If it weren’t for the support of others I never would have gotten out of my marriage except by death. In American-eze I’m weak. In American-eze I should have been able to just do it all on my own, no help from anyone, because, dammit, we’re Americans and don’t need any help.
This belief system has infected the American church pretty badly. It’s usually covered in a lot of religious rigmarole that can be summarized that “all a person needs is Christ, everything else is a felt need.”
Fortunately, most Christians don’t actually practice that belief. Many Christians are more generous than they realize, mostly because their generosity does not consist in giving 10% to the church. Also, most Christians don’t know what it is that ends up helping others, at least not the sort of support I’m referring to in my first paragraph.
Long before I made that call to the abused women’s center, long before I went public, long before I began to suspect just how bad it really was, I heard one woman’s story of pain, and it set it all in motion.
This woman’s story wasn’t about an abusive husband, but it was a horrific tale. To top everything off, it was told without religion. She’s not a non-religious person but there was neither anger against God for what had happened, nor was there the typical “we’re trusting God and have peace.”
That last is an interesting phrase. Many use it because they mean it, but the truth is, it actually minimizes things when the situation is as dire as this woman’s. Look, if you want to trust God and have peace when you are out of work and looking for a job, great, but if your child has been raped and you have to go to court and hope the bastard gets more than the usual slap on the wrist, it’s a minimizing statement. Even if you say it yourself. You are minimizing the crime, the pain, and what your child has suffered.
Fortunately, this woman was just pissed. She believed in God, she was a Christian, but the situation she was facing was one of the most hellish things I can imagine facing. And if she hadn’t shared it truthfully, if she’d sugar coated it with “God works all things for good…blah, blah” it never would have opened me up.
And once I was opened up, it just came pouring out. It was like an infected wound that, once lanced, oozes out the poison that will kill the person otherwise.
But my friend will never be up in front of a congregation sharing her story because it doesn’t reek of religious piety. In the end of her story, there is no justice, in the end of her story there are just wounded people trying to piece what is left of their lives together. And that supposedly won’t bring God glory.
But what actually brings God glory? Is it the woman who endures abuse for decades so she can win her husband to Christ and in the meantime loses her children because they can’t stomach the hypocrisy of going to church on Sunday and lying about their home life? Because that’s what the church generally says glorifies God.
People who stand up to evil? Nope. Well, unless that evil is someone outside the church or outside your own family, like a politician or company.
Those who recognize evil and call it that, those that are frustrated because there is no justice and speak out about that, those are the people who set people free, those are the people who begin the change. Those who are “content” and “trust God” for the outcome, waiting on a so-called miracle, haven’t set many people free.
We are Christ’s hands and feet…He has left us here to set the captives free and freedom is not just a spiritual thing, it’s physical, it’s emotional, it’s far more than spending eternity in Heaven.
Be real about the pain, don’t cover it with religious clap-trap. It will be far more effective.