First I’d like to emphasize that this article is in no way a commentary on the guilt or innocence of the well known preacher. I Just came back from church on Sunday, ready to relax and enjoy the rest of the day in peace, the headlines ‘MEGACHURCH PASTOR CREFLO DOLLAR ARRESTED!’ just sprang up on my page, jolting me to my feet. The news of his arrest has been trending on the net.
When I saw the headline my first reaction was shock and then disbelief. This is not to say that any man is infallible, no way, but with every position of responsibility, comes higher expectations of exemplary behaviour. I can therefore understand people’s disgust at the news. It was when I read the details of the arrest that my anxiety was somewhat assuaged. http://news.yahoo.com/pastor-creflo-dollar-denies-attacking-daughter-101512086.html
We live in the age when child abuse is no longer news especially in this part of the world where we don’t withhold the rod from our children. However, there is a more sinister form of abuse that seems to be on rampage like a demon exorcised from the deepest part of hell. Just this morning I read of the rape of an 11 year old girl accused of witchcraft by a pastor. What is really happening? Does it mean that these little ones entrusted in our care are no longer safe? Does it mean that their innocence has become their greatest undoing? http://ascology.com/news/extras/crime/25343-Pastor-arrested-for-allegedly-raping–year-old-girl.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
After reading all these, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is another angle to the story. It is not normal for men of the cloth who are revered by normal members of the society to have such news against them. That the devil is on rampage against Christians is no news. We ought to be more careful and extremely cautious in this end time. Sorry if I’m sounding sinister now but it is the truth.
I had earlier written this article before I saw the news and I almost didn’t post it again. I couldn’t imagine lumping up news of child abuse by persons we want to believe are inhuman with a well respected man of God but I decided to post it nonetheless.
THE ABUSE CYCLE
It’s been publicized so much on the media that we have lost out sensitivity to this problem. Children are the most vulnerable members of the society. Sometimes they can hardly distinguish between right and wrong. It is first and foremost the responsibility of adults to protect them but today we are seeing something completely different. Stories are all over the media of child abuse incidents.
My friend, Zina’s life changed soon after her mother left. First it was the beating when she dropped a glass of water on her father’s laps. Next it was the caning when she failed to open the door on time after her father came home late at night reeking of alcohol. He continually beat her severely, leaving scars on her body. This was the story of Zina’s childhood. Her mother had just up and left without a word and her father then transferred his hatred to Zina. Now Zina is married to a banker. I met her recently in a supermarket. I immediately sensed that there was something wrong. It might have been the bogus dark glasses she was wearing or the way she flinched when I hugged her. We met up for lunch during my break and she opened up to me. Her husband also physically abuses her. I was shocked when I heard this and I asked her why she married someone that treats her the same way her father did. She smiled painfully and told me she had gotten used to it and she believed that if a man didn’t hit her, then he didn’t really love her. (??? who ever gets used to pain?) Anyway, I gently reminded her that she could lose her life in the process. That she has come to believe a lie and that she must put an end to it before it leads to her end.
Child abuse is defined as involving the physical and mental injury, sexual abuse, exploitation, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a person who is responsible for a child’s welfare. Studies have shown that between 2,000 to 4,000 deaths occur each year because of abuse or neglect, Christian homes inclusive.
Some families have quoted the ‘spare the rod and spoil the child verse (Prov 29:15) to support their actions but nowhere have I come across the saying, ‘use the rod to maim the child’. The purpose of that verse was to emphasize the need for parents to discipline a child. In no way did the bible sanction child abuse.
Why would a parent abuse a child?
Reasons abound, but there is no acceptable excuse. Some are:
Environmental stress: When some people get frustrated, a common reaction is to lash out at some other person. It could be in relation to financial stress or work related or anger at one’s spouse
Learned Abuse: Studies have suggested that children who are abused or grew up in abusive environments grow up to become abusers later in life. Some even come to accept it as an expression of love (as in the case of Zina)
Personal Insecurity: Abusers are often people who feel insecure, impulsive, threatened, jealous, inadequate as parents, and low tolerance for normal hyperactive behaviours in children.
Perversion: I can’t help that abusers are perverse people while of course pedophiles are perverts.
Child abuse sometimes have long lasting effects and could lead to some of the social vices that are creeping up every moment in our society. Some of the effects are:
- Low self concept or esteem, feelings of inadequacy
- Self pity
- Anger, guilt and shame, repressed passive aggression: some abused children blame themselves and think that they must deserve the abuse.
- Anti-social behaviours
- Learning disabilities
- Inefficiency at work
- Violent tendencies
- Sometimes suicide
Where is God is all this?
Some have asked why God would allow this to happen to these innocent children. Well, we could sit back and blame God for everything bad that happens including wars and suicide bombing or we could simply remember that the heart of man is desperately wicked.
How to handle:
Despite these reasons as to why child abuse occurs, the fact remains that we are more concerned with how to prevent or handle it and how to help those that have been mentally or emotionally damaged.
This is dependent on two factors; whether the abuse is ongoing or if it occurred in the past. If the abuse is ongoing then you need to report to welfare/social services or the authorities to stop the abuser and help the child. However, if it happened in the past then the victim has to learn to deal with it.
I often tell people that you cannot dissociate your past from who you are today. Look for the positive effects of the past and focus on it. For instance, the physical abuse may have made you more likely to sense and avoid danger. Perhaps it has made you sympathetic towards those that are experiencing it today, you have an opportunity to counsel them better. It is also possible that it has made you tougher, you can apply it to your present job or stand up for those that are facing such now. There are treasures hidden in darkness. Dig deep into those feelings and find a good purpose for them. Whatever happens to you, God doesn’t love you any less!