|Posted by God Loves Women on September 26, 2012 at 11:00 AM|
One of my friends Faye has responded to the email written by a pastor to a woman who has experienced abuse:
There are many more points I could make I'm sure but these are just a few off the top of my head:
Pastor is blaming Hannah:
'looking for a way out of the marriage'
'decide whether or not your are commited to this marriage'
'try to make things work, rather than always running away'
'I have witnessed just as much verbal abuse coming from your lips'
'your mistake or lack of commitment'
'looking for a way out...your heart is hard'
Key phrase - 'I don't know everything that has gone on between the two of you'
Yet continues with 'I also know he (Saul) is not an aggressive or violent person'. How does the pastor know this? Because Saul hasn't displayed it in public?
And 'Saul is not physically abusive to you'. How does this pastor know?!!! And even if there is no physical abuse, there are many types of other abuse that are equally damaging (some would argue they are even more damaging than physical).
Outrageous statement - (Hannah is) 'stubborn and pigheaded'. This is also blaming her and making her feel she is the same as Saul.
Pastor says there are 'some other things he (Saul) can't change' and that Hannah needs to 'accept, forgive and try and forget these things'. What are these 'things that Saul can't change' pastor? I would like him/her to clarify these 'things'. Do these 'things' include Saul's belief that it is OK to be abusive to his wife?
Soul destoying statement - 'I don't believe you (are afraid of Saul)'. Words cannot express how devasting this sentence is.
Alongside this statement is the 'Saul is not physically abusive to you' (as mentioned above - how does this pastor know? S/he is making Hannah feel like a liar, or possible that she is going mad, by saying this)
Patronising comment - 'did I mention grace and patience' (pastor may as well have just said 'stupid Hannah, don't you know you need to be patient and graceful')
Strange statement - 'Nothing worth saving is easy'. What does this mean?! In my opinion, a marriage is easy if the two people in it show each other love and respect, care, freedom etc etc. What a disheartening comment this pastor is making, s/he is not painting a joyful image of marriage/life in general. Surely God gave us His son to have a joyful, abundant life..not a life where everything is difficult. As a loving parent, do you want your children to have a joyful life or a difficult one? God wants the same for His children. In my opinion, this pastor has some issues his/herself!
Conceited statement - 'I know that God's will is that your marriage commitment be honoured..'. How does the pastor know this? Has s/he fasted and prayed about it? (The following statement would show that s/he hasn't, and I'm sure that there would be a different answer if s/he had). This is also making Hannah feel guilty, that she is going against God's will, using her faith as a reason to keep her in this abusive marriage. Would this pastor say the same to his/her daughter in the same situation (assuming that the pastor themself is a non abive/controlling person). I could go on for hours on this....!
Sackable comment (in my opinion)! - 'The last thing I want to do is get in the middle of this very dysfunctional marriage again'. Grrr, I am steaming! This is his/her job to 'get in the middle' of this situation! This pastor has been supposedly appointed by God for the role of 'caring for the flock'. Again, laying the blame at Hannah's door, making her feel that she is a nuisance. It is also infused with anger towards Hannah, and will no doubt make her feel guilty, and will ultimately make her feel that she cannot even go to talk to her pastor about her situation. Whether we like it or not, many people feel that their pastor represents God on this earth (rightly or wrongly) - and this may make Hannah feel that even God is sick of her problem, and is angry at her too. She would very likely stop talking to her pastor, or anyone, about this situation. She will be isolated. This is a dominator tactic (Jailor).
Contradictory statement - 'I hope that you know that the tone of this letter is one of love and wanting to help a sister in the Lord'..??! This completely contradicts the previous sentence. Even as an outsider & a stranger to the people involved, I can clearly see that this letter is not one of love or wanting to help Hannah. The pastor has just said s/he doesn't want to get involved in the previous sentence! The content of the letter clearly shows the pastor true feelings about abuse, as well as anger towards Hannah, and this sentence is just to 'cover their back'. It is completely meaningless. It is also likely to make Hannah confused - she will most likely be feeling guilty whilst reading the letter and then be thinking that she should be feeling grateful to her pastor for his/her 'love and help'. This is also a dominator tactic (Liar).
The additional 'PS' sentence about Saul enfuriates me. Again, even I can see as an outsider, that this is completely undermining Hannah's whole issue. It's almost as if the pastor is saying 'yeah, yeah, I've said my piece about your silly little issue, now back to the more important stuff of Saul's operation'! It also implys the pastor has a close relationship with Saul, or even takes Saul's 'side' in this. Again, it seeks to make Hannah feel guilty, as if the pastor is saying 'while you're badmouthing Saul, the poor man is going in for a big operation...you should be doing your wifely duties and praying and caring for him, what a terrible wife you are'!
I would even go as far to say, that in my opinion, the pastor him/herself is displaying 'Dominator' tactics, and is possibly a controlling/abusive person themself. Hannah, please get some advice from Christians who specialise in domestic abuse instead of this pastor. Pastor, please get some domestic abuse education, or better still get a compassionate person/people within your church to be trained up instead, as I feel the task would be too great for you yourself, as you would need to change your whole belief system first.