Sunday, March 2, 2008
Today in systematic theology we discussed evil, sin and healing. Light topics for a dreary day. Aside from reading which highlighted how sin cannot be captured in a single metaphor, and the idea of evil and sin as separate concepts, which are related but not causal, our readings focused upon the theology of evil and sin for victims of domestic violence. There is no specified and logical way to heal from the deeply fracturing behaviors. There is not a set amount of time, a set formula in which to achieve, healing. It is more a process of becoming. Coincidentally, I had read recently of one woman's struggle following an abusive marriage and a bitter divorce. She prayed to find it in herself to forgive the past. Daily she prayed for this, for far longer than I can imagine. If I remember correctly, it was over 20 years. Finally one day she reached that point. Some may never. One of my classmates challenged the view of one of our authors who suggested people may need to be told that they do not have to forgive in order for them to feel grace. He is rightly troubled by the notion we as pastors would ever tell someone that forgiveness is not necessary.
But the truth is, the survivor owns this process. We can walk with them, lift them up and encourage them, but we cannot mandate the fix. How do you encourage trust in someone whose existence is defined by the utter erosion of it? And while I have blogged before about the goal that we should forgive AS God has forgiven us, there is no magic formula or date. Domestic violence and sexual abuse affect those in the lives of the abused in a ripple effect. The other day I was visiting Diane over at Faith in Community where she had posted this video. It is a touching video - may we all be committed to helping, healing and doing all we can to prevent the harm to people who are, as this video depicts, more than statistics.