Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence every year.

Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.

The prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. But experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

Now if you think that these type of crimes are reserved only for non-Christians, think again! Studies reveal that domestic violence and child sexual abuse is just as common within the evangelical churches as anywhere else. This means that about 25 % of Christian homes witness abuse of some kind!

Because these numbers are so shocking, you may be wondering if the studies were done by secular researchers hostile to the church. Sadly, they were not.

Denise George, a gifted writer and the wife of theologian Timothy George, has published a new book called What Women Wish Pastors Knew. “Spouse abuse shocks us,” George writes. “We just cannot believe that a church deacon or member goes home after worship . . . and beats his wife.” Tragically, however, George notes, some of these men justify their violence “by citing biblical passages.”

Well, obviously they’re misinterpreting Scripture to justify their actions. In Ephesians 5:22, husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Beating your wife black-and-blue hardly constitutes Christian love! 1 Peter 3:1-7 tells husbands to live with their wives considerately. And the Bible makes it clear that the Church has no business closing its eyes to violent men. In 1 Timothy 3:3, the church is told that when it comes to choosing leaders, they must find men who are “not violent but gentle,” sober, and temperate.

The amount of domestic abuse in Christian homes is horrifying, and the Church ought to be doing something about it! But sometimes pastors, albeit with good intentions, do more harm than good.

George sites a survey in which nearly 6,000 pastors were asked how they would counsel women who came to them for help with domestic violence. 26% said they would counsel them to continue to “submit” to her husband, no matter what. 25% told wives that the abuse was their own fault for failing to submit in the first place. Astonishingly, nearly half of the pastors surveyed said women should be willing to tolerate some level of violence because it is better than divorce! Do they not understand that advice like this often puts women in grave danger—and in some cases, can be a death warrant? Pastors need to acknowledge that domestic abuse in the Church is a problem, and learn how to counsel women wisely.

Equally as tragic is that child sexual abuse continues to destroy the bodies and souls of untold numbers of children around the country. In her book, “Predators, Pedophiles, Rapists, and other Sex Offenders”, clinical psychologist Anna Salter revealed that her own interviews of sexual offenders found them admitting to having perpetrated between 10 and 1250 victims! She also writes that every offender she interviewed had been previously reported by children, and the reports were ignored.

It is critical to note that this abuse is no less prevalent within the faith community. In fact, there are studies that demonstrate that the faith community is even more vulnerable to abuse than secular environments. The Abel and Harlow study revealed that 93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious” and that this category of offender may be the most dangerous. Other studies have found that sexual abusers within faith communities have more victims–and younger victims. This disturbing truth is perhaps best illustrated by the words of a convicted child molester who told Dr. Salter: “I considered church people easy to fool…they have a trust that comes from being Christians. They tend to be better folks all around and seem to want to believe in the good that exists in people.”

Approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been sexually abuse as children. This means that a church of 200 members will have at least 41 child sexual abuse survivors, or over 20% of the congregation! Yet, sexual abuse is still too seldom talked about inside our churches. How would your church respond if: 20% of the congregation had cancer; or 20% of the congregation had lost a child; or 20% of the congregation had been fired from employment?
I would predict that any of these issues would become a primary focus of the church’s ministry. Pastors would preach sermons addressing the spiritual issues associated with this trauma and church members would reach out in love and service to those experiencing such deep hurt.
Then why does the Church refuse to respond to child sexual abuse in silence? As part of the body of Christ, we must learn to approach the horror of child sexual abuse no differently.
Perhaps these statistics can help drive our churches to become places of refuge and healing for abuse survivors who are silently suffering in our midst:

• 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.
• Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident.
• During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
• Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
• Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

 

 

Are you in an abusive relationship? Below are warning signs of an abusive personality:

• Jealousy: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; afraid that if you go anywhere by yourself “you might meet someone.”

• Controlling: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were; controls all the money; insists you ask permission to do anything.

• Isolation: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who support you of causing trouble. Puts down everyone you know- friends are either stupid, or slutty.

• Blames others for problems or mistakes: It’s always someone else’s fault when anything goes wrong.

• Makes others responsible for his feelings: The abuser says things like, “Why do you always do things that make me angry?”

• Hypersensitivity: Is easily insulted, uses hurt feelings to justify abusive behavior.

• Cruelty to animals and children: Kills or brutally punishes animals. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for unintentional accidents) or may tease them until they cry.

• Verbal abuse: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things. Degrades, curses, and calls you ugly names.

• Sudden mood swings: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.

• Often makes threats: Says things like, “I’ll break your neck,” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “Don’t take things so literal!”

• Breaking or striking objects during an argument: Slams fist on tables, punches walls, throws objects across a room, pushes, shoves, or physically restrains you from leaving room.

If you are in an abusive relationship with someone, get away! Call someone to help you–A friend, a women’s shelter or the police. It may just save your life and the lives of your children.

Because it rarely stops….

 

 

Resources to help:

https://www.whengeorgiasmiled.org/

http://www.thehotline.org/resources/resources/

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

While the motive for the recent shooting rampages remain a mystery, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School especially shook many across this country to its core. Like many other people, I am in shock and disbelief at this horrible tragedy that took so many innocent lives. As a father and grandfather, I cannot conceive why anyone would want to hurt innocent children and their teachers.

While families in Connecticut are dealing with heart ache and grief, the rest of us will be trying to wrap our brain around this madness. We may want to focus blame on something that makes sense to us. The lack of gun control; the broken mental healthcare system; the lawlessness and apathy of this generation; and the list goes on and on. We can debate the reasons for this tragedy but in the end many of us still want to scream, “Why?”

Many Evangelical Christians have been quick to lay the blame for this tragedy on the fact that we have taken God and prayer out of school. It’s true that more and more Americans have moved away from traditional Judeo-Christian values, but I don’t believe the reason for the increasing gun violence is that cut and dry. The fact is, there is evil in this world and there will be things that happen that we have no explanation for.

Years ago my son and his friend were killed in a car accident on their way to work. I grieved and wept and prayed to God, but I never got an answer as to why. I suspect that the parents of these precious children will grieve and weep and pray the same as I did.

When dealing with such a sensitive subject, the Bible is very specific about how we as Christians are to speak: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:6) When we speak in public and in private our speech should be kind, gentle, positive, helpful, and insightful. So instead of trying to lay blame for this tragedy on an unbelieving world, maybe we should pray and grieve with them, knowing that our heavenly Father is grieving with them too; and will comfort them as only He can.

The Church needs to be careful not to become ignorant of what it means to be truly godly. We are to be a light to this darkened world. And without it mankind is capable of committing terrible atrocities to both individuals and groups. I pray that Christians will wake up and see how much we need to pray for God’s divine intervention and protection from evil.
In memory of all who left us too soon:

 

I have heard of a lot of people who have found themselves in abusive relationships. Sometimes it begins very subtly. But there are always red flags for people if they only pay attention to them. Although abusers are commonly men, it is not uncommon for an abuser to be a woman.

Below are some tips to help you recognize the red flags that you may be in an abusive relationship:

1. They want you all to themselves and make an effort to keep it that way. They do not understand that you have a life outside of the relationship and work to keep you from family and friends.

2. They call you derogatory names then say they are joking. Abusers sometimes cover themselves by blaming you, saying that you need to lighten up or that you are too sensitive.

3. They throw tantrums or attack you verbally and blame everything on someone else, namely you.

4. They try to intimidate you with violence, dominance or power tactics.

5. They punish you if you do go somewhere or do something without them even if others are also there.

6. They feel entitled to be treated like royalty and expect you to be a willing servant, doing everything they ask.

7. They are often jealous of you, other people and even your dreams and goals.

8. They are manipulators and will sulk, threaten to leave, and emotionally punish you for not going along with his or her idea of how things should be.

9. They will try to make you feel guilty any time you exert your will and what is right for you.

10. At times the abuser may appear to be apologetic and loving but their “remorse” doesn’t last long; the abuse begins again when the abuser feels he or she has you back.

If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, there is a good chance that eventually things may get physical.  At first, the abuser might pull your hair, push you, or grab you so hard that you bruise; these may only be warning signs that things can escalate further. A partner with an explosive temper who has reacted with violence before (breaking things, punching the wall, getting into altercations with others) may very likely physically abuse you.

Scripture plainly lays out what type of people we can have a healthy relationship with.

For women seeking a man:

They should be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. He should be man worthy of respect, sincere, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. Don’t be afraid to test them; and then if they possess most of these qualities it is safe to pursue a relationship with them. (From1 Timothy 3:1-10)

For men seeking a woman:

She should bring good and not harm. She should eagerly work with her hands to provide food for her family. She works vigorously and her lamp does not go out at night. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are well clothed. She has strength and dignity so she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Remember guys, charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Seek after a woman with most of these qualities and you will save yourself much grief in the future. (From Proverbs 31:10-31

The most important thing for believers to remember is that no matter how attractive, wealthy, or witty someone may appear to be DO NOT become romantically involved with an unbeliever.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 –

I have had my share of bad relationships because I didn’t pay attention to the red flags and what Scripture plainly teaches about it. Today, God has blessed me with a beautiful godly wife; but it took nearly 40 years! We knew each other in high school but at the time I was too self-absorbed to realize that the best thing in my life was right in front of me! Don’t make the same mistake I made and waste 40 years in unhealthy relationships. Get the very best that God has for you.