October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In observation of these two months, members are encouraged to wear pink and/or purple on Sunday, October 30. Odds are we know someone who has at some point been diagnosed with breast cancer. There are approximately 2.8 million women in the United States who have previously been treated or are currently being treated for breast cancer. It is also highly likely that you know someone who is a victim of domestic violence. Nationally, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Overall, we are more comfortable discussing cancer than domestic violence. However, both are opportunities for ministry.
Domestic violence is a cancer of the soul. It is sin. The sin of domestic violence is that it neither fears God nor respects people. The command that Jesus gave us is that we love one another, and love does no harm. Indeed, the Scriptures are clear that “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 Jn. 4:20). It is fundamentally inconsistent with the love of God to harm another individual who in Christ is a brother or sister, a child of God. Domestic violence is no respecter of persons because it denies them the dignity of being a person made in the image of God.
If you are being abused, you need to know that you do not deserve it. You are not stupid, fat, ugly, lazy or whatever horrible and untrue thing your abuser says you are. You are a child of God, made in God’s image. You are made in love to love and be loved, and love does not hit or hurt or harm another person. “Love is patient and kind; it is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong-doing but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:4-6).
If you are being abused, you need to know that help is available. The church will help you. There are law enforcement officers, lawyers, counselors, doctors and therapists who will help you. There are hotlines (800-799-SAFE) and crisis centers and community services who will help you. You are not alone!
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.