I RAN THE GAUNTLET.
This is what I mean (www.freedictionary.com):
a. A form of punishment or torture in which people armed with sticks or other weapons arrange themselves in two lines facing each other and beat the person forced to run between them, or b. The lines of people so arranged.
My “gauntlet” was a psychologically abusive husband (now ex-husband) on one side, and the church (people, scriptures, and doctrines) on the other. For twenty years, I ran between the two, desperately wanting to do the right thing and please God and husband, while trying to protect and raise two wonderful kids in the Lord, and struggling to keep my sanity (literally). The weapons used by both sides were words and ideas. From my husband came words of love and also words of rage, condemnation, manipulation, obsenity and weirdness. From the church came words of admonition, conflicting scriptures, explanations of how God works, reminders of “proper” scriptural interpretation, discriptions of how Godly wives/marriages should be, and excuses for God’s silence.
Welcome to my blog.
What it is: Respectful and thoughtful dialogue about your faith and insights as they apply to real-life situations, especially those involving Psychological Abuse by Christian husbands against Christian wives and children. They might include thoughts about improving the knowledge/helpfulness of the Church, how applying scripture plays out in real life, coping with the long-term effects on faith and life skills and health (mental and physical) even when out of the abusive situation.
Why it is:
1) I hope to hear something real enough to restore my faith. I would like to express where my doubts come from and hear what others say, who think differently or the same, and who have either lost or kept the faith. I would like to hear what WORKS for you, and what transcends “Churchianity.”
2) I would like to include your wise answers in a book that will help others as, hopefully, you help me and my readers (no names will be included without permission). Maybe we can help church members, clergy and Christian women and girls to respond more wisely and protectively toward Psychological Abuse. Maybe we can provide non-churched domestic violence professionals better insight into the issues and motivations of Christian women who are psychologically abused by their husbands. Maybe Domestic Violence professionals will have another avenue to spread the word about what works or helps and what doesn’t, from their perspective.
3) To explore what you think “abuse” is and isn’t, and to see how well you can identify with situations you perhaps have not lived. This might clarify the responses of Christians I have gone to for help. And it might help them, and others, to do better in the future. If I can express the extreme, sickening, lasting frustration of living the natural fight or flight impulse year after year when the means and consequences of either fighting or “flighting” are too uncertain or dire to perform, in such a way that someone is able to better understand the reality and be less likely to give stupid, harmful advice “in the Lord,” then my day isn’t wasted.
4) To see what scriptures and related actions you would apply to actual situations, and to allow respectful discussion of other “contradictory” or “alternative” scriptures that could also apply. James 1:22 (NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” The word says a lot of things…what one chooses to believe and do can have devastating or empowering consequences.
1. RESPECTFUL. Christians or non-Christians, I would like to hear your voices. Non-Christians, don’t be put off by the “united with Christ” part of the following verse. Christians, don’t be put off by my disclaimer to non-Christians. All: Share, comfort, encourage, reason together with respect.
Philippians 2:1-4 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
2. CONSTRUCTIVE. No personal attacks or biting comments. Deal with the issues and questions thoughtfully. If you find your breath coming short and your heart pounding because you think God has been insulted, don’t call it “righteous indignation” and let it rip. I suspect the Creator of the Universe can defend Himself if He chooses. If you feel indignant in response to the incidents or comments related, then use it to say something that will really matter to someone – to build their faith, to save them grief, to help them be better, to add to the good in the world.
1 Peter 3:15-16(NIV) But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Again – whether you “revere Christ as Lord” or not, you are still able to give an answer with gentlness, respect, clear conscience, and good behavior.
3. REAL. NOT THEORETICAL. CAN ACTUALLY BE APPLILED. Ideally, only tell about what you have seen applied and working in real life. One of the many things I’ve been told, for example, is that a wife should submit to her husband, even to the point of allowing him to kill her, in order to obey God and allow Him room to work His will. Not only do I, having tried this type of submission, NOT believe this is right, I don’t believe it WORKS. (But speak up if you have seen an abusive husband turn into a kind husband as his wife submits to his abuse – I might learn something new).
2 Timothy 2:14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
James 2:15-17 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
So talk with me.