The Forty Lashes of Blame

Words of blame, of shame
Fall across my shoulders
Like the lashes of a whip
As I cry out in pain.

Those who pronounce
My sentence declare
Abuse is the only way
To teach me to do right.

Those who wield the whip
Declare that love for me
Gives strength to their arm
As they only want my best.

Those who hear my cries
Call out for me to find peace,
To find in the lashing of pain
The lesson God is teaching me.

Each mistake another lash,
But each success unacknowledged.
No relief in doing well
Only blame, only shame.

The absolute value
In math is positive
The absolute value
For blame is negative.

Is there nothing good in me?
No redeeming grace to end
The torment of the lashes
And to call forth compassion?

Those who walk by my broken form
Tell me to heal myself; tell me
That my bleeding body and weeping voice
Must not touch the whole, make them unclean.

I cry out:
I am wounded.
I need help.
I need justice.

They lash out:

Be quiet!  Don’t you know?
To be wounded when they whip you:  sin.
To need help when you are broken: sin.
To long for justice:  unforgivable sin.

Know your role.
Know your place.
Your role: the scapegoat.
Your place:  the desert.

Alone in the barren land,
Your job to die, not to cry.
Why do you return?
A voice crying out in the wilderness!

God does not use abuse to teach.
Can a good tree bear bad fruit?
Don’t preach for the abused to find a lesson in abuse!
Can the thirsty drink the sands of a mirage?

Christ came in order to bind up
the wounds of the broken-hearted.
Christ does not bind and flay the broken-hearted,
Nor gag them to rescue the abuser.

The voice of the bleeding man cries out:
The blood spilled on the ground cries out:
The voice of one in the wilderness cries out:
The unsilenced scapegoat returns and cries out:

Christ’s body!  Unbind and bind up!
Do you follow Christ?  Knot the cords that bound.
Believers!  Wield the whip against abusers not abused.
Church!  Drive out those who wield the whip to drive away those Christ seeks.

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