My church is currently doing a sermon series on the Ten Commandments. This morning the sermon centered around the second commandment, which is the anti-idolatry commandment. If you read beyond the actual verse prohibiting the making of an idol, you will find that God goes on to say that the third and fourth generations after the idolaters will be punished.
My pastor interpreted this as meaning that the negative consequences of the sins of the father will be experienced by his grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. And I agree – we see this play out over and over in society. For example, alcoholics tend to produce alcoholics, smokers produce smokers, welfare recipients produce welfare recipients, baby daddies and baby mamas produce more baby daddies and baby mamas, obese parents produce obese kids, etc.
But did my pastor use any of these as examples? No. For some reason, after an admonition to men to provide for their families and sacrifice for their wives, he brought up ABUSE and said that fathers who model abuse to their families will produce abusers. So fathers should think twice about abusing their families. I don’t want to downplay abuse, but this seemed like a really random and extreme example to use. Then he said that mothers have a responsibility, too – to treat their husbands well and give them respect and encouragement.
HAHAHAHA, just kidding!
What he actually said was that mothers should think twice about staying in abusive relationships because they’re teaching their daughters to that a loving relationship includes abuse. And that was the extent of things mothers need to do to stop propagating bad family situations.
While the pastor was giving these examples, I started wondering if my church had an actual problem with abusive husbands. Why else would the pastor use this kind of example? I mean, is he getting a lot of calls each month from women claiming to be abused (whether physically or verbally) by their husbands? Am I attending a church where the husbands are constantly roughing up their wives and calling them profanity-laden pejoratives or otherwise psychologically manipulating them to believe they are worthless?
Or is it that abuse is such a knee-jerk sympathy trigger and clear-cut black and white issue that no one will argue with it? Hmmmmmmm. Regardless, I was disappointed that the teaching was presented in such a way as to make it look like husbands are the main propagators of badness in future generations, except for those wives who stay with abusers. In reality, women are just as capable of destroying the futures of their children as men are. They’re just given more of a pass because they don’t have the ability to be as physically dangerous as a man.