A Cry For Justice

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

Christians are jumping on the bandwagon to ‘help the abused’. James has something to say about that.

If a brother or a sister is without proper clothing, or destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, Depart in peace; may God send you warmth and food – and notwithstanding, you do not give them those things that are needful to the body, what help is it?

Pure devotion, and undefiled before God the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their adversity, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

(James 2:15-16; 1:27, New Matthew Bible)

#Metoo and #Churchtoo are giving rise to many new “advocates” in the Christian community. Churches, christian leaders and christian journalists are getting on the bandwagon pronouncing this or that ‘wisdom’ about abuse and ‘how to respond to abuse’. But a lot of what they are saying and doing is naive, misinformed, under-informed or simply ‘image management’ for their own reputation

When churches and clergy are doing image management, it is designed to get victims and their supporters to shut up. And to get the secular media off the churches’ backs. And they’re also getting on the bandwagon hoping it will protect them from being sued for their previous malpractice.

The bandwagon. The plethora of ‘advice to victims’. All the virtue-signalling: “Hey everyone! We are setting up a ministry to the abused!” 

It feels a little similar to the problems that victims of domestic abuse have with DV centers in the U.S.A. The secular DV support centres in the US will convince the victim that she is not safe at home, but they either will not or cannot provide much if any support once she leaves.

I personally know of several Christian victims of domestic abuse who are currently homeless. I know women who are living in trailer parks. Some are couch surfing. Some are desperately looking for a room to rent. These women have to keep their true identity hidden on social media. They try to go under the radar as much as possible because many abusive men are skilled at stalking their targets on facebook and other social media platforms.

These women have no one from their family of origin or their former church who is astute and trustworthy in supporting these women. So these women don’t have the normal network of friends or family that non-abused people have. Some of them are at high risk of being killed by their abusers. And these women almost always have health problems…from the longterm abuse they have suffered. Physical ailments. Plus complex PTSD. And they don’t have much money. They may be on food stamps. They may be working for very low pay. They may not be able to work because of their physical disabilities and ill health. Some of them have had their phones hacked or tampered with by the abuser. Some of them don’t feel safe to use email.

Many of them are so easily and frequently triggered by insensitive remarks from others (including other Christians) that they might have only a few minutes or hours each few days where they have the mental space and physical energy to take action to change their situation for the better.

So I want to ask this:

Do people who advocate for victims of abuse bear any responsibility to assist in the support structure for the victims?

Because the structure is NOT there. And while I’ve described the situation in the USA, the support structures for victims in other countries are sometimes as bad or worse than the USA. Australia seems to be a bit better than the USA, but there are many many countries where it is far worse. Think of the third world!  And it is going to get worse. …possibly very soon as more women are educated through the various campaigns which are springing into mainstream christian media because of #MeToo and #ChurchToo.

If churches are going to get on the bandwagon and start offering ‘ministry’ to the abused, they need to —

  • learn from our website and other experienced advocates how to do it
  • provide financial assistance so that victims can carefully and safely get safe from their abusers without having to crawl through the fire of homelessness, poverty, untreated health problems, etc.
  • not assume that they know enough to be able to control or direct how the victims should use the financial assistance.

Most of these get-on-the-bandwagon people are not nearly skilled enough yet to advise victims what to do.

We do not tell victims what to do. We give them information and we spread before them options and ideas they might like to consider. We encourage them to read what we have on this site. But we do not tell them what to do. We encourage victims to make their own decisions in their own time. We trust that with the understanding of true Christianity which they can gain from reading things on our site, they will become better and better able to reject unbiblical (victim-entrapping) teaching. And thus they will be more and more able to be led by the Spirit.

God is able to guide each victim of abuse in the way that will be best for her.

And I’ll rephrase that for the male victims, so I don’t offend anybody. God is able to guide each victim of abuse in the way that will be best for him.

***

Pastors and church leaders, please read this: What are the most important things for me to know about domestic abuse?

Victims who are new to our site, please read this: New Users’ Info. This link gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on this blog.

Victims and supporters of victims, you might like to read our FAQ page.

 

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32 Comments

  1. Karen

    DV shelters get paid for you being there. You are lucky to find one that isn’t full.

    Then there are other women and families who can trigger each other.

    They are not equipped to deal with deep trauma inflicted by the abuser.

    Churches don’t understand that the abuser is one and are fooled by his charm. A woman can be seen as the problem through his lens.

    Even lawyers are still lacking understanding in fighting for her rights and she gets victimized again in court and certainly not dealt with fairly even in divorce.

    Ask the people who’ve been there and listen to them. Believe them over the abuser. Then ask what they need. In the Bible they all contributed to one another’s needs. (Acts 2:45)

    • Karen,

      Thanks for posting this comment both here and at our Facebook page.

      And Welcome to the blog!

      As you may already know we like to encourage new commenters to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      Again, thx!

    • Thank you Karen. Every sentence of your comment is so important! I put in double-line paragraph breaks so that more people would read it.

      btw, it’s easy to put double-line paragraphs breaks in when commenting on FB or this blog. Hold down the SHIFT key and hit RETURN twice if you are using a laptop or tablet. On a phone I think there I a different method, but I forget what it is.

    • anonymous

      With some lawyers, it’s all about the money. And the abuser generally has more money than the victim. The victim is taken for a ride. And lawyers want increasing money, so they make sure to deliver to abusers, as word-of-mouth makes for additional abusers lining up at their law firm wanting to publicly destroy their victims too.

      Judges are former attorneys and some of themn care not what injustice is delivered. It’s not their lives, their pain. ”To perform evil, defend evil.”

      The attorneys I have dealt with are but fellow abusers, wifebeaters, woman-haters, and children of the devil. With maybe rare exceptions, they scoff at the concept of Almighty God and are evil, deceiving, thieving, power-hungry, greedy, contemptuous, horrible people.

  2. Melissa

    Thank you for saying this. Everyone likes to tell abused women to go get help and give them the phone numbers. They don’t understand that its not enough.

    I’ve fallen through the cracks like so many of us do. There just isn’t enough funding for us. The funding that is there is not going where it’s needed. At the shelter I was given stuff I didn’t need and needed things i didn’t get. We need money to survive and support to make our own decisions about our life without being pressured and told what to do. We need dignity. After all we’ve been through, we need to be heard and validated. Thank you. God bless.

    • Helovesme

      Hi, Melissa—do they ask you what you need and don’t need? That is very curious that they did not help you in the ways you truly needed. Was it a “one size fits all” sort of deal, without asking any questions or filling out applications that would express your needs?

      Is money the most pressing need in most cases, do you think? Along with support, encouragement and being heard, as you said.

    • At the shelter I was given stuff I didn’t need and needed things I didn’t get.

      It’s many years since I was in a shelter (women’s refuge) in Australia, but that does not surprise me.

  3. TS

    I am so happy to see good information, especially in regards to how the religious church is actually helping those abusive individuals, and how easily they hide. I am also in agreement with the facts about the victim, as I have personally been exactly where you have described. Thank you!

    • TS,

      Welcome to the blog! Thank you for your comment.

      We like to encourage new commenters to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog. If safety is an issue and you want to change your screen name feel free to contact me twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, you may like to look at our FAQ page.

      Again, Welcome!

  4. Helovesme

    Thank you so much for this.

    “We do not tell victims what to do…God is able to guide each victim of abuse in the way that will be best for her.”

    Sometimes I might wrongly WANT someone to tell me what to do, when I am desperate. I also may struggle with people pleasing, so I want to “please” whoever is so kindly trying to help me—-by giving into whatever they think is “best” for me.

    This is dangerous. One of the underpinnings of abuse IS about wanting to please, or be pleasing to your abuser, your loved ones or church leadership. They want control and power over you so that you are at their disposal, easily led and easily deceived.

    Anyone who is coming OUT of abuse, as scary as it is—-must learn to think for themselves (again). And make decisions for themselves (on their own). And take BACK what was manipulated out of you—your personal judgment, your ability to make your own choices, your identity (which has been wrapped up in whatever your abuser(s) wanted you to be)

    We might, in our desire to be kind and helpful—-start “taking over” and telling a victim what to do, where to go and how to go forward. This is wrong. You can gently encourage, but don’t take the place of the abuser in their lives and start ordering them around. Even if you are being kind and generous, you’re still treating that victim like a child, not a grown adult. She needs to get out of that mindset that she must listen and do what she is told by so-called “authority” figures in her life, because this is often how abusers manipulate and work.

    Venezuela, I read, has only two DV shelters in their entire country. They tend to be hyper focused on winning pageants and glorifying beauty and image. Note: I watched this in a documentary and I DO NOT believe that everyone from Venezuela is vain and shallow.

    I’m not sure how willing churches are to put their money where the mouths are. As this post articulated, we’re not sure what their motives are when claims are made about doing right, or doing better, or setting up a ministry for the abused.

    We should also rightly be suspicious about whether they will do it in the RIGHT way, with the right information and structure set up. More than likely, it will take real time and a real willingness to listen to what needs to be done, and what should NOT be done.

    Since abusers ARE so deceptive, I believe seeking the Lord Himself is the only way to gain true wisdom and discernment when it comes to spotting these wolves in sheep’s clothing. An abuser doesn’t go around wearing a name tag, announcing themselves to the world. And victims do not wear name tags proclaiming they are being abused, or have been.

    Structure is desperately needed for sure. If someone came to me for help, I’m not sure who I would trust to direct them to for real help and real options. I would direct them here, for sure, just to start reading and getting educated.

    • This comment is really helpful — thanks HeLovesMe 🙂

    • the fog is lifting

      Yes, yes, yes, helovesme!!! I’ve learned the therapy word is “agency” :). Abused women are in desperate need of support and encouragement to use their own agency. The abuser, and in my case the church, did everything they could to convince me how sinful it was to act on my own agency – you know, the “submission” perversions probably most of us have heard.

  5. Finding Answers

    General reply to original post and comments generated:

    ^^^^Like!

    Too tired for longer or more helpful reply….another day researching through flashbacks, so not as functional.

    FWIW, the kinds of responses noted in both the original post and the following comments are common to so many other attempts to provide assistance to people, cities, or countries. No one thinks to determine what is needed, just charge ahead in making uninformed decisions.

    Actually, reminds me of abusers: They give the gift they want you to have, not the one you actually want / need.

    Question becomes: How many of these attempts at assistance are a cover for abusers and their allies????

    • Question becomes: How many of these attempts at assistance are a cover for abusers and their allies????

      This ^

      • Gany T.

        Yep, I’ve seen this,too.

    • Moving Forward

      Finding Answers, I think I can see what you are saying. I asked my pastor for safety from my abuser and consideration and patience as I worked through all the emotions and pain I was experiencing. Instead I got a pat on the back, help moving, money, and the assurance that my abuser was as welcome at church as I was. Then, when my abuser did show up, fiancee included, I tried, again, to explain my concerns in a respectful manner. In less than 24 hours I was out.

      Now the story is how the church tried to help me in so many ways and instead of receiving that with gratitude I am portrayed as having crossed the line, my words being twisted into telling the pastor what to do instead of trying to have a conversation about my concerns. It does feel like their attempts to turn this into me being the problem is a coverup for ignoring the facts about my abuser. Stepping on a pastor’s toes is a much bigger concern to them than worrying about an abuser/adulterer/liar/reviler in the church.

      Then I really messed up big time when I responded to an article in the local paper concerning a march in support of helping victims of domestic violence. I responded in a letter to the editor how great it was to be reporting on events like the march, and gave a summary of some types of abuse – physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual. Knowing how my ex-pastor and church thinks, I was very careful to keep the paragraph on spiritual abuse short, simple, and include nothing that could trace it to the church or anything said to me. The inevitable happened. I was informed by a friend that it was a direct attack on the church and pastor and as a result we could no longer be friends. That was my last connection with the church, and I was expecting it wouldn’t last. There is an unwritten policy that people have no contact with anyone who leaves the church, especially if the pastor has told them to leave.

      It is sad to learn a friend isn’t really a friend, but there is a freedom in having no ties left. I will move forward in writing about all forms of abuse and if it steps on toes, maybe they need to invest in steel-toes boots, although I would much rather they listen and reach out to the victims and become a safe church instead. I am careful and prayerful in what I write, and want to get help and information out there. If people make the choice to take it personally and read into it what isn’t there, I cannot let it stop me from trying to help others. And a big thank you to this blog for teaching me so many things, including giving me the courage to step out and learn who I am and to speak up when the time is right.

      • Stepping on a pastor’s toes is a much bigger concern to them than worrying about an abuser/adulterer/liar/reviler in the church. …

        I will move forward in writing about all forms of abuse and if it steps on toes, maybe they need to invest in steel-toes boots, although I would much rather they listen and reach out to the victims and become a safe church instead.

        Good for you, Moving Forward! I love the way you put this 🙂

      • Helovesme

        Moving Forward that was wonderfully put, thank you! I am sorry for what you went through, but I love how the Lord has given you strength and courage.

        This brought to mind the incident when Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth. He was eventually thrown out of the synagogue by the Pharisees for not being willing to insult (or turn over) the Man who had healed him

        I imagined him picking himself up from the ground, wondering what he was going to do with his life now. As a blind man, he probably lived on the charity of his community. As a man who could now see, he saw his community as it really was. His own parents were afraid to stand up for him out of fear of the Pharisees.

        But then Jesus found him, explained who He was, and the man believed in Him.

        It is never, ever pleasant or enjoyable to have your eyes opened after being blind for so long (remember, this man had been blind from birth!). Losing trust in your family, community and your religious leaders is BRUTAL. I would never wish it on anyone unless it was absolutely necessary.

        It is worth it, however, to find the Lord (or He finds you!) and draw ever closer and deeper to Him. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:1)

      • Heloveme, I think what you said about the story of the blind man is very insightful. Thanks! 🙂

      • anon

        I’m with Barb. Your comments about the blind man, especially the inserted Bible verse at the end are so insightful.

        I’m not sure people who haven’t lived through it themselves can ever get it. Those survivors who have lived through the horrors firsthand seem to be the only safe people.

        Thanking Almighty God for this ministry and all you ladies (and handful of men).

  6. Gany T.

    So true and so timely.
    Yes, I absolutely think local churches and big Christian organizations claiming to advocate for/offer ministry to dv victims should bear some responsibility to get educated and to assist in tangible ways. Talk is cheap, uneducated talk is even cheaper, and as a whole, the Christian community talks a LOT.

    I wanted a church home/support network for my OWN family, but had to walk away from my church (and wasn’t at all encouraged to reconsider) when it became obvious that man-made doctrines and popular teachers’ views, and not rocking the boat were more valued than the truth (specifically about marriage, women, and spiritual and domestic abuse).

    So, when I could have used a church home to help a friend in dire need escaping abuse, they weren’t there. Neither were the secular dv centers. (But apparently their annual Polo Match fundraiser a few weeks prior was a great success, at least per their newsletter. Hypocrisy and image management are in BOTH the ‘c’hurch and secular society.)

    My husband and I have decided that “the fatherless and widows in adversity” are more worthy of our tithe than our former church, and are likely God’s intended target, anyway. So, I don’t hold out much hope for churches which emphasize “correct doctrine” while being closed minded, esp. to women’s input, esp. on (predominantly) “women’s issues,” such as dv. Those types WON’T read ACFJ or other knowledgeable advocates.

    To be further pessimistic…I’ve found that some churches which are willing to be generous with money and resources for victims – often they already have other similar ministries such as to the homeless or those battling addictions – but also are clueless about dv in the visible church and abuse-enabling teachings… Well, their “help” can be things like free(!) biblical (nouthetic) counseling or other additionally abusive burdens. (sigh) It takes rare humility for such people to be open to teaching about their actions, and especially about their wrong thinking. Ya can’t win. (But I still think your 3 bullet points of “homework” for churches desiring to offer ministry to the abused are spot on. The trick is to get them to DO it.)

  7. One of our followers wrote this and has given me permission to share it here:

    I know these people mean well, but they have no idea who does what.

    Nor do they have any inkling of why victims often don’t have money for gas [petrol], and why victims are so often running on empty re physical energy. Victims can make mistakes & assumptions due to all that, and those mistakes or assumptions can be extremely costly for victims trying to avoid drowning in a sea of what’s already led to homelessness etc. … with deadlines, pressures, medical, neglecting one thing to do as told etc.

    I know when people are wrong or using old information, but I’ve learned to recognize when people look down on our situation & assume we’re basically stupid and not listening. So, I do as I’m told.

    I’m killing myself for nothing but verification of what I knew & just isn’t known to them all yet.

    I don’t have the heart to have an “I told you so” attitude”. So, I try to explain how & why I counted on plans of one agency to another. [It’s outdated in a rapidly increasing & fluid housing crisis.

    Those of us in it, know more. But it’s considered “being difficult,” “not trying hard enough,” etc., or fragile egos feel wounded if proven wrong. It turns help into nightmares of frustration.

    They need easy cases for stats. If disabilities or safety issues are severe enough to make it challenging, many are slowly left behind.

    If I had a roof & basic needs for my condition, I’d be able to be an advocate for others like myself. I wish I had the money that was stolen in what led to this. I’d buy an old fixer upper house where women like myself could be doing something productive in making it a safe place for others to come.

    Its amazing how many lives are being wasted in this mess. I honestly don’t understand it.

    If it’s this bad in the US, I can’t imagine a 3rd world country. It has drastically changed even my values & awareness of what’s truly important…esp to the Lord.

    I once lived a life of luxury comparatively speaking. I had a heart for homeless teens bc of my own experience marrying an abusive man too young to have a roof etc. Now, however, I have a far better understanding of needs I didn’t recognize before this AND how many learn to manipulate to get needs met w/o dealing with soul wounds etc because it’s too much for them to bear in that moment…or so they THINK. It’s actually exactly when it does need tended, but safe people are crucial to be in place for them through it & they’ve learned that rarely exists.

    The system needs to make it a priority, imo, to have at least one advocate with recent, & therefore accurate, info and skill to facilitate the help…streamline it more accurately & avoid false hopes.

    Im apologizing now if I can’t keep up on the page or comments. I’m exhausted & going to sleep early. I decided to stop worrying about the cyberstalking & share regardless bc I see a need for awareness of what’s happening in real time.

    It’s worse for some & its happening to women who’ve lived sheltered lives. I don’t fit in anywhere now; & where I am isn’t safe or sanitary. I stick out like a sore thumb, which means I’m a target or perceived to be a snob. It’s a no win.

    • Helovesme

      “It turns help into nightmares of frustration.”

      I’m so sorry for that. Such a statement hurt my heart, because it takes real effort to ask for help, and then you find yourself becoming more and more broken instead of actually making progress! Moving forward, not backwards!

      When I try to help others (depending on the situation), communication is vital. Sometimes I feel like I am nagging, because I try to ask as many questions as possible to do the best I can for them. But when it works out, I actually feel like I’ve done well, because I tried to meet their needs in the most personal way possible (no one gets it just right all the time!)

      So perhaps that is why there is no “one size fits all” way to help abuse victims. You have to ask questions (which takes time), and listen to their answers (more time) and then serve them as best you can out of the limited resources you have (I say it again—that consumes more time!)

      Maybe we need to remind ourselves that these people are worth the time and trouble. That is why these ministries exist. If we are not truly helping them, they should shut down and reopen when they’ve got the right heart in place.

      Thank you for helping those teens. Their stories are too varied and wretched, I am sure, but any act or word of kindness might keep them from being exploited.

      I’m not sure of your exact situation but I didn’t want to expose you to more harm, so I responded to your comment here, where it’s safer.

      It is hard not to fit in, and stick out like a sore thumb, and then be targeted for it. Praying for you. Praying for you. Praying you find safety and a better living condition. Praying for rest for your body and soul.

  8. Finding Answers

    Helovesme wrote:

    It is never, ever pleasant or enjoyable to have your eyes opened after being blind for so long (remember, this man had been blind from birth!). Losing trust in your family, community and your religious leaders is BRUTAL. I would never wish it on anyone unless it was absolutely necessary.

    Never saw it in this perspective before…pardon the pun.

    Also, precisely describes – on a non-physically-blind basis – my process for the last 7 months (no need for admins to airbrush that detail). Rebuilding from the foundation up – including God – IS brutal, draining, daunting, and solitary.

    Discovering one’s entire life, from birth onward, has been built on lies and conscienceless people is a painful and soul-destroying task.

    Oxymoron, too, in a way…relying on the Holy Spirit to help me build a truth-based relationship with God and Christ.

    I have been led to what I need when I need it, but it seems so slow. I can tell myself it takes time to repair a lifetime of abuse from parents, siblings, ex-anti-spouse, “friends”, and workplaces, but I find no comfort.

    I have some personal short-term funding I can access, though it will not last long. Given my circumstances and where I live, I fall through pretty much every crack. And so disheartening…I’ve always been highly functional and worked to earn my keep.

    **Potential Trigger Warning** When the walls started crumbling, the flashbacks became a 24/7 non-stop series of experiences. Ever had a childhood sexually-abusive flashback while singing a worship song in church???? (Please airbrush that detail if too triggering for some.)

    I am beginning to wonder if they will ever end…

    My apologies if I have hi-jacked the thread. Such was not my intent…maybe someone will invent a “misfit” bandwagon.

    Thank God for ACFJ and all the resources He has brought to me when I needed them.

    • Finding Answers

      Adding on to my note…

      Just found out I don’t even have access to the personal short-term funding. Paperwork done last week, but due to idiosyncratic legalities, it’s tied up tighter than a drum. Omitting details as they could be somewhat identifying.

      Falling through another crack. And I’m still supposed to believe God is good?

      Sorry for the pity party…I know so many of you have it far, far worse. Looking for work leaves me wanting to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me.

      I don’t know where to turn…I don’t cry much, but tears of despair running soundlessly down my face.

      Still looking for that “misfit” bandwagon…

      • Helovesme

        Praying for you! That might sound very minimal when tears are flowing and things are desperate—-but I’ll keep praying anyway! Desperate prayers are the most sincere, even though things seem so hopeless.

  9. Anonymous

    Excellent advice. I am the victim of an ‘abuse adocates’ help. They helped pay for things to get me out, but it all came with strings attached (meaning I had Ro do everything they said, live with whom they said etc). It was just swapping one controller for another. I never even asked for a cent in help, things were paid for after the fact, then I was told. When I realised I needed to get away from this control too, I was completely rejected and every cent spent to help me was demanded back. Simply because I made the choice to move out of the share accomodation the abuse advocate had put me in (I was very unhappy living with the person I had been put with). I was labeled ungrateful and accused of not really being an abuse victim, because ‘what abuse victim would want to leave a house offered to live in’.

    Thus I found myself homeless and months later still homeless.

    Be careful of ‘christians’, pastors included that are portraying themselves as abuse advocates. There are many abusers even hiding behind this mantle too, and then the woman ends up doubly abused. There is only one thing worse than having to escape abuse and lose your own home, and that is escaping abuse and losing your own home AND having the person who pretended to me your helper turn out to be an abuser too. Be very careful.

    This come back to the fact that it is very true: “do not tell an abused person what to do”. Also in particular, the abuse victim should NEVER be pressured into leaving before she is ready. She has to have all her ducks in a row first, generally (unless it is necessary in some cases to flee fast). The woman herself knows when it is best to leave and how. Otherwise in a lot of cases she does indeed end up homeless and abandoned by many, under incredible stress.

    God does know how to guide the abuse victim best. Let Him.

    Very thankful for this blog that helps give so much godly wisdom too.

    • Moving Forward

      I am so sorry to hear of your struggles, Anonymous. Although I am grateful to have a home and children still with me, but I worry about the future as well. At my age, it feels a lot harder to try and get training, though I know many do it, and start working when others are thinking about retirement. I just want to be home with my children. That’s hard work itself, but now I have to face working some low-paying job as long as I can both now and when they are gone. I’m sure they will be supportive, but they have their lives to live, as well. I hope and pray you find a way.

      I echo your caution about churches and pastors who put on an appearance of helping, with strings attached. Sometimes those strings are hidden, and its only after you have to make a break from the church that you learn about the strings. I received help, most of which I didn’t ask for but appreciated, but when for my safety (abuser returning to church) I had to leave, then I was put down and rejected by pastor and friends for “turning on the hand that fed me” so to speak. There may be real Christians who want to help, but they aren’t allowed to in a church where the pastor controls everything. I am now so alone, but also free.

      God does know how to guide, and may he lead all of us here on this blog to the freedom, peace, food, housing, and friends that we need, remembering that Christ is the best and truest friend we could ever have.

  10. Anonymous

    Just wanted to add. I have just had to resort to accessing my meager Superanuation, just to survive and to hopefully be able to rent a place. I have no Super for my old age now (unless I am somehow able to accumulate some when I get a job on a low wage.

    My question is. Where are the real Christians to help the poor, abused and oppressed with real help like in the book of James!

    • Helovesme

      Thank you for sharing that. It was well said and contained GREAT advice for sure.

      Swapping out one form of control for another (in trying to get help) Yikes!

  11. Finding Answers

    To Helovesme:

    Thank you for your prayers. A simple prayer from the heart offers a hand in reaching back to God.

    To Anonymous on the entire comment of being an abuse advocates victim, as well as the add-on regarding accessing Superannuation:

    That! ^^^

    Ironic. Lying in bed last night, I had been ruminating over Barb’s original post, where / how to begin addressing such damaging systems, thinking how Scripture referred to the plight of widows and orphans. Still ruminating this morning when I read Anonymous’s comments. THIS makes an excellent starting point.

    I know others have written in a similar vein. Perhaps what brought clearer understanding – a hole in the fog, so to speak – to me was the reference to Superannuation. While not Superannuation, my attempt at accessing personal funding may have been along a similar line.

    With so many individuals in unique circumstances, I wonder if the bandwagon responses – though well-intended – become like the boy with his finger in the dike. Plug one hole, another unknown weakness springs a leak.

    While the ideal would be to eliminate abuse at the root, SOMETHING is needed until that happens this side of eternity. If the people providing assistance have more vested in image, power, and control; if these same people have no lived experience (never been in the victim’s shoes), there is less room for the servant-leader.

    How many times did Jesus write about servant leadership? How many times did He listen to – and associate with – those considered unclean? Christians and the ‘c’hurch have forgotten basic teaching. Maybe it’s time they returned to milk…

    And if the ‘c’hurch has forgotten such basic teaching, how can they demonstrate what Jesus taught? And following on that thought, why are they then surprised when they are ignored by the rest of the world? Especially when they look and act like the rest of the world…

    Jesus did not have the cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. Perhaps Christians and the ‘c’hurch need to remember this and repent of their sins of pride and arrogance.

    • Anu Riley

      Still keeping you and all others in prayer.

      Spot on with all your comments. The leaking holes were especially poignant although heart breaking.

      In biblical times if I recall there weren’t social services, welfare or organizations to help the widows and orphans. They truly relied on giving people to help them. Every individual mattered no matter how much or how little they could give.

      Maybe if we go back and meditate on that, perhaps that will help deal with at least some of the root cause, which may or may not be too much one size fits all cookie cutter organizations.

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