Religion has many functions at various stages of life. It is a guidepost from early life until the end. It is a direction, a map. But it is not a guarantee of anything. Religion has corrupted as much as it has saved. Clearly, there must be something more than the religion itself that must be our goal; nevertheless, until something better comes along, it is the best life has to offer in setting our lives in a good direction. In early life, in youth, the function of religion is the formation of conscience. Religion sets the standards that mark the path. Every religion, according to the Universal Code of Ethics adopted by the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1999, accepts four non-negotiables: not to steal, not to lie, not to murder, and not to exploit another sexually. These are the guidelines of the good life. Early in life a male could, if not properly influence at home, have church and/or religion as his guide in establishing good moral behavior. Although corruption is rampant in most religions, most religious males enter manhood untainted by the temptation of corruption.
While church is not the answer to domestic violence, it does give guidance and often holds workshops for couples in troubled marriages/relationships. Most statistics show that Black women are murdered by husbands and/or lovers more often than women of other races. Such facts lead to the question of why Black men kill their women more. The easy answer would be that Black men are more out of control of their temper, but the deeper answer lies in his spirit. Self-control is an art. Men must learn to master this art otherwise there is little hope of having a relationship without violence and abuse because both are instinctual in man and must be fought against with godly rule and will power. Proverbs 25:28 states: "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
A city, especially in olden times, was a place where people were congregated for mutual advantage and protection. Marauders were ready to plunder and so the wall of the city was very much in the nature of preservation from harm, that the inhabitants might be able to protect their valuables, their rights, their interests. For a like purpose God, in creating man, gave him a will. It is one of the strong elements of man's likeness to his Creator. We may have a will, however weak our bodies or however strong our passions. That will may be strong whether we are brought into outward subjection to others or not. Our bodies may be enslaved, but our wills cannot be enslaved without our permission. Our will is something that cannot be taken from us; but it needs to be defended; it needs to be repaired; it needs to be made strong in weak places. Those who do not attend to this and do not strengthen the will where they find special liability to assaults are sure to have it much broken down so that, by and by, they reach a place where they have no will and no self-control. Just as in a devastated city where the protecting walls have been destroyed and the enemy finds easy access, so the human being who yields to sin and various weaknesses and assaults of the adversary, such as war against sexual discretion, his own family and/or wife, has lost his real manhood and is in danger of losing everything beginning with his soul.
There are many churches have women ministries and male ministries where the ability to love, respect, and understand each other is (or should be) taught. Although living together without the benefit of marriage is discouraged, the fact is that it exist heavily throughout the world, our communities and even within the church. Therefore couples cohabiting must also be taught. One of the basic foundations of a viable relationship is a good understanding, which will inevitably decrease the likelihood of violence and homicide against each other. For example: Many black women are too in-your-face mouthy fail to understand that black men have a low tolerance for being disrespected. Respect is very important to a man. When a woman disrespects a man, especially repeatedly, his love for her flies out the window and it comes easier for him to assault her. And when a woman feels unloved, her likelihood of adultery or breaking up increases, which often is when the path to violence and/or murder, enters to relationship. Of course, this is an assumption on my part that black women’s mouth and disrespect often puts them in harms way. This assumption is based on the fact that black women have the highest rate of being murdered by their husband or boyfriend that any other race. If I remember correctly, by Rihanna’s own admission, it was her mouth that caused Chris Brown to lose his cool.
As we grow in religion it becomes a social guide. We learn how to respect and to love one another. These basic necessities of a good relationship is not often taught in the home. Many black children never witnessed love and respect in the home because most were raised in broken homes. Most black girls never had a good relationship with their real fathers and grew up hearing older women talk down about men. A deep-seated disrespect is ingrained in these girls and bobs it’s ugly head in relationships. In men without guidance the ulgy head of violence bobs up whenever he feels his right to respect being violated. A good man ministry can help him harness this rage. A good woman/man ministry creates the standards that measures the quality of the soul as well as the behaviors of the person. It becomes an attitude toward life. Some things are holy, some things are not. It is holy to have a good relationship. And when the struggles of the world begin to test who you are at the core, we have something to which we cling, even as we drift a bit from the moorings of our teachings. All the absolutes begin to be tested. We begin to understand that religion, love, and respect is more of a deep-down struggle to believe and to do than simply a way of acting, sterile on paper while full of thorns in the flesh.
Finally, as we become more mature in religion and well-settled in undrestanding, it is clear that the moral direction we have followed paved the path to a good destiny and family unit. We look back and understand just how unimportant the worldly issues were that once rocked our world with argument and violence. Religion itself is many times older in years than the wisest person alive. The wisdom of man cannot stand against the wisdom of God. There is no one on earth that can compete with the proven methods of following a good religion, which is the foundation of a good family. Through the love of God more men would realize that their strength and real manhood is not in the power in which they can strike but in the power in which they can love and the self-control they can express.
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