My entire professional career has been in the movement to end domestic and sexual violence. I’ve moved around in this field starting as a peer educator in college to shelter advocate to state-level policy and education, and now at the national level working in development and communications. It’s so fitting that I get to communicate the importance of this issue every single day. Not because I enjoy writing or because of my experience with witnessing domestic violence in the home as a child. It is fitting because I am called to image the Godhead.
I am persistent in communicating the importance of ending domestic and sexual violence, first and foremost because I know a Savior who perfectly and sufficiently satisfies my thirst, both now and forever. I am often thirsty for justice, for myself and others, and seek to communicate that all human life, including women’s, have value – not because bell hooks or Angela Davis told me, but because it’s written plainly in Genesis 1:27 and I see it beautifully practiced in John 4.
See, Jesus is the perfect feminist, the perfect activist, and the perfect advocate. No one affirms and cares for women more perfectly than Jesus, and I’m just another woman at the well, compelled to tell everyone I know. I’m shocked that as a woman and ethnic-minority, a Jewish man would dare speak to me. I am utterly speechless that as a sinner, a perfect, holy God would dare offer me life. We could show radical mercy by reflecting radical justice. Imagine what could happen if we affirmed the humanity of others – both the proud and oppressed – through a simple conversation.
There are many gray areas of domestic and sexual violence that often become norms in our culture, and unfortunately, even our churches, such as victim blaming, assertion of power and control, not believing or supporting victims, or perpetuating the idea that “boys will be boys”. Jesus disrupted a cultural and religious norm of his day, and he did so to set the standard for how we should act towards others.
I am deeply flawed and sinful, yet immensely loved. That is a cause for mass communications. As Christians, as those who are redeemed, we reflect what we’ve been given. When perfect mercy, perfect justice, and eternal life find you, there is an urgency to communicate that hope with others.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).
Showing mercy, justice, and ultimately imaging Christ is not a 9 to 5. As image bearers of the living God, showing mercy is not just something we do, it’s who we’re called to be.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
We do not show mercy by our own strength – simply because we can’t. We did nothing to receive Living Water, and we cannot, by any means share it with others without the same power that brought us into this relationship. Our perfect activist and advocate, not only shows us mercy and justice, but sends us a Helper to sustain us, and give us the power to bear the same image. From beginning to end, God has redemption under control. And from beginning to end, all we must do is abide in, and reflect, Christ.