So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste
It’s interesting to me how specific things roll into my life all at once. Like Sunday morning when I woke and had an email notification of a post a A Cry for Justice, a transcript of yet another sermon on abuse (These are all from the same church, it’s not likely I’m going to find many sermons on abuse at most churches. Please, surprise me by sending me some…from American churches.)
This early emphasis was important to the rest of my day/week:
Evil parades as righteousness and as a result we are hesitant to grasp the true evil nature of what we are facing.
I hadn’t finished reading it and posting it to my Facebook, with my usual question of why is only a Calvinist of all people preaching on this subject, when I saw I’d received a DM. A friend had sent me an article that, in hindsight, she thought was a good one on how to forgive and love your abuser. Yeah, it took me like less than half the page to flip.
Those who abuse us do so because they’re broken and emotionally wounded. People who abuse others as adults, tend to have been abused as children. Like many things, abusive behavior is something we learn.
I don’t suppose much else could be expected from a writer who has a book entitled “Emotional Healing in 3 Easy Steps.”
Anyway, if you can’t see the difference in takes on evil here, allow me to boringly explain it to you…
A Cry for Justice calls evil “evil.” Praying Medic calls evil “woundedness.”
What Praying Medic is pushing here is your typical horse-puckey (hey, they could say that on TV in the 70s, it’s acceptable here). And not just of the evangelical church, this is the international narrative of pretty much everyone. Psychology, psychiatry, the vast majority of religions and the majority of Atheists believe this lie.
There are people I know who, by their words, I’m fairly certain light a candle and pray for Hitler’s soul. Those people would view Hitler as wounded. A poor, sad, scared man who just happened to kill millions of people.
Just in case you don’t know where I fall on this…Hitler is evil.
And so are abusers.
Abusers are not “wounded.” Abusers have made a decision to do evil, just a serial killer makes a decision to do evil, just as a drunk driver makes a decision to do evil. We all have choices. To use psychobabble to cover our decision to destroy is sickening. To have a religious person, especially a one laying claim to Christ, use psychobabble to insist on sympathy for evil people is the worst. This essentially re-victimizes a person and keeps them in bondage to their abuser.
Trust me, I know aaaaallll about this. (yes, major emphasis on all) This is how every single church I’ve ever attended kept me in bondage to my parents, then Zelena. This is how every single church still continues to keep people in bondage to their abusers. This is why it doesn’t matter whether you are conservative or liberal, if you attend church there is a 99% chance that your pastor is keeping people in bondage.
Now, he might be a nice guy, and he might just be trying to say nice things, and be loving, but I can assure you, after 46 years of dealing with this, he (or even she, as the case may be) is either stupid when it comes to abuse, or is pro-abuse.
In the latter group, we can put Doug Wilson, Paige Patterson, James Dobson, RC Sproul Jr(probably SR as well but I don’t have any quotes at the moment), etc. From these men’s words and actions it is obvious they don’t have a problem with a person: man, woman, or child, being abused. Despite what they might call it, it is pro-abuse.
(If you don’t think Paige Patterson glorifying in a woman’s black and blue face simply because her abuser claims to have come to Christ as a result of beating her is pro-abuse, you probably should just un-friend me now, we have nothing more to say to each other.)
Now, I’d love to say the vast majority of pastors are stupid, but, again, that’s just not my experience. Most pastors know exactly what they are doing. They will quote you “Christ said to turn the other cheek.” Seriously, ask your pastor as a test. See what he or she says about the abused, the physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, sexually (did I get them all?) abused. Then see what they say about those who commit the abuse. I think what you’ll find is disturbing…which is why I don’t ask often.
Most pastors these days will say that abuse is bad, but most will say they need to reach out to the abuser as well. And, let’s face the cold, hard fact: Whenever any form of abuse is mentioned in a sermon, it’s all about forgiving the abuser. Never about true healing for the victim.
My friend wanted to know what the abused needs to get to the point of healing.
The next morning, it landed in my lap, thanks to “Stuff Christian Culture Likes.” Gosh I love that Facebook page. 🙂
See, the probably with insisting on the lie that abusers are also victims is you have to do two things. 1) You must make sure that their victims understand that they are the same as the perpetrator…by saying things like Praying Medic wrote. and 2) You must make sure they learn to put the past behind them, the sooner the better.
(Now, I did let the page owner know that she was going to have to start a page for Stuff Christian Culture Hates if she was going to keep posting things like this. Because, let’s face it, this is a discussion 99% of pastors will not have with you…not really.)
The first thing a victim of abuse, rape, etc, needs, is for the church to grow a pair and start calling evil “evil.” Not just dead people like Hitler, either. Real, living, breathing people are evil as well. Until we do this, people will continue to walk away from the church…and their souls will be on our hands.
I really don’t ever see this happening. Why? Because the church has been run by men for millennia, and these crimes are typically committed by men. Ha. And you thought I was going to say because the belief system uses Scripture to back it up. Yeah, it does, but it’s mostly because the system is one sided. Why do I say that? Because this isn’t something that is only in Christian culture. As I said earlier, it is worldwide and belief-wide.
Until more of us are willing to acknowledge that abusers, rapists, etc, are evil, people who chose to do evil instead of choosing to do good, not victims to be pitied, absolutely nothing is going to change.
Until that day, the abuse will continue. And we victims will be a standard against the people of Christ who intentionally ignore the plight of the truly wounded while catering to the so-called needs of those who intentionally chose evil over good and destroyed the lives and souls of millions as a result.
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game