You’ve heard the sayings, “Talk is cheap” and “Actions speak louder than words”, which means that what people do is more important than what they say. This is especially true today as we are seeing a lot of people who are saying one thing, but who are doing something totally different.
Today, our world is steeped deep in abuse. And there are people who voice their anger against it and many others who agree with them. But, in spite of all this campaigning against abuse, it seems that abuse still continues to grow more and more stronger with each
passing day. Why is that?! Well, I believe that even though there are people speaking out against abuse and many others who don’t like it, abuse is still allowed to grow, not by what we say, but rather by what we do.
This same thing happened in Jesus day! The Jews hated abusers. Especially their Roman abusers! In fact, because of Roman oppression, there were strong feelings against the abuses of the Romans. (One of Jesus disciples, Simon was a Zealot. Luke 6:15 Zealots were a political movement among the Jews that sought to overthrow the occupying Roman government.)
But the Romans weren’t the only ones who were abusers during that time. The leaders of the Jewish Church were also abusers who were abusing the people. An example of this is found in the story of Jesus cleansing the temple at the passover. (Matthew 21:12-13) Jesus stopped the abuse of the money changers against the people, by chasing them out of the temple.
You see, the Church leaders were ripping off the people because they knew of the religious obligations that the members had to the Church. The Jews were required to sacrifice animals at the passover and the church leaders made sure that they made a profit from their member’s duties. Thus, they demanded outrageous prices for the animals that they sold. So much so, that many who were poor and who were outcast were not able to purchase the required sacrifices. This led them to have no hope of forgiveness and thus no hope of salvation. Sadly, it had become big business!
Thus, when Jesus saw the oppression of the people, He got angry at the abusers and shut down their whole operation. Jesus stood up for those, who were not able to stand up for themselves!! But while all of the abusive Church leaders ran away, the ones who were being abused stayed behind. (Matthew 21:14) The poor, the sick, the dying all made their way to Jesus!
Why?! Because here was someone who had restored the blind. Here was someone who had set free the oppressed. Here was someone who had healed the sick. Here was someone who had stood up for the weak and who had helped those who were not able to help themselves! In other words, here was someone who had actually done something against abusers rather than just talk about it!!
Now, the people supported Jesus with their words. For in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, they all came out to cheer him with their mouths. (Matthew 21:6-9) But, when the abusers (Church leaders) came for Jesus in retaliation to kill Him, no one did anything! And thus, by not doing anything, they allowed the abusers to murder Jesus, right in front of their very own eyes! (Luke 23:33) In other words, they chose their abusers over the One who had been working so hard to set them free! Thus, they supported their abusers, not by their words, but by their actions!
Do we not also see this same thing going on today? Do we not see this happening in our Schools, where we talk against bullying and standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. But by our actions, we stand silently by as we watch abusers bully other students and even their teachers!
Do we not also see this in our homes, where we talk about the importance of ‘ohana(family) and that family is first! But by out actions, we not only not confront the abusive actions of our abusive family member, but we also tell those who have been abused, that they just need to let it go.
Do we not see this in our Churches, where there is plenty of talk of love and of being set free. But by our actions we allow a few abusers called patriarchs and matriarchs to control the whole church! In fact, we even go so far as telling the abused that they need to love and forgive their “abusers”. Which really means, “just let them do whatever they want to do to you”! This is really just a cop out as we really don’t want the inconvenience of having to confront the abusers!
Sadly, stories have been told to me of children who had been sexually abused, who had told their parents of what had happened to them. But unfortunately, for whatever reason, the parents decided not to do anything about it. Whether it was to protect the family’s name from shame, the fear of having to confront the abuser, or just the uncomfortableness of having to deal with all that stuff; nothing was done. Now, even though these parents may have told their children, “to always do what is right, no matter what”. The main message that came through from these parents to their children was, “don’t do what is right, but instead, do what is the most easiest thing to do!”
Now, a parent who has been told by their child that they have been sexually abused, only to do nothing about it, are interpreted by their children to say that they love their abuser more than they love them. This devastates the one who is abused and destroys their self-worth! Many times, if there is no healing, their lives are not only haunted by the abuse and the abuser, but also shattered by what their parents didn’t do. Truly our actions do speak louder than our words! Also, because there was no imposed consequences for the abusers, this often enabled the abusers to continue on in their abuse to others. Thus, these parent’s actions of not doing anything, not only ignored the cries of the oppressed but also enabled the oppressors!
A mother had come to me for a solution for her family, in which her child was sexually abused 40 years earlier, where nothing was done about it. We decided that she should write a letter to the abuser to confront him in what he had done to her daughter. When she told her daughter her plan, her daughter protested and pleaded with her to not write that letter. But she still went forward with it. I read that letter and it was one of the most beautifully inspired letters I’ve ever read.
One day I got a call from the person whom this mom had written this letter to. He was weeping on the phone and confessed to me of what he had done and that everything in that letter was true. And that he wanted help! When I told the mom of what had happened, she was shocked. She told me that she would’ve never thought that he would’ve reacted the way that he did. When her daughter found out what’d happened, she thanked her mom for writing that letter! Praise God! I believe that this was the beginning of healing for this family. 40 years later, but the beginning of healing nevertheless!
I wish I could say that things have always turned out like this. But it hasn’t. Unfortunately, many families still like to hide in the dark, not realizing that their hiding only continues to damage their families!
Jesus is truly my superhero! He had absolutely no fear in confronting abusers and doing what was right, because it was right! This is what is needed today, more than anything else in this world! I want to be like this, how about you? Keala
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