Given that this was the third Sunday in Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I decided to include some information about it in my sermon this morning. I did not find the suggestions in the Reflections on the Lectionary for October 16 very helpful, especially given that the page lacked any comments on the Gospel.
I was talking about what Paul, Silas, and Timothy were saying in the epistle lesson (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10) about how imitators become examples.
A child who observes battering behavior, even if not struck herself is a victim of domestic abuse. In addition to the trauma of seeing a loved one beating and a loved one being beaten, the child is handicapped by the poor example given for how to handle frustration, disappointment, anger, or disagreement. These are very sad, long-term consequences of domestic violence, and they produce adults who may tend to perpetuate the same behavior they observed.
The flip side is that parents who are at their wits' end in dealing with frustrations and disappointments, and are asking themselves "What is God trying to teach me with all this, that I have not learned already?" might want to remember that God might be using their example of patience and appropriate handling of difficulties as an example for someone else.