Thankful . . . for the Protectors

At a Thanksgiving time of year . . . in a Thanksgiving sort of way . . . I am feeling very, very thankful . . . for the Protectors.

I’m thankful I have the privilege of knowing some people who are actively involved in seeking to protect others and helping others who have been unprotected in the past.

So today, this Thanksgiving week, I’m thankful for . . .

. . . the former work supervisor who was “always kind,” who was a safe person for a struggling abuse survivor to reach out to.

. . . the woman who wants to help protect her friend from her friend’s abusive and destructive family.

. . . the woman who opens her home for the ones escaping oppression, to offer them a safe place to stay for a few days or weeks.

. . . the kind and patient husband who loves his wife who survived childhood abuse and wants to do what he can to help her.

. . . the woman who found evidence one of her children was being abused, who took the very hard step of getting all her children to a safe place to begin a completely new life.

. . . the older sister who escaped an abusive home but is continuing to extend her hand to the younger siblings who still live in fear and isolation.

. . . the woman who fears speaking even in a small group but knows God has called her to speak publicly to help others coming out of abuse, and is willing.

. . . the pastor who has boldly preached sermons on abuse that have opened the eyes of many.

. . . others who are unafraid to speak publicly about what actually goes on behind the closed doors of many “Christian” homes.

. . . the woman who is strugging with significant physical issues caused by abuse but who has overcome much and is continuing to overcome and reach out to others who are struggling.

. . . the mother whose daughter married a cruel man, who is simply “there” for her daughter in any way she can be, ready to help her daughter when her daughter is ready to get out.

. . . the grandmother who sees the oppressive circumstances her grandchildren are living in and wants to help in any way she can.

. . . the woman at church who is known as a “safe person,” who listens and loves and advocates for others.

. . . the woman who in the midst of her own recovery, got training so that she could be a wise and helpful support to others going through pain similar to hers.

. . . the pastor who believed the person who spoke to him and proceeded to report a crime to the police and then carry through with excommunication of an offender who offered fake repentance.

. . . the woman who has used the trauma of her past as a springboard from which to show the love of God to others.

. . . the woman who showed kindness and made hot muffins for a confused and lonely girl.

. . . the woman who is boldly speaking about her childhood-trauma-induced dissociation and its ramifications in her life, to help bring that “ah ha” moment into the lives of others.

. . . the woman who found a friend in trouble and wanted to help and didn’t know how but was there for her anyway.

***

Almost all of these are people I’ve been able to correspond with or even meet personally. (None of them are me, in case you were wondering, lol!) Most of them do their work quietly, much of it unseen and unknown by others. All of them are believing in hope and trusting in God to bring beauty out of ashes and the oil of joy out of mourning.

My life is enriched and blessed by talking with these people and getting to know some of them in a deeper way. They love Jesus and want to see Him glorified in the lives of the people God has brought into their lives. They know He offers ultimate hope and ultimate recovery. They want to turn hearts to Him.

When I look discouragement in the face (because the evil is so great and so many church leaders are so hard hearted), I’m spurred to thanksgiving by many things. One of them is the wonderful people God has brought into my life. There are many, many amazing and incredible people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. I have been deepened and enriched by their overcoming. I have stood in awe of what God has accomplished in their lives.

But this one . . . this one is for the Protectors. Thank you for standing there with your arms outstretched to the oppressed, holding your shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, willing to face off with wolves.

You are a blessing and an inspiration to me.

John Piper’s gossip post needs Part 2, to address double standards

When our daughter was a teenager, I remember her coming to Tim and me in tears over what some peers of hers were talking about. Turns out one of the peers had just informed another, when my daughter was part of the conversation, that a teenager they both knew was pregnant outside of marriage. They were laughing over it. Laughing. It was very clear they didn’t care about the girl at all, but found the information quite juicy.

This is perhaps one of the most stark cases of gossip I’ve seen, and this is what came into my mind when I read John Piper’s recent post about gossip (link), in which he concludes, with Scripture, that gossip is idle talk about others engaged in by those who are “motivated by pride that loves the delicious feeling of being in the know” who are “indifferent to what the destructive effects may be.” He also observes that in many cases the gossiper actually maliciously desires a destructive effect.

I thought his presentation was Scriptural and sensible.

But I believe John Piper’s gossip post left some gaps, because I see huge problems in our churches regarding gossip that weren’t addressed: Continue reading

Untwisting “you should surrender your rights” (a guest post for Leslie Vernick)

My faithful readers have seen some of my blog posts about rights before, and know that two chapters of Untwisting Scriptures are devoted to understanding rights. I’m glad to say that author and speaker Leslie Vernick is giving an opportunity to interact on this important topic to a wider audience. Here is the first part of the article being published at www.leslievernick.com today. Continue reading

It’s unBiblical to surrender your rights

Next week I’ll be privileged to guest post again for Leslie Vernick at www.leslievernick.com, about how you actually do have rights and you shouldn’t surrender or yield them and it’s actually impossible to surrender many of them. That will be a brief outline of the talk about rights that I gave last weekend at the Called to Peace Ministries Conference “Developing a Church-Wide Response to Domestic Abuse.” (That talk, in turn, was based on two chapters in my book Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind.)

But today I want to mention a couple of points, really a couple of Scriptures, that I didn’t have time to fully discuss in my talk. (Both of them are addressed in the book.) Continue reading

“Erring on the side of grace” when it comes to repentance?

Recently a friend wrote to me about a church in which the well-meaning elders choose to believe anyone who claims to be repentant, even those who have been living a double life (such as a well-respected church person who turns out to be a secret abuser or adulterer). She said,

“They say they want to believe the best and take people at their word. They would rather err on the side of grace.”

Continue reading

Does God crush you like a rose to make perfume?

Someone wrote to me recently about songs that ask God to “crush me,” “wreck me,” and “consume me,” saying,

If God can abuse his bride, yet tell her that it is for her good, of course a husband can do that to his. And both blame her for not trusting.

This reminded me of the popular teaching that just as the sweetest perfume comes out of crushed roses, God wants to crush us like a rose so He can make perfume like that. Continue reading

An Authority Covering Umbrella of Protection parable, to celebrate the Reformation

While others are spending October celebrating the Five Solas, I want to celebrate umbrellas. Actually, I want to celebrate getting out from under umbrellas.

And for good measure, so the non-initiate can understand my Umbrella Parable, here’s the expanded version of The Umbrella Diagram, for Reformed churches. That is, this diagram came from some inheritors of the Reformation that we’re celebrating this month. Continue reading

Speaking at a DV conference in Raleigh, NC, in November

Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC

On November 3-4 at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC, Joy Forrest of Called to Peace (www.calledtopeace.org) will be holding a conference called “Developing a Church-Wide Response to Domestic Abuse.”

Chris Moles (www.chrismoles.org), author of The Heart of Domestic Abuse, will be the primary speaker. But a few others will also be speaking, and I’m excited to say that I’ve been asked to do one session. Continue reading

Tullian: Jesus + Nothing = Everything?

“(Adult) children obey your parents”? Part 2, for adults raised in Patriarchy

Yesterday’s post presented the question from a reader and the first part of my answer, about wicked parents and how we as the body of Christ need to be teaching children to obey God rather than man. You can read Part One here.

But what about controlling parents of adults , especially those whose parents espouse some form of Patriarchal beliefs? A few months ago I made a plea to these adults in the post “To those in Christian Patriarchy: return to God” (link), pleading with them not to let their parents take the place of God. (This was in the section “A call to young adults under the system . . . to listen to His voice” which I hope you’ll read if you haven’t.)

 So now some of these adults are looking at the “Children obey your parents” Scriptures and asking if there is any Biblical justification to do anything other than comply with everything their parents command. Continue reading