A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Protecting Children

Oh man, as Jeff Crippen would say. I can’t read the Bible without getting another post in my head. Forgive me for flooding your inboxes!

“whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”  (Matthew 18:6-7)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”  (18:10)

“So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”  (18:14)

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.  (19:13-15)

Surely it is no accident that these verses about protecting children enclose three passages about heinous sin:

1) The passage about biblical discipline (Matt. 18:15-17) instructing us that a brother who refuse to repent is to be treated as a gentile and a tax collector – terms denoting people who rejected God and practiced idolatry.  Gentiles practiced the idolatry of false religion; tax collectors practiced the idolatry of greed, covetousness and selfishness. Such people think they are entitled to do what they want; they have no qualms about living for themselves and their fleshly lusts.

2) The parable of the vindictive servant (Matt. 18:21-25) who had been forgiven a great debt but demanded repayment of a small debt. That servant’s sin reminds me of abusers. Victims forgive their abusers repeatedly, but when eventually the victim gives an ultimatum and sets some boundaries, the abuser fakes a little reformation … and then demands to be paid chips for good behavior.

3) The passage about the Pharisees’ tricky question to Jesus about divorce (Matt. 19:1-12), in which Jesus soundly rebukes their twisted interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1 and how they were using that to license treacherous divorce by men who wanted to dump their wives without good reason. That passage is all about men (including Jesus’ own disciples – v.10) having an attitude of entitlement: the very essence of the abusive mentality. And hasn’t that passage been much misused and misunderstood by Christians who use it to prohibit victims of abuse from divorcing their abusers, and to frown at remarriage after divorce!

As evangelical Christians we believe the Bible is fully inspired by God. Even the order of the narratives as penned by the inspired author (in this case Matthew) was guided by the Lord. Now, I think we can read too much into the order of the narratives – we don’t want to become like Kabbalah Jews who search for esoteric significance and miss the clear meaning of the text – but it’s legitimate to notice things about the literary structure of a text.

So, it occurs to me that we may be being told that the principle of protecting children is related to understanding and dealing with the mentality of entitlement that under-girds abuse.

Those of you who are dealing with family court decisions that have allowed your abuser to have unsupervised access (or even custody) of your children, are at the pointy end of where our society is failing here. My heart goes out to you.

19 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  2. Rebecca

    What a timely post, Barb. I woke up at 5:30am, even though it’s Saturday and is a day I can sleep in. My body was jolted awake by another nightmare, while my mind was becoming consumed by the reality of what I have to do today and what lies ahead. About 6 inches next to me, I see my 8 year old daughter sleeping….peacefully. However, seeing her there means she became afraid in the night, again, got up and climbed in close for comfort. But I didn’t hear her because she wasn’t crying out this time. This is actually progress, since she used to run through the house with night terrors, saying her bottom hurt, saying someone was going to take her.

    You shared: “it occurs to me that we may be being told that the principle of protecting children is related to understanding and dealing with the mentality of entitlement that under-girds abuse.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    When I read the verses you shared, I cannot come to terms with how the Court has just decided to give unsupervised visitation, despite all the evidence, statements and admissions. The civil system feels consumed by evil and corruption. My girls have to begin this in a week, and I have to tell them this weekend. There is so much sxual deviancy and abusiveness in my case, that everyone I’ve told the news to is in disbelief and mortified, including Lundy Bancroft. But, sadly, it not unusual for the court system here to try and level the playing field and grant some type of visitation, regardless of the circumstances. The visitation is supposed to be in public places only and not at his house, and the girls are expected to report anything ‘unusual’. They can’t report what they don’t know. But, they shouldn’t be guinea pigs or pawns either.

    There is rarely proactive protection for children. They are expected to report, and report with specific terminology in order for a Court to deem them in danger or at risk. As far too many news stories have revealed, it’s often after the fact of *another* tragedy that the story comes out….followed by ‘if only’…. Even then, courts will often suppress documentation and evidence, as seen in the case you shared here on Wendy G.

    I’m having a hard time trusting God today with this and feeling peace, and believing that something good will come from it. What I do feel is more passion to spreading the truth and revealing injustice. I recognize the devices of the evil one with feeling overwhelmed and defeated….and afraid for my children. But yet I still do. My head knows facts, my heart aches with grief and the unknown. May God help us all.

    • Laurie

      Was it a court of record or a family court? Our local family court is not a court of record, so the evidence was not recorded, only the Judge’s decision was recorded. We had tears in our house last night, too, over Dad and his abuses. I can’t say why this has fallen out this way in your life, but I do know that God loves you and those babies. May God intervene for you this day and turn back the hand of the wicked one.

      I want you to know something, help from God is NOT contingent on your good behavior. It is HIS good pleasure to help you, whether you “feel” like you can trust Him or not. Romans 4 states that our High Priest, Jesus, is not one that cannot be touched by the “feeling” of our infirmities; in other words, He CAN be touched by the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses, like trouble trusting and being angry). But end all, this is what we have to stand on (our High Priest Who understands) that we may come BOLDLY to the throne of Grace to obtain grace to help in time of need. So if you are angry at God today, or you feel you can’t trust Him, GO TO HIS THRONE THAT WAY, ANYWAY, FOR HE LOVES YOU AND UNDERSTANDS WHAT YOU ARE FEELING AND IT IS NO THREAT TO HIM BUT HIS GREAT PLEASURE TO LOVE YOU THROUGH IT! And you don’t need to be afraid that He is “gonna git you” for it afterward. Its stuff like this that real and lasting relationships are formed by, and that is His desire for His beloved ones…real and lasting relationship with Him.

      • Rebecca

        Thank you Laurie. Your words are bringing me such comfort today. Yes, you’re right….God can handle how we feel…He wants that and longs for it. I just forget when I am overwhelmed. This reminded me of the song….

        God loves a lulluby
        In a mother’s tears in the dead of night
        Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

        We pour out our miseries
        God just hears a melody
        Beautiful, the mess we are
        The honest cries of breaking hearts
        Are better than a Hallelujah

        I didn’t think I could cry anymore than I have, but then it comes again. And I’m not the crying type.

        The evidence is public record, including the Psych Eval and GAL report, and the Trial Transcript from July, my attorney confirmed it. The entire hearing was recorded by the Court Reporter, and the Eval and GAL were submitted as evidence…so it’s all supposed to be public. But it’s been jumping through hoops to retrieve records. Someone is keeping the Public records of information off the online Docket. The worst part is ex-H have virtually no compassion for the children and even stated in court …’every kid needs a safety plan, but why with me?” Denial. My divorce is final, the children are less protected. I’m having a really hard day. Despite the amount of abuse I lived and what the children lived, I still grieve the loss of what I’d hoped to be for a marriage. Thank you for reminding me that God can handle the mess of me today, and that He Will provide a way for our deliverance.

  3. Laurie

    “…grieve the loss of what I’d hoped to be for a marriage.”

    Does anyone know, will we grieve this way forever? ‘Cuz sometimes this one still so cuts me like a knife in the heart…just jumps up and hits me.

    My heart goes out to you and your children, Rebecca. God be with you.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Nope, not forever. Definitely not. It gets less and less in this life and then in the New Creation – none of it!

      • Laurie

        Hallelujah!!

  4. mlieder

    This could not have come at a better time for me. I left my abusive husband 13 months ago. My four children and I took money from a friend to leave Germany with four suitcases. We never looked back. This week, I filed for divorce and gained full custody of my four children. We get no alimony, no child support and we lose all of our possessions. And he cannot see the children unless it is supervised and no overnights with strict time periods. I keep reminding myself that I got the most important thing — custody of all four children and a chance to live, love and provide a fertile soil for the children to grow. Thank you for your blog. I CANNOT tell you what a cool drink of water it has been to my soul. Every single post. Please keep it up. We all need it desperately.

    • Jeff Crippen

      mlieder- Thank you for all of your encouragement, but most of all for telling us your story and of your freedom. You paid a high price but received priceless benefits. What you did took courage as just about all of our readers here know very well. Please stick with us. We are very, very happy that you are part of our little community here.

      • mlieder

        Not going anywhere. 🙂

  5. Dear Rebecca, Laurie and Mlieder, thank you so much for all your words. You are encouraging not only each other, but also me.
    I can confirm what Jeff said; I no longer grieve for what I hoped would be a marriage (in my case, two marriages). I can look back and know I have grown and recovered and am now using all that pain to help others. But I realise that when the pain is smashing you in the face or cutting you deep in your heart, the theoretical knowledge that it may diminish one day is little comfort. Somehow, God gives us the ability to keep going through the pain, and even to enlarge our beings so we can encompass it. May He be a strong right arm for each of you and your children.

    Question to Rebecca: what is a GAL?

    • mlieder

      Thank you so much for your words of kindness and encouragement. So grateful that you all are here!! Megan

  6. Rebecca

    GAL is an abbreviation for Guardian ad Litem, which is a court appointed attorney for the children. This person is supposed to advocate for the best interest of the children without bias. But this isn’t always the case. Throughout the states, GAL’s, Children’s Protective Services (CPS) often are among the problem of corruption.

  7. Laurie

    When we went to court, one of the first things that they wanted to know was what kind of media access do the children have. We home educate on a religious exemption, which is something that can get you in trouble around here. I was prepared to have to send the children to private school if the court denied my religious exemption. My husband told the court of a tutor that he had arranged so that the court would be in favor of his custody appeal. But I had the media…xbox, ps2, computers, TV’s (no cable, though) and internet, android phones. All of which my husband is opposed of having. The Ad Litem was looking for these things in the house, and so was the court.

    Its not as simple as “Go get an xbox,” but I have heard from friends who are fosters that Child Protective Services looks for those things: toys, movies, media, TV and food. Parent controlled access to various forms of media seems to be acceptable compared to no access at all.

    • Interesting. I’m not all that surprised. The courts and child services know that some Christians bring their kids up in ways that – shall we say– make it hard for the child to fit in to mainstream society later on. I can understand how they would see that it’s good parenting to make those kinds of technologies available to kids, with parental supervision.

  8. Mom

    I know that I am late in posting this. I just found this blog through searching for sermons on abuse. I am in the same position and preparing to go back into court since unsupervised parenting time for my 4 year old has been horrific. I don’t have much faith that the justice system will make the decision that is in the best interest of my child. I have been out for 3 years and it has been nothing but chronic motions from my ex husband. I am depleted financially, physically, and emotionally and what I believe could only be God’s hand, found this blog to at least find some release from all of the false guilt. My heart goes out to all of you fighting an impossible battle too.

    • Hi Mom
      welcome to the blog. We wish we had ready answers and balm to those facing litigation and visitation nightmares, but we don’t. However, we do have plenty of stuff on this blog that I think will dispel your false guilt, and give you many cyber-friends and supporters. Blessings and hugs to you 🙂

    • thepersistentwidow

      Mom, Glad you found us! Yes, the legal and financial issues are exhausting and very trying. I am sorry that you are going through this and I know that it takes an incredible amount of patience. I have been in it over three years, too, and wondering when it will end. I’ll keep your situation in prayer for a swift and favorable result for you and your little one.

  9. Finding Answers

    Cited from the original post ““whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)”

    Amen.

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