TITLE: first chapter of 'Not a Victim rewritten'
By Jacky Hughes
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The very first thing every Christian should understand about relationships.
There is a good measure for knowing if you are in a relationship that is within the perfect will of God. Do you have abundant life? Does your life match up to the words of Jesus about the kind of life-style he wanted his followers to have?
The thief cometh not ,but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I:am come that they might have life, and that they
might have it more abundantly.
Even when times are tough we are meant to live in abundant life Even if we have difficulties, we should be able to access the love and joy and peace of the Christian walk and no body on planet earth has the right or the ability to steal if from us if we centre ourselves upon Him.
An y person who allows themselves to stay within an abusive marital relationship when God means them to escape from it will be denying themselves the life abundant that God intended for them. This may at first appear to contradict the marriage vow, but” for better, for worse and in sickness and in health” does not mean remain where you are in mortal danger of losing your faith, your psychological well-being or even at the most extreme, your life. An abusive marriage will inevitably lead you into such circumstances. The difference between a marriage where you work together to sort out what is tough to deal with and where you remain and are blamed for all that is wrong is enormous. Many marriages could be saved if a young wife or husband removed themselves from any abuse and said, “I will return as and when you show me you will live up to your marriage vow. I refuse to live in any kind of danger from abuse.”
Many marriage partners grow up following abusive patterns of
behaviour and do not understand they are repeating them until they are challenged. Early intervention, before patterns of abuse and victim interaction set in are vital if a marriage is to survive and both marriage partners fulfil their life and ministry.
The issue at stake is that God will not bless us when we allow ourselves to be under any kind of control that is not ordained by Him. A good husband or wife will want the best for their marriage partner and be concerned for their happiness and the feeling will be mutual. A controlling and abusive marriage partner will have no such agenda. Humility, and a willingness to learn from mistakes and to quickly put them right is vital for any successful marriage. Marriage is ordained by God, not just for pro-creation, but for mutual help and comfort and that in itself is an ingredient of life abundant.
An abusive relationship is always one of an unequal and ungodly balance. The victim is not guided by the Holy Spirit in action because the spirit has been placed under the control and domination of another human being. Equally, a controlling person is never within God's will because they have appropriated the place of God over another person or persons.
Where we allow ourselves to be controlled by the whims and caprices of another to the extent that it leads us into depression or danger, then we cannot be walking in the perfect will of God by allowing that person to be in our lives in a way that steals our faith and joy. An abusive relationship will steal you abundant life because it will prevent you accessing the promised abundant life that following Jesus brings. You can have an abundant life without money or possessions and without a huge circle of people round you or a great job but you cannot live in an abundant life if the home you are living in is full of abusive words and actions.
Until our relationship with God is right we cannot access life abundant. If a relationship prevents us from finding that relationship with Jesus, then we need to sort that out before we can give any attention to sorting out a marriage or considering if the marriage should survive. (God does not expect us to live in mortal danger with the person who is meant to be our help-mate.) You cannot have
abundant life without an active relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
he difficulty for the victim is that they may blame themselves for the way life is. It is important that those who are abused are taken through a process of counselling and shown that whatever their faults, they are never to blame for abuse, even if they need also to be shown how to break patterns which enable the abuser. Most victims of abuse are so used to the abuse or of acting in victim mode that they may find it hard to admit to the reality of the situation and assume that following God and repenting of their part is enough. There may be a few cases where this works, but an abusive nature usually needs tough love to crack it.
Where do we draw the line?
If a relationship prevents you from having abundant life, if you
know that you pray and pray, repent of all that is wrong on your
part and still the other person continues to make your life such that
you cannot access abundant life because of their abusiveness to
you, then it is time to take action. This is because you are putting your life into the hands of a thief.
The thief in John 10:10 is the devil who will try to mess up your
Christian life. If the devil can make you the victim of an abusive
relationship, then he will. The devil is very keen to keep the
children of God as victims in any relationship. Remember,
however that you are serving the Good Shepherd, and that Jesus
wants to rescue you from every snare of the enemy. If you are in a truly abusive relationship, then God wants to rescue you and set you free.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me
free from the law of sin and death.
Depression and Oppression
Some understanding of the psychological effects of abuse is needed if the victim is to find any release from an abusive relationship. Few or us, being constantly on the receiving end of a relationship where we live in fear and are worried about the potential actions of the person we are married to can avoid feeling depressed. We need to understand that this depressed state can give the enemy of our soul an inroad, because the normal and natural state of the average Christian should be that of joy. There are types of depression that result from physiological sources or from the emotional impact of past experiences or current traumas and these are not the kind of depression that I am talking about; Living with an abusive person will always lead to a heaviness of soul if that person is allowed to dominate or to harm us, mentaly, physically, psychologically. We do not choose to be abused. Many who are victims of abuse make a choice to remain and be further abused. The abuse is still not their 'fault.' The problem is that the victim has chosen to remain in the danger area or cannot escape for financial or other reasons. A heaviness of soul will always be fanned into a depression by the enemy because depression makes people weak and therefore unable to act in their own best interests. This is just the state abusive people need their victims to be in. Demonic powers then attach themselves to the depression and make it all worse because it is in the interests of the devil to destroy any Christian he can. Those who leave abusive situations may need a form of deliverance prayer to remove the inroads that these demons have made. Almost certainly, the recovery of a victim from abuse will need to involve help and counselling to overcome the depression the abuse has brought about.
As Christians we have a right of access to the joy of the Lord. If a relationship is causing you to feel depressed and low because it is abusive, then I exhort you to contact and experienced abuse counsellor now. It is always God's will for us to be in a situation where we are not forced into a life of depression. God's intention is always to draw us away to a place of safety.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
Family relationships are not meant to be a battleground
Family relationships are meant to be our sanctuary, ordained by
God and not a battle ground. If you go back into a battle you are
in danger of gaining new wounds. If the relationship is abusive
and you keep going back then any prayer for healing of the marriage is going to become ineffective because you are returning to the source of
infection. You need to leave and sort out the problem from a distance because you will repeat all the patterns that are playing into the hand of your abuser. Getting prayer and returning to yet more abuse will not
work because the abuser will inflict new pain that then needs
prayer and healing. That is not life abundant. That is a fruitless cycle that needs to be broken. Praying and remaining in danger will not allow you to access life abundant. You are in a battle and need to pray and seek the wisdom of the Lord for what to do next.
The humble can change
It would be foolish and wrong to say that God can never change the heart of the abuser and also go against scripture. Abusive people are often convinced of their 'rightness,' and are like all of us, broken and damaged people. All of us are abusive to some degree and none of us perfect, but until an abusive person finds true humility before the Lord Jesus, they will remain a danger to those they are in a relationship with.
Abusive people may exhibit patterns of remorse, but remorse does not bring about Godly change. Only repentance and willingness to seek accountability and face up to actions can do that. Where a person is persistently abusive then this change is rare.
Those who are in marriages of mutual love for the Lord Jesus will find
that their situation changes, even if they are in difficulties and one or the other shows signs of acting abusively if this is dealt with immediately with whatever measures it takes to make a spouse and any children safe. Prayer about the matter is effective because there is
a mutual desire to honor Jesus, but it must be backed up with concrete action and a firm commitment to counselling.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a
righteous man availeth much.
The stresses and strains of life in a non abusive family
will not steal our abundant joy and the presence of
family members will help you
A truly abusive relationship will not allow you to find abundant
life. We can be persecuted for the sake of the gospel and access
abundant life. We can go through family difficulties and stresses
and strains and we will be able to access abundant life, ,but a truly
abusive relationship will prevent you from being able to live the
fully abundant life God intends for you and you will need to take
action to ensure your situation changes.
The victim may try to carry too heavy a burden
Many victims fall into the trap of assuming that the abuse they are suffering is their cross in life. God does not give us more than we are able to bear. Generally, an abusive relationship is an unbearable one. If we are truly
leaning on God and the situation is truly unbearable, (by unbearable we are talking about your physical or emotional safety
being in danger,) then we must ask if it is God’s will we remain in
that situation. Sometimes things are unbearable because God
wishes us to be relieved of the situation and not because it is
God’s will for us to be in it. The yoke is meant to feel easy even if we are in a situation where we are persecuted. God does not give grace to
us in situations he does not approve us. He shows grace to remove us from them. Our cross is following all that Jesus said and taught, and that is hard enough. However, Jesus also said he would give us relief from heavy burdens, and abuse is a heavy burden.
Come unto me all that labour and are heavy laden and I will
give you rest.
An examination of the word ‘rest’ may help you to understand what Jesus wants for you life. The Greek translation of labor is ‘to feel fatigued, to work hard and be wearied.' To be a Christian in an abusive relationship is exhausting.
If you are in an abusive relationship you will feel exhausted. Jesus said
that if were wearied, he would give us rest. It follows there fore
that if you are in an abusive relationship and no longer able to
access the rest that Jesus promises He will give, then there is
something wrong with the relationship and you need to seek help.
You are meant to be free in Christ
It is important that you understand that you are meant to be free in
Christ. Your life is meant to heal and not to get worse. You may go
through trials and even persecutions ,but there will be a consistent
walk towards freedom from all the things that are holding you
back in your Christian life and from all the hurts and pains you
have experienced. In a truly abusive marital relationship you will not be able to find your freedom. You may well lose your faith because you begin to doubt God's ability to set you free.It is the will of God for you to become free of anything which holds you back in your Christian life and walk.
If the son therefore shall make you free you shall be free
indeed. John 8:36
Chains need to be broken
When Jesus comes into a person’s life He wants to see them set
free. An abusive marital relationship is always one of bondage and if you are feeling bound within your relationship then there is something
wrong that must be put right. It is important that the tendency to
abuse or to become a victim of it is dealt with as soon as it
becomes evident within the marriage. Ignoring a problem and
forgiving is not enough because behaviour patterns become a habit,
and if those patterns abusive ones, then the abuse will get worse over time.
Prayer is not enough.
Prayer needs to be the starting point for change. We should pray about everything we do,but help and counsel are needed for both the victim and the abuser to enable them to change so that the marriage can be
saved. Even then, if the abuse was to such a degree that the victim
was physically hurt or experienced deep emotional scarring then permanent separation may be in order. The safety of the victim and of any children must always be the first priority and it is possible to pray for someone at any distance.
Live your heritage
Our heritage as children of the most High King is not that of
slaves to people. A servant is not a slave. Whilst we submit to His will as slaves, this does not mean we have to live a life of slavery to emotions or to unhappiness caused by
an abusive person. God’s perfect intention for our lives is freedom.
First and foremost we are free from the effects of sin and
to live a holy life, ,but we are also meant to be free to live as God
wishes us. Free to experience abundant joy, free to find our
healing and free to be able to fulfil our God given purpose and
destiny here on this earth.
A truly abusive relationship will hinder you in this walk to
freedom. It will attack your destiny. If the person or people you
are involved with deliberately hold you back from your calling in
God, belittle it and continually place you in a position where you
are denied your freedom in Christ then please begin to pray and
ask God where to go from here. You are not a slave. You are free
and it is scriptural to live in freedom. It is not scriptural to bury
your talents. A non-abusive relationship will encourage them. Our
joy in the Lord is connected to our ability to use our God given
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord,
thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained
two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful
servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make
thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy
Abuse will rob you of the joy of your salvation
These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain
in you and that your joy may be full.
The Greek translation of the word joy is ‘cheerfulness, calm
delight, exceedingly joyful. '
A truly abusive relationship will rob you of your joy in your
salvation. If a relationship is stealing your joy in the Lord then
you need to take action to get it back.
In conclusion, then, nobody, but nobody has the right to take away your ability to live as a fulfilled child of God by using abuse to destroy you. Abundant life is a kingdom right.
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