I got a real wake up call this weekend.
Before, I was messing around with flower beds and laundry. Before, I was praying about my daughters’ school, and checking off the Zim trip list. Normal life things. Then I watched the movie, The Stoning of Soraya M.
This jolt of reality blew me far beyond bills and mission trips.
The movie is based on one woman’s true story of a husband who wants to discard his wife. He wants to take another wife, and is legally able to do so, but he doesn’t want to support two women. So he masterminds a false accusation of adultery against his present wife. In this case, he is the actual adulterer. But because he is a man, he can make this charge. And in the culture she lives in, she has one of two impossible tasks: if she is charged with adultery, she must prove her innocence. If she charges her husband, she must prove his guilt. Always the law works in the favor of the man. And always, in the name of Allah, the village is to be purged of sin, not of the sin of two people, but of the one woman. One innocent woman who is mother to four children.
At the end of Soraya’s life, her hands were bound behind her back, she was buried up to her waist, and the men of her village took turns throwing stones at her until she died from the wounds. Not large stones so as to quickly kill her. But smaller stones that ripped and broke and tortured her for hours. These men included her father, her husband, her own manipulated, adolescent sons, and the holy men of the village. Appalling.
I have never seen a stoning before. In my mind this is an Old Testament action that I had conveniently dismissed. My New Testament sensibilities were far too tender to dwell on such things. Or so I thought. This is not Old Testament at all, nor women alone. Stephen was stoned. Paul was stoned and left for dead, yet he survived.
I watched in horror and utter disbelief that people you know and live with in a small village could bring themselves to do this to their neighbor. Finally I had to fast forward the DVD. I couldn’t bear it, even though I knew full well this is the plight of women all over the world. Her story represents thousands of women.
There are women all over the world who barely survive under the living hell of Islam and other degrading world views. There are women all over the world, and under our noses, who suffer under the violence of men, who are victims of the sexual perversion of men. There are cultures and religions and governments that reduce women to a class of people less than animals. And what are we to do about it?
As I wrestled all night, I kept asking God, “Where are You in all this?”
When I woke up, I went and re-read the story of the woman rescued from being stoned. Now with the picture of the mob’s self-righteous rage in my mind, I can see the power and courage Jesus poured out in her defense. Especially since she was not innocent. But also especially since she was a woman.
I know I have just opened up a can of worms. The issues of Islam, abuse, male dominance, victimized women. And I am glad for it. We can no longer play along or play dumb, or play dress up Barbie when our sisters are being slaughtered or enslaved. We must answer the call to shine as God’s City on a Hill.
Can we sit silently, selfishly, by and do nothing? Can you believe, like the Germans during the Holocaust, that this will never come into your own backyard? Today, begin with prayer. Not for your life, but the lives of your sisters all over the world. Pray that strongholds will be broken and the “captives set free.” Get informed. Watch the movie. Check out World Relief on human trafficking. Just shine. For heaven’s sake, literally, shine.