Stop…in the Name of Love!
Domestic Violence is an abuse like no other. This type of abuse affects all involved. If there is violence in the home, the whole family is involved. In honor of those who have suffered from domestic violence, my plea is stop…in the name of love
There are many people who can’t deal with the reality of their behaviors. They distort the truth to serve their self. There are a few who have no concern for others well-being, and will do whatever it takes to manipulate the situation.
Some people tend to hide their problems very well. They live an emotionally empty life creating situations to serve their own needs. Some want to come across as “good” people, yet behind closed doors they may become hurtful to others. But those on the outside don’t always see what’s going on behind closed doors; thus, causing further problems leading to some confusion.
After a while it becomes hard to distinguish what is real from what’s being distorted. Those who suffer begin to doubt their reality and question whether or not they are crazy, or whether the other person is really right about what they say. Due to my past sexual abuse, I could also be one to distort reality…especially if I thought I might be abandoned, or become vulnerable.
The truth is…they, as well as myself, are not always right!
Some people don’t exhibit the volatile extreme emotions. They are calm and quiet for the most post part. They “seem” unmoved by the feelings of others…even if they really care about others. This also “seems” that they may not be fulfilled by the relationships within their lives. This may leave them with the feeling of being empty: thus, trying to fill their lives with behaviors that are not always acceptable. Others exude extreme emotions; wearing them on their sleeves when they are easily upset. I fall into the later category.
Most behaviors originate from an extreme emotion triggered by fear, or lack of confidence. I know that with my own fears of abandonment, I can easily hurt the very people I care about. I have periods of remorse, deep regret, and shame for my extreme behaviors. Most people, who hurt others, usually feel some type of remorse…of course there are those who do not seem to show any. Sometimes this period of remorse is called the “Honeymoon” period.
This period often has the feeling that there may be hope, and encouragement. Then during other periods, there may be extreme agitation, that is often intensified by the lack of self confidence, or fear of not having expectations met. Sometimes people come across as not being empathetic…especially toward another. The perception is that there is no real problem; thus, there is no need to work on any relationships.
Domestic violence is an often “smoothed over” in families today, and Christian families are not immune to its “flaming darts”. The warning signs can be hidden or disregarded.
In Proverbs 26 it says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!’…The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body…Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, … A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”
Many may regret hanging on, or trying to stay in a relationship, especially when it may be debilitating. The reality is that abuse hurts, no matter who you are, or how old you are. It destroys you from the inside out, and cuts away at how you believe in yourself…your very core. There is a realization that one may face that there is no escape from the abuse without giving up a huge part of one’s life. Some put up with attacks before retreating to safety. Alcohol/substance abuse can elevate attacks. There comes a time when too long is…way too long.
When a relationship gets really bad, they can drain us. And while we all want to be faithful within our relationships, we can really get ourselves in a bind by “sticking” with a harmful situation too long. We begin not to have enough strength left to help ourselves…much less our family. We may become ill, or very irritable from lack of sleep. Anxiety takes over eventually leading to despair if help is not received. When faced with domestic violence, many seek guidance and solace within their faith.
People have a desire to be faithful within relationships. But it is really important to be realistic about our own strength. The problem is that leaving is hard. The thought of the ending of a dream as a reality is painful. Being faithful can be tiring. In fact, one may not have enough strength to leave…if it comes down to it. Repeated “fight and flight” responses to self, or another, is tiring, and might need some extra reserves just to make it through the day. Decisions that are best made for the relationship can be quite painful and draining as well.
For the abused they often feel abandoned by God. Christians often feel compelled to stay in abusive relationships because they don’t understand the scripture where it talks about submissiveness. Sometimes a church leader may strongly encourage the victim not to give up on the abuser; thus, they feel the need to remain in the relationship for fear of breaking covenant. One seriously has to look ahead to the message that is trying to be conveyed.
The message is clear. The victim got into the situation because of desiring to be loved. Instead of looking for love from people; Love must be looked for in God–the One who loves us unconditionally. God is love! Put your trust and love in God. He will never fail!
“…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God .” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Love comforts us! The Lord sympathizes with us. He knows what it was like to suffer needlessly at the hands of others. Because of this, we are allowed to “…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” ~ Hebrews 4:16
Abused people are usually able to find strength in their faith and/or community. If they are comfortable doing so, they may talk to their religious leaders about their situations. If asked by the victim, spiritual support should be given. Be encouraging to one another.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~ Hebrews 10:24-25
As a religious community, it is important to have some knowledge on domestic violence issues. Pastors could use the pulpit as a way to educate the congregation of such issues. It’s important not to offer poor advice for a member’s situation. Sometimes advising to stay with an abuser to keep the family intact at all costs may cause more, or unnecessary, damage to the relationship(s) and sometimes safety problems. It is good advice from religious community to suggest seeking couples counseling from a trained professional.
There is so much madness that goes on behind the scenes. Verbal and emotional abuse can cause much anxiety within the victim and possibly family members. There are many horror stories of physical and sexual abuse that tags along with the previous mentioned abuses. For some there is no way out…except by death: either being the victim of someone’s abuse, or suicide to get out. It’s important to become educated on signs of domestic violence, and what to do. I pray that the religious community will get involved, and that be one of the first things to do. Even if only praying, and acting as encouragement, is all the religious community can do…that would be a blessed start and most welcomed.
Stop in the name of Love! Stop the madness of abuse. Become educated. Learn of God’s unconditional love that He has for the brokenhearted. Learn how He will renew and restore broken hearts. He gives strength to the weak, and rest to the weary. Seek Him and He will open the door to healing.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~ 2Corinthians 4:16-18