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Do Restraining Orders Protect Lives?

A New Jersey woman tragically lost her life at the hands of an ex-boyfriend. She knew he was violent. She knew she needed protection. She installed surveillance cameras and filed a restraining order against him.

The order did not protect her from the stab wounds he inflicted on her.

The threats he made to Ms. Browne and his previous criminal record supported her cause for concern. There is no question she was in fear for her life.

Ms. Brown’s actions indicate that she was a strong independent woman. They also indicate she was not naive to the limitations of law enforcement. Taking responsibility for the protection of her own life, she applied for a gun permit. The state of New Jersey failed to respond to her application. Ultimately, are we not responsible for our own safety–responsible for the protection of our own life and the lives of those we love?

It’s different now. If you have some savings, take them with you. If you have a pack, fill it and bring it. If you don’t have a sword, sell your coat and buy one. (Luke 22:36, VOICE)

Tragic, events like these will bring gun restriction issues to the forefront. This time, however, it is the lack of having a weapon for personal protection that will be at the center of the conversation. Though this was an act of violence against a woman, the discussion is not likely to go in that direction.

How, when there is such an effort to raise awareness about violence against women could this woman have been left so defenseless?

Janay Rice was questioned #whyshestayed. She has been labeled a gold-digger for staying with her fiance whom she later married. Why, oh why, wouldn’t she just “see the light” and leave him?  She may be right. She may be wrong. It is, however, her decision to make–hers is a decision that goes against the agenda.

If she is happy in her marriage, it will not make the front page news. Some may even secretly be waiting to see if “she gets what she deserves,” for staying.

Breakthesilence.org’s list, of “warning signs” of an abusive relationship, is a useful resource when used with discernment. However, the dynamics are quite different from one relationship to the next.

Season of life stressors, mental and physical health issues, and many other factors can contribute to volatile episodes. These factorsthough never an excuse, should not be confused with pattern behaviors.

Additionally, though the list of signs reveals commonality among abusers, it does not mean everyone who demonstrates the behavior will become violent.

On the other hand, a timid or insecure person may not be able to recognize when they are at risk. A person who grew up in an abusive home may believe abuse is “normal.”

Relationship dynamics are all over the spectrum. There is no one-size-fits-all list that will protect and end violence.

There are campaigns and public service announcements which lead us to believe that silence will end the violence. This is misleading.

Carol Browne was not silent. She ended her relationship with a man she knew to be abusive. She requested protection and made efforts to protect herself. The restraining order she sought did not protect her. Her request for a permit to purchase a weapon for protection was never granted.

She did not remain silent. The violence, however, did indeed end–as did the lives of these two people.

Sinful people will continue to commit sin. Hurt people may in turn hurt other people. Our broken silence may, or may not protect and save lives. Tomorrow, however, cannot be guaranteed to anyone. Eternal life is either in heaven or in hell.

Jesus Christ is our only protection from the dangers of hell. Listen to Jude 1:20-25:

You, however, should stand firm in the love of God, constructing a life within the holy faith, praying the Spirit’s prayer, as you wait eagerly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, which leads to eternal life. Keep being kind to those who waver in this faith. Pursue those who are singed by the flames of God’s wrath, and bring them safely to Him. Show mercy to others with fear, despising every garment soiled by the weakness of human flesh. Now to the One who can keep you upright and plant you firmly in His presence—clean, unmarked, and joyful in the light of His glory—to the one and only God, our Savior, through Jesus the Anointed our Lord, be glory and greatness and might and authority; just as it has been since before He created time, may it continue now and into eternity. Amen. (VOICE)

True faith in Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sinful and hurting people.

What means of eternal protection are you relying on?
Have you put a “restraining order” against our Savior–our only protection?
Are you interested in lifting it and asking Jesus into your life?


About Melinda

Melinda is currently the worship leader at her small church in rural America. Married for 23 years, she and her husband Larry have one son. She is the Director of Mailing in the print/mailing industry by day and freelance author by night. Her desire to write is a passion borne from tragedy. God used it to take her faith to a much deeper level. Melinda is a freelance writer and member of FaithWriters. She joined the TBL team in March 2014. Believing we are citizens of a greater ‘kingdom,’ her articles for The Bottom Line examine governmental responsibility, citizen involvement and current political topics. With the great wisdom contained in scripture as her guide, she looks at today’s political environment from a Biblical perspective. She prays her words will prompt the reader to view citizenship - and every aspect of their life, through the eyes of faith. Col 3:17 To read more of Melinda’s writings on her faith, hope, and life visit her blog Still Living Still Loving or her page at Faithwriters.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @MKZbk.

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