Forward Thinkers, Michel’le, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, who experienced domestic violence in two different relationships. It is reported that Dr. Dre would publicly beat her but she refused to leave him and part of her rationale was that she was raised in an environment where women were told a man hurts the woman he loves the most. She also reportedly convinced herself that every dream had a price and the price of her success came with the abuse at the hands of Dr. Dre. Her situation got worse because after finally leaving one abusive relationship (without allowing herself the time to heal emotionally, mentally, or physically) she jumped in a relationship with Suge Knight who dislocated her face and made her say a football accidentally hit her in the face. Michel’le’s story is just one of the many examples of domestic violence occurring daily across America.
LET’S GO RIGHT TO THE BIBLE: Luke 4:18-21The Message (MSG)
16-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
Forward Thinkers, remember Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever more so His word remains powerful enough to set those burdened down with the pains of a past jacked-up relationship free and to also move on behalf of those battered down from acts of domestic violence.
Forward Thinkers, I imagine some of you are asking why I would be teaching on such a subject instead of preaching a feel good message if I want to continue to grow my church. I’m standing today with this message because its needed and I’m standing because this year I’ve already buried two young beautiful young ladies who died at the hands of an out of control lover. I’m standing with this message because it’s National Domestic Violence Month and I’m called by God to be a voice for the voiceless.
Forward Thinkers, I’m willing to touch issues others may not touch. Domestic violence is real and must be addressed. Silence kills and unless we become more proactive, we will continue to bury our daughters, sisters, nieces, and mothers.
Psalm 91:2New International Version (NIV) 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Forward Thinkers, the bible says we have refuge in the house of God yet each year more than 12 million people in the U.S. experience domestic abuse and intimate partner violence and many turn to faith leaders and communities of worship for guidance, only to find that what they hoped would be a refuge is yet another unsafe space.
Forward Thinkers, let me be clear though not in defense of the church but in reality of dealing with church people; it’s hard to stand in front of a congregation and talk about domestic violence.
It’s hard, because you never really know the stories of the people sitting in church because the church has become more Hollywood, filled with actors and actresses, than a holy place of deliverance.
It’s hard because you don’t know who in the choir, who on the usher ministry, or even who in the pulpit might have experienced domestic violence in their lives, in their home growing up, in a current relationship or during high school, or college.
Forward Thinkers, the reality is I don’t even know who might have experienced abuse last night or who might have been told by their mother or previous Pastor that they cannot leave an abusive marriage because they would be breaking their vows?
Truth is, the Pastor doesn’t know if the biggest givers and most faithful workers are victims or violators of domestic violence.
It’s hard to stand in front of a congregation and talk about domestic violence. But it’s essential.
Forward Thinkers, it’s essential because too often in the past, religious traditions have been used to defend an abusive person, to bind victims to marriage commitments that are undermined by intimate violence, to encourage people to “take one for the team” and suffer rather than change the conditions that caused it. Somehow we forgot Jesus said He came to set the captives free.
We can no longer hide black eyes behind shades and extra make-up, blame injuries on falling down stairs when you live in a one-story flat, or saying door knobs magically attacked you. Today, I’m declaring freedom in Jesus Name.
Philippians 3:13-14New International Version (NIV) 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Forward Thinkers, the bible gives us permission to let go and live if need be and press on with Jesus. Forward Thinkers, it’s okay. Everybody played the fool at some point but we sure are not supposed to remain foolish.
Listen to this reality: Current or ex-partners killed 11,766 American women between 2001 and 2012, numbers that are almost twice the 6,488 American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq during the same time period. Forward Thinkers, as of 2015, over 10 million men and women are victims of domestic violence every year in the United States. Women aged 18 to 24 are the most frequent victims of abuse by a partner. On an average day, domestic violence hotlines across the country receive over 20,000 phone calls, states the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Forward Thinkers, over three million children witness this abuse, according to Safe Horizon. The nightmares of children no longer are from monsters under the bed but monsters in the master bedroom down the hall. Prince added the song “When Doves Cry” to the Purple Rain soundtrack and I believe he was making a statement on how domestic violence affects children. Look again to the lyrics. “Why do we scream at each other? This is what it sounds like when doves cry.” Forward Thinkers, could the doves be the innocent children in loud domestic violent atmospheres and the purple (color of domestic violence) rain simply be the tears of pain?
Forward Thinkers, don’t let anyone love you to death.
Judges 19 – 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!”
To all my single sisters, please don’t return to the place of pain. This man sent his woman out into harm’s way and she made a decision to return back to him instead of running for help and her return led to her death. Forward Thinkers, I buried a young woman in Conroe this year who went back to an abusive boyfriend because others told her to hang in there and her boyfriend eventually shot her in the back of the head.
Forward Thinkers, yes we preach and value forgiveness, but that does not free anyone from the consequences of mistreating you. Quickly forgive, quickly get help, and quickly get out. This principle also applies to the Brothers. Be wise and don’t keep putting yourself and your freedom in jeopardy. If you can’t get along, maybe it’s time to get on.
Forward Thinkers, we take the commitments of marriage very seriously, but those commitments may not be used as leverage to keep someone in an unsafe violent abusive relationship.
1 Samuel 25New International Version (NIV) 3 His name was Nabal (Fool) and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings.
Long story short, her husband was making dangerous decisions that put her life and the life of her kids in jeopardy and she made a wise Godly decision to save herself and her family. Note: Nabal was rich but Abigail ran to the king who was richer to save her family. When we promised till death do us part it was never meant to be death at the hands of our mate.
Forward Thinkers, I’m preaching on Domestic Violence and Jacked-up relationships because if I keep silent, then I’m failing the people I’m called to serve but because I’m speaking up, I can help transform the world, healing the wounds we see before us and bringing us closer to being the place you go to grow to reach your full potential and I believe God intended for us to live in peace and prosperity.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. Pastor Deckard is also the Co-Founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net.