Mission Service Activity of the Month
June 2019: Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action – Domestic Violence — You Are Not Alone
At an LWML retreat, the guest speaker stopped to make a point about an issue which many people deal with, “If you have been, or if you know of someone who has been a victim of domestic violence, raise your hand.” The room was silent and even though no one spoke you could sense the tension that settled into the room. “Now, turn around and look around you.” Almost every hand was raised. That was a startling realization for the audience. We were not alone in our grief and pain, as people silently reflected on personal experiences they or someone they loved had experienced. This is one topic that most people don’t talk about because they are broken, ashamed, afraid, or full of hopelessness. The emotions that a person grapples with in these situations are daunting. The elephant was now in the room, and the speaker confronted it. It was a journey worth taking and everyone came away with new awareness. Let’s take that journey together.
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge (Psalm 31:1-4).
Domestic violence may originate in family and intimate relationships. The abuse may be psychological, physical, emotional, sexual, economic, or neglect. The abuse may include name calling and putdowns. It might include isolating a person from his or her family and friends or refusing to allow him or her to get a job. It might entail financial abuse, such as withholding money or demanding that the other person account for every dollar spent. Threatening loved ones is a common form of abuse, including threatening to harm or kill the victim, their children, their parents, their friends or even pets. Threats can sometimes include a threat to commit suicide. Victims of abuse suffer intensely and experience emotional problems that will endure long past the end of the violence. Children in homes where domestic violence is present are more likely to be abused, and even if not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavioral problems. (Quoted from LCMS Social Issues – Domestic Violence)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
Many times victims feel like it is their fault. They feel that God has abandoned them because of their sin. Abuse is not God’s punishment for an individual’s sin. No one deserves to be abused. Jesus endured the punishment in our place. He paid the price in full, once and for all.
What can you do if you discover an abusive situation?
- Pray for guidance from our Heavenly Father.
- Listen to the victim and assure the individual that it is not their fault and that it is not God’s will.
- Suggest resources within your community that can provide a safe haven for them such as counseling programs and support groups.
- Find resources that will aid in educating you and others about domestic violence and abuse.
Here are some helpful resources:
LCMS Domestic Violence Resources which include:
- Topics such as an Explanation of the Types of Domestic Violence and The Effects of Domestic Violence
- Free downloadable resources: You Are Not Alone prayer book, and Hope and Healing Bible study
- Articles such as:
- Several resources under the headings of Information for Distribution and Spanish Resources.
- The LCMS Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Task Force offers a speakers bureau. Contact them if you are interested in having a speaker. See speaker biographies.
- Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly articles on domestic abuse and Bible Study – Summer 2015
- National Resources
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: The web sites covers topics such as a path to safety, help from friends and family, help for survivors, help for abusive partners, legal help, deaf services, and what to expect when you contact the hotline. There are also blogs on a variety of topics. The emergency number is 800-799-7233.
- National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Is a comprehensive source of information for those who want to educate themselves and help others with the many issues related to domestic violence.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: The nation’s leading grassroots voice on domestic violence.
- Facts and Prevention Strategies from the CDC: Contains several helpful articles and links.
Mercy in Action
- Create a list of local help organizations in your community.
- Contact your local domestic abuse, safe house or family advocacy center to find out their needs, e.g. quilts, hygiene kits, teddy bears, baby items, gift cards, etc. Have a collection drive for some of these items. Have the director come and speak to your local, zone, or district LWML.
- Volunteer at a domestic violence shelter, women’s resource center, or family advocacy center.
- Get involved with one of the specific resources mentioned above.
- Hold a community information event using the above resources to educate others about domestic violence and abuse. Plan a fun run or other interactive activities to raise awareness.
My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love (Psalm 31:15-16).
A Prayer as You Plan:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the many blessings that you have bestowed upon us. Provide us opportunities to be able to share these gifts with others. Help us in this broken world to stand up for those who are abused or neglected. Help us recognize those who are in need of your love, strength, and guidance through abusive situations. Lead them to those who can advocate for them, and those who can share Jesus’ love and the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ with them. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!