You & Your Family

Are you fighting your good fight?

Sep 2012    

WE IN SINGAPORE live in a relatively peaceful corner of the world. We have been reasonably blessed with harmonious relationships in our interaction with the various segments of the community. Our last civil strife was in the 60s, beyond the living memory of most of us.

The state of harmony, however, cannot be said to exist within some homes. In 2010, the Society Against Family Violence and the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore announced the preliminary results of a survey on the prevalence of violence against women in Singapore.

This is the first island-wide survey of its kind done here and it joins 11 other countries which have conducted a similar study using the same set of standardised tools.

The survey of 2,000 women found that 9.2 per cent said that they experienced physical violence, sexual violence or both. Many of these victims of violence suffer abuse repeatedly and have not sought help. What makes the findings even more unsettling is that the perpetrators were usually their spouses or partners.

It must be said that the prevalence rate for women in Singapore is low compared to many other countries. For example, in one survey in the United States, it reported that as many as one out of every two women sitting in the church pew may be a victim of domestic violence. The authors found no significant correlation between the rate of violence and religious affiliation of those interviewed.

Let me state this important finding again – that being a Christian does not seem to prevent the occurrence of violence in the home. Having said this, whether the prevalence rate is 10 or 50 per cent, any person’s experience of abuse is one too many.

As a Marital and Family Therapist, I see more than my share of warring couples in counselling. Some have been fighting for years.

Some come from families where fighting is endemic through the generations. They may have experienced harshness from the hands of their parents, even witnessed violence between their parents, but sadly go on to perpetrate violence within their own homes.

Often the perpetrators are asked if they are willing to change. I believe many sincerely desire to change but find it a struggle. They are locked into a battle with their angry emotions.

The apostle Timothy used the metaphor of a fight to depict the struggles Christians encounter in their Christian walk. He encouraged Christians to “fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12).

But what is the “good fight”? More specifically, what is your good fight? I believe we each have our own battles. If we do not fight these battles, no one will do it for us. When we do not fight and overcome these battles, those close to us will ultimately feel the ill-effects too.

For some, the good fight is mastering their explosive and angry emotions.

For others, it is conquering their fears and self-doubt or building their self-confidence. Some battle every day to work hard so that they can make ends meet. In these battles, the key weapons are hard work, patience and self-discipline.

Some battles pit us against social issues like helping the poor, speaking up for our colleagues when they are wrongly treated and helping the disenfranchised. Some become eco-warriors whilst others fight for fair and equal treatment for all regardless of their ethnicity or gender. In such campaigns, the key weapons are social justice and moral courage.

What is your good fight? Some may say they have no demons within or without that they are aware of, that need this type of attention. In such instances, we may have formed too cosy a relationship with the things that should bother us. We may have grown too accepting of wrong behaviour and have failed to recognise it for what it is.

In all these battles, great and small, we are striving to be more like Christ and to make our world more like the ideal state He had designed it to be. In truth, we will never win all the time but even in the setbacks, we can know that He is there to spur us on. In truth, although we are to fight on, the Final Battle has already been won at Calvary and we need only to realise the victory.

Benny Bong is a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, is a family and marital therapist.

CHURCH DIARY

Hokkien Gospel Sunday at PLCMC
Sept 30 (Sunday), 10 am Venue: Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church, Level 4 Sanctuary
Speaker: Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung For more information, call 6286-7243 or email plcmc@singnet.com.sg

Senior Citizens Bible Study
Sept 14, 21, 28 and Oct 5 (Fridays), 9.30 am
Venue: Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church, Mini Chapel
Speaker: Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung For more information, call 6286-7243 or email plcmc@singnet.com.sg

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