“We REALLY need this book!”
This was the fifth time I had heard this statement within two weeks. This last time was from the friend and colleague who would end up writing the Foreword to the book.
Maybe it was time to sit down and write a book about something I had spoken of and taught on often but that no one else seemed to be discussing.
“DOMESTIC OPPRESSION” What is that? Over the last several years, I have had more conversations with more people than I can count about “DOMESTIC OPPRESSION.” Whenever I use the term, people turn their head sideways, look at me in confusion, and ask, “DOMESTIC OPPRESSION. Hmmm. What’s that?”
That, dear friends, is probably the biggest reason this book and this conversation are necessary right now. As I explain in Chapter 1, ”Words Matter,” DOMESTIC OPPRESSION is a very real, very present, and very growing form of abuse all of its own.
Up until a few months ago, if you did a Google search of this term, the first five or six entries you would see on the first page of the results were blog posts of mine. (I checked this morning and the fourth listing is still a post from my blog.)
Lately, however, I am hearing the term being used in more and more places in the Biblical counseling world, and I am deeply grateful for that. Still waiting for it to reach the seminaries.
So, what is DOMESTIC OPPRESSION and why do we need this specific language?
“DOMESTIC OPPRESSION is the seedbed, the foundation of every form of abuse, including domestic abuse.”
DOMESTIC OPPRESSION is, itself, a form of abuse and it underlies and creates the environment where domestic abuse can take place.
DOMESTIC OPPRESSION is the dominating and primary factor in all forms of abuse that take place within the home. And, it is growing inside the church at an alarming rate.
Statistically, when a pastor stands in the pulpit on Sunday morning, out of every one-hundred people sitting in front of him, only 12 to 14 of those people are not either survivors of personal oppression and abuse, or first-hand witnesses to oppression and abuse in their own home.
That means that 86-88% of all of the people attending churches—your church fellowship, my church fellowship, every church fellowship in America and elsewhere—have been or are being subjected to something God hates more than He hates anything else.
(We’ll come back to that…)
Writing this book is an attempt to shine the light on the increasing pervasiveness of DOMESTIC OPPRESSION within what God expects to be the safest space for His adopted children to live and move. It is an attempt to redeem and restore what has, instead, become one of the most dangerous and traumatic places for His children to live.
This book is an attempt to pull back the veil and expose the plethora of Christ’s undershepherds who—sometimes out of complete ignorance—not only enable the oppressors but actually cosign the oppression and revictimize the oppressed! (Whether this is out of ignorance or willfulness or fear or disobedience, only God can know. The evidence, however, shows that there is more willfulness than not behind this epidemic. Thankfully, there is an ever-increasing number of folks blogging, writing books, preaching sermons, and conducting seminars about domestic abuse from a biblical perspective.)
We must understand several things, or this forbidden evil will continue to grow and spread among those whom Christ came to set free and “to send into liberty.” (Luke 4:18)
- We need to fully understand that, biblically and practically, DOMESTIC OPPRESSION is a real “thing.”
- We need to understand that DOMESTIC OPPRESSION is a form of abuse all of its own.
- We need to understand that Christ’s “undershepherds” are mandated to rescue the oppressed and cut-off the oppressors.
And we need to understand that those who oppress His people are guilty of the exact evil for which Jesus rebuked and condemned the Scribes and the Pharisees with the strongest and most severe condemnations in all of Scripture.
Unless we do, this malevolent wickedness will continue to destroy the lives and hopes and, sometimes, the faith of those whom Christ came to save.
We need to admit that there is a horde of hypocrites who stand Behind the Veil of Christianity, and church attendance, and ministry activity, and extravagant giving, and all the other things that “good Christians do”—all to create an avatar that is not their true self, but a mirage they manufacture and maintain in order to fool those who might hold them accountable and put a stop to their evil.
“So I again considered all the oppression that continually occurs on earth. This is what I saw: The oppressed were in tears, but no one was comforting them; no one delivers them from the power of their oppressors.” Ecclesiastes 4:1
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Ellie Wiesel (Elie Wiesel was a Nobel-Prize winning writer, teacher, and activist best known for his memoir Night, in which he recounted his experiences surviving the Holocaust.)
“When it comes to oppression and abuse, there is no Switzerland; there is no neutral territory.” Warren Lamb
One important thought to keep in mind as we walk down this path together today: Betrayal, oppression, and abuse are redeemable; God brought redemption into the world through betrayal, oppression, and abuse.
This is the first posting of a series that will be created over the next few weeks. Read them, comment on them, pass them along…do whatever you can to help get this information in the hands of those who can and will be part of God’s remedy for this pernicious evil.
Soli Deo Gloria