“May the Lord protect and defend you.”
This is a line of the blessing over the children that many congregations/synagogues pray over the children every week, while they stand under the hoopah. This is one of my favorite parts of Shabbat but my heart breaks a little bit every time I sing it because I know not every child is being protected. Some of them could go home and be abused by parents or family members.
Last spring, it was revealed that a neighboring town had a set of parents who were severely abusing their children. My heart was broken for the victims and I was furious at the abusers. What was the most upsetting, though, was that the family was heavily involved in the Christian community of that town.
I may receive negative feedback and I’m okay and prepared for it.
My question for that Church is, how did you reach out to the victims while they were in the household? Before the trial, or the media publicly announced the situation, what did you do? I feel that most of the time Christians don’t use discernment when choosing friends. This court case affected my school and I would constantly hear, “The parents were such nice people” but I don’t think that they realized being nice person and being a good person does not always have the same definition. We tend to trust anyone who claims the name Christ without necessarily judging what their character could be behind closed doors. We can be accepting but not use discernment. Abuse is not talked about in the church as if it doesn’t exist but this court case is an example that it clearly does. It is an uncomfortable topic so we ignore it.
When will we realize that body of Christ is a broken one? Some of the “nicest people” beat their children after the church doors close. As a general rule, I never assume someone has character until I have seen it in not only their actions but also in their body language. I watch how they act around their family members or how their family members act around them and how they respond to certain situations. I challenge you to look at those aspects when examining your friends and acquaintances.
Domestic, sexual, spiritual, and emotional abuse in Christian communities is a way that Satan is trying to damage and destroy the church. I wonder how the victims in this court case will see Christianity when they have had trauma from so called Christian parents. If you are not in a safe living situation, I beg you to find help. If someone in your religious community is convicted of being an abuser in some form, I urge you to listen to the victim. It took them courage and bravery to speak out. Below are listed numbers if you need help. I promise you there’s always hope and options.
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-Safe (7233)