May 17, 2008

Something We Don't Talk About

Ephesians 5:3-14

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
Ephesians 5:11


Several years ago, a member of a neighboring church asked me to stop by and talk. She had just lost her husband, and she felt guilty because she was relieved he was gone. She confided that throughout their marriage he had been verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. Some of the abuse she described was beyond belief. When I asked why she had never gone for help, she answered, “It was something you did not talk about. Besides, my husband was a leader in our church, and no one would have believed me.” Sadly true. Some church members have the mistaken idea that abuse happens only in movies or in places other than a Christian home.

It’s easier to look the other way and pretend abuse does not happen in Christian circles. One person who had been abused wrote to me, “Where was your church? Why couldn’t they see?” In Ephesians 5 Paul tells us that we have to expose “the fruitless deeds of darkness.” Abuse, in whatever form, is without question one of the most degrading, destructive “deeds of darkness” and must be exposed.

If you are guilty of abuse, you must repent, ask for forgiveness, and go for help. And if you are living with abuse, you must tell. Find a trusted counselor or friend who cares enough to help you confront the abuser.

Do it today!

Lord, we ask that you will give those who are abused the courage to speak up, and bring those who are abusive to repentance. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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