picture used from Good Soil Resources Power Point Slides
Last Thursday, Dr. Bob Kelleman founder of RPM counseling ministries, wrote a blog post entitled “Shepherds please think “protect well.” Stop saying “suffer well.”
In it he described the experience of having to pull his drunk father off of his mother who he was beating. The next day his mother secretly began to file for divorce due to repeated abuse by her husband (I don’t believe in divorce, so personally feel she should have made formal charges, and had him arrested. However there is no excuse for staying in an abusive relationship).
Sadly a Christian neighbor came by and “shamed her” for trying to get out of an abusive marriage. This led to five more years of abuse till his mother finally had enough.
Dr. Kelleman takes his own experience and used it to challenge the response of many Christians to those who are in an abusive situation they should “suffer well” by submitting to the abuse. Instead you should “protect well” by confronting the abusers (even if they are in the church).
The principle of telling someone to “suffer well” is to simply throw out Scriptural truth without ministering to the person. Dr. Kelleman describes the Christian neighbor as “marching over to Mom without a shred of empathy, without walking in Mom’s shoes, without entering Mom’s soul.”
He brings up a classic tv sketch with Bob Newhart that I’ve included below where the counselor just says “Stop it!”
countless times to the counselee. In the same way we tell the individual who struggles countless times just to stop with no compassion.
The application isn’t to keep saying “stop it.”
It is to be a friend who helps them do the will of God!
The thing is they don’t need someone who yells “stop it” continually, and most strugglers WANT TO stop it! The point is they can’t without a transformed heart. They need someone who will indeed share the truth, but do it in an attitude of love and humility. Someone who gives them a shoulder to cry on, and a listening ear. Someone who walks a mile in their shoes.