We have several women in church for whom home is really bad news. Over decades, husbands, and sometimes the grown up children, have been very demanding and constantly rude, domineering, aggressive, hurtful. They can’t realistically escape because of poverty, fear, guilt, knowing that Christ would not want them to leave even if they could. Life for these women is miserable and, in practice, they are hostages in their own homes. This includes tight restrictions put on the amount of time they’re ‘allowed out’ at church.
For these hostages, church is like a refuge, and a thin slice of life which is their own. It is one place they can escape to where they are loved and valued, and find some friendship and joy. These are converted women who love Jesus, and love to sing his praises. But they can’t bear the thought of their ‘captors’ joining them, invading their safe and precious space. So they can’t bring themselves to pray for them. And they wont bring them to church because it would be like inviting their persecutors into the refuge. And they’re very reluctant for us to go round to try and build bridges or share the gospel, both for the trouble it will cause them, and because they can’t bear the thought of their captors being saved. The extent of grace is a really hard doctrine for them.
Have you come across this in your setting? How have you handled it?