Monday, January 5, 2009

A Word or Two From Job on Bitterness

~Job 9:18 [God] will not allow me to get my breath, But saturates me with bitterness.

~Job 10:1 I loath my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

~Job 13:26 For Thou dost write bitter things against me. And dost make me to inherit the iniquities of my youth.

~Job 27:2 As God lives, who has taken away my right, And the Almighty, who has embittered my soul.

Note that Job said that he would speak in the bitterness of his soul. Bitter things happened to him and he felt confident enough that he could confess his bitterness. Even in the face of well-meaning but misguided friends, he did not hold in his bitterness. He gave full vent to his complaint. Something was terribly wrong and the answer was not to just paint on a smile and pretend his world wasn't falling apart.

Too many abused women in the church have been told to paint on a smile and bury their bitterness. Too many abused women have not been allowed to speak about their bitterness. Too many abused women in the church have been surrounded by "Job's comforters" in their times of deep need. Internally they were bleeding and dying on the Jericho road and needed someone to pour in the oil and the wine. Instead, they were sent away with a, "Be filled, Be comforted" message, or worse, a "What did you do to bring this upon yourself?" message.

My prayer for 2009 is that the church will stop this madness of ignoring and enabling abuse and to face it head on. And this goes for abused men as well as women.


Anonymous said...

I find so much comfort in the Book of Job. He was so gut-wrenchingly honest with God and with others (although he got a bunch of garbage from the "others" in his life, didn't he?). I can so relate. My oldest daughter calls what comes from the trials of life followed by the abuse from people within the church as the means to growing "bitter fruit" in our lives. Not the happy, perky, superficial Christianity that so much of the Church today attempts to practice, but the real thing ... Christianity with its warts and all. Sinners saved by grace, walking by grace, living by grace, needing grace, offering grace. But seeing through the false teachings of perky Christianity is a rude awakening at times.

Anonymous said...

"Perky Christianity..."

I like that term. Appropriate.

Thanks for this post, Mara. I am pretty quiet about what's going on in my life, both on the internet and in real life. This is because while I could really use the collective encouragement of community, I know better than to bare it all.

You could say I've been taught well. People, especially women, who don't put on the smiling face (and/or experience quick 1-2-3 style resolution to their problems if they ever dared to share those problems) are the ones we like to stone the best.

I know that I need some form of expression, and yet it seems like so many arenas, that *could* or should be positive and healthy, are set up so as to make the abused woman all the more bitter. I can't deal with admonitions to "forgive and forget," or even worse, the marriage advice that says if only I will do more and try harder, all will change. I have no more resources left with which to handle these things. Normally, those things aren't that big of a deal---I'm pretty thick-skinned---but these days I feel like a camel who's back is about to break. So I'm staying away from people with gifts of straw.

Mara Reid said...

Thanks Betty and Molly for stopping by.

I'm getting ready to put up a "coming out of the closet" post concerning being married to a man with a brain disorder but I don't have time today. Work does get in the way sometimes.
And then I'm going on to other things about how God brought me out of my deniel and exposed to me the bitterness that I had and the road He has set me on to toward finding true, spiritual sweetness.
Still on this road. Haven't arrived yet.

My absolute best to you gals and all those stuggling to find truth and healing