by Sheri Adams
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
There are many forms of abuse today. I’m sure they go back centuries before we realized or called it abuse. Just to list a few types of abuse would include sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, ritual abuse and so on. We believe that the most common types of abuse are sexual and physical, but we really don’t know for sure.
As a survivor of sexual abuse and emotional abuse, I have researched this topic greatly. I searched the Bible to find out what God has to say to the survivor of abuse and to the person who causes the abuse. Here is what I found out:
I have done a lot of research on just how God actually and truly views those people who abuse us. This will tell you what the Scripture is and what God is saying in the Scripture.
Romans 13:10 – Love does no wrong to anyone. If you truly love somebody, you will not harm them
in any way.
Leviticus 25:17 – Show your fear of God by not taking
advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God. If you truly love God, you will not hurt another
Psalm 11:5-6 – The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates everyone who loves violence. He rains
down blazing coals on the wicked, punishing them with
burning sulphur and scorching winds. God does not tolerate those who abuse other people –
He will punish them.
Matthew 26:52 – “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him.
“Those who use the sword will be killed by the sword.” Violent people eventually have violence done to them
in due time. Violence begets violence.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 – If I could speak in any language in
heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be
making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging
cymbal. If I had the gift or prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything,
but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had
the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make
it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I
gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my
body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would
be of no value whatsoever. Love is patient and kind. Love is
not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not
demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no
record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about
injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never
gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures
through every circumstance.” We can be talented beyond comparison, but if we do
not love God or other people, our talents are useless.
Words mean nothing when actions do not accompany
Romans 1:24-26 – So God let them go ahead and do whatever
shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile
and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of
believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies…that is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires When you continue to hurt other people and go
against God’s order, He will eventually let you go
and abandon you.
Jude 1:7 – And don’t forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
and their neighbouring towns, which were filled with sexual immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities
were destroyed by fire and are a warning of the eternal fire
that will punish all who are evil. Those who do not repent of their sinful abuse of
others will have the same fate as Sodom and
Romans 13:13-14 – We should be decent and true in
everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our
behaviour. Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk,
or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy.
But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t
think of ways to indulge your evil desires. God warns against indulging our own selfish desires,
which is what happens when people abuse other
people. God warns those who abuse people.
Psalm 9:16 – The Lord is known for His justice. The wicked
have trapped themselves in their own snares. God is known for His justice. The wicked often fall
prey to their own abuses.
Ezekiel 9:9-10, Job 35:14, 2 Chronicles 19:7, Job 36:6 & 17 –
look these ones up God does not tolerate abuse and brings to justice
anyone who abuses another human being.
Job 34:12 – There is no truer statement than this: God will
not do wrong. The Almighty cannot twist justice. God will not hurt you or make you do anything
wrong – EVER.
Zephaniah 3:19 – And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones. God will not look past somebody who abuses another
Proverbs 26:27 – If you set a trap for others, you will get
caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it
will roll back and crush you. What goes around comes around. What has been
done to you, will eventually happen to the person
who abused you, or worse. God’s justice.
Psalm 51:1-4 – Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out
the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my shameful deeds – they haunt
me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved
right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. Those who have abused you, in order to be forgiven
by God, must first realize they have sinned. God
knows the truth – even what is done in secret, God
knows about. The perpetrator must realize there was
no excuse for what s/he did to you, and possibly
others. They must recognize how shameful it was
and how ugly it made them on the inside. They must
beg for God’s mercy and be truly sorry – true
repentance means that actions must accompany the
words of remorse. God will forgive them, if they are
truly repentant, but they must be completely aware of
what kind of harm they have done.
2 Corinthians 12:21 – Yes, I am afraid that when I come, God will humble me again because of you. And I will have to grieve because many of you who sinned earlier have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure. Actions must accompany the words of repentance for
it to be true repentance. Just saying you are sorry
doesn’t cut it. Abusers must show that they are
sorry in their actions.
This should give you some sort of consolation as to what will happen to the person(s) who abused you. In God’s time, He will bring about true justice. You may not see it yourself, but God will see to it that somebody does, if only Him and Heaven. Try not to focus on revenge. It is those feelings of anger, hatred, revenge and bitterness that drag us down to the depths of despair. God will not let the perpetrators go unpunished. God does love the person(s) who abused you and He will forgive them, if they truly repent of what they have done. If the do not, God will heap mounds of burning coals on their conscience. Be patient and wait for God to act justly.
Here is a list, although not complete, of some Scriptures that can assist you in your healing journey. This too will have the Scripture and what it says, then an interpretation to what is being said.
Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; he rescues them from all their troubles. God will never abandon you, EVER.
Psalm 25:2-3 – I trust in You, my God! Do
not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies
rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in
You will ever be disgraced, but disgrace
comes to those who try to deceive others. When you put your trust in God, He will not
let you be disgraced before God or man.
Colossians 3:13 – You must make allowances
for each other’s faults and forgive the person
who offends you. The Bible clearly states that we are to forgive
those who hurt us – not to be trampled on, but
Romans 12:19-20 – Dear friends, never
avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it
is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. Instead,
do what the Scriptures say: “If your enemies
are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give
them something to drink, and they will be
ashamed of what they have done to you.” If we love and forgive those who abused us, it
piles heaps of coal upon their head. They will
feel the guilt and condemnation that comes
from your forgiveness. This does not mean
you allow yourself to be trampled on or readily abused, but if you are, to offer forgiveness IN YOUR HEART so that God can work His vengeance on them.
Matthew 6:12 - …and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned
against us. When we pray, we are to forgive those who
have hurt us because Christ ultimately forgave
us for crucifying Him.
Proverbs 27:3 – A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool
is heavier than both. To harbour resentment will only deepen our
burden and sadden us more.
Psalm 30:11 – You have turned my mourning
into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy… God will give you joy – you need only ask for
2 Corinthians 1:4 & 6 – He comforts us in all
our troubles so that we can comfort others. So when weighed down with troubles, it is for
your benefit and salvation. For when God
comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. God will comfort us in our times of sorrow. Eventually, we will be able to comfort others
in our situation.
Psalm 130:1 – From the depths of despair, O
Lord, I call for your help. Even in the deepest pit, God will hear our cry
Romans 8:1 – So now there is no
condemnation for those who belong to Christ
Jesus. We, the survivors, are to feel no guilt or shame
over what happened. We are free from that oppression.
Psalm 118:5 – In my distress I prayed to the
Lord, and the Lord answered me and rescued
me. God will always come to our aid when we ask
Psalm 149: 4 & 5 – For the Lord delights in
His people; he crowns the humble with
salvation. Let the faithful rejoice in this
honour. Let them sing for joy as they lie on
their beds. God takes joy in your being you every day.
Psalm 119:76 – Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your
God promises to comfort us with UNFAILING LOVE.
Romans 8:26 – And the Holy Spirit helps us in
our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But
the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings
that cannot be expressed in words. When we pray, even when we don’t know
what to pray, the Holy Spirit literally groans
for us, and the Father knows what the Spirit
groans for, and the Spirit is in harmony with
God. When you cry out to Him, He DOES
Psalm 10:17 – Lord, you know the hopes of
the helpless. Surely you will listen to their
cries and comfort them. God already knows what you are longing for,
and He listens. He also answers them and
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the broken-hearted,
binding up their wounds. God will heal your broken heart, and heal you,
if you let Him work in you.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 – May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and
in his special favour gave us everlasting
comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts
and give you strength in every good thing you
do and say. God loved us from the beginning. He has
already given us everlasting comfort and hope
– we just need to reach out to Him for it.
Psalm 18:21-24 – For I have kept the ways of
the Lord; I have not turned from my God to
follow evil. For all his laws are constantly
before me; I have never abandoned his
principles. I am blameless before God; I have
kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me
for doing right, because of the innocence of
my hands in his sight. If you were abused in any way – verbally,
sexually, emotionally, physically…you are in
no way held responsible. In God’s eyes you
are the victim of someone else’s selfish deeds.
Regardless of what the perpetrator told you,
God says you are blameless. God will draw
near to you to offer you healing.
1 Corinthians 1:30 – God alone made it
possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself.
He is the one who made us acceptable to God.
He made us pure and holy, and he gave
himself to purchase our freedom. By Jesus dying on the cross, we who have
accepted Him are already pure and holy.
Survivors often feel shame and guilt about
what they have been through. Take heart,
knowing that in God’s eyes, you are spotless.
God sees you as whole, not violated.
Psalm 17:1-2 – O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from an honest heart. Declare me innocent, for you know those who do right. Talk to God. Be honest with Him about your abuse. He wants to hear from you how you are feeling.
1 Peter 2:19&20 – For God is pleased with
you when, for the sake of your conscience,
you patiently endure unfair treatment….if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath
the blows, God is pleased with you. Some things will never change this side of
Heaven. Your abuse may stop, but abuse in
and of itself, will not.
Romans 11:36 – For everything comes from
him; everything exists by his power and is
intended for his glory. God, your Creator, gives you vale and it is His breath that keeps you alive.
Revelation 21:1-4 – Then I saw a new heaven
and a new earth, for the old earth had
disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming
down from God out of heaven like a beautiful
bride prepared for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, among his people! He
will live with them, and they will be his people..
God himself will be with them. He will
remove all of their sorrows, and there will be
no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For
the old world and its evils are gone forever. Your pain will not last forever.
Colossians 3:13 – You must make allowance
for each other’s faults and forgive the person
who offends you. Remember, the Lord
forgave you, so you must forgive others.
1 Peter 3:9 – Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about
you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing.
That is what God wants you to do, and he will
bless you for it. Bless those who cause you pain because if you retaliate and seek revenge you will only hurt yourself even more than you are already
Psalm 22:24 – For he has not ignored the
suffering of the needy. He has not turned and walked away. He has listened to their cries for help. God is not ignoring you. He is right there with
you, right now. He is listening to every cry,
every moan, and every word you speak.
Psalm 23:4 – Even when I walk through the
dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for
you are close beside me. Your rod and your
staff protect and comfort me. God is with you through it all. He was there
when you were abused, and He is there right
now, as you are healing. There is no place you
can go that He will not be there with you.
John 11:33-35 – When Jesus saw her weeping
and saw the other people wailing with her, he
was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he
asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and
see.” Then Jesus wept. Every time you cry, Jesus cries with you. He
is sad when you suffer. He hurts when you are hurting.
Psalm 56:8 – You keep track of all my sorrows.. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Your suffering matters to God because you
matter to God. He knows every sorrow you
have suffered and it matters to Him that you
Psalm 126: 5&6 – Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as
they go to plant their seed, but they sing as
they return with the harvest. You may be very sad and despaired right now,
but you will one day again feel joy and
happiness. It doesn’t seem like it right now,
but the sorrow will eventually end.
But what are we to do now that the abuse is over? How will we recover? What is the right thing for the Christian to do? Just keep reading and you will find a light in the darkness you may be walking in.
CHANGING OUR FOCUS
I AM HERE, NOW!!!
Throughout my own recovery journey, many people tried to encourage me by telling me to simply “forgive and forget.” I often looked down in sadness, thinking to myself – “Forgive!?!?!? How the heck do you forgive THAT?!?!?” and “Forget? I’d LOVE to forget! Someone tell me how!” While it is humanly possible to forgive, it is rarely humanly possible to forget. We can block things out for a time, but we rarely completely forget. Only God has the full capacity to forget. (Is. 43:25, Is. 65:17, Heb. 8:12)
So, for me, there was no way I wanted to forgive the people who abused me! And forget – I would if I could!
The other thing I was often told was that what happened to me was in the past, to just live in the present. This is one key I am still trying to master. I don’t know that we ever fully master this, but come to some sort of peace over what happened to us. A lot of times, survivors relive the experiences of the abuse over and over repeatedly in our minds with flashbacks, nightmares and memories. Sometimes we choose to do the remembering by just sitting and thinking about it. Other times it is uncontrolled on our part; we have a nightmare or a flashback that brings to the forefront of our memory the pain and terror we have already come through and survived.
There is not much we can do about our dreams (my own personal opinion). I think dreams are pretty much controlled by our sub-conscience mind. However, upon awakening from a nightmare, we can refocus and bring ourselves back to this safe and present moment, using positive coping techniques.
In either case, we have to re-train our minds. When we start to feel sad, scared, anxious…any of the feelings that come with being a survivor, that is when we must switch our line of thinking. Kind of like changing the channel on a television or radio when something comes on that we are not comfortable with. We have to change our thinking from, “I’m scared…someone help me…there’s no hope…” to “I am here, now, right at this moment. I am NOT being hurt. I am alive. I am breathing. I can see/hear ________.”
This key is often shrugged off by survivors. I know I shrugged it off many times. I just couldn’t comprehend what the difference was between remembering the pain or living in this moment. Now I see that complete healing has everything to do with distinguishing between the two. If we can focus our mind and our thoughts on the present moment, we will often find ourselves calm and content. Focus on where you are and what you have come through, and you will feel more calm, more content and more safe than reliving the past.
GOD’S BLESSINGS – NOW
In continuing with refocusing our minds, we can take another step forward. Stop and think of all God has already done for you.
First of all – you are ALIVE! If you are here, at this moment, reading these words, then God has kept you alive. You are supposed to be here. God has a design and plan specifically for you. Yes, you may be scarred or wounded, but you are still here. God has blessed you with life here on Earth. Be willing to stay until God calls you home to be with Him.
Secondly, what are you wearing? How much empty closet space or drawer space do you have? I have no room in the inn for anything else. My clothes already overflow in abundance. Do you ever get tired of doing laundry? I know I do! That’s usually when God reminds me of the millions of people who have no clothes. Some are completely naked. Some have measly loin cloths and nothing else. When was the last time you wore the same thing, everyday, for an entire year or more? Thank You Lord for the abundance of clothes You have blessed me with.
A third consideration would be that of physical nourishment. What meal did you just finish eating? Were you able to choose the kinds of food you ingested? If so, consider yourself blessed abundantly, because starvation is as real today as it was 20 or 40 years ago. Even in our Western nations, people die of hunger every day. I know myself, I could try eating a little bit less! Thank You Father for my daily bread.
The fourth thing to consider when you start to feel discouraged is where you live. Do you have a roof over your head? One room, two rooms, or eight rooms, you are inside, out of the elements of the weather and nature. If a storm blows in, you are protected from its winds and lightning. If the sun is scorching your brow, you can step inside, protected from its harmful rays. If the snow is blowing, you can warm up inside where the wind has no entrance or power. So now you are sheltered from the bitter cold, scorching sun, driving winds and so much more. Thank You Lord for the place I lay my head down to rest each day – for I know many people suffer and die because they have no home or shelter.
Okay, so far we are 1) alive, 2) clothed, 3) fed and nourished and 4) sheltered. These are the basics of life. We could live without them for a short period of time, but after a while, being without any could result in death. Is that it? No!
I don’t know where you are currently living. Myself, I’m a Canadian – eh! In my country, many brave men and women died or fought to give me the multiple freedoms I too often take for granted. I live in a free society: I can vote, practice any religion I choose, go where and when I want to within the laws that govern our society, and so much more. While I may not enjoy paying all the taxes that our governments bless us with, I enjoy the medical care, the safety, the choices and the life I live. Many countries are at war. People are fighting and dying in an attempt to gain freedom. I don’t know where you live, but everyday, I thank God for our military men and women, who won freedom for me.
Other things we can be thankful for in our times of sorrow and suffering include, but are not limited to: a loving family, loyal friends, a steady income, my faith in God, pets, my hobbies, my talents/abilities, modern technology, education…and the list is endless.
When you stop and consider all that God has blessed you with up to this point, your perspective is often much brighter than our first impression. You may still feel some sadness about what happened to you, but your outlook on life suddenly brightens somewhat when you consider all that you DO have, here and now. It is not denying the pain or the memories, but refocusing our thoughts so that we become happier. “Count your blessings, name them one by one.”
THE REAL GOD – OUR LOVING FATHER
(please note that from here on, I refer to women being abused)
A lot of women who are recovering from abuse have trouble turning to God, either because their own father was abusive or because to turn to a male figure when it was a male figure who abused them, seems impossibly hard. Because, for many women, it was a man who abused them, they have issues with trust and their perception of a true gentleman is distorted.
Women who have been abused need to be shown the true picture of who God is as our Father. He is not the kind of Father who will think less of you because of your scars. He will not reject you when you turn to Him for comfort. He will not trample on you like a bug if you can’t find it in your heart to forgive your abuser(s).
Throughout Jesus’ entire ministry while on the Earth in human form, He never even once: 1) made fun of any woman, 2) talked down to a woman, 3) made derogatory jokes about women, 4) never exploited women. In actual fact, Jesus included them in His ministry. He taught women the same spiritual truths that He taught the men, which went against the cultural norms of looking down on women at the time. Jesus fed women just as He fed the men. Jesus performed many miracles for women, by healing their sick and raising their dead. Even when women were accused of sexual sin in public, He offered them forgiveness instead of the death penalty.
When we look for Scriptures that define who God is, the first place we need to look is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Here, love is described as a wonderful thing. We are taught that God is love. So, when reading this passage, listen to the true nature of God, the Father: “God is patient, God is kind, and is not jealous (of you or me); God does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; God does not seek His own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails.” Now doesn’t that sound like a kind of Father that you can turn to for comfort and healing?!
I am sure for many women, that is a completely different view of a God, a father, or a man than what they have experienced. Survivors of abuse need to be reassured that God the Father loves them and He desires to make them whole. He does not think any less of you because of your scars. God looks past the scars and sees the true us. He sees our souls, our spirits and our personalities. True beauty is not how we look on the outside, but is who we really are on the inside.
When women can look past the stereotype of what they consider a father or a man to be, they will be one step closer to realizing their true value as a person – as a woman – as a child of the Living God.
Another thing women are often overshadowed by is the Scripture that tells women to submit to their husbands and be obedient to them. Many men AND women have used this to treat women with undue pain, sorrow and hardship. They think that women are less important or less able to do certain things. And while I believe that a man is to be the head of the home, they are not more important than the woman. Men do not deserve to be treated any better than women, or vice versa. For proof of this, we again turn to the Bible. Ephesians 5:21-29 starts out by saying, “Honour Christ by submitting to each other.” This phrase is often quickly overlooked and overshadowed by the next verse – “You wives must submit to your husbands’ leadership in the same way you submit to the Lord.” This is usually where the teaching stops. But if we read on, we find out that something is required of the man as well. “And you husbands, show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the church when He died for her…” Did you catch that? Men are to love their wives IN THE SAME WAY that Jesus loved and still loves the church. Remember how Jesus treated women throughout His life? He respected them, He taught them as equals, He met their needs, He comforted them, He healed their sick and raised their dead, and He publicly forgave them when they were caught in sin. And most of all, Jesus died and rose again just as much for women as for men. Jesus died so that ALL may have life and have it more abundantly. So men are to love, honour and cherish their wives, and meet their needs.
If we continue reading in Ephesians 5:28-31, we find that men are to treat women with the same gentleness and care that they treat themselves with. Men are to treat women as if the woman was his own flesh and body. If a man truly loves his wife, he will not hurt her in ANY way. No man in his right mind would throw himself down a set of stairs, or slap himself until he was black and blue. No man would force himself to do anything he wasn’t comfortable with – sexually or physically. No man would hurl insults at himself, demeaning and humiliating himself. No man would beat himself with a whip, a belt, a rod or any other thing that would cause pain or injury to the body. No man wants to walk on eggshells, fearing everything he says and does will bring him some sort of ridicule or punishment.
Now, if I am would not be willing to do these abuses to his own body and soul, then Biblically, he should not do it to his wife either. Remember, the Bible says to “submit to one another in love” and “a man must love his wife as a part of himself.” Now, doesn’t that shed a whole new light on women and men! I have never met a man who liked hurting his own body. Why then do we women let men treat us so harshly on ours, especially when we are considered the weaker sex?
Another thing to consider is how we were created. Women are sometimes considered inferior to men. Women are taught that we are to be the helpers to men, to meet their needs. However, when we look to Scripture, we find some enlightenment.
In Genesis chapter one is the account of creation. Note, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Did you see that? He created THEM. And God said to both of them:
- be fruitful and increase in number
- fill the earth
- subdue the earth
- rule over all creatures
God didn’t say to Adam to do all these things. He said it to Adam AND Eve.
Man and woman were created equals in nature. Both are intelligent, emotional and have a spirit. Both were given responsibility and were held accountable for those responsibilities. Both were given dominion over the land and its crops and animals. Both were blessed. Both were to reproduce. In all this, we learn that man needs woman, and woman needs man. Neither one could have done any of it on their own. It was a joint blessing, a joint responsibility, and a joint effort.
Women were used of God in both the Old Testament and the New Testament:
Sarah, wife of Abraham, was very outspoken, especially when it came to her maid servant, Hagar. In fact, God told Abraham to “obey” Sarah when it came to Hagar (Genesis 21:12, Genesis 22:18).
Deborah was one of the most courageous of judges for Israel. She had courage and stepped forward to lead an army when a man did not have the courage. Deborah was also considered a prophetess.
Abigail also stepped out in courage, and in so doing, saved the lives of her and her family, when she gave David some wise advice. (1 Samuel chapter 25).
Queen Esther also spoke up to her king, when to do so could mean her death. But she was willing to die if it meant her people would be safe.
In the New Testament, God came to Mary, a virgin who worshipped Him, to carry His only Son.
God Blessed Elizabeth with John the Baptist’s birth in her older years. Note that it was her husband whose mouth was closed until the baby’s birth because of his lack of belief in God, NOT Elizabeth’s.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead at the request of His sisters Mary and Martha. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law from illness, raised up Jairus’ daughter from death, and brought back to life a widow’s son. Jesus did not push them aside. He did not slap them around and force them to do anything that would embarrass or abuse them. Jesus was kind and had compassion on women, meeting their needs whenever they asked for His help.
Women were there when the holy fire fell at Pentecost. Priscilla was a teacher, Phillip’s daughters were prophetesses and Phoebe was a patron of the Word.
These are just a few examples of the women that God used AND how and where He used them in ministry. Women are important to history, and more importantly, to God.
Having seen all of this evidence, we can now see that man and woman were created equal. One is not superior to the other in God’s eyes. Both need each other to complete the picture. God loves men and women equally and uses both equally.
So, yes, women are to submit to their husbands, and they are to try and meet their needs, but not at the expense of the wife’s emotional, physical or spiritual health. A husband is to treat his wife lovingly, gently, compassionately, forgivingly, tenderly and honourably, doing only to her what he would do to his own body. To do any different is to step out of the true will of God.
Can you now see that God loves you, for who you are and for what you are? It doesn’t matter what you have done – He still loves you – no less today that 2000 years ago. God is not rude or oppressive. He does not misuse any of His children. He heals, protects, provides for and blesses women just as much as He does men. God the Father will never hurt you, betray you or abandon you. He is there, ready to meet your every need, loving you, even when you unworthy of love.
Finally, the last part of the topic of abuse involves forgiveness. You will find many people who say that forgiveness is not important and not necessary. They are wrong. God makes it clear that forgiveness is one of the most important factors in every Christian’s life, EVEN if you have been abused.
I’ve often struggled with the act of forgiving others. Having been abused as a child, teenager and adult, I couldn’t see how I could or why I should forgive all those who betrayed me so horribly! I also couldn’t see how God could forgive them. I figured because they caused me so much pain, both in my past and in my present situation, they deserved to suffer as much, if not more, than I was. I prayed for God’s wrath to fall on them. I thought of different ways that they could be hurt by other people. Forgive? I didn’t want to FORGIVE THEM!!!! I wanted them to hurt!
Then somebody said something that opened my eyes and the light suddenly came on. I was told that if you hated somebody so bad (and didn’t forgive them) that they consumed your thoughts day and night, it’s like being handcuffed to them. Your anger, resentment and vengeful thoughts about and towards the person who hurt you, keeps you as attached to them as if you loved them and devoted your life and heart to them. Love and hate are opposites but they both have the same hold on our emotions and our hearts. When we love somebody, we think of them often and we put a lot of our energy into making them happy and meeting their needs. When you hate somebody, you think of them often, letting them creep into your thoughts which give way to negative emotions. We think of how they hurt us and how we’d like to see them suffer. We give them more time in our day than we do ourselves. So to love and to hate, although opposites, share the same bond to our memories and our emotions.
Upon hearing this idea of love/hate, I began to rethink my strategy. (And try to understand, I was really stubborn when it came to changing.) I didn’t want any of those people who scarred my life so horribly to be in my life in any way, now or in the future. I asked God to help me understand forgiveness and I asked Him to give me a heart willing to forgive. I didn’t have a change of heart over night. It took some time to process all this new information. But, over time, by the grace of God, I was able to say in my heart to each of those who had hurt me, “I forgive you.”
Like I said though, it is not something that happened over night. Some days I still prayed for God to hit them with lightning or run them over a cliff, or to do something to them that would cause them the kind of suffering they caused me. Sometimes I held onto my anger, letting it stir and rise inside me. It basically ruined the days I did this. Other times, God gave me the strength and the insight to once again, lay my burden down at the foot of the cross, and forgive them. It is a long process, and I don’t know that it is a road that ever ends. I continue to work on forgiveness to this day, but God’s grace keeps me able to say, “I forgive you so God too can forgive you.”
To be able to forgive those who hurt you is a gift. We have to first understand what forgiveness is and is not, before we can follow through on forgiving those who hurt us.
Forgiveness is not:
1. Letting the person who hurt you off the hook
2. Saying that what happened was okay
3. Belittling the pain you endured and may still endure
4. Excusing someone’s actions
5. Ignoring your issues and pain
6. Allowing someone to take advantage of you
7. Being a doormat, letting people walk all over you
8. What Satan wants you to do
9. Saying you have to like the person or be their friend
1. Part of God’s plan and will
3. A process
4. Very hard to do
5. Recognizing that we have been hurt unjustly, and then turning the matter over to God
6. Taking back the control of your life from the abuser(s) – not giving them the power to continue to hurt you or consume your thoughts and emotion
7. Enriching our lives by letting go of a painful past
8. Giving up your resentments
9. Releasing ourselves from bondage
10. Allowing God to truly forgive them AND you
11. An essential step in healing
12. A commandment to Christians.
Several passages in the Bible plainly tell us that we are to forgive others the same way God has already forgiven us:
Colossians 3:13 says to forgive others the way God has forgiven you.
Luke 6:37 says to forgive others, then you will be forgiven. (It is a conditional promise.)
Matthew 6:12 says as we forgive others, God will forgive us.
Matthew 6:14-15 tells us if we forgive others, God will forgive us. If we do not forgive those who have hurt us, God will not forgive us.
Mark 11:25 says that when we are praying, if we remember somebody who has hurt us, in our hearts we are to forgive that person so God can continue to forgive and bless us.
Luke 17:3-4 tells us if someone who has hurt us comes to us and asks us for forgiveness, we are to forgive them – EVERY TIME!
Proverbs 20:22 states that we are not to pay back evil for evil, but to wait for God to delver true and fair justice.
Romans 12:17 says you are leave justice for God to determine and for Him to do what is right for everyone.
2 Peter 2:13 says punishment WILL come to those who have hurt us.
2 Thessalonians 1:6 says God will pay back trouble to those who hurt us.
Proverbs 24:29 warms us to not even think of wanting to get even with somebody.
All these Scriptures tell us to 1) forgive, 2) leave the matter in God’s hand, 3) not to take matters into our own hands and 4) not to pay back the harm done to you.
We are not to judge. We did not create this world, so why would we be adequate or allowed to judge it?
We are to forgive those who hurt us, not wish them ill-will. When we forgive them in our hearts, God in turn can forgive us AND them. God will repay the evil done to you, by all who hurt you. Their day will come – if you let it – in God’s time and in God’s hands. If, on the other hand, we do not forgive and continue to harbour resentment towards those who hurt us, God cannot continue to properly bless us like He so deserves to do and cannot fully forgive and work in the lives of those who hurt you.
How many times have we, ourselves, sinned – sometimes doing the same thing over and over – and yet each time we went to God in humbleness and sorrow, He freely and lovingly forgave us each time?
If God designed and created us like Him, in His image, is able and willing to forgive us, who sin so easily, then why would He expect any less from us, His heirs, who continue to sin against God, ourselves and others?
Dear Jesus, Thank You, first of all, for forgiving me of all my sins, and for continuing to forgive me as I continue to sin before You. I release all those who have hurt me in the past, into Your hands. I offer my forgiveness to them as a step of faith in You and in my healing journey. By forgiving them I am not saying what they did was right or okay or acceptable, but I am saying that You can make things right on all sides, and turn my pain into power and provision for Your glory and Your Kingdom. Thank You for teaching me about true forgiveness. Thank You for being patient with me and for continuing to believe in me and heal me. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
So no matter what kind of abuse you survived, realize that you SURVIVED. Somehow or another, God gave you what you needed at the time to get to this point in your life. Thank Him for that. It will take time for you to trust God and other people again. But that is okay. While on earth, that is all we have is time. Don’t harbour resentment, bitterness, anger, vengeance and so on. That only leads to depression and leads away from God and opens the door for the devil to sway your mindset regarding God and life and people in general. Healing is possible, but you must be willing to and want to change, because if you do not change, you do not heal. Are you ready for a change in your life? Are you ready to be happy again? You decide and then see where you choice leads you – to depression or to a satisfying and fulfilling life.
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