I’m not a Dallas Cowboys fan. I’m a long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan. But I have become a fan of a player on the Cowboys: Jason Witten.
Jason is now a big tough professional football player, but often in his childhood he was a scared little boy. His father – who himself is the size of a football player – was abusive. He didn’t physically abuse Jason, but Jason suffered emotional abuse as he fearfully watched and heard his mother and two older brothers being yelled at and hit. He’d hide in the bathroom and wonder when it was going to stop. Jason and his mother and brothers escaped from their father when he was 11, but the painful memories remain.
Tragically those who were victims of abuse at times become abusers themselves. Jason has gone against that trend. He has started a foundation to help victims of domestic abuse. A big part of the foundation’s work is to try to connect victims of abuse with positive role models so that children can see that not all men are angry and scary.
During a recent profile on TV about Jason they interviewed his father. It was a rather strange and uncomfortable interview. The father admitted making mistakes but denied being abusive. He said he didn’t know why all his family said such things. He tried to describe what had happened as just having some disagreements. It seems to be a case of the one who inflicted pain having no clue as to the depth of pain he caused.
Sometimes those of us who haven’t suffered abuse fail to grasp how hard and painful it is for those who have been abused, and how difficult it is to deal with the memories.
I think I find humor in a lot of things and I’m somewhat quick to laugh. Sometimes I’ve laughed when I probably shouldn’t have. I still regret a piano recital incident. But I don’t think it’s ever funny when a man abuses a woman.
There is a video going around the internet that shows President Trump hitting a golf ball and then tries to make it appear that the ball hit Hillary Clinton and knocked her straight to the floor. The other video shows President Trump throwing a football with a similar ending of Clinton being knocked down. No matter what your political views; no matter if you agree with the one throwing the ball and disagree with the one being hit; I don’t think watching a man hit a woman on the back of her head with a ball and violently knock her down should ever be something we laugh at. Of course the videos didn’t really happen, but still, should we find something like that funny?
The Bible calls us to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink” (Romans 12:20). Attacking others, inflicting pain on others, abusing others is not at all the way of Christ. We are to be gentle, building others up and not knocking them down. The Lord calls for leaders who are “not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome” (I Timothy 3:3).
In the Lord we have hope that the day will come when all the anger and attacking and abuse of today will be no more. “I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler. No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders” (Isaiah 60:18). By faith in Christ we can look forward to the day when the painful, frightening sounds of violence will be heard no more.