This is a POWERFUL sermon from Pastor Howard-John Wesley on the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual abuse in our churches, where the response to abuse is almost always cover-up rather than speak-up. He is preaching on the story of Jephthah and his daughter from Judges 11 (a “text of terror”). I am thankful for Pastor Wesley using his pulpit to defend the powerless and most precious people in God’s house and pray that more leaders will take his cue and bring awareness to the prevalence of violence against women and children, and also bring healing to the victims. I pray our churches cease to be sanctuaries for abusers and places where victims are re-victimized by shame and disbelief.
Listen to the whole sermon and then forward this important message to your pastors.
Some important points from the sermon:
- 1 in 4 U.S. women experience domestic violence in their lifetime
- In 2013, there were 679,000 children under 18 abused and neglected
- Of those, 1520 were killed; 79.4% were abused by their parents; highest percentage of those were under the age of 3; and the percentage of those abused with chronic illness or disability was twice as high
SOMEBODY HAS TO SAY SOMETHING
“This is NOT the will of God and God is NOT present in that violence!…God did not shape you in your mother’s womb for you to be birthed and then to be beaten on. God did not make you in His image and say,’You are fearfully and wonderfully made’ to allow some man to call you out of your name. God did not die on the cross and give you abundant life for you to be disrespected by anybody! THAT IS NOT THE WILL OF GOD!”
“Somewhere there are has to be a community of faith that says, ‘We’re not afraid to talk about what’s really happening.’ Somewhere the victims need a voice. Somewhere the abused need a refuge. Somewhere there’s a body of Christ that says, ‘we not only send water to Flint, we put deposits on apartments for victims to be in a safe space outside from where they’re being abused.’ Of a place where there’s spiritual support, where there’s counseling for the Jephthah’s, where there’s confrontation and compassion. But most importantly, where somebody stands up and says, ‘This is wrong.’ It’s wrong for a man to put his hands on a woman and its equally wrong for a woman to put her hands on a man. It’s wrong to shake a baby because they wont go asleep. It’s wrong for a priest/a preacher/a pastor/a coach/a counselor/a teacher to engage in sexually inappropriate behavior with a minor because they got relationship. It’s wrong. It’s wrong to ball up your fist, to throw a plate, to break the television. It’s wrong. That’s not normal, that’s not healthy, that’s not godly, that’s not love. It’s wrong. It’s wrong to take an extension chord and beat a child for ANY reason whatsoever. That is just dead wrong. And just because somebody did it to us, does not mean it’s what we ought to do to somebody else…And just because it’s in the Bible does not mean God is saying it’s right, He’s saying it’s real. We have every right in our godliness to look at it in Scripture and say, ‘It’s wrong.’ So that when we see it in church, it’s wrong. When we see it in the community, it’s wrong. When we see it on the news, we train our children, it’s wrong. Somebody has to say something.”
SOMEBODY HAS TO SAY SOMETHING
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