"God Does Not Want You to Be a Punching Bag"

I think I mentioned that I’m getting married, one of these minutes. Still working out the details, and all that, but one detail that we recently worked out was pre-marital seminars with the Catholic Church. We did 7 hours of Pre-Cana Counselling in one day, with various volunteers from the local diocese. (I’m Catholic, and my future wife is not. But, she is very understanding about my desire for a Catholic service.)

Lots of stuff and information was delivered to us. One quote really stood out. A Franciscan Brother who works with the Marriage Tribunal for Annulment proceedings made it absolutely, abundantly clear to the whole room that if a marriage turns out to be an abusive one, it is not a valid one and repeated a couple times that “God does not want you to be a punching bag.” It didn’t matter whether that was for emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. “God does not want you to be a punching bag!”

The Catholic church, I must admit, has given some people I know some bad advice a few decades ago, and I’m glad to see that’s changed. I’ve had this phrase bouncing around my head all weekend. It’s something that’s true in your work life, as well. If you work for abusive people, God does not want you to be a punching bag. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, get out because God does not want you to be a punching bag.

Canon law, I think, should include this phrase somewhere. Why doesn’t the Baltimore Catechism include this simple, important idea? Why can’t we add it to the Bible somewhere, in one of the Letters of Paul? There’s been so much funny business with the Word of God as it gets translated in and out of so many dead languages and toyed with by new generations with such good intention behind their changes, I think there’s room for a simple addition that “God does not want you to be a punching bag.”

“God Does Not Want You To Be a Punching Bag” belongs on T-Shirts. Such a simple, clear message, and so many useful social applications as a dogma. When one finds oneself in an abusive situation, getting out is okay.

Jesus was the martyr, so you don’t have to be one when it means is using you as a punching bag.

I certainly like it.

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