Within the circle of our influence and power come many people, gifts, talents, possessions, or opportunities. What we do with what we receive is a reflection of who we are and how worthy we are to be entrusted with more. We can maximize these gifts or people, or we can abuse them. Abuse comes in many different forms. It may be violent or it may be as quiet as benign neglect or abandonment of a trust. Abuse can be perversion, but it can also be steady depreciation of human worth, like dripping water wearing down a rock. Abuse may inflict pain or rob personhood; it may leave scars on the skin or lacerations on the heart. Its result may be superficial, the response to a careless comment, or it may be a lifetime wound resulting from a neglected or mismanaged trust. Abuse requires an abuser and an abused, and thus creates TWO victims. But God grants healing-both physical and spiritual-through forgiveness and a new way to live. The abuser can change, becoming truly transformed by Godís Spirit. The abused, through Christ, can forgive the abuser and find true healing. This allows the abused to halt the cycle of abuse, which can become multigenerational.
Will God forgive a person who is guilty of abuse?-
Acts 2:21- And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Luke 23:34- Father, forgive these people, because they donít know what they ar doing.
II Chronicles 33:6, 13- Manasseh even sacrificed his own sons in the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom...when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request for help...
God forgives all sins, not selected ones. His mercy is to anyone, regardless of his or her past.
Mannasseh was the most wicked king in Judahís history, abusive to the point where he burned his own sons on an altar, but later in life he sought Godís forgiveness and God did forgive him, transforming him into a man who did great things for his nation.
Is physical discipline of my child considered abuse?-
Proverbs 13:24- If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you donít love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.
Discipline in love is discipling, teaching your children the difference between right and wrong, instilling in them a respect for authority, and helping them learn Godís principles for living. This stands in marked contrast to abuse, which seeks only to hurt and punish. Newspapers are filled with stories of abuse, stories of parents who inflict physical wounds on their children, sometimes beating them to death. This so-called discipline is really anger that has erupted into violence. It is abuse because its motive is to hurt rather that help, to destroy rather than build up. Abuse may produce proper behavior, but out of fear, not love. Proper discipline must nurture, helping children see why their wrong actions are harmful to themselves and others. To discipline with love doesnít always mean a light punishment; sometimes discipline must be firm to show the seriousness of the childís offense. The point is that is is always done in love with a positive goal in mind. Discipline that comes from anger can lead to abuse and violence.
What is the best way to prevent abuse?-
Romans 13:10- Love does no wrong to anyone...
Love restrains us from abusing a loved one-physically or in any other way. This is not a roller-coaster love based on feelings, but a rock solid commitment to protect and nurture regardless of the way you feel at a particular moment. Violence or abuse against a loved one is a warning signal that our love for that person is in question. Love and abuse cannot dwell together. To knowingly hurt someone-physically, mentally, emotinally, sexually- is to declare a lack of love for that person. Acts of abuse drown out all words of love, no matter how sincere they may sound.
How do you heal the wounds of abuse?-
Matthew 15:30-31- And Jesus healed them all.....
Jesus healed physical handicaps, but he also healed broken lives. Damaged emotions, shredded self-worth, deep scars from physical or sexual abuse; the pain of loneliness and rejection- all of thes can be healed through Jesusí transforming power. When we give ourselves over to him, he makes us new on the inside, washing us clean with his mercy and forgiveness. There still may be scars in this life, but when we join him for eternity, even those scars will disappear forever. Only Jesus can truly heal broken lives.
Philippians 4:8- Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
As we fill our minds with thoughts about God there is less room, and less time, to dwell on the past.
Do I really have to forgive my abuser?-
According to Matthew 18, Jesus says that forgiveness is not optional. He goes on to show the consequences of unforgiveness is being turned over to the tormentors. The emotional reality of this bitterness is no less than being in torment, reliving the abuse, the outrage, the betrayal, the helplessness, the fear. Reliving the offense can waste years and sap energy and vitality needed in other areas of our lives.
Forgiveness is not natural, when someone hurts us and we experience pain, it is not natural to overlook that. It is human nature to retaliate, to issue judgments and condemn, to withdraw and focus on our wound. We hold to our pain this way and create for ourselves the torment of unforgiveness which becomes a perverse motivation in our lives.
Forgiveness is supernatural, it is Godís idea. It is His way to respond to the pain/offenses of life, and thereby release us from the festering torment of unforgiveness, and also to release Him to work in the situation. It is to our benefit to release the offender/perpetrator and turn him over to God to implement His justice for that person, whether we see it or not. It is a powerful and beneficial spiritual principle, and you do not have to be a Christian to apply it and know its reality. Wrong can never be made right, It can only be forgiven.
Many abuse victims and adult children have been superficially counseled and exhorted to forgive, forgive, forgive. The result is condemnation if they say the words but still feel bitter and resentful. Just saying the words of forgiveness is not enough. Trusting the love of God enough to let go of our deepest core pain is both frightening and abundantly liberating. It is a miracle which resurrects, restores and empowers the most devastated victim and most identifies us with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Bible NLT