I was amazed and excited to see the various NFL football players speak out against domestic and sexual violence on national television over the weekend. It is wonderful to have national attention given to such a prevalent issue in our culture today. The video clip was put together by an organization called, No More (http://nomore.org/ ) which is a national organization addressing this dark issue. On some local levels there have even been a series of classes taught in schools to teenagers regarding this issue with the addition of dating violence in contrast to a healthy relationship.
The faith community needs to catch up to what is going on around us nationally and locally in this area. We need to be more effectively equipped to enter into this destructive issue that is so deeply hidden in our own churches. A recent report that surveyed pastors confirms this need and can be viewed at: http://www.imaworldhealth.org/images/stories/technical-publications/PastorsSurveyReport_final.pdf
SAIV (Spiritual Alliance to stop Intimate Violence) has partnered with We Will Speak Out which are both committed to uniting faith communities to end sexual and domestic violence. They are encouraging all churches to join in “Speak Out Sunday” on November 23rd. The purpose is to speak out against sexual and domestic violence. This can be done in several ways, such as, showing the NFL video clip (http://nomore.org/nflplayerspsa/ ), introducing the subject in a sermon that touches on the issue of violence against women in our culture and in our churches. Other suggestions include: collecting needed items for your local women’s shelter and teaching on healthy vs unhealthy dating practices for the youth group. Whatever you can do to bring awareness to sexual and domestic violence will make a huge difference. More ideas can be found on the Living Waters of Hope website at: http://www.livingwatersofhope.com/awareness/ .
Why November 23rd? It is the closest day to the United Nations designation of November 25th as the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women which kicks off 10 days of raising the awareness on a global level. So, if you are unable to do something on November 23rd, perhaps you can participate in some way during the following week or so.
I work with Christian women every week who are victims and survivors of domestic violence. If they could speak to you right now these are some of the actual things they would like you to know: “I encourage you to have an open mind and accept that domestic violence is in the church.” “Realize that domestic violence is one of Satan’s tools to destroy marriage and the church.” “I would ask you to be really discerning because I was too quiet and shy to come forward to tell you the horrible things going on behind my closed door.” “Don’t take sides. Comfort me and confront my abuser.”
I hope that you will join with the other churches around the country and the world who will be bringing awareness to this dark and hidden issue within our churches. Of all places for an abused woman to feel safe and get help, it should be the church. Of all places for an abusive man to be held accountable and get help, it should be the church. May we all have the heart of Christ who healed the broken hearted and bound up their wounds. Thank you for your time and God bless!
In His Amazing Grace,