Someday, I’ll blog about guilty pleasures. One of them will be listening to Eminem. I know, it’s such the unchristian thing to do… we have KJ-52 as our featured stand-in replacement. I don’t own an Em album, so I can’t speak to his music as a whole, but every once and a while he’ll toss out something that really makes me think. In the past week, this has been such an occasion.
I’ve been very caught up in his song featuring Rihanna, Love the Way you Lie. When I was first trying to catch on to what he was saying (I’m not fluent in rap, so it takes me several tries), one of the first lyrics I heard was: “I know I’m a liar// If she ever tries to f***ing leave again // I’mma tie her to the bed //And set the house on fire.” I audibly gasped. So this is what those youth directors are talking about.
Then I heard the song again. More opportunity to dissect the actual topic at hand. Clearly, it’s abusive relationships. But what about them? After doing some Googling, many reviewers decided this is close as he’ll come to admitting he abused his wife “one time” and the song is “as close to a love song as he’ll ever get.” Mark that as reason number 2 that I’m glad I’m not married to the guy (**2 in a list of about 50). But these aren’t even the aforementioned provoked thoughts! We need to get to that.
Before reading further, please understand this: though I likely reside relatively low on the feminism scale, I have enough in me to believe that men who beat their wives (and I’ll lump emotional abuse into this one as well) should be pulled into the street by their pubic hair and then strung from the nearest tree by their penis. I firmly believe that any woman who lives with someone who hurts them should get out of the relationship. Out. Done. And forgiveness is a separate topic. You can forgive AND leave.
I’m trying to lay heavy my opinion here because I don’t want the next part to make you question my stance. I will always side with the woman. Always. No one ever “deserves” that. I don’t want to be blamed for any “blame the victim” talk. The following conversation is not meant to pit victim against abuser.
So thanks to my strong opinion, I have never given one lick to the thought processes of the abuser. He has always been a faceless entity, and I have never cared much what brought him to such a place of believing that these types of actions would be okay. But thanks to a white rapper, I can’t get it out of my head.
I believe Jesus wants for people of the world to understand that change really can happen. We’re not helpless victims and with God all things are possible. I’m not talking about rectifying the abusive relationship… I’m not sure that could ever be healthy (there are some nasty power dynamics that would be tough to overcome). But what about hope for change in the abuser? Doesn’t Jesus at least offer that?
If he walked upon a situation, I’m positive that Jesus would go to the woman first – to offer help, support and empower her to leave. He would tell her that she is loved and valued and this treatment is not what she was created for. But as I continue to ponder, I have to think that Jesus wouldn’t leave the guy high and dry. The way Em writes of “window pane” reminds me that he as feelings too, as warped as they are. The Gospel has to have something to offer for him. It just has to.
The best comparison I could come up with was alcohol/drug abuse (I know, not a stellar example. Please provide an alternate). And the first step is to recognize that you have a problem and to release power and control to God. If you ask me, abuse is a lot about power & control (I think KLR could validate, she seems to know more about these types of topics), so following Jesus could have a lot to say in the healing process.
Some of these thoughts were validated just the other day as husband and I were driving, we brought up a family we know of that attends a church. They’re well connected to the church and there have been parking lot allegations of abuse in house. I know that Jesus has been a rock for the women & children involved. And the church has done nothing to rectify or intervene (shame shame). But if it did, how would it go about bringing change in this man’s life? As we go about bringing healing and wholeness to those who have been abused, how do we do so (separately) for those that are doing the abusing?
So Eminem keeps me thinking…. what would this look like?