Called to Mercy

An Alliance church brings grace to the abused

By Anonymous

I never knew that brokenness could radiate from someone’s eyes. The look of shock and fear is so disarming that you almost don’t notice a fractured arm or bruises. If the demoralization that haunts their expressions or marks their bodies does not move you, hearing their stories will: “He tried to kill me”; “My daughter heard everything when my husband beat me”; “He left me to die, but the police found me days later.” Many are so broken that they won’t even look you in the eye, let alone invite you into their pain.

The trauma of abuse has a trickle-down effect that hits children like a tsunami. One day a five-year-old boy asked me, “Do you know why we are at the shelter? It’s because my daddy hates my mommy.”

Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus tells us in His Word. Victims of abuse need mercy. Jesus Christ is the mercy of God. He reached into our brokenness and fear and pulled us out by entering into it Himself. Jesus was abused, battered, and forsaken so that we can offer Him to the abused, battered, and forsaken. Jesus is the “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” who is “close to the brokenhearted and rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

The shock and fear in the eyes of the abused has a haunting edge if there is no hope and love to counter it. Only Jesus Christ can heal the physical, psychological, and relational needs of the abused—but He does it by using us as His instruments.

In an effort to live out the call to be merciful, our church entered a partnership with our community’s abused women’s shelter. The relationship began a few years ago when some of our pastors asked the shelter’s leadership if members of our congregation could share a meal once a month with the residents.

Since that initial meeting, a group of volunteers has continued to go once or twice a month to provide a meal and spend time with the residents, focusing on engaging in conversations and playing with the children. This gives us an opportunity to hear their stories and hold out to them the hope of Jesus Christ. We are pleased that the shelter allows us to share the gospel and pray with the women even though it is no longer a faith-based organization.

Recently, we met a woman at the shelter who had been through a traumatic experience that crushed her spirit and marked her with bruises. We listened to her story, prayed with her, and gave her a copy of the Book of John. Her tearful gratitude showed a glimmer of hope.

We are blessed when some of the women come to church with us, and it is a beautiful thing to see the members embrace them. To date, only one woman has remained in our church Body. In spite of this, we will continue to open our arms to any who do come, whether they choose to worship with us for just one week or for years.

There is nothing glamorous about this ministry. It is difficult, and sometimes it is easy to be discouraged by a lack of long-term fruit. A practical way for members of other churches to become involved in a ministry like this is to find service organizations in their communities and talk to the leadership about how the congregation can come alongside them. Individuals can look for ways to volunteer and bring the hope of Christ into these already-existing community structures.

If we taste His mercy in our own lives, we must display it to those who need it most. Knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior and Healer thrusts us out of our comfort zone into a broken world that desperately needs Him.

The brokenness of the abused can be fully healed only by Jesus. As we seek to be merciful with bold and tender love, we cry out to God to meet needs that only He can meet. May God heal so that it is no longer a haunted brokenness that radiates from the eyes of these abused women and their children but rather hope and gladness in a great Savior.

2 responses to Called to Mercy

  1. What a great blessing it is to hear of your work! God is merciful; it is an attribute of our savior that is frequently forgotten. I will bring that back to my own clinic patients who suffer so greatly.

  2. Thank you for this, do you have info about such places in the Toldo OH area? I also want to mention that as a woman currently going through a marriage abuse situation that is extremely hard to leave with kids. I also want to mention that some of us live with physical abuse but psychological & emotional abuse can be just as hurtful. Can more be done to help women who are in these relationships and cried out for help from their church where we already belong? We shouldn’t be told that if we are being mistreated by our spouses that we aren’t praying enough or not using the total submission enough with our husbands. This has chase much pain in my spiritual life and put a wedge between some women and our church. Please help churches locally be trained to deal with this. Blessings to you for helping with abuse.

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