When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back. He praised God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. – Luke 17:15
There are many “titles” that I seem to be given; victim, single, divorced, single mother of five, etc. I’ll admit, I carry a great amount of shame, fear and guilt with each one. I always fear how people will react when they hear these words that seem to be the only defining characteristics that people want to know about me. A new one has recently come to light, and, like the others, it has casted a heavy burden on me — Dangerous
Over this past week my ex-husband made several death threats, which caused me to once again have to gather my kids and whisk us away to a safe place. In my haste I forgot to grab my son’s allergy medicine as well as his birthday presents (yes, this all happened on his birthday). A friend and I agreed that I should not return to the house alone, so she recommended that I turn to my church for help. I was reluctant, but I reached out to my pastor.
I was already a nervous wreck with all that was going on, the kids and I were all trying to live in a small room, no one was sleeping well, and the endless stream of texts, emails and such were taking a toll on me. The call I received from my pastor was disheartening to say the least. It was mostly what I had expected and feared. He was genuinely concerned for my safety and well being, but he also didn’t want to get anyone from the church involved and risk endangering them. He did recommend that I call the police and ask them to accompany me. I tried to explain my hesitation in reaching out to them, as the police are always so unwilling to help. I had just had a very bad experience with them two days prior… over three hours of begging them to just listen with the director of the abuse shelter/program by my side…they did nothing.
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. He traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men met him. They had a skin disease. They were standing close by. And they called out in a loud voice, “Jesus! Master! Have pity on us!”
Jesus saw them and said, “Go. Show yourselves to the priests.” While they were on the way, they were healed. – Luke 17:11-14
Oh, how I wanted to cry out to my pastor to have pity on me!
I hung up the call and just cried. I fell to the floor. See, the night before I suffered a horrible nightmare. I had dreamt that my church was running me out with pitch forks screaming that I was a danger and they didn’t want me around. This conversation had just substantiated my fears. What I got out of that conversation is, my flock is worth protecting, but you are not part of my flock. You are on your own.
See, the “skin disease” in the above verse was referring to Leprosy, which is very contagious. Even just touching a person who has leprosy or touching something that they touched could make you get the disease. It is very dangerous to be near someone with leprosy. So dangerous, that whenever a person caught leprosy in Bible times, they had to live outside the community. In fact, one of the laws that God gave the Israelites in the Old Testament says, “As long as he has the infection [of leprosy] he remains unclean. He must live alone. He must live outside the camp.” – Leviticus 13:46
I felt like a leper; unclean and dangerous. I was an outcast, not because of my own doing, but because of my circumstances. I didn’t choose this! I don’t want this! But, it is a huge part of my life. It is threatening my life and the lives of my children. I have encountered so many people that don’t want to get involved because they are afraid, and I understand, but this shouldn’t be the case in the church. Jesus didn’t turn away the Lepers; He loved them. He didn’t push them off on a doctor that couldn’t help; He healed them. The church has the power to help and protect victims of abuse, and it is time to do so! There is power in the name of Jesus. There is love, compassion and healing in His name, and the church as a body needs to show this!
The church should be and needs to be a safe place for abuse victims and survivors.
We, as a body of believers, need to be a Luke 17 Church for those that are afraid, hurting and trapped. Don’t let abuse go unpunished. Don’t stand by and watch while abusers torment their victims. Stand up and fight for them and with them!
Originally posted by under the title WARNING:DANGER!! (March 21, 2016)