Monthly Archives: June 2016

Veil of Tears 89: Impotent

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“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 NIV

Powerlessness is a horrible feeling to begin with. It seems particularly hard when it comes as a shock, as with the realisation that you have no control over a certain situation or relationship, and also especially hard for men. When a man is made redundant or struggles to find work, it is utterly devastating in our society which still places much of its value for males on career and purpose. It’s terrible if you are female as well, I don’t deny, but women tend to be more adaptable on the whole simply because we’ve had to learn to be, and because our very biology leads us to a different way of balancing career and home. I’m generalising of course, but impotency affects far more men than it does women, sexually and culturally. Men are far more motivated by the need for power and control, because in our patriarchal societies they are taught (sadly) that this is their role, to lead and be strong and be the breadwinner, the motivators, the top dogs, the alpha males.

When that illusion comes crashing round our ears, it is horrendously painful, confusing and frustrating. Often it causes deep wounds in our self-confidence and self-worth. When the one thing society says you ought to be able to do by virtue of your very gender, is something you cannot do, you are bound to feel like a lesser being, worthless and small.

Human power is, in the eternal, illusory, and in the earthly, fleeting at best. So when reality begins to break through into our worldly lives, it can actually be a good thing. As with any brokenness though it hurts! It leads to feelings of disenfranchisement, failure, emasculation and anger. It often leads to misogyny (as though women were to blame for the direction that society has taken) and a resentment towards both women (who remind us of the sexual power we feel we should be wielding) and those in jobs or leadership (who remind us constantly of our “failure”). We feel that everything we should be doing, indeed are entitled to do, sexually, culturally and economically, has been unfairly taken away from us.

But more and more, I feel that what the world calls failure is the beginning of a new understanding, a deeper and more spiritual way forward. Patriarchy is crumbling, manufacturing industries and traditional male roles are changing and becoming areas of equality and co-operation, and sadly some men feel they need to protect the old ways at all costs when we could actually be moving on into a new way of being manly that is far greater and more satisfying all round.

Men who have fallen from the heights can be humble, gracious, and they can be stronger for it. They can be wiser, gentler, more rounded people. They can think outside of stereotypes. They can be (this is so important) true to themselves. They can be more resistant to foolish expectations and mockery. They can find new places to stand and new ways of expressing their masculinity and their sexuality, that never belittle women.

They can relax into the knowing that God is the one who ought to be given all the real power, and bow to that, becoming a meaningful part of the Lord’s purposes. Power without purpose is just self-serving after all, and rather frustrating and boring itself. To serve a greater end, that of love, of justice, of a different kind of everlasting kingdom, that is really something. In God, men can find their true calling and discover that it is about being a whole human being, and be freed from feeling the need to try to fulfil the harsh and constricting expectations of an antagonistic, backwards looking culture.

 

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

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Veil of Tears 88: Undeserving

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And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ “ Matthew 25:30 NIV

The parable of the talents from which our verse today is taken, is a difficult one for us. It seems to speak of a different way of doing things than seems fair. We are not used to the idea of someone being punished for having been afraid to act. And yet, perhaps the worthless servant’s real crime is to have judged his boss instead of doing his job. We are probably all guilty of that particular wrong!

But how awful to find ourselves denied the good things and rewards that others are given. This parable speaks to me of the difference between those who take what life gives them and try to do something with it, however hard a taskmaster circumstances seem to be, and those who don’t think it is their job to do very much except judge others harshly, expect payment for nothing and make excuses for having lived a life without any abundance to show for it.

If we live our lives under a curse of entitlement, doing nothing with our gifts and using nothing to bring abundance, expecting our existence to bring us rewards, then we will receive nothing in return. It is a sad state of affairs, but if we are this immature and lazy with our spiritual gifts and with the love of God given to us, then it is impossible for God to let us into the overflowing wonders of life in his kingdom, because we will not be able to use or understand them. It is for this reason, I believe, that such a person will be condemned to the outside, the Gehenna, the rubbish pit, rather than able to enter the New Jerusalem. Not that he or she is not allowed, or even necessarily judged morally wanting, but because they have stayed unable to make anything of goodness and love, and will not yet be open to its glories.

Selfishness is then, probably the worst thing we can suffer, because it leads nowhere and to nothing. If we close ourselves off and centre our being on our own wants and think nothing of others, then we will have learnt nothing at all. Reaching out, helping, loving and giving, this is where God’s kind of treasure lies. And paradoxically the more we give, the more we receive. This is not about earning our place in heaven, nor is it about being condemned for all eternity, as some might counsel. It is more about cultivating an awareness of the needs of others, in order to become mature and fulfilled ourselves. In order to become larger, better, to grow and flourish, this rooting in love is necessary. If we choose not to give, then we will find ourselves diminished and relegated to our own smallness.

We have all failed on this one, let’s not kid (pun intended!) ourselves. When Jesus separates us into sheep and goats, which is the next part of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew, who amongst us can say that we always gave when there was a need? But we are told that most of our good deeds are unknown even to ourselves! I wonder then if the worthless servant and the goats are the parts of ourselves that need to be acknowledged and purged. Middle Eastern sheep and goats look very similar, when you think about it, so this is no easy task. Just as Jesus says the wheat and the tares must grow up together so that the good in the harvest remains unharmed, perhaps the same is true of the differences that exist even within each individual. These motives and ways of being are what the Lord needs to separate, to put aside, to deal with, in the crucibles of testing as with dear old Ebenezer Scrooge (above), so that the parts of us that cannot see heaven will die off, and the parts of ourselves that are capable of seeing and hearing, can then walk forward with our God, in this life and then in the next. Perhaps, in the end, this is about what needs to be left behind and understood as of no worth, before we can progress further into the Lord’s heart.

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is tended receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless, and its curse is imminent. In the end it will be burned.” Hebrews 6:7 NIV

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo used under creative commons license

Veil of Tears 87: Unheard

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“Even when I call out or cry for help,

he shuts out my prayer.” Lamentations 3:8 NIV

 

To feel heard is a very basic human need. We all want to be listened to, to know that our needs and desires matter. This is perhaps especially so when we are talking to God, the one person we are told we can count on, who will never let us down. And yet, so often, we feel that we are talking away to the Almighty and no-one is on the other end of the receiver. “Are you really there at all, Lord?” we ask, or “What’s the good of my sitting here just talking to myself?” We convince ourselves that we are truly alone and maybe even, like Jeremiah in the verse above, that God is deliberately shutting us out, as though he had his fingers in his ears and were singing “nah na na nah na” like an obstreperous toddler.

But perhaps by now in this year’s journey we are becoming aware that just because it feels like something is a certain way, does not mean it is truly like that. Appearances are deceptive, and so are our emotions and our often selfish ways of looking at and experiencing things. I have found that as my prayer life has grown and matured, I am able to complain differently to God, including when I feel unheard. I can be confident that the very real pain or sorrow I am experiencing or expressing is not being ignored, that it is okay to feel it, as long as I know that what I am really doing is getting it out of my system.

God is never out, never not there, he hears and sees it all. He is always paying attention. He is always aware of what is going on in my life, and not just because I tell him about it. There is truly no danger of my being more informed about my world and my problems than God is. And yet God’s understanding and ours can feel very far apart. The solutions I would like can seem obvious and I would like them to be immediate. And yet I know that heaven doesn’t work like that. So I sometimes need to just say that it hurts to have to wait, or that it hurts to feel that God isn’t listening, because he seems to my human perceptions to be so slow to act.

And I believe God is okay with all of that. He knows our smallness and our limitations and our breathtakingly selfish vision. He is patient with us as the most loving parent to a frustrated child who is simply not capable of understanding why the mortgage has to be paid first before she can have her pocket money. We can snuggle into God at the same time as we are throwing a tantrum or sobbing or sulking, and it is okay. It is really fine, and even healthy. Just as long as we remember somewhere deep down, that we are love, that there is a plan, that there is a loving, wise, all-knowing God, and that we are not her.

All is heard, taken on board, our pain will be processed with grace, and we shall be comforted and consoled. It may not happen at the same time as we are angry or confused or lost or frightened, but it will happen. And from my own experience, I have to say that, like the analogous child I just mentioned, it is often beyond us at the point of deepest upset or frustration, to be comforted or consoled, or to have anything explained to us. Pain, especially when it has even the tiniest (and even justified) root in self-pity, acts as a barrier between us and God, partly because a small piece of us wants to be cross for a while. Letting it out is okay. And a sleepy face streaked with tears is always precious to a parent, and our ultimate father-mother will gather us up and kiss our cheek at just the right moment.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

 

Veil of Tears 86: Second Fiddle

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“Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Genesis 29:32 NIV

Yesterday we talked a little about polygamy, and the misery it caused to so many biblical women. One of the reasons of course is that it hurts to feel you are less than someone else, particularly to feel less loved. This happens in the sibling rivalry we have also looked at, and in every possible human relationship and community there is potential for someone to feel overlooked, second best, last in the pile.

One of the wonderful things about knowing God is that he loves us all with an equal fervour. Like the portrayal of God in William P. Young’s book “The Shack”, where the Lord  speaks of each person mentioned by saying, “Oh yes, I am especially fond of x.” God has no favourites in that sense, she is equally besotted by each one of us, exactly as it should be (and hopefully usually is) with the way parents love each of their children.

Where this goes wrong, and there is a favourite, or where a husband or wife prefers someone else (or even some activity) to their spouse, there is a deep soul-wounding that is very hard to heal. Adultery is incredibly painful for the one cheated on. It is an action that says, “your pain means nothing next to my pleasure” and that is horrendously selfish. Marriages can recover of course, but trust is a terrible thing to break.

A golden son or daughter overshadowing another sibling and being treated very differently affects self-worth in terrible and long-term ways, resulting in spoiled narcissists on the one hand, and those who will struggle all their lives with believing their own worth on the other.

Positive mirroring, love, valuing and treasuring is what we all need, from parents and spouses, and what we all equally need to give out. We do not need to be “top dog” or the alpha male or female, just to know that we are enough as we are and beloved without having to compete with anyone else for the honour of affection, or the keeping of vows.

With the Lord, we only have to be, and this can give us the confidence we need to worry less about our place in anyone else’s esteem or affections. It doesn’t necessarily stop those situations like Leah’s being painful, but it does mean that there is a deeper and more reliable love that can be a big part of our lives, helping to heal the pain of feeling second best.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7 NIV

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

Veil of Tears 85: Polygamy

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Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah.” Genesis 25:1 NIV

Whatever you may think of the furore around same sex marriages, there is huge precedent in the Scripture for polygamy and if we stuck to the Old Testament patriarchs we wouldn’t have too much trouble arguing for its return. Joseph Smith did exactly that of course very successfully within Mormonism. So many of the men in the Bible took more than one wife, and the richer they were, the more they had, as though women were indeed chattels, possessions, trophies. Solomon in his wisdom had over 300 wives and concubines, but more often than not, it was two or three.

The trouble caused was endless and deeply painful, and quite clearly patriarchal, for there are no instances of women taking more than one husband. It begins, as every mistreatment of a human being or animal, with those with souls being taken for things. In Genesis 2, when the human being (“ha’adam”) is created male and female, Adam and Eve recognise one another as equal halves, as one flesh, neither one subordinate to the other.

Under Mosaic Law, adultery and coveting of another man’s wife are both such important rules for living that God gave two of the ten commandments over to them.

But when a people or an entire gender become seen or defined by those who enforce the rules as less than, other, lower down, not as human, they can be used, manipulated, abused, downtrodden, and even made to partake in their own oppression. If it serves the purposes of men, women can become disposable, replaceable or even part of a collection. More offspring, more pleasure, more variety, more power, these are strong motives to bend or break God’s moral code.

But over and over again we also see the pain and confusion of women feeling as though they need to compete for the love of their husbands. That was never part of the plan. It leads to a smaller existence for both man and wife, than God wanted for us. Thankfully, monogamy has long been the accepted norm in western society, but there are far more “open relationships” and certainly serial relationships now, and in many other cultures, such as tribal Africa, it is still commonplace for a man to take more than one wife as a sign of status. I come at this from my own cultural and religious standpoint of course, and I am sure a lot of those wives are happy and would defend the system. But I see from the biblical accounts that this causes deep jealousies and competition between women, often sisters, and that seems humiliating and wrong from my belief that men and women were made for equal partnerships.

How can it be right for a male chief to take a teenage bride in addition to the wives he already has? What possible hope is there for the redemption of God’s Edenic plan for two halves to become one where that kind of inequality is ingrained and implemented? There will always be a Leah who is heartbroken, a Peninnah who is jealous, a Hannah who feels less than whole, an Abigail (clearly David’s equal) who deserves better than to simply become another of the King’s concubines.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

 

Veil of Tears 84: Unfairness

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“..that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45 NIV

It’s not fair! We shout out more often than as adults would care to admit, albeit often silently and to ourselves. But a lot of our prayers, whilst they may be couched in other language, are about telling God how he isn’t treating us fairly. Lord, I really really want to be able to afford a holiday, we say whilst behind gritted teeth we are thinking, why can so and so have a holiday and not me, I’m just as good a person as them, why do they get all the good stuff. Am I doing something wrong? It’s so unfair.

And of course, we do the same with more serious problems too. I do it myself. I wonder why other people have been healed from M.E. and I haven’t yet. I wonder why other people have found a job after redundancy, and my husband hasn’t yet. I wonder why a family member has been diagnosed with an illness I can do nothing about, and everything in me screams, IT’S NOT FAIR!! But fairness is not a kingdom concept. We only have to look at the parable of the vineyard workers to see that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. God promises to be just, he does not promise to treat us all the same. And there are reasons for that, and the main one is that we aren’t all the same.

I read a book about counselling once, and the writer told an anecdote about a home for boys who had been expelled from (usually more than one) public school (my friends across the pond, read private school). These were kids used to privilege but often lacking in emotional support. The writer witnessed what seemed two strangely different encounters of boys with the very wise founder of the institution. One boy came to him distraught because his piano was not performing adequately, pleading for a new one. The request was granted. Then another boy came in asking for a new football because he’d lost the old one. The request was denied. When the boys had gone, the writer said something along the lines of, but that’s unfair, the cost of a football is so small, and you’ve said yes to ordering the other child a Steinway!

But the first boy was a musical prodigy whose whole life and future was centred around playing the piano, he practised diligently and he was genuinely distressed that his instrument was not pitch perfect, unlike his hearing. The headmaster recognised his request as a genuine need. The second boy had kicked about ten footballs over into the neighbour’s garden already, and was only asking for a replacement to get attention so he could do it again. No, said the master, the boy must learn that this is not acceptable behaviour.

When it comes to prayer requests, God deals with us likewise as individuals. Even when our request seems reasonable and for our own good, the timing of the answer must be entrusted to the one who knows us best. I believe God wants me well. But I have to trust that he wants to journey me to wellness in his timing and his way, and that this is also best for me. I want healing now, but I will never accuse God of withholding anything good from me, it is not his nature. Nor will I lay on myself the burden of the lies of unworthiness. It is simply that God know me best and he knows better. And I will trust him, and I will wait, and I will try my best to silence the voices that tell me it’s not fair, because I know my Lord is just and he is kind, and that in this temporal realm, we all have to deal with the weather, come rain or shine.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

Landscape of Love: Drawbridge

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Today the word is barricade. The chains will groan and gripe as the links grind against one another, but the bridge will still rise and leave behind a gaping unassailable leap. Under the no-longer-there- road, the fish will swim to the cool shadow and find it gone, moving on, back to the edges and the reed banks further along. Perhaps those eyeing up our castle will now not relish a siege and also pass on through. We are safe inside, and the stores are plentiful. But later, when the winter comes, and the moat freezes, shall we find comfort in these dark stones? Shall our father give us bread instead? Mightn’t we still venture out into the daylight atop the towers, blinking and ready for renewal? Hope leaves its seeds everywhere, and life grows through cracks in rock. Light will always be waiting to return, and when we have had our fill of self and solitude, the old oak timbers may crash back down, and the world become once more our cloister.

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016

Photo from Pixabay

N.B. Once a week I will be returning to The Landscape of Love as a break from the Veil of Tears which can be quite a tough read (and write!) And hopefully to help keep my poetic prose flowing.

 

83: Injustice

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When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” 1 Peter 2:23 NIV

Turning the other cheek, as Jesus counselled us to do, is a difficult teaching for many of us. As a former doormat, I used to let people not just walk all over me, but grind their muddy boots into my soul as well. It took me a long time to realise that this was not what the Lord was recommending. We should not seek out suffering, nor is it wrong to protect ourselves from hurt. Boundaries and self-defence mechanisms are necessary tools for getting through life. But when we are insulted or treated badly, it is our reactions that should mark us out as different.

The reason for this, as I have come to understand it, is that whatever is happening to us in the earthly, we maintain as God’s children, our integrity, which is eternal. Julian of Norwich saw in her understandings from the Lord that our true selves are incorruptible and stay close to God’s breast all the while we are alive. Nothing can touch or harm them in any way that will impact the eternal, the true and manifest wholeness and perfection of them. So although suffering hurts us of course, it cannot hurt that unreachable self whom God keeps close. This is why Paul (or whoever the writer of Hebrews was) said “What can man do to me?” echoing Psalm 56 amongst others. It seems we might answer, “Well, quite a lot, actually,” but when we remember that this same man had been beaten, stoned, jailed, shipwrecked and persecuted for following Christ, we must take these words seriously.

For my own part, I think that any kind of insult or abuse loses its power over us when we bear it with gentleness. So yes, we call injustices what they are, and as far as possible we protect ourselves and others from ill treatment, and from inflicting it. Systematic abuse must be escaped and challenged whenever possible, this righteous anger and action is also part of following Jesus: we stand up for widows, orphans, and speak for the voiceless. But where it is appropriate and we are able to, turning the other cheek can be an effective tool for the gospel. It was certainly when I bore the bullying silently and without redress that my school peers got bored of tormenting me. “For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God,” says Peter in his first letter (chapter 2, v 19) and he is talking about the severe injustices borne under slavery.

This bearing with the sorrows of today with quiet dignity because we live in the knowledge of eternity (whilst owning our own wholeness and integrity kept safe within the bosom of our God) is the heart of gospel living to this man who walked closely with Jesus. It might rankle with us today, but there is a deep and precious wisdom and a powerful witness in patient, gentle endurance, especially when paired with forgiveness, and Peter, for one, believed it changed those hurting us.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

82: Bullying

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Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” 1 Samuel 1:6-7 NIV

It seems right to think about yesterday’s text from Peninnah’s point of view as well, since we might argue that being a bully is just as much a way of suffering in our human condition as being the victim of such behaviour. Bullies are suffering in a way that causes them to inflict pain. More often than not, I wonder if they feel disenfranchised or impotent in some way, so that they desire to gain power or a sense of belonging. Bullies often work in groups, as a gang of cruel girls did to me at school, and are also very ego-driven, building themselves up by bringing others down.

Peninnah feels threatened by Hannah’s piety, and by her husband’s clear preference for his other wife. Perhaps it is hardly surprising that she lashes out at her rival for his affections. Doubtless she is frustrated and feels powerless to change anything about her situation, so she uses the one thing she can lord over Hannah, the fact that she has had children. When we are hurting, and we feel the need to lash out, we use the weapons we have to hand, and the weaknesses that are in plain sight, rarely considering the pain we might inflict.

We also pass on traits from one generation to another, and I believe this fact of life is what the Bible calls curses “from generation to generation.” And we also learn behaviour from our parents and guardians. If we have been abused or bullied at home, whether by adults or siblings, we are far more likely to become bullies ourselves. We’ve learnt that this is the way to get what we want, or to feel empowered. As one of my favourite tv comedies, Blackadder, would have it, the Prince insults the butler, the butler kicks the cat, the cat chases the mouse, and the mouse bites Baldrick.

I remember that as a child when I was going through a phase of having spats with my elder brother, I used to take this out on the boys at school, karate chopping them at every opportunity in the style of Miss Piggy. It made me feel like I had some power in a situation where I didn’t, because my brother was much bigger than I was. Fortunately, I remember one of the boys sticking up for himself and asking me how I would like it, and then showing me how much it hurt! Perhaps if he hadn’t made me stop and think, I might still be being a Muppet.

Adult bullying of course is harder to change, since those opportunities for mind-changing are tougher to bring about, and the behaviour is ingrained. “I’m hurting,” says the ego, “and feeling small, so I’m going to take it out on other people and make myself seem bigger than I am.” Bullies do need to be held accountable. It’s the only thing that will help us, in the end, to see the error of our ways. Truth is our way to freedom. But they also need to be heard. Perhaps expressing themselves in a free and non-judgemental environment where anger and frustration are given space rather than immediately condemned, might be helpful. Of course not everyone wants to give that space, and not every bully would be able to take advantage of it, nor are many people prepared to change. But accountability done with love feels like the way forward. “What is this really about?” and “How are you feeling?” can be powerful breakthrough questions asked from a place of generous vulnerability and grace.

Perhaps if Elkanah’s two wives had sat down and had a real heart to heart, they might have discovered that their common enemy was the patriarchal system they were enduring, and helped one another somehow to bear their various pains. But injustices, like stones dropped in water, send out many ripples, and it is only grace that can truly heal such wounds.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

 

Image used under creative commons as advised by Yahoo image search

81: Bullied

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Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” 1 Samuel 1:6-7 NIV

How to talk about the hideous pain of bullying? It is one of the worst things a human being can do to another, because it singles out a specific weakness or area of hurt, which it then needles over and over again until the wound grows and festers and becomes unbearable. When we talk about bullies, we usually speak of children taunting one another in the playground, but whilst it certainly happens there and in increasingly terrible ways, we should not for a minute imagine that it is left behind in the schoolyard.

Some of the worst bullies run workplaces, stand for political office, become teachers, seek out seats of power (however small) and attempt to make certain people’s lives a misery. They are nearly always out to get those of whom they are jealous, or whom they secretly admire. This also happens in the dating game, so that the little boy who pulled plaits when a youngster, will negate and bully women he finds attractive. This, as I know you can imagine, leads to some horrible, unbalanced and abusive relationships.

Bullying, like all abuse, is about power. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, knows that her only claim to status is her children, and that it is also Hannah’s one weakness. A careful reading of the text, seeing the word “rival” and how Hannah is so loved by her husband, getting a double portion of sacrifices, and clearly has a close relationship with the Lord (it is not a coincidence that Peninnah’s worst bullying happens whenever Hannah goes to Temple), shows us that there is a nasty jealousy present. Polygamy is such a bad idea (more on that later) and causes deep and dreadful competition. Peninnah buoys herself up and knocks Hannah down, the best way she knows how, by taunting her about the one thing she has that Hannah does not. The bullying is so painful that Hannah can’t even eat.

Power games seem to be less frowned upon in the west than they used to be, at least for adults, but whilst bullying in schools seems to be taken more seriously, it is certainly rife and far more about sexuality and bodies very early on, and this is extremely worrying. Difference is the thing we always pounce on. Any sign of oddness, of wavering, of feminine in the masculine or vice versa, and there is perceived a vulnerability, an uncertainty that can be pounced on with fierce mockery.

Valuing difference, embracing the whole spectrum of humanity, gender, shape, colour, culture, history, intelligence, the way we process the world, is the way forward. Our God is one who clearly loves great ranges of difference. He made us all unique and if we foster and husband that amazing truth, we will be well on the way to talking down the name callers and being an integrated and whole society where everyone is deemed precious.

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

If you are a victim (of any age) of bullying in the UK, you may find this website helpful: http://www.bullying.co.uk/