The admonition, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” as found in Matthew 7:6 in the Holy Scriptures, is instructive when it comes relationships. It is teaching us to assess the character of those to whom we wish to give the best of ourselves; it is saying don’t do it unwisely, for if you do, the unworthy person may eventually harm or even kill you.
Essentially the Bible is telling us to exercise sound judgment and dispense trust wisely when it comes to ‘getting involved.’
Indeed, in a discussion with respected Christian counselor, Dr. Barry Davidson recently, he reiterated the point that trust is earned and certainly it is a point that we must contemplate very seriously in light of the recent incidents of women losing their lives at the hands of their draconian husband, boyfriend or significant other.
Trust is not something you simple squander on persons who are untrustworthy. It is something sacredly and carefully given to someone who has earned your confidence.
Sadly I find that many Jamaica women don’t discriminate enough when it comes to extending trust to a significant other. The veracity of their decision to trust a man of unsound character is alarming. For some, maybe their ‘strong’ Christian faith has something to do with it. They know the man is bad news; that he has a track record of unlawful behavior and poor judgment, but instead of accepting the gift of seeing him for who he truly is, she decides that she and God are going to change him.
Dr. Davidson talked a little more about this issue as it pertains to the church.
He told me that “a common mistake that pastors make is that they equate trust with forgiveness.” Furthermore he said that with regards to “the person who cheated or the person who physically abused his wife (for example), for her to stupidly trust him back in her space would indeed stupid.”
I couldn’t agree more.
But then there are issues that are not necessarily about stupidity or misappropriated faith.
Maybe women tolerate an untrustworthy man because some Jamaican men are professional ‘ginals.’ So even though the evidence is right in front of you, his mouth is so sweet and is swagger so dapper that you somehow believe what he says more than what he does. Love after all is allegedly blind. If that’s the truth, these women need to get some glasses imbued with wisdom, prayerful insight and advice from other persons around them!
Some women have other reasons why they stay with an untrustworthy man – they are insecure and maybe too hungry for love. All bad reasons if you really want a wholesome long lasting relationship. Those women need to work on themselves before engaging in any relationship. It takes two whole loving persons to form a loving sustainable relationship.
And then there is the issue of financial need. Some women need the man to pay the bills and help with the children so they tolerate his unsound abusive risky behavior. They think to themselves that although he is verbally and emotionally abusive, he would never physically hurt them. Unfortunately I know too many cases to the contrary; where the man eventually turns around and delivers a black eye and broken bones to the unsuspecting weaker vessel.
Yes, men must be required to pull their weight as fathers and partners, but in these times women must continue to be provided with equitable opportunities to earn, make a living and provide for themselves so that they are empowered to walk away from abuse without the fear that they may end up on the street. As I have said in a previous column, women must also learn to defend themselves physically. Self-defense in these times is a must.
Another part of the solution and perhaps the first part of nipping this whole issue is learning how to dispense trust from the very beginning.
This must happen early in a budding relationship. It can start by extending trust on an incremental level and seeing how the man responds in different scenarios. Luke 16: 10-12 teaches us a little something about this principle. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? Remember trust is earned.
Finally, if we are going to seriously address the surge in the recent killings and abuses of women we must talk about how we handle disputes. Some of us are offended or upset about something and instead of going to the person to have a discussion; they post a cryptic message on social media which is addressed to no one in particular. And instead of eventually going to the person to talk about it, they keep the hurt until it becomes resentment and anger. Again, the Bible instructs us to address anger and offense quickly. “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” I think this is because anger can become toxic and venomous if not addressed and released.
In the end, we need a comprehensive approach to solving this surge in domestic violence, particularly against women. (Yes there are cases against men, but that is not the norm). Neighbours who hear the man beating the woman, must call the police; the police must come quickly and take action; the law must be in place to ensure that perpetrators are held responsible; social services must be available to enable the woman to run away to somewhere safe; and the Church must be prepared to channel God’s healing power to both the victim and the villain so that both persons are truly helped and the community can be safe.