I Stand for Truth, Righteousness and Justice

I Stand for Truth, Righteousness and Justice
“I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to make a difference.”
 This week I heard the testimony of a tattoo artist who uses his God-given skills and artistic abilities to help human trafficking survivors cover up their branding tats. What an amazing ministry. He is the hands, feet and heart of Jesus as he ministers to a practical and personal need.
 I’ve said these words, “I’m not here to make friends with abusers.” If someone is abusive and uses power and control to manipulate, dominate and destroy others, I am not here to make them feel comfortable.
 I’m here to be a voice for the one who have been told to shut up.
 I’m here to speak worth over the one who has been told she’s worthless.
 I’m here to call out the strengths I see in the one who feels weak.
 I’m here to illuminate a path to safety for those who live in fear.
 I’m here to say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” to abusers.
 To abusers who are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, pastors, employers, teachers, counselors, coaches…I say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” 

Thankfully, I am not alone. God spoke out against abuse long before I ever did. He called His followers to do the same.
 “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9
 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, to break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6-7
 “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s case.” Isaiah 1:17
 “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed.” Jeremiah 22:3
 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” Psalm 89:14

"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream." Amos 5:24
 There are many verses in the Bible about taking a standing up for the abused. There are many verses in the Bible about up against abusers (wolves). If we are true Christians (by definition: “followers of Christ”), we cannot stand by idly and do nothing.
 I recently took a stand against heinous abuse that was done by a world-famous leader in the faith community. I’ve heard many say that he did so much good for the Kingdom, that the good outweighed the bad. I beg to differ. The man committed vile, sexual acts against women and then stood on platforms across the globe and defended the Bible.
 Is there anything more grievous in God’s eyes than spiritual abuse? Spiritual abuse weaponizes God and His Word to control, manipulate and prey upon others. After taking a public stand on this matter, I was told to “make sure my love shows more than my hate.” I replied, “I hate evil. I love the women who are bravely walking out of the fire.”
 God’s Word tells us to hate evil. Why is it so common, especially within evangelical faith communities, for people to be uncomfortable with someone sharing about abuse, while not being bothered by witnessing abusive behaviors?
 About two years ago, shared some of my story with a pastor, summarizing decades of domestic abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse and spiritual abuse. When I asked about his church’s stance on the subject, I was told, “The abuser and the abused are welcome here.” All kinds of alarms went off in my head. I have now completed a year’s certification in a victim advocacy, and I understand how unbiblical that statement was.
 It’s time to take a stand for righteous, truth and justice.
 Twelve years ago, I became aware of the realities of human trafficking. As I began to speak up and educate others about this, I remember the looks and the responses. When I handed a church person a flyer to invite them to a screening of a documentary that exposed trafficking across the world, they recoiled as if I was handing them an STD. Now, I am finding a similar response when I share about the realities of domestic violence and spiritual abuse in the church community.
 Statistics say 25-30% of women are suffering from domestic violence, but my gut (and my heart) says that number is way too low. I believe that 50-75% of women within the church walls are suffering from various forms of domestic violence. This is fueled by twisting scriptures, shaming women, blaming wives for their husbands’ sins, misogyny and patriarchy which are common in many evangelical circles. If you are not familiar with the Power and Control Wheel, I urge you to familiarize yourself with it now.
 Abuse is so much more than bruises and broken bones. Abusers may use intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, minimizing, denying, bullying, parental alienation, male privilege, spousal rape, economic abuse or threats to control their victims. I will be writing about each of these elements soon, because so many women are experiencing abuse every single day and they do not even know it.
 Until then, I welcome women who are victims and women who want to be advocates for victims to join us at 
Held & Healed: Christian Women Rebuilding After Abuse. In the group, I share resources that have helped me on my healing journey. There is a mighty army of survivors, advocates, counselors and leaders rising up. While my heart bleeds that no one was there for me twenty years ago, I am determined to be for others what I needed someone to be for me. That is redemption and I will live my life being a voice for truth, righteousness and justice.