Written by Nathan Hoff, pastor of Trinity San Pedro Church and Board Member of Courage Worldwide
David had a bandwidth of affections. I say “had” on purpose. It seems his affections became anesthetized after his adultery. He had passion. David was passionate in the worship of God and in the love of a woman. He stood up for the underdog. It is like he was born that way. He had passionate courage that even the King lacked, in the face of the giant blasphemer Goliath. He was passionate about the poor man with a little ewe lamb in the prophetic parable Nathan told him. When he realized that he was the man—the broken murderous adulterous unjust man—he couldn’t say anything. I wonder if he could feel anything—at least for a while.
It wasn’t long after his own adultery, that David found out about Tamar. You can read it, and weep about it in 2 Samuel 13. Tamar was sexually exploited by her half-brother. Right before her abuser attacked her she said, “No, my brother do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel” (2 Samuel 13.12-13). When dulled David found out it says, “He was very angry” (2 Samuel 13.21). What it doesn’t say is what is most grievous. David’s anger is a passive anger. Tamar called her brother’s actions what they were—outrageous. If David agreed, he kept it to himself. The lie Tamar believed could have been addressed by her dad. David could have run to her locked room and heart, he could have kneeled down before her and told her the truth:
Tamar Tamar—Dear Dear Tamar
“Where can you go with your shame” You ask?
You can come to me. This shame does not separate you from me.
I am guilty. I need your forgiveness.
This is not your shame to bear.
This is guilt, and is carried by the one who exploited you.
And it is carried by me, the one who opened you up to violation.
Against you, have we sinned, and done what is evil.
His sins of commission.
My sins of omission.
Forgive me daughter.
You are right about what happened to you–it is outrageous.
But David was quiet. Outrage is like currency. When too much of it is printed it is devalued. When it is never felt — when it is never spent, it is valueless. Outrage is important because some things are outrageous and the only fitting response is outrage. Daily outrage dilutes outrage. When everything is outrageous then nothing is outrageous, and when it is summoned, it is too diluted to be useful. It has become just noise. Cheap outrage is the $.99 Store kind. Easy to buy, easy to break, easy to throw away. Expensive outrage changes the world.
Pictured: Courage House Tanzania
We received an update from Courage House in Tanzania, our precious partners who make a home and a family out of girls who have been in Tamar-type situations.
This is my friend, Sami Cain with a girl welcomed home at Courage House this year. In the words of Sami’s mom, Carolyn, “This baby girl is 12 years old, is HIV+ and has been trafficked since she was 5 years old. She was in juvenile jail the last 6 months just to keep her safe. She has high-level trauma and ties to witchcraft and needs healing. Please pray.”
Do you feel outrage rising as you hear about a 12-year-old girl who has been exploited for more than half of her short life? Is it outrageous that juvenile jail is a relief for a girl like this? Not only did these men steal from her, but they gave her HIV.
So what do we do with our outrage? David sat and seethed in his outrage. He left the perpetrator alone in his guilt. He left the victim alone in her shame. He felt outrage, and did nothing.
Maybe one of the most dangerous habits that is currently forming us is feeling outrage, and doing nothing. Cheap outrage.
I am outraged about what happened to this daughter because it is outrageous. My kids are older now, but I have 5-year-old girls in my life, and 12-year-olds too. And, I can’t imagine that the entire time they should be in Kindergarten through Sixth Grade, they are being traumatized day after day after day.
So, what do we do with our outrage?
1. Pray (Ora). Karl Barth “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” Now its time for imprecatory psalms, lament psalms, intercessory psalms, confession psalms. We bring this to God through the intercession of Jesus. He is ascended to the powerful hand of God Almighty. “Mercy Lord! For your precious daughters rescued and in need of deliverance and healing! And for those who are still not home!” Jenny Williamson, the founder of Courage prayed years ago, “Lord, why don’t you do anything about children being sold for sex?”
2. Work (Labora). God replied to Jenny, “Why don’t YOU do anything about children sold for sex?” So she did. And, she does. And we are honored to join her and Stephanie and Joel and Sami, and a host of other staff and allies in Tanzania who don’t deal with their outrage passively. But, they show up to Tamar’s bedside and like Sami, they hug a 12-year-old girl with HIV and say, “I know who you can go to with your shame. I know One who can heal you. He calls you precious daughter.”
I have problems talking to people about money. But, not when it comes to Courage. Give! Sacrificially! We have raised the money to buy and make a BEAUTIFUL home for these girls. But, we are $5K (or so) short a month in the work in Tanzania. Believe me, we are working hard to figure out how to make the work there sustainable. I have a few eye-witnesses that can bear witness to how far a dollar goes in this important work.
Pictured is Pastor Nathan Hoff (left) and his father Pastor Herb Hoff (right) who both served at Courage House Tanzania in January 2019
Are you outraged? Does your heart break for these vulnerable ones? If so, here are a few things you can do: pray, give financially or host an awareness/fundraiser event. Email us at info@courageworldwide and we will send you everything you need!
Did you watch our latest powerful testimony video? Click here to watch.
Blessings and Happy New Year from the team at Courage Worldwide.