Tamar sister of Absalom, the misleading beauty

It was in Africa.  An unkown woman  entered the church one Sunday morning. She was a mixed race light-skinned great beauty, looking like Sade Adu. You may know how a majority of Black people  in every corner of the earth fetishise light skin. In addition to beauty privilege, this lady was able to enjoy light skin privilege . We did everything to keep her in the church. The following days, all the men, even married ones, wanted to be her councelors. She had barely stammered that she was being handed the microphone for a solo performance during the services. God granted her beauty and the church privileges.  She would have been wrong not to enjoy it.

If beauty assures you some kind of privilege, unfortunately it also comes with problems. Our biblical passage reveals two of them. 

Click here to read the biblical text

1) The worst thing about being pretty is that Beauty has no filter. It attracts even bad boys and undesirable men.  Beautiful Tamar learned it at her expense.

Her beauty is the reason why her half brother Amnon noticed her.

He fell in love because she was beautiful.

He forgot about the laws of the Lord because she was prettyLeviticus 18: 9 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere”.

He forgot that he had no right to have sex with her outside marriage, because she was beautiful.

Amnon forsook wisdom, because tamar was pretty. Love makes you blind, they say.

Yes, beauty puts you on a pedestal. A good boy may think he does not deserve you.

But the pedestal is not high enough to discourage the unworthy. He sees you as a challenge.

Beautiful women, are you proud to turn heads ? Beware the Amnon around you.

He could be hidden in a  father, a stepfather, a friend, a teacher, a trainer etc. Are you  in such a situation ? Tamar faced this a long time before you. And you will learn from her.

2) Another hard truth to know when you are pretty is that beauty is deceptive.

A beautiful face can hide an ugly heart , and beauty always withers.

But above all these, beauty is deceptive also because it can blur the real feelings and cover the true motivations behind an action.

Let’s go back to this church in Africa. To their leaders. They granted the ‘high ministry’ of solo singer to this woman who did not pass all the steps of the selection process (spiritual and artistic) imposed on the other singers. They acted this way not because she was called or a great singer, but because she was gorgeous and they wanted her favour.  

What happened after the rape ? Amnon hated Tamar. “so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her.”

What a shock to realize that it was not about love but about lust. Even Amnon thought it was love.

 He trampled the vineyard. He forced the door. He stole the precious treasure. And then he walked over it. 

Amnon used to call Tamar “My sister”. After the rape she became “this woman”…a stranger.

There is a difference between lust and love. “You shall know them by their fruits” says the Lord.  Lust and love bear different fruits.

The fruits of love : 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The fruits of lust James 1:15

Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. (1 Samuel 13Verse 20)

Tamar has been defiled, then despised. She was not even worthy to become Amnon’s wife. It was just a desire for sex, a question of pride and male domination.

Tamar fell into the trap. She resisted Amnon. She lost. But she fell in battle.A warrior ! 

What about you ? Did you fall during the negotiation time, proud that your beauty had turned your Amnon’s head ?

Beauty is like flakes in the eyes. It can make you take for ‘love’ what is just carnal lust.

Many women find power in their beauty. There is a remnant who only open their eyes to the vanity of their beauty once they have been used and broken.

 

           

Are you looking for true love ? Start searching for people who would want you not just for your physical beauty. 

Ami Rougé for theamijournal.com


biblical text

2 Samuel 13: 1-20  (KJV)

1And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her.

But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.

And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.

Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.

So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.

And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.

10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.

11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.

12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.

14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.

17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.

18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

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Inspiring women to embrace mommyhood

Written by Ami Rougé (theamijournal.com)


Motherhood is under attack. We can speak of a successful globalization as the flaming arrows against blooming motherhood are coming from everywhere. Here are some selected pieces. Anywhere : Judgemental arrows when a  woman returns to work two months after her delivery. Turkey : pregnancy shaming from Ömer Turgul Inançer, a lawyer , philosopher and islamic  thinker who declared in 2013 that going out when you reach 7 months of pregnancy is immoral. Western countries : shaming while doing the most natural and selfless action : breastfeeding your baby when and where he or she needs it. Evangelic church : breastfeeding your child can be seen as a seductive attitude even when you cover your breast. People of good will : international programs to teach African women how to procreate less .  On the other hand :  natalists trying to force their diktat on women who do not want to have children.

I’ve suffered from mommyhood shaming from people who have chosen to despise me not only because I have 4 children but also because I have decided to consider career, degrees, making a lot of money, showing off etc. a loss because of the worth of being a stay at home mom.

What they think is fundamentally my weakness is actually my strengh. I want to share that abundance to encourage and inspire women (why not men ?) to consider the beauty of mommyhood in its variety, breadth and depth…all this for the sake of children.

Let’s share life together.

Ami Rougé  (theamijournal.com)

 

Inspirational secrets of beauty revealed…

This poem was made famous by Audrey Hepburn when she was once asked about the secret of her beauty. This words are not hers but from Sam Levenson. Inspirational…

 

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she coms her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring the she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grow.”

Sam Levenson

The robbery of Jesus’ body

Written by Ami Rougé (theamijournal.com)


John 20 :

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

In my Bible readings, I have always found compassion, mercy and intense love from Jesus. Yet a number of Christian women around me suffer from the Jesus that many movements present to them. One is likely to confuse him with a Pharisee. He is so tough. One day, I had a doubt about the loving eyes of the Jesus that I met when I was still a Muslim as a result of all forms of deformed pictures of his that I have come across over the years. I said to myself, “You must have missed something, they may have reasons to be misogynistic, it must be somewhere hidden in the Word, you need to read between the lines”. I then started a side reading so as to give some credit to all the Christians (men and women) who have no regard for femininity. This disregard for women is not unconnected with the overestimation of manhood. It goes to the extent of robbing the womanhood of the humble mandates that the Lord has granted them. And then, while reading the scriptures, something suddenly crossed my mind. I was not supposed to find my answer or inspiration in a simple sentence of Mary Magdalene. I’m borrowing from her, on behalf of all my sisters who have been sacrificed on the altar of the cult of masculinity.

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Dear brother, if applicable

Some balance before

I am far from being a feminist. I refuse to understand this Bible quote There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” of Galatians 3 : 28 as a foundation of gender equality to the point of claiming parity between men and women beyond the limitations found in the Gospel. I have no intention to follow the sisters who compete with men on activities that have been considered from time immemorial as the exclusive preserve of men: the teaching of doctrine, the pastoral ministry, thunderous anointing, stripping miracles, chasing celebrity, ostentatious display of material wealth…I watch with suspicion the ‘glamorization’ raging inside the churches and I am far from envying the pastors’ wives who claim the status, the treatment, and naming of ‘first ladies’ like Melania Trump.

If Paul could hear you 

However, I’m shaken when I hear all the ecclesiastical fantasies you mold for me. I can do nothing else but sigh: “They have taken my Lord away…and I don’t know where they have put him.” Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

The multiple phantasms you attribute to God remind me of Paul’s words in Colossians 2: 18-23. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Why have you never received divine visions to rescue all your sisters and their children who are facing persecutions from the World and being abused by priests, pastors, husbands, brothers, and fathers? Fortunately, the justice of the World takes care of us from time to time. Because of you, many are about to think that God is a fashion industry mogul who is only interested in adjusting the make-up, and lengthening the skirts of the daughters of Eve. Oh ! I forgot, hair extensions also prevent him from sleeping! Come on!To stop the dressmakers who attempt to peel me, dress code guardians, including you, have resolved to have me covered with the strangle.Holy program: an apparent elbow? I immediately feel the sword of your mouth. A knee that for a few seconds refuses to be tamed by a piece of cloth! Your eyes become lightning and and your voice thunder. I cannot breastfeed my baby nearby unless you make me feel guilty and show me the cell provided for this purpose. Is breastfeeding not the most natural thing?

Paradoxically, you also try to relieve me physically, spiritually and materially.

Is a lip balm not thin enough? I look like a prostitute, right? A hoop earring? I give glory to the ‘siren of the waters.’ And verses are thrown at me like stones. If you look at me lustfully because of a mere nail polish, uh, is it not you who need spiritual help?

You tell me that trying to beautify myself is a sin and that I should let nature take its course. Then, I wonder why your beard has not yet reached your chest.

When I quote a verse in my testimony ‘Beware sister, you taught the Word, you do not have the right to do so’. Yes, it’s going that far! I’ve read that nonsense. Is my life experience worth anything without the seal of the divine Word?

Under your wind

I am looking forward to the day when there will be an end to my being tossed here and there by the waves and being blown about by every wind of doctrine which you bring. Why can’t you come to an agreement with your brothers to give me a single and truthful interpretation of each verse? For one verse, you open the door to a thousand interpretations. This is how you all guarantee the veracity of the Word of God. Nothing to feel superior about. One of you is wrong? No. I know, it’s not you, it’s he! If only you could stay in your corner, I could see more clearly and pretend to have found my place. Hell? No. Here you are, pointing your finger at me, judging the way your brother taught me to live the Word. If and only if your goal was really my repentance or my salvation, I could listen, or even let myself be transformed. Alas, I can see it in your face. I can hear it in your tone: your desire is to expose and humble me to guarantee the power of your masculinity…so you could reign forever… You know that I am weak and that only a very few will get involved to defend me.

Despite all these, if I could let my children die by giving you all the sweat of my brow, to indulge all your material whims, you would not say no. No, on my money you will never spit.

When Mary Magdalene saw Jesus after his resurrection, she did not recognize him because he rose with a glorified body. As for me, I do not recognize the Jesus you preach about and show because you have deformed his body. His lips curse, his hands reject, his eyes judge, his belly is full of banknotes. Isaiah 53 : 2 says about the external appearance of the Lord. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Well done ! You raised this verse to its paroxysm.

There is such a Gap between your teachings and the One you pretend to lead me to. Where is He in your eyes? Where is He in your words? Where is He in your actions? If he has disappeared from your teachings, then tell me where you have hidden my Lord, and I will go and find Him… myself.

Ami Rougé for theamijournal.com