By Lella Santiago (www.happyfaith.com)
“The next day an evilspirit from God came forcefully on Saul…Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.” – 1 Samuel:10-11
Solo Sister No. 1 is a petite woman with gentle eyes matched with a shy demeanor. What might catch your attention about her is that she has a few teeth missing. When I heard her story from other solo sisters, I was appalled. Her husband had hit her and misaligned her jaw to the extent dentures could not be fitted into her mouth. That wasn’t all. She told me he even got their business into deep debt because of a bad habit.
Solo Sister No. 2 had caught her husband stealing from the business she inherited from her parents to fund his affair with another woman. When she confronted him about it, he verbally, emotionally and physically abused her. The last straw was when he punched her in the face in front of their three-year-old son.
They epitomize the message in today’s talk at Feast Bellevue about what to do in the face of abuse: LEAVE THE AREA OF HARM. Both of my solo sisters did the wise thing – walk away from an abusive marriage.
Talk 2 entitled “Surgery” resonated with me because of my advocacy for solo parents. When I was doing research for my book, I came across several stories such as those I mentioned. I wish I had heard this talk before so that I could’ve shared the lessons with the solo sisters I met. But it’s never too late. I always tell Media Ministry writers to never complain about their articles not being published right away. There might be someone somewhere who needs their reflection at the time it sees print. So here are the lessons for those who might need them today:
Some people do nothing even if they already see harm coming. They collect hurt and suffer abuse because they are in denial.
Another reason for staying in a toxic relationship is because they don’t love themselves.
There are times you need to cut off abusive people. Like David in the verse above, elude your attacker. WAKE UP AND WALK AWAY!
This is a very important lesson for solo parents or those in abusive marriages: IF YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE ABUSED, YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THAT IT’S OK TO ACCEPT ABUSE.
Walking away is like performing a surgery. The diseased membrane must be removed to restore health. But it doesn’t stop there. To complete the healing, the abused person should not exact vengeance. Doing so will only make you like the abuser and eat you up inside with the hate. Revenge will not make you feel better, it will only make you bitter.
David’s story gives us the prescription for true healing: LOVE THE ABUSER FROM A DISTANCE. David healed his pain with love. How could he be loving in the face of abuse? He ran away from his abuser and ran towards God.
Love your abuser by WAKING UP AND WALKING AWAY.