“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (James 1:19–21, NIV)
After reading the story of Absalom and pondering his circumstances, I thought a lot about abuse and how it affects families. I also wondered if we were becoming less abusive in our country. According to all of the statistics that I read, we are not. Rather, abuse is a growing problem in our society.
You would think that it should be on the decline. With all of the government support to alleviate poverty, hunger and discrimination you would think the citizens would have an improving demeanor. We provide education, cell phones and health care. As a society, we do a lot for our citizens. People should be experiencing more safety, security, and comfort because of these provisions. And yet the more we give, the more we abuse one another?
The statistics are staggering. Depending on the survey, it is reported that between 20% and 25% of all women suffer from domestic abuse. Information from the (http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics) says, “More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.” Some organizations claim that the number is closer to 7 every day. According to safehorizons.org, more than three million children witness domestic violence in their own home each year.
The effects of this abuse are horrible. “Children who experience child abuse & neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity” (National Child Abuse website). The same website claims that the cost of this abuse is $124 billion annually. That is only the cost of child abuse. It doesn’t include domestic violence against adult spouses or partners. People who are abused are much more likely to suffer from mental and even many physical ailments. The cost of abuse is high.
Last week’s blog chronicled the demise of Absalom. His issues began with an abusive situation. Instead of seeking God, he sought justice in the wrong ways. He let his anger control his life, instead of God. Eventually, he became an abuser too. This is why abuse grows. People allow the hurt and pain of the past to fester and grow in their hearts and minds. Eventually, they too become abusers and justify their sin against others. So how do we stop this?
I think there is only one way. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). We know the right way to live when we know Jesus. We understand reality, we know what is true and right when we are in Jesus. We chose things that are life giving and healthy rather than things that are destructive leading to death. The more we follow Jesus, the less we abuse others. People, therefore, need Jesus and He is the hope for the abused and the abuser.
If you have suffered from abuse and need Christian resources to help you, I would suggest starting with Mending the Soul @ http://mendingthesoul.org/