I think one of the biggest problems in the area of abuse in the church is the way that pastors often oversimplify marital problems. Like the pastor I heard not long ago who told couples they just needed to stop arguing so much and forgive. Yeah, if only it was that easy.
When I put it this way, it seems my eye roll during the sermon was adequate, let’s move on. But the problem with oversimplification is that it minimizes people’s pain and suffering. It says to the suffering, “Look, it’s not that big a deal, get over it and move on.” These are words heard often in the church, but, imo, they should never be spoken.
I suppose there are times for it. They say it often in my favorite podcast “Permaculture Voices.” It’s always said in terms of a crop failure. You can’t dwell on that, whether it was a weather failure, or a sale failure. You have to pick yourself up and keep going. But that’s farming, that’s work. That’s not your crops abusing you, so it’s not really the same thing, is it?
There is no “getting over” and “moving on” in cases of abuse or adultery. The pain is forever there. The pain never leaves. Even after years apart from the abuser, that pain still lingers. At least I hope it does. Because that’s what makes us human and that’s what makes us compassionate. If we deny the pain, as is often suggested by the church, we stop being human, we stop being capable of offering comfort to the suffering.
So, stop preaching pain as if it’s nothing. Stop oversimplifying major issues. It’s NEVER as easy as forgiving, because true forgiveness requires the person being forgiven to actually repent.
Don’t believe me? Take it up with God. That’s how He does it.