Friday, September 3, 2010

*Sexual Brokenness

“….He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart…” Isaiah 40: part of verse 11
 It happened again. I was reading Scripture with Hafiza when suddenly out came her sad story of being *sexually abused and violated as a child and wife. My Bible study plan got all messed up. Some phrase in the Bible reading prompted a torrent of memories in some inexplicable way. While we may be trying to teach Bible stories chronologically or trying hard to remember how to address doctrinal objections her biggest need of the moment might be how to find her way through *sexual brokenness and dealing with a husband’s addiction to *pornography.

It is common to hear about *sexual brokenness from Muslim women or MBBs(Muslim Background Believers). The stories are sad. How are we going to respond? She probably won't be willing to speak to a counselor or pastor. That's not cultural. She may find no one else to talk to about her inner pain but you. And you feel ill-equipped to help her. Help! It could be she had just accepted it as part of her lot in life until she heard programs on talk shows here in the West exposing other women’s experiences. She was shocked those women didn’t seem ashamed to talk about such things openly. But she has felt huge shame and is afraid to dishonor a family member and be blamed or shunned. It’s important to listen to her carefully and pray for her healing. She will need to be informed about healthy boundaries and self- respect and how to say ‘no’ to demands that violate her. She doesn’t need to agree to watch *sexually explicit movies with her husband. All of this might be new to her and will need to be repeated numerous times. In an Islamic country it is certainly a very difficult area for us to give counsel if there is no legal system in place to protect a violated woman. There aren't easy answers.

Probably the biggest thing we can do for her is pray for her and introduce the Good Shepherd to her, assuring her that she is a much loved lamb. She will find comfort from a picture in a Bible story book of Jesus as the Good Shepherd holding a lamb close to His bosom. When we pray for her, it’s comforting to verbally state how she is Jesus’ lamb. Use her name while praying. Sing a song over her about Jesus being the Shepherd. It will be a long journey to find healing, as it is with any woman(Christian or Muslim) anywhere in the world, but it is possible!

The one thing as Christian women we need to be on guard for is that we don’t develop a dislike or hatred of Muslim men. That won't get us anywhere. We all have fallen short of God's glory - men and women. There is a lot of gender brokenness in our world. I want to see it healed and redeemed, not make it worse.

Dear heavenly Father, please comfort Your lambs who are broken and hurting. Carry them close to Your heart of love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.