Awareness in April and in Other Months
This month you get a two for one! March got away from me. So I decided to combine some thoughts from last month with this issue, and I believe it's worked out well.
Last month as many of you know was Women's History Month. What is less known (it was news to me) is that it was also Ethics Awareness Month. This month was Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assualt Awareness Month. Needless to say, those two things are definitely moral/ethical issues. Women are disproportionately victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse- which is a form of child abuse.
Let us not forget, however, that males also are impacted by child abuse and sexual abuse. And addressing these issues requires mutual cooperation between women and men.
There is way too much to say about this in a single blog. But as a pastor, I feel the need to say something. I believe it is unethical and bad pastoral practice not to. So here are my thoughts:
First, because every person is an image-bearer of the Holy God, all of us have inherent worth and value (Genesis 1: 26-28). The very breath of the Holy One brought us to life (Genesis 2:7). Therefore, no one deserves abuse or assault toward their person. We all are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity as the sacred beings we are.
I understand that that can be hard for survivors to accept. If that statement is difficult for you to grasp, borrow my faith and assurance and believe that pain and violence are not God's intentions for you! And go discuss this with a trusted advisor, pastor, and/or therapist if you need to.
Two, one of the underlying causes of child abuse and sexual assault is the false ideology that children and women are property- objects to be acted upon and controlled by others.
I might get some pushback for challenging this perception, in part because it is a widely held notion even among those who do not abuse (a topic for another day). But let it be known, God has never intended human beings to be chattel or property no matter what particular gender, age, race, or class status they embody.
Rather, each of us is a specially crafted soul made by the Creator. And each soul and spirit should be allowed to grow into the person God has called us to be without the pain, burden, and barrier of abuse and violence (Psalm 139: 13-16, Ephesians 2:10).
Perhaps you can have some intentional conversations with your pastors and in your small groups about these theological perspectives.
In and With Grace,