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God hates divorce but He hates abuse more

Yvonne Mooka

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‘I have never recommended or prescribed divorce. How could I as a minister of the Gospel? The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce. I have on more than one occasion counseled and aided women in leaving an abusive husband. – Paige Patterson, Southern Baptist Church

There is more to the scriptural picture behind ‘I hate divorce.’ I grew up as a Baptist, actually a member of Berean Baptist Church in Kanye. Although I respect Dr. Patterson’s right to disagree, I doubt that this is the presiding opinion among all Baptist pastors. Patterson’s refusal to acknowledge abuse as a legitimate breach of the marriage covenant convinces a battered wife to stay in an abusive home. Domestic abuse is cyclical. Even when pastors, counselors, and victim’s advocates intentionally intervene, abused women often find the fear of isolation, financial struggle, single parenting, violent retribution, and a host of other factors to be a hill too steep to climb. They feel all alone, rejected and lose themselves in the process.

Women and children are being oppressed by their husbands and fathers. According to the Gender-based violence indicator study conducted in 2012, more than 67 in every 100 women in Botswana have experienced some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime. A high proportion of men (44 percent) admitted to perpetrating violence against women. Nearly one third (29 percent) experienced Intimate Partner Violence in the 12 months to the prevalence survey that formed the flagship research in this study. In contrast, only 1.2 percent of Batswana women reported cases of gender-based violence to the police in the same period.

As we embark on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls, allow me to challenge a popular Scripture often used by church leaders. Malachi 2:16a—“‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel …” This is true because it is what God is saying. However, from my reporting, hardly a week passes by without a case of abuse against women and girls. Rape. Murder. Domestic violence. Abuse is ugly. And sadly, it happens to women even in the church. This includes pastors’ wives. I have had the privilege of interviewing some sheltered at one of the centres in Botswana. These are women who were told ‘God hates divorce.’ Some are not necessarily bommamoruti but ordinary Christian women married to Christian men.

The guy is prayerful at church but a monster at home. His wife and children fear him, yet he shakes ceilings and moves mountains with his prayers at church. His wife is a punching bag. The church leadership is aware but she is hopeless and helpless because ‘God hates divorce.’ The same God who hates divorce also strongly hates abuse. Abuse is when a marriage crosses the line from relationship to enslavement. Marriage is meant to reflect Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32). However, when the picture begins to look like Pharaoh and the Israelites, there is a serious problem. A woman beaten, verbally assaulted, cut off from friends, and/or financially isolated is no longer a wife but a slave.

The defining act of the Old Testament is the Exodus: a deliverance from oppression. The fearful plagues that befell Egypt were in direct response to the ruthless enslavement Pharaoh inflicted on the people of Israel (Ex. 1:13). We even see the hardhearted cycle of abuse as Pharaoh feels remorse and promises reform, only to tighten his grip. Ultimately, God crushed Pharaoh and his army between the walls of his judgment. If abusers want to know how God feels about them, they need only look at Pharaoh’s fate. Let’s discuss this further next week.

I am praying for you that your faith will not fail.
Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
Twitter: @yvonnemooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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Ladies, go ahead and spoil your kings

Yvonne Mooka

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FEBRUARY is the month of love and the hopeless romantics must be looking forward to nothing but love, romance and a little chocolate indulgence and all the good things.

On Valentine’s Day, observed on February 14 each year, lovers spoil each other and express just how much they love and appreciate their better half. Often times, as women we are the ones that get pampered. It’s as if the day belongs to us. Let me challenge my sisters to put their men first this Valentine’s. There is so much pressure on our men to make us happy. Why not spoil him this year? I will assist you with a few ideas.

Simplicity goes a long way with men. Women like diamonds, and sparkles, but men like kindness and thoughtfulness. When out with your friends and his coke and cup come, open it up for him and pour his drink, put some napkins next to him, add the sugar to his tea. The man’s sole job is to take care of you in life, why not take care of them in whatever way you can?  The most important thing a woman can be to a man, is that bright ray of sunshine in his life. After a long’s day work, men want to come home, or meet someone smiling with a positive attitude to lift his spirits.

He most definitely doesn’t want to meet a nag. Spoil your man and make him feel adored and be the smile in his life. The moment he sees you he puts that work worry behind him for a few hours and focuses on you. That way both of you gain out of the relationship, as opposed to coming home to a heated argument and sleeping mad at each other. You will just wake up more frustrated and the awful cycle will begin.

Men love soccer, basketball, or whatever sport seems to be trending nowadays. A super easy way to spoil your man is to pay attention to his favourite player and team, because that way you can personalise something meaningful to him. Opt for his favorite player’s jersey, instead of a perfume or a regular shirt, and print his name and lucky number on it. Just like we like jewellery, they like jerseys. When two people meet, there is a period in which he meets your friends, you meet his friends and the little acquaintances begin.

Why don’t you exert the extra effort and spoil your man by building a relationship with his close friends? Before you came along, these people were very important to him, and if they are important to him, they should be extremely important to you. Men love to see that their women care and appreciate. If he is picking on weight, go to the gym together. Be his motivation. Use words of affirmation to show him you’re his girl. Speak about progress and results.

Tell him you are thankful for the way he executes his fatherly duties, his providing for you, his efforts to make you happy and assure him of your support. Be his number one cheerleader.
Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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It’s a shame: Death has been commercialised

Matshediso Fologang

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This past weekend there were five funerals in the village part that I live.

Men, women and youth thronged the homesteads and the graveyard where funeral rites were conducted. As I sat amongst men old and young, I could not help but recall the phobia that I had of death and all the funeral rites that followed. Through the ceremonies I watched the mannerisms and the accompanying conduct of everybody around. I recalled how revered these ceremonies were in my youthful days. The adult men sitting near me expressed concern over the current generation’s funerals and associated rituals.

In the days when I was brought up certain things that are done were unheard of. The way people behaved was far different from that of the current generation. In the early days death (loso) was observed and conducted with much order and respect. The rituals associated with the burial ceremony were conducted with awe. These days things have changed. This time it would be unfair to blame the young people for the change in our practices. When I grew up then there were no mortuaries and funerals were done immediately. The ceremony was simple and conducted with less costs. Those of the family who were outside the village would always find the funeral done and completed.

In the current era funerals have to be carried out after all the relatives and the entire extended have been informed. As they wait for the arrival of far-off relatives, there is a feeding and catering to the entire village. This is an extra burden on the family. In the days past, whatever catering and food preparations if any, were minimal and cheap. Whatever was prepared for the people was given to the deceased family. The whole village shared the processes leading to the burial.

Death was a communal activity. This time things have changed. The funeral preparations and associated ceremonies have become very costly. The costs associated with death are far exhorbitant than those incurred by our parents. As families wait for a week or so before the actual burial it means they alone have to bear the burden. What has changed is the expense relating to the coffins and the use of marquees.

The families have begun a culture of hiring all the other things that were not known as I grew up. Death has been commercialized. As the families want to do what the “Jones” do next door, people have been lured by insurance companies and mortuary operators to join schemes that will provide for all the necessities for a well-funded funeral. This has the tendency to stretch people’s budgets. There are no longer simple funeral ceremonies.

What is even worse is that these modern funerals have also in a way become fashion shows. People come to the funerals dressed to kill and therefore unlike in the past many come there to show off their “labels” and the latest gadgets. The attendant burial activities at the graveyard are now a thing for the less privileged. The fashion mongers just look on from a distance while their heads are dipped into their phones. Yet these guys are the first to disregard protocol at feeding points once the burial has been concluded. Shame on us!

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