Without some kind of personal relationship, intervention is difficult and risky.
—Marshall Shelley

A pastor encountered one of life's little dramas playing itself out as he entered the YMCA: a toddler wearing a wet bathing suit was coming out the door from the swimming pool area, and her mother was saying, "You are such a coward!"

The child was shivering, and her cheeks were wet—from tears or the pool? The pastor couldn't tell. She simply stood there shaking as her mother continued, "It's the same every week. You always make your daddy and me ashamed. Sometimes I can't believe you're my daughter."

The pastor found himself thinking, I wonder what the penalty is for hitting a woman?

"What she was doing was more hurtful, more brutal than a beating," he reflected. "It was emotional child abuse, and if it continues, that toddler will grow up feeling worthless, which will lead to all kinds of destructive behavior."

If that woman had been a member of your congregation, what would you have done? Most ...

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