As Christians we understand that we live in a desperately fallen, wicked world that is filled with so much pain and suffering, abuse and bloodshed. At times we can find ourselves in a depressed state, if we dwell on the reality of our world. Even in our little area of world we see the suffering and the pain. We have the abused and broken, and the abuse is too a degree today that children are being stolen to be used as sex slaves for depraved individuals. We hear of constant rape and murder. We hear that pedophilia is the next perversion on the back burner. Children parading down the street with proud homosexuals. It is the fallenness, the moral decay.
Some of us have been hurt very badly by people that we should have been able to trust. We thought we did not have to fear them, but it turned out that we should have feared them, that they were monsters. But we had no idea, we were children and grownups were there to help, not hurt you. Or you would think. For children of sexual abuse there is always THAT day our worlds were forever changed. The day our childhood was stolen, because as hard as we tried, it would never be recaptured.
And as a person that was hurt deeply by a family member, I know the pain of such abuse, but I also know looking back that I made my abuse and my victimhood into idolatry. And the person that was silently destroying me was not my abuser, it was me. The abuse had stopped and there was no justice, and I wanted justice. I knew that if only I would get justice my heart could be at peace; I would be free of him.
That all of the pain would fall away from my body, I just knew it. It haunted me and even at times taunting me as if to trick my mind that it was not abuse at all. That it was my fault, I caused it all. I had no peace; I could not let go. I was broken, with no way out, I believed.
I had become my own worst enemy, my bitterness and unforgiveness were controlling me. My abuse started at age 12 and ended at 15. My victimhood became my identity. I would read about forgiveness being a way to heal in sexual abuse situations, but that was not for me, no one understood. My abuse was a special kind of evil. Never mind that I knew other family members had been abused by this person. I was focused on my own abuse, it consumed me. Focused on myself.
I became a believer at the age of 15 and I understood the forgiveness I found in Jesus Christ and I was so thankful, and I had thought that my conversion would bring peace to my troubled mind toward my abuser, but it did not. But I pretended it did. I had only part of my healing. I had received forgiveness, but I had not yet given forgiveness. Those who have been forgiven much, love much. Forgiving because they have been forgiven.
I did not find peace until I was 28 years old. It was not a counselor or a Pastor that brought me to the Truth. It was God’s Word. See, a secular counselor and some Christian counselors (been there) will have you hold onto your bitterness, hate and abuse. Telling you to focus on yourself. Telling you that your feelings are valid and don’t let anyone discount your feelings. Because no on could possibly know wha I have been through. Ladies, our feelings and experiences do not constitute Truth. Your feelings are liars. They deceive us all the time. We must line our feelings up to Gods Word, not the other way around.
My feelings closed me off from the world, even my husband. I justified sinful behavior and throwing the blame on my abuser. You see my feelings gave me license to sin in horrendous and terrible ways against others and absolve myself because I was a victim. But I made others a victim at my expense. I used my victimhood as being in a “self defense mode” So all of my sin was , in my eyes, protecting me. Do you see how that works?
We are believers, this is not being Christlike. What did Christ say on the Cross to His abusers? He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”. He did not revile, but He loved all the more, those that hung Him on that Cross.
That was us. Our sins nailed our Savior to the Cross. When we attempt to revile back at our abuser, we are thinking we are above our Savior that willingly died on that Tree. How humbling is that? Was Christ a victim? I suppose by those that knew He was innocent, like Pilate would have considered Christ a victim. But Christ considered himself obedient to the Father in dying for His people. He is victorious as He rose from the dead, after purchasing His people with His blood. And sits victorious at the right hand of the Father. This is our example.
Praise be to God, He took me to His Word and as I studied and was convicted of my own wretched sin, the Lord allowing me to see my ugly sin. Not my abusers, but my sin. How ugly and wretched it is to the Holy Triune God. I was left broken and wounded. But in my brokenness, I finally had the peace I had longed for, but had resisted in my pride. And that was a good thing.
That was where I began to heal, in my lowly estate I began to forgive my abuser. It wasn’t overnight but it happened. I forgave him.I was and am a poor lowly beggar, receiving underserved Grace. My abuser will have to answer for his sin, but I prayed for His salvation. And I have heard he is also redeemed. I can rejoice in that. Yes, he could find forgiveness in Christ just as this wretched sinner had been rescued from my sins. There is forgiveness and there is restoration. My sins were not nobler, nicer, or more respectable than his. And I thank God for that moment in time where he made a bitter victim into a humble forgiven servant.
We are forgiven much; we can do no other than to forgive those that hurt us. Our Savior did. And now as I look back at those many times of hard trials and times people sinned against me, since the abuse, healing and forgiveness. Because there were more painful hard moments of suffering and offenses. And do you know what I see during those hard and trying times? I see a faithful and True Savior that suffered and died for me. For me, a sinner that shook my fist at him and once loved the sin that hung Him on the Cross. I see His Grace and love that carried me through all of those hard times. He did not abandon me. I am no longer bitter, revengeful, or angry at my abuser, but so very grateful that my Savior thought of me in my estate to save me for His own.
There was a book that stood out to me ordering the Truths of God’s Word in dealing with my past.
“Putting Your Past in its Place Moving Forward in Freedom and Forgiveness”:
Believing the past is nothing. Just do it. Suck it up. Serve more. Don’t worry be happy.
Believing the past is everything. You fail today because you were abused in the past. Your wounded inner child is causing emotional pain.
If the past is nothing, then why did God create us with the ability to remember? If the past is everything how do, we reconcile scripture with being hopeless victims?
Both extremes are problematic to a child of God. We are to be people of the Book. We can understand our suffering and abuse through the lenses of scripture. Paul was content in all circumstances, though he had a “thorn” of suffering. He did ask for the thorn to be taken away. But what did God say? “My Grace is suffiecient for You”
It isn’t whether we might be sinned against. We will be sinned against, and Christ has modeled for us perfectly how we are to respond. Will we do that as perfectly as Christ, I don’t think so. But as we Trust Him, He will get us to a place that is of peace and forgiveness. No matter what we encounter.
Will there be more pain and suffering in mine or your future, and will there be hurt or possibly abuse? Who will God put in our path to point to Him in their pain and suffering? Lord knows, and I trust that whatever in His Providence is in my future, He will prepare my path and He will walk with me through it. Our Lord is faithful in all things.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Our pain isn’t hidden from God; rather, He offers us relief and healing,
Things to think about:
- Do you hold bitterness over being sinned against?
- Do you forgive when others sin against you?
- Do you view your sin against another with the same weight as you view those who sin against you?
- Our only comfort is found in God. He loves His children. Trust Him.