I need help, we are currently running a healing group in South Africa for young ladies who have gone through abusive pasts and continue to live in it. To give context in 2017/18, a total of 50,108 sexual offences were recorded by the police, up from 49,660 in 2016/17. The majority of the sexual offences recorded were rapes. (An average of 110 rapes were recorded by the police each day, “A total of 250 out of every 100 000 women were victims of sexual offence, compared to 120 out of every 100 000 men". In the same period 156,243 common assaults were recorded. On average, 428 people were victims of this type of assault every day.
The following question came from the participants: "Why did God give men so much power (physically and socially) than women, who in turn are majority of the perpetrators of abuse". This has led to them questioning the wisdom of God and His love for women. How would you respond to such a lived reality without ignoring their hurt or giving a cheap answer (as some of them have been raped by their own brothers and relatives, who they currently live with).
@dionkandima Thank you for sharing your question and may the Lord Jesus give you wisdom and grace to share His love in the midst of brokenness. May the Lord heal the hearts of these women, deliver them from harm and show them His great power and grace. I think @Rachel_Davis may have some solid advice on this kind of question. She heads a ministry called Wellspring and part of what they do is to help women who have been or are in sexually abusive situations.
Here is a testimony from one women who went to Wellspring for help. What really stands out to me is that she was able to find two things - hope and help. She felt trapped and powerless. Wellspring offered her help and became the hands and feet of Jesus.
With the staff at the ministry, I noticed for the first time in all my attempts to get help that they truly understood me. And they genuinely wanted to help me. My biggest fear did not come true…I was not judged. I went in there with the idea that I could no longer be helped, but walked outside afterwards with tears of relief in my eyes. I thought, ‘maybe things will be all right after all.’ Together with my social worker, I made a list of all my problems and put together a plan. They provided help, support, and motivation every step of the way. Testimony from woman ministered to by Wellspring International
God made men strong to protect and to provide. God did not create the broken social order that exist in our world. He designed men and women to work together to steward His creation.
In terms of ministering to these women, I think @Rachel_Davis would have a much better idea of what to actually do and say, but here are some things for you to consider that have helped me.
God’s purpose in granting men strength was never to do harm, but rather to achieve good. It is a beautiful thing when a man lays down his life for his wife, just as Christ laid down His life for the Church. It is a beautiful thing when a man sacrifices his own good so that his wife and family can flourish, grow and find fulfillment. Let us not mistake what is for what God intends. Cancer, war, abuse, death - none of these things were God’s intention.
Suffering, though terrible at times, is temporary. Jesus reminds us that suffering is inevitable, but that He has conquered the world (John 16:33) and Paul says that the sufferings of this world cannot compare to the glory of the life to come (Romans 8:18).
We are not alone in suffering. Jesus was crucified. Paul was beaten, accused and eventually killed. Most of the apostles were martyred.
Tolkien, who saw the wreak and horror of World War I, wrote a beautiful description of Samwise Gamgee seeing a star peeping through the clouds while walking through the horrors of Mordor:
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
2 Peter 1:19 also compares the Gospel to a star shining in a dark place - We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
The only way I know to process suffering in my own life is to draw near to Christ and He will draw near to me - to weep at Christ’s feet and anoint His feet with my tears. To take my anger and frustration and fear to Him and allow the living Christ - the story of the Gospel - to be that star shining in the dark places of my life until the day dawns and every tear is wiped away.
As it says in Revelation 21 - And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
When I come to Christ it does not make the pain go away or make everything okay, but I do find peace and hope that the darkness I am suffering is not the end of the story. I think Psalms 22 is a beautiful example of how King David processed feeling abandoned by God and I think the Message translation captures the emotion well. To me, what is so significant is that David goes from questioning and accusing God to praising God without having an answer.
This is indeed a heartbreaking question given the circumstances these women face, thank you for the deep care you show it cannot be easy, I pray God give you the words, guidance to comfort and show from the Father’s perspective how valuable and loved they are, and come to know it through their own intimate relationship with Jesus.Each human being was created in His image and we will all one day have to answer for our treatment of God’s image. God did not make some better than others just different roles, mankind has corrupted this, we have only known this the world in the fallen state, this kind of abuse was never in God’s plan.
Thank you for this very thought provoking questions. Many times, God gives man something made for good and man turns it into something evil. Man’s fallen nature is evident in the question you ask. Such is the case with the disparity in differences of strength between men and women. Part of man’s strength is to be used to protect the family from those who would want to do harm to our families. We are to be the protectors of the family, as a service to the family. As in Ephesians 5:25, we are to love our wives as Christ loves the church, dying to self and give ourselves to our wives. What has gone wrong? Man has allowed inner desires to act out on those who are weaker, because we as a society have determined that each individual can develop their own “truth”. No longer is man made in the image of a God who loves us and wants the best for us, rather, we are just modified monkeys. No right or wrong, no human value. “You have your truth and I have my truth”. In this case, Might makes right. OK. Identified the problem as grave as it is. So what can we do about it? The disease has been diagnosed, but what about the treatment or cure? I’m not being flippant, but the only answer is in the Christian worldview. This is not a cheap answer, rather a very expensive one. It requires a belief in God, and God’s answer to sin. To follow not our ways but His ways. It means dying to self and following Christ, who died for us. Can anyone else come up with a different answer?
" Why did God give men so much power (physically and socially) than women, who in turn are majority of the perpetrators of abuse" . This has led to them questioning the wisdom of God and His love for women
Hi Dion my friend, good to meet up with you again especially on an intricate topic.
First - we understand this query is directed at God by the victim. (Taking pages out of Job)
We need to respond by allowing them to express their frustration and anger. Acknowledge their opinions whatever they are. If they vent, it is good, validate each of THEM individually as well as each of their feelings. Leave your own opinions outside the door, I mean not even in your facial expressions or sighs.
Use gentle phrases to elicit and elucidate, elusive thoughts and their own feelings of the abuse. Best to avoid all terms that stigmatize anyone or anything.
Second - Emptying. When the poison has been squeezed out, point the person to:
if rational -then to statistics indicating that evil is perpetrated by other humans. Not God.
if emotional - that anger and desire for power are inbuilt tools in humans given by God with a good purpose. How people use them selfishly is where the trouble is.
Thirdly - discuss on what in their understanding- is abuse?
This should highlight that abuse is enforcement that takes away someone’s right and identity.
That everyone starts with good intentions to use the tools for a good purpose.
Fourthly - Did God give men that power? Discussion on character of God.
When God created men and women equal, there was supposed to be perfect understanding and harmony between them using the God given tools for virtuous and righteous actions.
Something disturbed this tranquility. Knowledge of Evil. (Right and wrong). Once mankind became a judge - within himself and of others and even of God, (things had changed forever after man usurped power wrongly to sit in judgment of others).
When our good intentions are misread and misunderstood to be ‘bad’, there is hurt. Hurt leads to counting losses and grief that embittered and angers. Now comes a choice to either break the cycle or perpetrate the cycle.
Many people choose to continue the hurting cycle and so abuse is rampant everywhere.
I know that prevalent thinking ‘says’ that God cursed mankind after their mis-deed of eating the forbidden fruit. However I think of it as a prophecy. God indicates that because of their disobedience this is what shall transpire in their lives and in their relationship.
Fifthly - Realization of universal damage by evil.
So hopefully there is realization that “judging” in everyone has caused depravity and abuse of power. Everyone judges everyone else and misunderstanding and hurts arise.
Since we understand this, in order to effect change we need to break the cycle.
Not just men. These men were once innocent baby boys with their own mothers. Mothers were to be exemplary along with the baby’s fathers. This power of authority and care of children breeds the next generation. Breaking the cycle of sin is very difficult as the history of God’s chosen people records.
Only Yeshua breaks that cycle and our trust in His finished work empowers and enables us to break that cycle.
Any victim of any gender intending change must be willing to choose to break the cycle of power over others to judge - continuously. (For believers Christ’s example makes it a bit easier)
Finally - Forgiveness of our selves and others. Once we receive forgiveness of the judging nature in us, we are able to offer forgiveness to those who judge us.
Men in their audacity sometimes use the Bible to power over others. This is not God ordained distinction of roles but sin-ordained power and authority because it was only after the fall. Men or women have no right to judge others. In fact Yeshua didn’t come to judge, he came to save.
Dion, I believe we need to respond to these women by directing their identity to be among all humans - loved by God. All have sinned. All have been forgiven through Yeshua’s sacrifice. All of us now need to focus on the character, attitudes and virtues of a good God, to emulate and become His image. The Bible is an actual true recorded history and includes sins done by men falsely attributed to God. (Not all the Bible is for us to obey implicitly, we need God’s Holy Spirit! Yes please - do ask for wisdom and discernment!!)
God bless you my friend, with love, patience, understanding and wisdom in dealing with tough questions from real people.
(Please forgive my mistakes as I’m typing on my phone.)
Thats a good question! I don’t believe that God “gave” men power to abuse others, that’s an excuse many make to make sense of the results they see but disregard the root of the actual problem—man’s heart.
It’s because of the fallen state of mankind that he (mankind) misuses what God gave him to create but uses to tear down or even enslave or maybe worse. We must remember what He (Yahweh) actually gave us and over what:
Genesis 1:26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
So the actual power (authority) that God gave man is spelled out here but because of the depraved heart of man, he inherently wants to rule over what God is supposed to be Sovereign over—his creation. There are two issues here: (1) Man attempts to rule outside of his metron and (2) man competes with God for rulership (sovereignty) over another human being (his creation). This fundamentally causes friction between man and God and man and God’s creation.
So, when a man tries to rule over what is Sovereign to God, he reaps rebellion. Man was never created to rule or Lord over another man. Mankind can lead (with leadership) his kind but not rule over as if he is God. So, when he does, the struggle is great and the abuse is obvious.