“For most women who come in for counselling abuse is part of their narrative. It’s part of their experience. And so even the stats, as frightening as they are, you can imagine that’s just what is reported.”
Ivy Mugambi is a christian counsellor in South Africa. In this Podcast she explores with Blaque Nubon how Christians should respond to abuse. What it is, who it affects, what men can do to stop it, and in particular, how we can use the Gospel to guide our actions.
What is Abuse?
“Abuse is a form of violation where there’s a power imbalance. Whether is it by strength or gender or position. It’s a place whereby one person feels that they can get away with harming your or abusing you or doing something to you and nothing will happen to them.”
What is the Psychological effect of Abuse?
“So you can imagine this person in a sense is completely broken. And they actually end up wondering “this must be something wrong with me. There must be something. I can’t be… maybe I did something to deserve this.” And so to be able to just, like you say, walk with somebody. See them as human and validate that. Encourage them. It’s really important.”
As Christians How Should we Respond to Abuse?
“As Christians we know that ultimately our hope is just in Christ. And he is the only one who can heal the brokenness. And we know that source of brokenness. Again, that’s the thing, we know that this world is broken. And we know that the true healing comes from being in Christ.
With things like abuse, remember we’ve said that their identity is completely shattered. In terms of how they see themselves – whether it’s a mum, a woman, anything – a daughter, a sister. And as Christians this is why it’s so critical because then we realise that it’s about affirming that your identity is in Christ.
However, we still need to get really sensitive and practical. And it’s about just being able, like Christ, to weep with those who weep as well. And being, maybe, for the most part, sitting with somebody. Just being there with them. Encouraging them. So that they can actually be able to… you validate the humanity.”
Are you Being Abused?
For anyone who’s going through this it’s important to really say that you are not alone and nothing that happened is your fault. Nothing at all. There is nothing anyone can say to you for you to think that you are a victim. And just to say that there is hope. There is help. And it is a long journey, and it is a process, but there is hope and there is healing.
I work from Christ Church Midrand and on the website we have the counselling support ministry. There is a link there where you can always click. It is important wherever you are that you find someone to talk to. But truly to say anyone who’s been through this there is hope.”
#TGCAfrica #TGCAfricaPodcast #Abuse
How do I Respond to Abuse as a Christian? #TGCAfricaPodcast
Transcript of the conversation between Blaque Nubon and Ivy Mugambi (lightly edited):
Ivy: So it’s about doing both. We know the Gospel is encouraging – so use it as an encouraging tool! But on the other hand, think practical. What does this person need at the moment? And especially if you see somebody who’s behaviour has just changed. That ought to tell you that something’s not right.”
Blaque: “Good day everybody. Welcome back to the Gospel Coalition Africa Podcast. You are still hanging out with me – your host Blaque Nubon. And we have a special guest with us today, Ivy. I normally let guests just introduce themselves. Coz I’m a terrible information retainer – if that’s the proper English! So you can tell us more about yourself. Where you’re from, family life, and I think most importantly how you met Jesus.”
Ivy: “OK. So, yah. So my name is Ivy. Ivy Mugambi. I am from Kenya – born and bred. And we actually left Kenya about 19 years ago – a year after I got married. After that we landed in Botswana – Gabaronne – and we moved to South Africa about 6 years later. That was in 2007.”
Blaque: “Sjoe, so you journeyed Africa!”
Ivy: “Yes – at least Southern Africa! So I am a mum of two girls. They are teenagers – 16 and 13. By profession I am a Counsellor.”
I was Pursued by Christ
Blaque: “Good. And in your journey throughout Africa where did you met Jesus?”
Ivy: “Yes. So it’s interesting because it’s almost like I had to come to another country to meet Jesus. So, being an African, you know, we are all Christians…”
Blaque: “Yeah, yeah!”
I honestly wouldn’t say I was looking for Jesus. That is the funny part… I would say he was pursuing me.
Ivy: “So, I was born and raised Catholic and schooled Catholic. And so going to church was something we did every Sunday. You know, your mum took you to church and you went to church irrespective of whether anything was going inside your head or not. So, when we moved to South Africa I remember looking for a church. And I remember attending a particular church in the area. And after a couple of times I was like “this isn’t working out. Because I go and I come back and its… I just feel empty!” You know? And so I was like “nah, I’d rather stay home and do a hobby. Do some gardening, you know, play with the kids.” But in terms of meeting Jesus I think it was like, maybe let me say the path was… I honestly wouldn’t say I was looking for Jesus. That is the funny part. And I would in a sense even say I am one of those people who you think “I’m not that bad enough! I haven’t killed anyone. I haven’t done anything crazy. I haven’t done drugs.” So I think it’s just by God’s grace he was, I would say he was pursuing me. Because there were three avenues that happened. So one. When I moved here I was very sad. Coz I was like “Oh my gosh – another country – I don’t know anybody!”
Blaque: “Yeah, yeah – so you don’t have family here?”
Ivy: “No I don’t have any family here at all. All my family is in Kenya. So I was like “then what do I do, you know? Where do I start again?” And especially because in Gabaronne we had met quite a nice community of other Kenyans. So, when I moved here I was like “OK now I’ve got kids, what do I do?” So my younger one was less than a year and I thought what do I do with her? And I remember going to the doctor’s here in Midrand and I saw a flyer of ‘Tiny Tots’. So I was like “Oh this could work, this could work. It’s at a church. It should be safe – for this is Joburg!”
Blaque: “The big bad city!”
Ivy: “Yes. It’s called, what do they say? It’s GP – Gangster’s Paradise. And then I thought “OK. Then you know – and it’s free – so it means it’s fine. And it’s in the morning and so it’s a group of mums. And also my young older one – people had been saying how difficult it is to get into a good school. And because we were both schooled in Catholic schools we were like “let them go to a faith-based school”. Then at least we know that, you know, the world is crazy, you know, you realise when you get kids. You get so scared – like what am I bringing my child to! So I was like, “at least if it’s a Christian school, they will be indoctrinated with Christianity at that school. I can live with that.
Going to Church and Opening the Bible
So when we came here at that time, one of the requirements was they said “do you go to a church?” And for some reason, I think because of coming to Tiny Tots, we had just come here a couple of Sundays. And they didn’t even ask us how long – because they generally do ask you, you know. It needs to be for a couple of times. So, we’d been coming to Christ Church and between Martin’s preaching – it was very odd for me to be able to come to a church where you are told “open your Bible.” I had never opened the Bible!
So when you get married you are given a Bible by your mum’s women friends. But I had never opened it. This was like 8 years later. It was gathering dust. So it is sad to say that, but it’s just the way the church services happen here. And it’s not an embarrassment. And even being told go to the index. You know, go to this book and follow with me – read with me. For me that was quite empowering and shocking. Like, “oh, so I can actually read for myself!”
it was very odd for me to be able to come to a church where you are told “open your Bible.” I had never opened the Bible!
And I think of a time – I wouldn’t say there’s one definitive moment. So I do know I ticked the box (on the contact slip) – but even by then it was like – “yah OK, sounds cool. I don’t want to go to hell!” You know? So, it’s been a journey where you realise its actually a relationship. I am actually a sinner. You know, actually I don’t deserve God’s grace. And he’s been so good to me. You know? And, so yah. So, meeting Jesus has honestly been a journey. That I realised. And even now, I always get shocked, that every time you read something you are like “oh my gosh. I am pretty sure I’ve read this book!” So, that is how I met Jesus.”
Getting into Counselling
Blaque: “Yah. That’s good! And did that relationship with Jesus inspire the work you are doing now? Or had you always wanted to get into counselling? Can you tell us a bit about that? How did you end up there?”
Ivy: “OK. Yah – so again – I don’t know, my journey has been weird! All I know is so I did have a BCom Degree and we were running a business and I was doing the accounting and admin. But I absolutely did not like it! It was numbers. I couldn’t, you know? So I was like “I think” – you know what I was clear about was I wanna change careers. And I wanted to work with people. And I was like, “I can’t do business anymore. I can’t do this corporate. I can’t imagine myself in like marketing or advertising or any of these professions.” And so I thought… and people intrigue me generally, you know? I am a people watcher. I can sit in a mall and observe!”
Blaque: “You are not creepy at all!”
Ivy: “Not at all. And before I became a Christian I think I also used to philosophise a lot. I used to like calling myself a philosopher. Just wondering, what’s the point of life? So I study, finish matric, go to varsity, and then what? Get kids – done what? It just all looked so pointless, you know? And so for me it was almost like, I wanna understand people. So coming here, I don’t know, I think it just occurred to me “I wanna do psychology. I wanna do counselling.” At the time I didn’t realise it was gonna be a LONG journey. But I think when you have… something is calling you, when you’ve got a passion for something, actually the years don’t matter. You know, you find yourself like – what does it matter?”
Blaque: “You are where you want to be. Where you are supposed to be.”
Ivy: “Exactly! But again the interesting part is I’ve always thought of myself as not having any gift. Because for me a gift was, you know, you are a good singer, you can do things that are tangible, seeable. Preacher. Actor. You know? You can make some art… So when I did start this journey of mine, I mean psychology was interesting because I think knowledge is powerful. Coz realising there’s different types of intelligence. Then I realised there’s things like interpersonal intelligence. There is intra-personal knowledge whereby you actually get to… you can connect with people easily. And for me that was shocking. So I think just coming to realise that I love what I do. This is actually a career.
We can’t all save the world, but we can actually do something for someone. I mean one person a day… doing that everyday is 30 people in a month!
And also what was co-incidental was my mum, after retirement, because she was a principal, she actually went to do on her masters. She was a counsellor in Kenya. But I don’t recall that being why I came into it. It was just an interesting mix. But she has also inspired me. She’s inspired me because, you know, she keeps going at it. And it’s about just making a difference in a person’s life. And even if it’s one person at a time – it’s that one person. We can’t all save the world, but we can actually do something for someone. I mean one person a day… doing that everyday is 30 people in a month!”
Gender-Based Violence – How can the Gospel Bring Hope?
Blaque: “Yah that’s good, that’s good. And I think just off of that, coz what we are gonna be talking about today, is… I think in a broad sense it’s darkness and light. Particularly what’s happening in the country (South Africa). And we have seen it across the world as well – it’s violence against women.
Whether it’s sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse etc. etc. And in all of that – and through that – how does the Gospel then shine and bring solutions and bring hope to that? So in one sense. I mean it’s a big topic! And we are not going to finish it today! And a lot of us engage with that particular topic. from a very abstract point of view. It’s headlines. It’s statistics. But what we wanted to do today is just put faces to those stats. Put faces to those headlines. You see these women. You speak to them and that’s the space that you are in. So we wanted to kinda have you walk us through what those experiences are. And where we want to land is does the Gospel seize an opportunity even in this darkness? To shine. To bring hope, to bring light. And so I think if you can walk us through – putting faces to some of those experiences for us.”
Ivy: “OK. You know Blaque, as you say, it’s a huge topic. But we can try! We can try… because when we speak of things like abuse or violence towards women, it really is a sensitive topic. But yes, like you say, it’s become quite concerning, not only in South Africa. You’ve seen the movements around the world.
Its Good that we are Talking about the Problem of Abuse
In one sense, like you say, it’s nice for me that we are having these conversations. Because, then that means there is space to do something. And in the past maybe it was not possible to always say these kind of things. So abuse is really quite a huge thing and for me, you know, even in just the years that I’ve had experience with clients, and especially women, it really is quite frightening. To be able to hear that for most women who come in for counselling abuse is part of their narrative. It’s part of their experience. And so even the stats, as frightening as they are, you know, you can imagine that’s just what is reported.
for most women who come in for counselling abuse is part of their narrative. It’s part of their experience.
Blaque: “Yeah. What about the stuff that’s not reported. Yeah, sure.”
What Is Abuse?
Ivy: “Exactly. You know a lot of people are quite scared, they are quite ashamed, they are quite… there is so much that goes into somebody who has gone through abuse. You know? And I think for me I would actually say abuse is a form of violation where there’s a power imbalance. Whether is it by strength or gender or position. It’s a place whereby one person feels that they can get away with harming your or abusing you or doing something to you and nothing will happen to them.
abuse is a form of violation where there’s a power imbalance. Whether is it by strength or gender or position.
Why Are Women the Primary Victims?
I guess why for women it’s prevalent is because, for the most part, the world has been quite patriarchal. And women generally… it’s almost like they don’t… for them there is this part whereby they have to abide by the standards. And even if you go to report the abuse its probably a male figure and they will probably belittle it because the perpetrator, in most cases, is male as well.
Where does Abuse Normally Happen?
The sad, sad part is that its often in relationships where there is trust. So, for most of the clients who come to see me you can find that it’s within the home. Its within the family. Its within relatives. Its people who have been entrusted with this person. And it could be anybody, Blaque, that’s the scariest part. It could be a father, a step-father, an uncle, you know, a brother. Somebody in the care position, in the home, who is looking after this person.
this person is supposed to be protecting me, and yet they are the one who is inflicting pain on me.
So for most of them you can imagine there is the confusion of thinking that this person is supposed to be protecting me, and yet they are the one who is inflicting pain on me. So there are so many layers to clients who come with abuse. Because then, you know, you’ve got to really tread so carefully. In the one sense they are dealing with “am I betraying this person? Am I gonna bring more disrepute to the family?” So it’s so complicated in many levels.
Abuse is Not Just Physical
But the one thing that’s really important to mention is that trust, trust has been completely shattered. Any form of feeling secure or feeling safe has gone! Coz this person has actually violated everything. Whether it is even in terms of verbal – coz abuse could be many things. So most people think of abuse as physical. That’s the obvious one because people see scars. And of course it’s terrible.
But again, if there is that kind of abuse, in most cases, especially when you have therapy or counselling, you realise that there’s other forms of abuse that have been happening. So that’s emotional or verbal or any form of economic control, financial. withholding… anything. So it’s been going on for a while, and yes it might not always end up in physical, but there’s been elements of abuse.”
The Way we Talk about Abuse can be De-Humanising
Blaque: “So these different kind of abuses are normally interlinked and one victim would most of the time go through a series of different kinds of abuse before they even get to you. To chat to you. Wow. And I think that’s one thing I wanted to just bring out in the conversation we are having. I think humanising people, coz again we… I don’t know even if the language victim is something that we’ve become very desensitised towards, and it’s just like “ah, you’re the victim.” But, we are not saying this is actually a human.
This is a woman who is made in the image of God. Who has feelings, who has thoughts, who has dreams
This is a woman who is made in the image of God. Who has feelings, who has thoughts, who has dreams and all of that. And so I think it’s part of what I wanted us to do today. How can you help us, who are not involved in the work you are involved in, or probably don’t even interact with people who do get abused. Or even if we do, we’re just not aware of it.
How do we, how can we humanise these women or people who are being abused. And not just talk of them as stats or headlines or numbers?”
Where there is Abuse, there is Trauma
Ivy: “Yes. So again, I think what you are saying is really nice. Because you use the word humanise. Because these people have been dehumanised. Their sense of self, sense of identity, sense of purpose. It’s like you question yourself on so many levels. And where there is abuse there is trauma. And remember trauma just affects your ability to cope! Ability to be functional. Because you start actually wondering, you know, then “who am I? What did I do to deserve this?” And they go through so many emotions.
You move from sadness to anger to depression. And they even develop other conditions. That’s the saddest part. You find people going into anxiety conditions, depression. Some people even resort to substances. Because how do I cope? I’m having nightmares, I’m having flashbacks. I can’t sleep so I take alcohol or, you know, whatever! Drugs. Even medication that is prescribed – whether it’s sleeping tablets – whatever it is.
How Can We Help? Walk With Somebody…
So you can imagine this person in a sense is completely broken. And they actually end up wondering “this must be something wrong with me. There must be something. I can’t be… maybe I did something to deserve this.” And so to be able to just, like you say, walk with somebody. See them as human and validate that. Encourage them. It’s really important.
Walk with somebody. See them as human and validate that. Encourage them. It’s really important.
And so yes, counselling is part of it. Whereby you try and walk that journey with somebody. Just try to really validate their feelings and experiences. Because again remember people are, you know like you said, some of the words also we use… ‘victim’… it’s tricky.
Be Supportive – Even if you Can’t Relate
I know some of these things get academic – and right now people are going to survivor rather than victim. Because victim actually connotes the idea that there is something that you did to be a target. And that’s where you find stories of even people come to counselling and tell you that they’ve, maybe if it’s say for example if it’s something like rape, it’s not the first time. So that’s where they start labelling themselves as victim. And it must be something that they do for this, you know, or something that’s wrong about them.
as human beings, we don’t have to experience something to be able to say it’s true or to acknowledge it.
So, I think as human beings, we don’t have to experience something to be able to say it’s true or to acknowledge it. And that’s where we go wrong. We kind of feel that something is only true or is only valid if I’ve gone through it. So if someone comes and tells you “this is what happened to me” you are like, “oh, I don’t know…” you can really invalidate their experience. And what that does is it re-traumatises the person.”
Blaque: “Yeah! Because I can only imagine – if I’ve gone through trauma and I come to you to speak to you, seeking some form of help and then you are questioning what I’ve gone through – yeah. I think it’s more traumatic. Instead of actually just listening and trying to understand exactly what it is that’s going on there.”
Ivy: “Sure. So, I mean I was thinking of the case of Uyinene and I just heard a quote that her mother said at her funeral. That she warned Uyinene about every other place except the Post Office. And I think just even that one statement kinda highlights the truth that you don’t have to just be in the dark corners and the clubs or wherever we typically think abuse happens. But this stuff is happening everywhere.”
What can Men Do To Stand Against Abuse?
Blaque: “So, how can you speak to… and I know we’ve framed the conversation in saying that perpetrators are normally men, but it’s just that’s the number of cases indicate that. That most of the time it’s likely men. How can you help men who say “I wanna stand up. This is wrong. This shouldn’t be happening.” Wherever they are. Because you might say “I don’t go to a club” as a man – or whatever the case may be. But you are at work. You are at church. You are at the playground – you’re at the mall. And clearly this could happen anywhere. How would you encourage a man who says “I actually wanna do something, stand up. Be aware. What should I be looking out for? How can I step in and get my hands muddy?”
Love your Neighbour!
Ivy: “OK. I will keep referring to the word that you used, because I think it really is key. In terms of, you know, humanising someone; thinking of the other person. And even as – if we think about the two most important commandments in the Bible – where they say “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” (Matthew 22:37) and the second one is “love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) You know that kinda like sums it up. Because somebody, anybody! That person is your neighbour. You know? Is your neighbour! And most of us have got sisters, mothers, daughters, something! Even friends, And beyond that, like I’m saying, it’s your neighbour.
Men Should Call Out Abuse
So, as a male, yes, I honestly believe that it would be nice to see men who would be able to stand up for this. To call it out. You know? Rather than maybe, in most cases unfortunately, as human beings, and it happens to all of us, when something happens we tend to get defensive. And we want to defend against it. But what I am saying is validate their experience. It really truly is happening.
Think how do I call it out? And don’t be complicit – even in the discussions – saying things that objectify women.
And it’s not about it being at night, or like you say in an alley or some dingy place. It’s happening everywhere and anywhere. It could be in the workplace, in the homes, in the day… It happens actually in any part of society. So, for the men who want to stand up for this it’s just about thinking about each person as your neighbour. Think how do I call it out? And don’t be complicit – even in the discussions – saying things that objectify women. Things like dressing. You know I have actually been in a place whereby it’s teenage boys and they say “but girls shouldn’t dress that way – in short skirts.”
Blaque: “Sjoe. 14 year olds? 13 year olds saying that?”
It is Never OK to Verbally Objectify Someone
Ivy: “Yes! And you can imagine it’s the society. It’s what they are hearing from other men. Because dress is not complicit to consent. You know what I mean? And so you’ve got to navigate and talk through with them and say “no, its never OK.” It’s never OK – whether its verbally or making fun of anybody – you know? And it starts from there. Making fun. Objectifying. Whether it’s the body or something else. All these things happen. And it’s kinda like these kind of narratives are almost a right of male passage.”
Blaque: “Sure, exactly.”
We are told its ‘boy talk’.’Locker room talk.’ But then when you meet somebody you feel it’s OK to touch them inappropriately or to proposition them. That is harassment.
Ivy: “So it could be something as innocuous as discussions which are considered silly. You’ve had them even with the politicians in America. We are told its ‘boy talk’.’Locker room talk.’ But then when you meet somebody you feel it’s OK to touch them inappropriately or to proposition them. That is harassment. Then it will go further, because then you feel, if you’ve… you know, you are stronger, or if you are the boss, or if you are the caregiver.
Don’t Be Complicit
So as males really that’s where it comes in to say that from the onset, from the discussions, don’t be complicit. And it goes all the way to the fact that if you see somebody actually going though something like that. Walk with them. That’s what is a neighbour. Walk with them. Walk alongside with them. Try and be that support structure.”
Blaque: “No, that’s good. I really appreciate that. And I think it’s really insightful to know that by the time we get to the murder or the rape, that’s the worst form of harassment. But it doesn’t start there. And I mean if 13 year old boys are talking like that now, what kind of society are we building? These guys are supposed to be the future leaders.
Where do you work?”
Ivy: “Well, at the moment I am just about to complete my studies. But I am still registered as a counsellor. But by next year I should be registered as a counselling psychologist. So at the moment I do work still in the Midrand area and I am fortunate to have Christ Church. And as part of the counselling ministry it means I still see clients – at least from the church. And so it’s generally for now it’s just in the Midrand area.”
Blaque: “Sure. I remember in one interview you did you said you also work with students. In university. How much of that work are you involved in – on campus?”
Ivy: “So that was actually as part of my training. So, in the universities you do get to… the department is there… and you actually get to sit in day after day and see all the students. So for me actually it was quite a shock. Because I have kids who are almost getting there. And to be able to work with students – these young adults who are so fresh from home, who are so trusting – and these things happen even on campus. You know. In Res. In their environments.
In Johannesburg you actually get people who go through very traumatic incidents of abuse. So at that time, for the last 2 years, 2-3 years, a lot of my work has been with the university students.
The Role of Students in Combatting Abuse
And I mean that’s where we’ve seen a lot of riots. We’ve seen a lot of movements, uprisings and all of that. Particularly trying to fight against this kind of behaviour in our society. And I think they’ve been a very vital voice for us to actually even have conversations. Because I think before the students took to the streets we spoke about these things, but in our closed doors. It didn’t seem like anybody wanted to do anything. Even on public platforms nobody would even be brave enough to come and talk about this. So I wanna just thank them for braving up and stepping up.
Blaque: “Yah. I think it’s interesting because I think that the generation is also stepping, up to be honest with you. I mean if you think of, like you are saying, all the “Fees must fall” and all these movements. And it’s nice because you know I guess when you are young you have energy! And you’ve got a cause. And it’s nice to see people being so clued up on social justice. And just saying “we are not gonna take this!” And you are right, between that and social media they are the ones who are causing the biggest movements. So I think they really must be applauded.”
How Should Christians Respond to Abuse?
Blaque: “I think as we get to the end of our conversation I just wanted to kind of think about Christians who are watching this who have what we believe is by far the most glorious message in the world. And that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The only power that can transform the world. And we have it in our hands as Christians.
How do we not just take the Gospel and shelve it and say “well all of this stuff is happening on social media or out there – we are not gonna get involved.” But how do we actually take that glorious Gospel, get our hands dirty, particularly with the conversation that we’re having. So how can you help Christians navigate these murky waters?”
if you’ve heard the good news you honestly have the responsibility. We are told it’s a great commission to go out there and be the salt and the light.
Ivy: “Yah. I mean I think you’ve said it well. That truly the hope, the good news is the Gospel. And as Christians we’ve got actually that capacity. Like Christ said, when you light a lamp you don’t put it under the bed. So, if you’ve heard the good news you honestly have the responsibility. We are told it’s a great commission to go out there and be the salt and the light.
Look to Jesus as an Example of What to Do
However that comes with a lot of tact, with a lot of… a little bit more people skills! And you are right, it’s not about just shoving the Gospel as well. It’s about… and I think we’ve got a wonderful person in terms of Jesus to see, when you read the Gospel and how he interacted with people, he actually got into it. He jumped into it and practically – always spiritually encouraging. He walked the walk.
Affirm that our Identity is in Christ
And so as Christians we know that ultimately our hope is just in Christ. And he is the only one who can heal the brokenness. And we know that source of brokenness. Again that’s the thing we know that this world is broken. And we know that the true healing comes from being in Christ. And again, with things like abuse, remember we’ve said that their identity is completely shattered. In terms of how they see themselves – whether it’s a mum, a woman, anything – a daughter, a sister. And as Christians this is why it’s so critical because then we realise that it’s about affirming that your identity is in Christ.
It’s not about what somebody has said about you or done to you. And yes, that is terrible, but its about really being able to walk that path and say that “it’s Christ who makes more of us.”
It’s not about your experiences. It’s not about what somebody has said about you or done to you. And yes, that is terrible, but its about really being able to walk that path and say that “it’s Christ who makes more of us.” So it’s not about thinking less of ourselves or thinking about those things that define us.
Get Sensitive and Get Practical
However, we still need to get really sensitive and practical. And it’s about just being able, like Christ, to weep with those who weep as well. And being, maybe, for the most part, sitting with somebody. Just being there with them. Encouraging them. So that they can actually be able to… you validate the humanity.
It’s not just about “oh what do you need?” Or you know, “quick, quick, quick” or “let’s go straight and…” also like not too much of spiritualising. So it’s about doing both. We know the Gospel is encouraging – so use it as an encouraging tool! But on the other hand, think practical. What does this person need at the moment? And especially if you see somebody who’s behaviour has just changed. That ought to tell you that something’s not right.”
Blaque: “Yeah, something is up.”
Listen First, then go to Scripture as the Holy Spirit Leads
Ivy: “So, you know, sit down. Hear them out. Hear their story. Because that’s exactly what it is when we are counselling. You want to be able to give them the space. To really go through their story. Go through their emotions. And then as the Holy Spirit leads encourage them through scripture. Let them understand that God loves them. And God is there for them and they… God’s purpose for us still stands. Whatever it is.
Walk the Talk
And the practical part of it: be involved. What does this person need? In whatever small ways if you can, if the church can. As a Christian. If this person maybe is down go there – take them a meal. Call them out if they have kids. Take the kids – you know? Like just be human! There is really no other ways. So as Christians, knowing what we know about brokenness and the hope in Christ, we really can do both ways. We can encourage them through scripture and we can also walk the talk.”
Blaque: “That’s good. Thank you so much Ivy. If you can, if somebody’s watching this and they might be somebody who’s gone through abuse and they want to get a hold of you or get in touch with you, where can people contact you? If they want some counselling?”
Are you Being Abused?
Ivy: For anyone who’s going through this it’s important to really say that you are not alone and nothing that happened is your fault. Nothing at all. There is nothing anyone can say to you for you to think that you are a victim. And just to say that there is hope. There is help. And it is a long journey, and it is a process, but there is hope and there is healing.
For me, I do work from Christ Church Midrand and on the Christ Church Midrand website we have the counselling support ministry. There is a link there where you can always click. In counselling and the other counsellors are there. I myself – I am also part of the counsellors who are listed on it. And its simple you can just book into it and ask for… to meet or for a session. Yeah and you can find me there.
But truly to say anyone who’s been through this there is hope.”
Blaque: “Amen! Amen for that. Thank you so much Ivy. Really appreciate it. Thank you so much for watching this. I hope it was encouraging. Hopefully you got something from it and I do pray that God by His Holy Spirit may help all of us, as we try and navigate the brokenness in this world with the Gospel. So with that said thank you so much again for watching this episode. Check out our other episodes. Subscribe to our Podcast. And obviously there’s other resources on the website that will be helpful for various things. So with that said, grace and peace. Thank you.”