Don’t Hurt Mom!

What is the best and most disturbing advice a mother can and should give to her teenage boy? Let me tell you what my mom said during my grandeur-hormone-driven-teen-age. “If you hurt a woman, you hurt me!” This advice came up because at the time she was concerned about the number of sexual assaults and molestation toward women that were becoming higher and higher at the time. I can understand her sentiment now. Dealing with three teenage boys, I believe, was not easy for her especially when she knew the environment where she lived had changed rapidly with so many things that could trigger evil thoughts. Racy magazines and films were becoming more available, and kids like us were an easy target for those things. I knew that mom had a strong feeling about that. The discussion, warnings, and more advice about these “temptations” came up all the time around dinner time or every time we watched the news about a girl being raped or assaulted. She did not want her sons to be the one of those perpetrators, that’s for sure. In a way my mom was saying, whatever you do to a woman, any woman, you do it to me!

Her advice worked! It stuck with me for more than twenty eight years. Who, on earth, would want to mess up his own mom? I respect my mom so much. I know the sacrifices she made for us when she had to help dad by working full time. I remember how she fit the four of us, on a motor-driven cycle and took us to school because we were too poor to afford a car. I remember how faithful she was to take me and my siblings to piano lessons, drum lesson, or guitar lesson for many many years. She always said, “Son, when I die, I can’t give you a lot of money, but at least I can give you the musical skill so that you can use it to survive.” (My two brothers now live by making music!). There were times when she couldn’t afford buying nice stuff for herself. I remember my mom’s old purse and ragged handbag that she carried everywhere. Sometimes I got embarrassed by them because there were full of change instead of nice smooth bills like my friends’ moms. She didn’t even care. Who would want to hurt a mom like that?

Taking my mom’s advice seriously, every woman then is also my mom. Because of that, Mother’s Day to me is not only a day to remember our mothers, but also a day to remember women around the world. I realize that men are not always nice to women. We, men, often make them our objects, our subordinate, and our trophies. We want them pretty to satisfy our lust. We want them skillful and smart because we, men, don’t want to do some of the jobs that women do. We put them on a pedestal and crown them with gold because they are our trophies to be won. We fail to recognize their roles in our lives, fail to give them a respectable place in our society, and fail to honor them as God’s gracious gifts to the whole universe.

In the Bible, God is often described like a woman. Isaiah spoke about God with motherly quality: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And Jesus spoke his heart out and compared his feeling like a mother: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” I can say with confidence that when we hurt a woman, we also hurt God.
Now, tell me, who would dare to hurt God?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love and prayers,

Vincent Arishvara 05052016