can’t be bothered to apply to the unpalatable.
Sadly you have made several incorrect assumptions about me and ministry.