“Though deeply troubling, Nancy’s understanding of the abuse perpetrated by her husband is not unique,” writes Rev. Miles. “Millions of Christian women have been taught--by their intimate male partners, congregates, spiritual leaders, and family members that they have to make themselves a living sacrifice--even to the very men hurting them.”
Miles’ blog goes on to assert that this type of theology of the cross needs to be rejected “because it stands in stark contrast to the true meaning of Good Friday and the Resurrection of Christ as detailed in the New Testament.”
Jesus’ death paid the price for our sins, and the message of the cross brings freedom. The cross does not give justification for enslavement of any human over another living creature, one gender over the other, adult over child, powerful over the powerless, or one ethnic group over another.
“The overarching message in the Christian Scripture is that Christ’s response to the evil being done to him, an unjust crucifixion, offers a pathway to freedom, justice, and love for all humankind,” explains Miles. “His death is not some type of hierarchical precept granting males power and privilege over women, children, and other men, an andocentric view which, unfortunately, has been taught by scores of male, and some female Christian leaders and laity, for centuries.”
For both the abused and abusers, Jesus’ sacrifice offers freedom and a new way of living – and the forgiveness of sins. I agree with Rev. Miles who states, “God and Jesus Christ freely grant their love to both females and males, and place equal value on all humans. Therefore … women should never be put in a subjugated position to men, or made to think they have some type of ‘cross’ to bear that men do not possess.” I hope you will take the time to read Rev. Miles complete blog on the Faith Trust Institute website.
If you are a person, male or female, being abused by another person, please don’t tolerate the abuse any longer out of your love for Christ. It may be hard to take the first step in addressing abuse, but find a supportive friend, counselor or professional to guide you. If you feel in danger for your safety at any time when addressing abuse, contact the authorities.
If you are an abuser, please look to Jesus this Easter. Turn from the path of violence and abuse and hurt. Ask for forgiveness and replace acts of violence and harm with acts of love and kindness. There is a better way to be in relationship with those around you, and it is the way of Christ. Power can control many things in your life, but it cannot control, or bring you, the love you seek.