Genesis 42:21, “And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear….”
Joseph’s brothers were guilty of selling Joseph into slavery. They saw their brother’s anguish, they heard his pleas, saw his tears, yet they ignored him.
Is not this same scenario played out repeatedly in our churches today?
An abused woman goes to her Pastor, weeping she tells him that her husband has been abusing her. She relates many incidents to him and asks him for help. He listens with sympathy. He so hates to see unhappy marriages. When she tearfully finishes, he sits back in his chair and offers his take on things. He generally says something along the line of, “Your husband is a good man. He’s been under a lot of stress lately. You, as his wife, must be patient with him. Now, you might have had a rough day or two with him but it’s not really as bad as all that, is it? Anyone can have a bad day now and then. You need to be praying for your husband. Look for ways to make things easier for him. Make sure that being at home is relaxing for him. Now this is what I want you to do: go home, get yourself made up, cook him his favorite dinner and make sure he has a relaxing evening. Tell him you are sorry for not giving him the support he needs. Then I want you to pray and ask the Lord to help you to be a more submissive wife, to make you kinder, more obedient to your husband. Then, whatever anger issues he has, they will get better and better and so will your marriage. Do you understand?”
The abused wife listens in horror as it becomes obvious that her Pastor either doesn’t believe her or that he is going to refuse to help her. She might tearfully protest. She might beg him to listen, to understand, to stand with her and help her protect her children. To do something, anything, to help her escape the endless cycle of abuse. She might hang her head and go home to once again face her husband’s wrath.
Some Pastors might send her away before she can get started, refusing to even listen to her. Some might call her abuser to him know his wife came in for counsel. Some might listen, pat her on the shoulder, tell her it’s not all that bad or that it’s her job to submit and obey no matter what and send her back to be abused some more.
The Pastor is guilty concerning his sister because he sees the anguish in her soul, he hears her desperate pleas, he witnesses her tears yet, just like Joseph’s brothers, he ignores her and sends her away…back to the slavery of domestic abuse.
Joseph’s brothers pronounced themselves guilty “concerning our brother”. Where are the pastors who will search themselves and acknowledge that they are guilty concerning their sisters–sisters who are daily beaten, broken, battered and abused–verbally, emotionally, sexually and physically at the hands of one thought to be “a good man”?
The church is waiting for the answer.