A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Dr George Simon on the Ray Rice affair

Dr George K Simon Jnr reflected on the Ray Rice affair a few days ago. Simon is a clinical psychologist whose work we often recommend on this blog,  His audio broadcast where he shares his thoughts on the Ray Rice affair can be found here.*  He says that the Ray Rice affair illustrates how society no longer values character enough.

*By the way, when you listen to Dr Simon’s broadcasts you will hear a song at the beginning. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea music-wise, and for those of us who are not US citizens it may grate because of its American patriotism. My advice is: if you don’t like the song much, just let it pass and pay attention to his verbal message. 🙂

Character matters

George Simon’s weekly broadcast is called Character Matters. What does it mean to ‘value character’? It means to put a high value on what is (or used to be!) commonly known as ‘good character’ — the regular practice of virtues like respect and consideration for the rights and needs of others and for the wellbeing of society, truthfulness, courtesy, thrift, financial probity and responsibility, care for the poor and the weak in society, temperance, avoidance of vice, and choosing to work for long term improvements rather than short term gratification.

If we are to assess the health of society, character decline is the enemy within. That is what Dr Simon says. He says that in his lifetime he has seen such a decline in character in society that it is mind boggling.

Indigenous societies often put a high value on the wisdom of elders. I believe Dr Simon should be seen as one of western society’s elders, and listened to carefully.

There are still people of good character, but they are fewer and further between. Dr Simon believes, and I agree with him, that we have fertilized the growth of narcissism in our society by the excessive pursuit of hedonism, affluence gone to seed, and praising people for their natural gifts and privileges (such as good looks, intelligence, wealth, athletic or artistic capacities) rather than:

  • praising people for the effort they put into developing whatever gifts and privileges they may have been born with, and
  • praising and rewarding those who put consistent effort into developing good character and moderating and tempering their individual weaknesses.

What we have today is a society in which the minority of people who still do take character seriously, are taking responsibility for more and more people who just don’t care, who have various degrees of character disorder, sometimes malignantly so, who don’t respect the reasonable rights and needs of others, and who don’t give a fig for their own character development and maintenance.  They just don’t think it matters.

Readers of this blog know only too well how the character disordered individuals leave messes in their wake. They cause confusion and trauma to those they run roughshod over, those they manipulate and those they lie to. They leech money and attention from other individuals and from society. They stir up chaos. The mess they create needs to be fixed up and repaired by society, and the individuals who are doing the repair jobs — that shrinking minority of individuals who have good character — are getting more and more burned out by the burder of repair and clean-up they are carrying. Whether it be in a family home where one person is carrying the load for a lazy other, or in the broader society where justice and human welfare professionals are cleaning up and trying to restrain the mess-making of the character disordered mayhem makers, the load is growing, and the pool of load-bearers is shrinking . . . while the proportion of fools, narcissists, lazy, over-entitled and wicked is rising.

All systems in society need major improvements and in some cases, major overhauls, if this trend is to be turned around. But that will not happen unless more individuals and we as a whole society recognize that character matters. This is George Simon’s message, and he keeps repeating it in many ways with different illustrations and case studies.

Each time I hear or read George Simon’s messages, I am impressed how much they concord with the principles of Christian living — true Christian living in contrast to
(a) the Christianity of lip service Sunday-ism: the glossy magazine version of Christianity that is read and remembered with about as much attention as a glossy magazine is read and remembered
(b) the livid underbelly of glossy magazine Christianity: the wickedly distorted doctrine and teaching that devalues certain groups and individuals and that folds all the wickedness under the rug and sews it into seams and hidden pockets where it can breed and exercise its creeping power and control over its victims, unrestrained by the light of justice.

* * *

George Simon’s broadcast next week will feature an interview he did with me, Barbara Roberts. You can listen to it live, or download the show later. We will give our readers a reminder  about this interview a day before it airs live. But you might like to put it in your diaries now:
Sunday 21 Sept,  7pm Eastern Daylight Time USA /  4pm Pacific Daylight Time USA
= Monday 22 Sept 9am Australian Eastern Standard Time.

The Character Matters show broadcasts on the web each week at the time given above, but if you plan on following it regularly, be aware that the time equivalents will change when daylight saving clicks over.

To hear archived programs from Character Matters, go to ucy.tv/cm. When you go to the ucy.tv website, whatever happens to be broadcasting at the time will be automatically streamed live to you but you can stop this by clicking the pause button on the right hand section of the page. Then at your leisure you can scroll down the page till you see the Character Matters archives in the left hand column.

I have to say that when Dr Simon interviewed me for this upcoming show the experience was profoundly inspiring and moving for me. Dr Simon is nearing the end of his professional life and I believe we would do well to value, appreciate and absorb his wisdom while time still allows.

I encourage our readers to tune in regularly to Dr Simon’s broadcasts; you can even phone in to his show while it’s airing to ask him a question or make a comment. His blog is Manipulative People and he also writes articles for Counselling Resource Mental Health Library. His three books are listed on our Books By Author page and we have a tag for all the post on ACFJ which refer to him: cryingoutforjustice.com/tag/george-simon-jnr

13 Comments

  1. healingInHim

    Thanks for this post, Barb. I’ve been aware of Dr Simon’s articles and books but have never listened to “Character Matters”. And thank you for again, encouraging us to glean from the wise!

  2. Brenda R

    Sept 21, 7:00 pm. On the calendar.

  3. FYI Boz Tjividjian has written a post prompted by the Ray Rice affair:

    #WhyIStayed: How some churches support spousal abuse

  4. Maybe in this post I should have given more encouragement to listen to Dr Simon’s broadcast on the Ray Rice affair. I had hoped that our readers would listen to it and discuss it. Here is the link again, just to help you find it.

    [audio src="http://www.ucy.tv/Streams/3131/Character_Matters_with_Dr._George_Simon-9-14-2014.mp3" /]

    And remember to let the music pass; give your attention to the talk.

    • Brenda R

      I did listen to Dr Simon this morning. He was right. Both parties had a lot to learn. There is no way that marriage was the way to go for either of them. They needed a serious time out and counseling to see whether or not they should proceed in a relationship at all. I don’t know what started the whole event, but there was no excuse for his response. Dr. Simon was direct about the character of individuals in general. There is something missing in todays world or perhaps it has always been that way. In the Rice’s case he is out of control and blame shifting to he was drinking (I believe was his excuse) was not an excuse. Mrs. didn’t think enough of herself to walk away. She doesn’t have self respect or value in herself. I have Dr. Simon’s book “Character Disturbance”, but haven’t had the time to read it yet. I have myself spread a little thin right now, in a good way.

      Dr. Simon pointed out that we should look at a person’s character before choosing a mate or even a friend, but often character changes once you’ve signed the marriage license, which happened in my case. Honestly, I don’t think I knew enough about what to look for. I was being manipulated into marriage without allowing myself to see it. That was a character flaw for me. Poor judgment.

      • And in his broadcast, Simon also made a point of saying that sometimes the abuser can be so cleverly charming and manipulative in the early stages of the relationship that the target is deceived. . . . that’s why he wrote his book In Sheep’s Clothing. So I didn’t hear him calling into question the character of all those who got involved with abusers.

        Some, many of us, were deceived by the sheep suit that the abuser was wearing at first. We have many accounts from survivors at this blog of how their husband switched soon after the wedding vows had tied the knot. And some abusers are not so rapid in their switch; they build up to it more gradually, and it can be months or years before they really give free rein to their evil-heartedness. So cases can vary a lot.

        At the same time, we hear from many survivors who say “I now look back and can see there were some little red flags during the courtship, but that’s the wisdom of hindsight. I didn’t pay enough attention to those little red flags at the time; and furthermore, my church teaching encouraged me to brush off those red flags and to not pay attention to my gut feelings in the name of Christian ‘niceness’ and feminine docility.”

      • Brenda R

        I didn’t hear him blaming all those who got involved with abusers.

        No, Dr. Simon didn’t blame the targets/victims. At that point in time (before age 24, a long time ago), my church really didn’t teach anything about marriage. Many things were just not talked about, unless you messed up. Then it was brought to light. Preventative maintenance would have been much better. Oh yes, I have all kinds of hindsight. Now I am working on me and hopefully helping others in the process.

        I am taking a bible study outside of my church. I am sure that would be frowned upon, but I am learning so much more in the past 2 weeks than I have in studies in the past 4 years. Sad, but true. I feel closer to the women that I don’t know at all, than I do with the women that I have been around for all this time. They love the Lord, love his Word and show love to one another without judgment. It is awesome.

  5. I just finished listening to a live stream with Leslie Vernick about separation and divorce with regard to abusers and I left feeling so discouraged. Most cases seem to leave the victim with huge debt and unenforced court orders. I use to think God would provide, but after listening to the podcast I see many are left without and suffer greatly. There is so much injustice in the world; to listen about Ray Rice just turns me off.

    • Brenda R

      celestebella,
      I spent time in the Underground Railroad years ago after being told that I didn’t leave I was dead. While there I sat through many meetings. At that time, in the early 80’s we were told that in a divorce the stats were: the man’s income and lifestyle went up by 70% and the woman’s went down by 40%. The numbers didn’t sound acceptable to me. I literally had to start from scratch, much more than a 40% decline. Even though it was court ordered that I be allowed in the house and the police went with me to get in, he had boarded up the windows from the inside and at the time I was a 100 pound weakling and the police were only allowed to look after my safety, they could not help me break in. They could have been charged with breaking and entering. I lost everything I owned. The judge was afraid of him.

      The UR helped me get basic things to help me get started. I moved into an apartment with my girls in a security building. He walked through the area often with a large dog that didn’t look friendly. Over time, the Lord blessed me and my children greatly. We were away from physical, mental, financial and emotional abuse. It is all in God’s timing. Don’t give up on Him, He is with you through the valleys and the mountain tops. God allows us to go through the valleys to strengthen us and draw us closer to Him.

      It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

      Don’t do as I did and go from one abuser to the next. Take a lot of time to know who you are, reliant in the Strength that is yours through the Creator and finding your own independence.

    • healingInHim

      First: Barb I listened to Dr Simon’s broadcast earlier but didn’t have a chance to comment. I greatly appreciated him being honest and forthright about the injustices. We need more voices like him. Dr Simon’s insight brought attention once again to the Stockholm Syndrome and I must confess that I’m beginning to wonder if this is “my fog”? There are more Ray Rice scenarios being lived out … we must pray and be vigilant about exposing such injustice.
      Also, thank you for the other links. I don’t think I’m imagining this but I do believe there are more voices speaking out against ‘abuse’.
      CELESTEBELLA – It is discouraging as it seems like the victims must do all the maneuvering in order to survive. Please don’t give up. Voice your discouragement and prayer requests to ministries like ACFJ, Leslie Vernick, etc. These ministries, although far away from me are so gracious in their council via the blogs and comments. The Lord does see the injustice and during Leslie’s interview, Maryanne confirmed that God does see the oppressed and protects the righteous. His justice may not be coming when I would desire it but it is coming. Listening to Biblical preaching from Pastor Crippen and many like him have kept me focussed on Christ’s ultimate justice and glory!

      • . . . I do believe there are more voices speaking out against ‘abuse’.

        I agree. More people are joining the abuse-exposure and abuse-prevention cause. As we keep on talking about it, more and more victims come out of the fog and the woodwork, and the chorus of advocates grows. 🙂

      • Brenda R

        hIH,
        Dr Simon did show honesty unlike the typical media that sensationalized the events of the Rice’s. I like that he waited and thought things through before saying anything. He made no assumptions and dealt with the facts that he knew.

        It was pointed out to me several times in the past couple of weeks that Christians don’t talk about what is happening at home. My question is: When is the church going to stop making it a crime to tell the truth? When are we going to make it a good think to be open, honest and helpful to those who are in need of freedom of abuse?

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