Friday, July 18, 2014

The Abuser

No one is required by God
to remain in an abusive relationship

The best way to respond to another person's anger is not to withdraw, but to move towards them with kindness. There are times when distancing yourself from someone who is angry, is necessary, for there is absolutely no good reason for you to move towards another, when they are being abusive. For the wife of an abuser to remain in danger, in an attempt to transfer love while receiving abuse, is a form a suicide. Too many women, either out of fear, or for economic reasons, or for the sake of the children, remain in abusive relationships. This is clearly a situation that does not require the abused, out of Christian charity, to remain living with the abuser, for to do so could prove dangerous.

Likewise, if out of a desire to help the abuser, we offer love, but do not call them on their bad behavior, we could be guilty of enabling their abusive behavior. I once stopped my car at curbside, when I saw a man beating on a woman. It would have been unthinkable for me to continue driving, knowing this woman was in danger. After calling 911, I stepped between the man and woman, telling the man to back off (not something I'd recommend). Lucky for me I was able, probably because of my attire and size, to intimidate him to step back until the police arrived. My point in telling this story is that there are times when justice must reign, and we must offer assistance to someone who is being abused.

Remaining in an abusive relationship can be destructive to our spiritual lives, as well as being potentially dangerous. We must be wise as serpents, but meek as lambs, and temper our response to the anger of another. Striking back must not be our response, as we must recognizing the abuser must be called to repentance. In our attempt to offer love and goodness to the person who is heaping anger upon us, we could inadvertently be prolonging the day of their repentance. The person struggling with anger does not need you to be his enabler, and relationships of co-dependence have the potential of being spiritually destructive for both parties. As long as our response to someone's anger is itself devoid of anger, we are safe.

Permissiveness is not required when dealing with the abuser, for we must not allow the evil of abuse to continue. We must respond without anger, for the opposite of anger is not passively allowing the abusive behavior to continue. We must cultivate a strong sense of right and wrong, and oppose evil, not out of passion, but out of righteousness. If the anger is accompanied by a history of violence, the gravity of the offense most certainly does not require the abused to continue to live in the grip of the abuser. This can clearly be a situation that requires the abused to remove themselves, and their children, from the dangers of living with such a person. If moving out puts the abused in further danger, the police should be enlisted to help with the move. 

It is important to note, finally, that it is not just men who can be the abusers. What I have written about women needing to remove themselves, and their children, from the dangers of living with the abuser, goes as well for men who find themselves in such unhealthy, and dangerous situations. There are also female abusers, and a man need not feel he is alone when dealing with an abusive woman.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Note: Thank you all for your prayers on behalf of Hieromonk Paul. His knee replacement surgery went very well, and we expect him to be back in the monastery on Friday afternoon.

Photos: Rachel Beck and Cynthia Rausch from Texas, and the Vander Wall family from from Trinidad, Colorado, visited the monastery on Thursday. (Michael built the gate for us while he was here.)

Friday July 18, 2014 / July 5, 2014
6th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Venerable Athanasius of Mt. Athos (1003) and his six disciples.
Uncovering of the relics (1422) of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh (1392).
Martyrdom of St. Elizabeth Romanov and Nun Barbara (1918).
Venerable Agapitus, confessor (1936).
Martyr Anna at Rome (304).
Martyr Cyrilla of Cyrene in Libya, a widow .
Venerable Lampadus, monk, of Hirenopolis (10th c.).
Icon of the Mother of God "Economissa".
New Martyr Cyprian of Koutloumousiou Monastery, Mt. Athos (1679) (Greek).
New Martyrs Grand Dukes Sergius Mikhailovitch, Princes John Constantinovich, Constantine, Igor Constantinovich and Vladimir.
St. Morwenna, patroness of Morwenstow (England) (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
Synaxis of 23 Saints of Lesbos (Greek).
Hieromartyr Stephen, bishop of Rhegium, disciple of the Apostle Paul, and with him Bishop Suerus and the women Agnes, Felicitas, and Perpetua (1st c.).
Martyr Athanasius, deacon of Jerusalem (451).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day

1 Corinthians 4:5-8

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Fools for Christ’s Sake

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!

Matthew 13:44-54

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The Parable of the Dragnet

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?”
They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning[c] the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?

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All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

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