POWER OF FORGIVENESS
ON THE VICTIM!
By Martin G. "Mike" Ramey
CHARTED-- BUT UNPASSABLE WATERS
Brothers, I am not a therapist, nor do I play one on television. In fact, I'd like to thank those whom I know who have the 'gift' of counseling. Not everyone can do what you can do.
However, we are going into territory that few--if any--want to deal with--as it impacts the male sex. So, this column is not for the faint of heart, and you may be surprised by its content, and how the matter is handled. I'll warn you up front, it will be handled from a biblical perspective. In fact, I dare say that this column may be the first step in the liberation of many of my brothers who have been searching for freedom--for years--and may finally have found the answer to why they do, what they do. My brothers, the answer for the present, lay in the waters of your past.
COUNSELING AND UNEMPLOYMENT:
To begin, let me say that I do believe in counseling and therapy. However, I don't believe in ETERNAL counseling and therapy. There comes a time when you have to leave the counselor's office, or the therapists' couch and face Real Life 101 again, with your head held high, and your armor intact. You may walk with a limp, but keep on walking. We need you out here! Let's look at the last time you lost a job. Brothers, it hurts to be 'pink slipped' or 'fired' by anyone. It hurts more for a man, because we have been ordained by God to be 'providers' for our loved ones. We are the ones who are supposed to rise--and work.
That's OUR job.
So, to get back to what I was saying, when you lost your job, you had to have help to find another one. However, when you went on your interviews, the 'coach' that helped you, was not with you. YOU had to talk with that new employer, or, perhaps several new employers, in order to interview for that new job, win it, and start it.
The proper role of the counselor or therapist in my view, is to identify the problem provide one with a sounding board, plus a means to get you through the problem--not to keep you trapped in the problem. Unfortunately, there are those counselors, or therapists who wish to enrich themselves by keeping you 'hooked' on their help. In my view, one who has the 'gift' of counseling SHOULD be working to get a person to learn how to face the problem and stand on their own. Not to keep them enslaved, or dependent upon them.
MATTERS OF THE HEART AND PAST:
Brothers, I dare say that there are some of us who have been victims in our youth of any one of the several areas. Keep in mind that these areas are the same areas that many women have faced, have had books dedicated to, talk shows aired about, and articles generated about. However, men have not been afforded this luxury, nor--if I may be so bold--do some, modern women care if we have faced these issues. Ready? Here they are:
*Rape--Contrary to the 'feminized' view, and documented by experts in the field, a man can be a rape victim. Rape is, by definition, a stronger person, or a person operating from a position of strength or trust, forcing their sexual desires upon an unwilling person.
*Incest--Again, contrary to the 'feminized' view, and documented by experts in the field, an older female member of a family can take sexual advantage of younger male family members.
*Molestation--Again, contrary to the 'feminized' view, and documented by experts in the field, boys can have their 'sexual innocence' ripped from them by predatory women in positions of authority. The best example I can think of involve recent cases where female school teachers have been 'caught ' having sex with male students. Yes, we have heard of the 'male teacher/female student' scenario. But, the female teacher/male student scenario is just as real, and can do just as much damage.
*Domestic Violence--This is one that is just starting to get talked about. Where women are beating up on the men in their lives, be they husbands, fathers, or boyfriends. Law enforcement agencies in more than a few jurisdictions are now adopting a 'gender blind' attitude. Whoever throws the first punch, or object, goes to jail. And, brothers, there are more women going to jail and being charged with this crime.
Each year, there are an estimated 1.5 million women AND 875,000 men who are victims of this crime of violence. Let me also add, there are no shelters in the United States to help battered men.
*General Violence--Where a boy is terrorized, intimidated, or beaten up by a group of boys, or group of girls, and has no way of fighting back. While women have a variety of outlets to discuss their sufferings in public, the same public does not want to hear about men who have been victims of these same crimes. Press reporting of male victims is usually relegated to the back pages of the newspaper.
WHY THE TITLE OF THIS COLUMN?:
Brothers, the reason why I am bringing these issues to the table in this column is that many of us don't know why we act the way we do in the present. Why do many of us 'drink, drug, and chase' too much in the present? The Bible says, we have not dealt with the 'root of bitterness'. We have not dealt with an issue in our past, successfully, and it has served to become the 'trigger' of our present bad deeds. I'm not excusing some of our present bad behavior, but I am doing something you don't hear mentioned when it comes to men in this present day.
Offering an explanation.
The reason behind the title of this month's column is simple. Something has happened to a brother in our past, and only he knows what it is. And, whenever the topic comes up for discussion, it is one he shuns, due to the fact that even in our present society, men are never thought of as having been victimized or hurt.
In other words--to some of you sisters who may be reading this column--the man in your life right now, who may not be as 'open' as you would like, may have been victimized as a little boy, and have not dealt with these issues well into manhood, BECAUSE NO ONE WOULD LISTEN TO HIS CRY, OR HIS PROBLEM! The boy who was molested by an older female relative as a child, can grow up to be a molester, or an abuser of others himself--OR--can seek to abuse himself with alcohol, drugs, or criminal behavior. Again, going back to the Bible, that root of bitterness can lay there for years, and spring up in uncharted ways. Seeking drugs. Seeking sex outside of marriage. Constant outburst of temper. Self-destructive, or 'death wish' types of behavior. Am I making sense? Then, let's hear an AMEN from the cheap seats!
THE WAY OUT:
A good friend of mine, one of my mentors, died a few years ago. He told me his story one night, over a cup of coffee and the span of several hours. Yes, he was a biker, and a top member of one of the leading motorcycle gangs in the WORLD. But, he eventually became a Christian, and--one by one--the negatives began to fall away. However, he was still abusive. He would bat his wife around like he was 'shooting hoops' out on the playground. He sought out an older man, his mentor who led him to Christ, and wanted to know why he was still abusive. The reason lay dormant in his past, but was manifesting in the present.
It turned out that, as a little boy, about age six, my mentor was molested by a female relative, who was never prosecuted, or jailed. That time bomb led him on a twenty-plus year binge in violence, drugs, alcohol, and abuse. My mentor's mentor gave him the Scriptures, told him to forgive--and release--the person who had wronged him in the power of Christ. Also, he was to ask forgiveness from the persons he had wronged, including his wife. He found the way out--through Christ.
IN ONE NIGHT, my mentor found the way out, thanks to a brother who was willing to listen, and offer real counsel. From that day, to his dying day, my mentor never lifted his hand in anger to anyone--especially his wife. He told her what had happened, and their marriage was not only restored, it was made better!
Brothers, some of you reading this need to find a mentor; a trusted, older man who is willing to help you work through your past. Yes, you may walk with a limp in the present, but then, you can help others in need. But, in addition to this, you have to trust that God will take care of the one(s) who abused you, hurt you, robbed you of your virginity, and left you to die by the roadside.
YOU must choose to forgive them, and release them of their crimes against you in the past, in order for you to walk on in the present. Forgiveness is done day by day, until the pain of the offense goes away. There are more of us who need this help, than we would like would admit. One does not have to have a degree to be a good counselor. Only a willing ear, and a heart geared towards freedom. Count me, among those, who are willing to listen to your cry.
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Mike Ramey is the author of 'THE MANHOOD LINE', a column written to men, from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective.
This column appears monthly in a host of African American publications, and websites.
To correspond, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or, email@example.com.
Snail mail can go to PO Box 20131, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46220, USA.
© 2001 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications (15).
LETTER TO MIKE RAMEY
From Steve Van Nattan-- I wrote back to Mike when he sent me this article and gave me permission to use it. I decided that the best way to share my impressions with you would be to just drop my letter to Mike Ramey right here. Memorial Day is not much of a day of remembering the US Military Veterans. Most of you people don't care diddly who might have gone "over there" in your place. I hope someone today makes an effort to help one of these Black or White veterans who has never unloaded the bitterness and hate of Vietnam in particular.
Dear Mike Ramey:
Dead on and so correct. Brother, there have to be thousands of Anglos who have had the same experience, so I will use this and add some observations. I am convinced that a lot of demon possession comes out of these sexual molestation acts also, especially after the offender dies and the devil finds itself "in dry places" and turns to the victim for a place to hang out.
I wonder how much racism is based in this problem. Could it be that it is a handy cop out for a Black man to turn in hate on Whitey when his own mother messed him up long ago. And, could some red neck in Arkansas be, in fact, finding a substitute for his hate of a past molester by getting revenge on some local Black person?
What do you think? Of course, we have to face it-- a lot of sin is just because people are fallen sinners, and there is no past blame to be found. But, I do wonder about the filthy ways of both Duke (KKK and hate) and Jesse Jackson (womanizing and fabrications of White evil). One has to wonder if these boys are really in need to take charge of some past event as you mentioned.
Another issue is the Vietnam thing. There are a lot of men out there who have never been right since "The Nam" days. I have to wonder if they need to deal with their bitterness at those who forced them into killer roles and a war they could not win. That war did horrible things to many guys, for they had to go be a tough soldier, watch men die, and NOT win. Forgiving someone would be so helpful, bur who-- Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Kennedy, Ike (who caused the war by not talking to Ho Chi Min)?
The worst part is all the pain and lack of purpose the ordinary soldiers felt as they came home from that event. As a chaplain's assistant, I saw how those guys who were in Nam were messed up mentally. Some are still out in the woods, big dog as their only friend, clinging to a shotgun, and hating the world in general. I saw it over and over in Michigan where I pastored. It never ended for those guys. You can still snap a piece of wood, and they will dive for cover, or start to anyway. I am a conservative Christian and Bible believer, but I sure lost my zeal for making excuses for war "during Vietnam".
For my part, I taught my boys to defend their family, their honor, the Word of God, and do anything to stay out of war. All US wars since the Hitler era have been a sick joke and nothing to die for or get mentally messed up for. God delivered me from actually going to Vietnam, but I saw the horrible maimed men coming back at Fort Knox, and it terrified me. I believe a lot of those Black fellows are still roaming the streets of Chicago taking out their hate on others, and a lot of those White men are still out in the woods hating the world. Your article applies there too. Only through Christ can a man forgive, not Ho Chi Min, but the faceless mindless nation that demanded they trash their minds (and bodies) on that no win war.
You hit on a big one Mike. You ought to do this again and talk about war and Vietnam. Go sit in a VFW and American Legion and watch the men, Black and White, hanging on the bar sipping their memories into oblivion. They don't talk much about their war days-- they just try to drown their miseries and memories.
Then there is Timothy McVeigh-- There is a real extreme way some trained military killers become deadly. They are raped of their conscience in boot camp and in advanced combat killing training, and they are persuaded by mind bending experts that killing people is "Standard Operating Procedure." They drink deep, and they are never the same again. What if this kid McVeigh had had a mentor to help him deal with his killer heritage as a military men? His only mentor now is a shark attorney who will defend a killer, no matter what he has done. What a miserable way to end this life.
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Dead reader: What tragedy do you suppose you could prevent by speaking of Christ and the power of forgiveness to someone who is showing the marks of some past horror, whether that of sexual offense, or the mental scars of war? You may be the only one some fellow will listen to. What are you doing that counts for that guy and for eternity?
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