TITLE: Batter of A Different Sort - 1/31/2016
By Catherine Craig
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Frank clenched and unclenched his fist, counting backward from 100. Struggling against his pent-up fury, he focused, counting back from 100: Ninety-nine, ninety-eight ninety-seven."
“Hit me! I dare you. Hit me, you bully!” screamed the woman in front of him, her face contorted with rage. She took a step forward, matching his one back.
Pushed to his limit, he raised his fist and almost of its own accord, it came down. He felt it connect, and then the sensation of breaking cartilage against his knuckles. The woman opened her mouth but nothing came out, and she crumpled to the ground, as did his resolve.
Somehow, in a perverted way, Frank felt satisfied, smug. There would be time for guilt and remorse later. Right then, with his anger spent, he was just glad to be rid of it, and her. With a shrug, he walked from the living room, through the still open door, and out into the night to get a drink, leaving his son to take care of the mess.
The above dramatization might shock some, but for others in the United States, it is a norm – an everyday reality. A 2015 article in the Huffington Post by Alanna Vagionnos, titled “30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It's An Epidemic,” cites startling stats that support this perspective. Between 2001-20012, , 6488 war casualties were reported in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the same period, 11,766 American women were murdered by their current or ex male partners.
Another article, published in the Washington Post and written by Sari Howitz, about the tragic murder of a young village girl in Kake, Alaska, states that crime statistics in rural Alaskan Native communities are the worst in the country, 10x the national rate for domestic violence.
Why such increases of violence in our homes?
In “Key facts and findings,” the Alaska Native Commission has an interesting perspective. They state, "At the core of many problems in the Alaska Native communities are unhealed psychological and spiritual wounds and unresolved grief."
In a faith-based piece titled, “The Roots of Domestic Violence,” The Joyful Heart Foundation declares, “An abuser may have witnessed domestic violence in his or her home and understood that violence was a means of maintaining control in the family unit.” Frank’s son, for instance, would be conditioned to think that physical dominance is a viable way to govern a household.
As Christians, are we exempt? Chuck Colson, in his article, “Domestic Violence In The Church; the Ugly Truth,” writes that one in four of Christian families are affected.
We conceptualize God based upon our internalized beliefs about our fathers. Unhealthy role models eclipse the development of an accurate Biblical perspective of our Creator. After all, how can we trust God when we couldn’t trust our fathers?
Catherine Gottlieb, CEO and founder of the faith-based “Family Wellness Warriors Intiative”, helps heal Alaskan Native individuals and families through the spiritual and practical applications of the Bible. Attendees to conferences identify with Biblical stories similar to theirs, and then learn – or often relearn – Who the God of the Bible is. In a taped interview, Catherine’s sister-in-law, Helen Quijance –a facilitator with FWWI – relates how the organization works to break generational patterns in Alaska Native families. Both women believe that the cycle of domestic violence is broken by personally accepting Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.
The point of it all is that Frank did have a choice. Frank could have continued counting, and not given into his lesser nature through the inner empowering strength of Jesus Christ, had he understood it. The problem is that he didn’t know.
The scene could have gone like this.
“… Pushed to his limit by his partner’s rage, Frank raised his fist – just as he’d seen his father’s lifted so often years before. But then, an almost imperceptible internal voice, a whisper, broke through his red-hot anger, asking, “Is this truly who you want to be, Frank? Is this how you’ve experienced Me?”
Like a balloon’s deflating, his anger dissolved and resolution to change reinstated itself. Slowly, Frank lowered his arm, watching his wife’s eyes widen with surprise, and then fear, as he reached out toward her saying, “I want to tell you..."
Shamed, he dropped his eyes to the floor. Sobbing, he fell to his knees in front of her, crying out, “Forgive me! Please, please, forgive me!”
Jesus died for our wrongs that we might live!
Come to Him Today.
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