This afternoon, I happened to turn on the television right when Dr. Phil was starting and the topic was whether or not the ultra-Orthodox community is a cult. You can read more about the show and watch a few clips here: Dr. Phil: Model Mom Calls Her Religion a Cult.
In summary, Pearl is a mother and she is a model by profession. She was placed in an arranged marriage at a young age and was in an abusive marriage for several years as a result. Currently, she is in a custody battle because when you ask for a divorce as an ultra-Orthodox woman, you are required to relinquish your rights to your children. I do not know her personally, nor do I know all the details or her life or story, so I can't 100% say I'm on the same page with her, but her story reminded me of parts of my own story. Like I said before, you can click on the link above to read more details and get more information.
Let's just say. . .the show sparked a fire in me. Big time.
Throughout the interview, the rabbi that was being interviewed to defend the ultra-Orthodox community kept referring to Pearl's "anger" and saying it was unjustified and not helpful. Jesus cleared the temple with a whip because he was angry that the temple was defiled (John 2). Ephesians talks about having righteous indignation, but not allowing it to consume you (Ephesians 4). God does not support, endorse, or even turn a blind eye to abuse or the twisting of His word. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is LIBERTY. There is not man made rules, extreme guilt, or fear of not being able to see your own children. So yes, there is certainly anger, but it is called righteous anger. An anger that calls you to action, but doesn't turn into bitterness.
The rabbi also continued to say "this is an isolated event" or "you can't say this is how the majority of the ultra-Orthodox community acts" or "I don't agree with how that community treated you and that isn't how I am." O-k-a-y. Great. So since you are on national television right now and have a huge platform, why don't you follow it up with "It is shameful that man is using religion and our specific type of religion to spread abuse and man made rules. I will personally contact the leaders of your former community and express my sadness at their methods of teaching God's love." But we all know that would require putting his neck out. It's easier to let abuse run rampant than to actually take a stand for truth.
Why do spiritual leaders in certain religious circles allow other spiritual leaders in those SAME religious circles to misrepresent their faith? If this rabbi really believes these other leaders were abusive, why doesn't he hold them accountable?
As someone that has personally experienced spiritual abuse, I just cannot wrap my head around how someone can say "this was wrong, you shouldn't have been treated this way" but yet continue to attend the same church or claim the same belief system? Your consolation doesn't help. Your decision to take a stand makes a difference.
speak the truth
even if your voice shakes