Abuse, Should We Take It or Leave It?
Webster defines 'abuse' as misuse, to use wrongly, to hurt by treating badly, mistreat, to use insulting, coarse or bad language to or about. Therefore, abuse is brought about by the abuser through his mouth, his hands or feet or elbows, through his eyes and through his 'thing'-- you know what I mean. Why 'his'? Yes, there are women abusers but statistics have shown that the victims of domestic violence are mostly women. When they say 'domestic', they mean families. And yes, violence happens in families around the world including the Philippines.
What had drawn me to tackle this issue is the old book of Joyce Meyer, "Beauty for Ashes" wherein she gave the different types of abuse --physical, verbal, emotional and sexual. We all know how the physical abuse is inflicted--slapping, punching, cutting, banging of head, elbowing, etc., all bodily-harm-- and how sexual abuse is inflicted--most common is rape. I cry for the little kids who are sexually abused especially by their own fathers as Joyce Meyer had been through when she was just a kid until she left at the age of 18. What about emotional abuse? This one is based on power and control, characterized by jealousy, possessiveness, mistrust, rejecting and denying a person's value, humiliating the person, stalking, exploiting, terrorizing by inducing intense fear and intimidation, coercion, threats, etc. Another type is verbal abuse by criticizing, insulting, degrading, harsh scolding, name-calling, nagging, threatening, belittling, ridiculing, screaming at, ranting, racial slurring, crude or foul language, disparaging comments disguised as joke and withholding communication. Many women and children suffer from these types of abuses today. The sad thing is, many women are simply taking in the so-called 'punishments' and living the life of sheer physical pain and emotional and mental agony.
According to Christian Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (ccada.org), religion is not a deterrent to abuse because there is just as much abuse in Christian homes as in non-Christian homes. Spiritual abuse, they added, is always a component of abusive behaviors in Christian homes and damages the abused person's view of God. (I say, it's the devil and he must be rebuked in the name of Jesus.) In a web page by soencouragement.org., Barrington H. Brennen said, in his article "Why do Christian Husbands Abuse their Wives?", "Men who believe in strongly traditional family values are more abusive to their partners and family members". That so-called 'tradition' believes that the Christian woman should be 'sub-missive' to her husband, always quiet, passive, sweet and soft, and used and abused by the Christian husband who have exaggerated needs for dominance. Whereas the true meaning of 'submission' in Ephesians 5:22 is actually the woman responding and willingly placing herself under his headship, as that of Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, according to allaboutlifechallenges.org. Submission is not something to be taken, it is given.
In the U.S., one call to 911 can save women suffering from domestic violence where I also found so many support groups, agencies and organizations in the internet to help these women escape from their situations and recover from their emotional wounds, as well as, to get back on their feet and work. In the Philippines, I hear only of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. But where ever you are, you should not take in all these abuses; leave it!! No one is entitled to or has the right to hurt you in any way! Forgive me for not being objective here but this is truth. Know that it is not your fault, so tell someone about it--even someone in church, perhaps your pastor. Get all the help you can get. Yes, pray so you will be guided and I am so sure that God will lead you out of that situation, naturally first, then spiritually and emotionally.
But, there are many reasons why a Christian woman don't just leave her violent situation, or why they even return to it. In crosswalk.com's web page, Nancy Nason-Clark, a professor of sociology, cited the following reasons: inability to see any other option, fear of reprisal, economic dependency, and a feeling that leaving would mean breaking their wedding vows. The last one is the most common issue for women of faith to not leave their abusive husbands. Another issue is the pressure of appearances especially in church. "What would they say about me?" "They would think it's all my fault". And, another is "My husband would kill me if anyone knew especially our church". Fear, fear, fear. This is part of the enemy's plan to torture us and we should not give in. "Every good and every perfect gift comes from above and there is no shadow or variation of turning". So if it is not good, it does not come from Above and therefore, we should no take it.
Then after you leave, do not be afraid because "He shall never leave you nor forsake you". For He will heal your heart, your mind and your emotions. He will establish you and give you provisions--for you and your children. Cling to Him and He will never let go. He is a good God.