As a counselor who has spent endless hours listening to the suffering of people wounded by abuse, I want to express the importance of what has been preached in this powerful sermon by Jason Meyer at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. I strongly encourage you to take the time to either listen to this message or read the manuscript.
Jason Meyer addresses all aspects of abuse, but I especially appreciate the attention he gives to emotional abuse. I find that women in the Church are particularly vulnerable to this kind of suffering. Emotional abuse is often levied within a sophisticated context of power and control that robs its victims of the sound mind and clear voice needed in order to get help. Unfortunately, when women finally cry out, they are often met with well-meaning, but demoralizing counsel that offers little encouragement beyond a sharpened focus on their role of submission. And sadly, if they resort to sinful means to fulfill their emptiness, they dive deeper into despair as presumption of guilt is steered even further away from the abuser.
If you hear an obnoxious "Amen" from the general direction of Detroit, it might just be me. The following excerpt is an example of the truth that's making me shout:
"Remember the point of these passages in 2 Corinthians and the emphasis on deceit, disguise, and cunning. Abusers are not walking around wearing wife-beater shirts any more than Satan’s servants are going to carry pitchforks or have 666 tattooed on their foreheads. Abusers can be so charming around other people—that is part of the deception. Do you think they will really show their true colors in public? Don’t judge by appearances and discount what a woman says with flippant incredulity. Think about how much she is risking by saying anything at all. Take it seriously. Tell her that you believe her, that God hates abuse, and that you are committed to help her."
If you find yourself questionning the part about believing the woman who comes to you for help, just remember this. If you're dealing with a genuine man of integrity who is guarding the heart and tending to the spirit of his loved one, he'll be crushed over any accusation of unkindness. He won't be defending himself. His loved one is being harmed, and he'll be laying down his life to protect her.