Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness, Addiction, and Abuse (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Part 1 of this series was published September 2017
Abuse is in our American society’s collective consciousness lately. First came a sea of sex abuse and rape allegations against famous men. We watched giants fall, and former victims rise.
More recently, we stare in disbelief as parents in California were finally arrested for having chained and starved their thirteen children. In that community at least, professionals are discussing with the public how to spot and react to abusive behaviors.
What fascinates me is current responses from people who knew abuse or a crime was committed and did nothing about it. Some make excuses, others apologize, and a few seem stunned at the suggestion they should have involved themselves at all.
I pity those family members and neighbors of the family in California who are second-guessing past decisions. One man said he has not been sleeping well since he found out how his young neighbors suffered. Several of those interviewed have expressed regret and guilt, and wondered aloud what they could-have-should-have done differently.
We do not know what we do not know
We can relate to them because scant few of us know what to do, when to do it, and whether it is appropriate to call attention to bizarre behavior that may or may not be abusive.
In the Christian church, at least in the more conservative churches to which I’m most familiar, the topic of abuse is often ignored. In American culture, not only church culture, abuse is a taboo topic. For that reason, well-intentioned people do not always know what questions to ask, where to search for answers, and how to incorporate safeguards.
The whole truth
With faithful good intentions, we teach mercy and forgiveness in our Sunday services. Rarely does anyone preach on self-protection, the rights of victims, or preventive measures. I have not seen an abuser held accountable to the point of being thrown out of the church.
The Bible addresses true justice. It tells us to be wise. It warns us against showing favoritism. We are commanded to expose sin, to keep the Church pure of evil and hypocrisy, and to stand up for the oppressed.
When we do not emphasize those things, it is victims who leave the church, not abusers.
Don’t be wrong
Wolves dress like sheep and enter our sanctuaries – our homes, churches, and schools. We buy into the gimmick and find ourselves hard-pressed to reconsider it.
Wolves are counting on our rationalizations, excuse-making, and purposeful blindness. We fear being wrong.
So. don’t. be. wrong.
Go to https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm for a healthy and robust beginning to your wiser self.
Speaking up is the only way to pull the mask off a predator and end abuse.
Today’s Helpful Word