The three stooges, a comedy team from the 60’s, was a favorite of many, including me and my fellow unsophisticated friends. We would laugh and playfully mimic the ways Moe would mistreat and abuse Larry and Curley. In real life, when a person mistreats or abuses another, it’s not funny.
Webster defines abuse: “to mistreat, to use wrongly, to inflict harm, insulting language. “Abuse occurs when a person is mistreated by someone who has a position of authority, power, or meaningfulness. It’s forms are many, ie verbal, physical, emotion, sexual, and even spiritual. The perpetrators occupy any number of positions ie, family member, employer-supervisor, teacher-professor, trusted friend, or even church leader.
At Lighthouse we help many who’ve been abused. We help them find healing and strength with Christ for their daily lives and relationships. Here are some observations I’ve made in seeing the harm and then the recovery take place.
Abuse Attacks Our Dignity.
Our dignity and value are questioned, not so much by the abusers, because its established they don’t value us, but more importantly by the abused. Abuse causes us to question our value because we’re treated with such disregard and normally something valuable is treated with care. Even though we can stand back and recognize the abuser had issues, the enemy of our souls and our own self talk fueled by unbiblical reasoning, continue to cast doubt within us about our worth.
We are released from these doubts substantiated by lies, by recognizing what’s really true. We are created in God’s image. He thinks of us fondly day and night and has paid the highest price possible for our eternal well-being; Jesus Christ crucified. We are so valuable to God that He wants us to be with Him for eternity. If something’s valuable, you want to keep it. God wants to keep us, “Never will I leave you.” Hebrews 13:5.
Abuse Implies We Are Weak And Unprotected.
I’ve heard that circuses trained elephants to remain tethered to a small stake in the ground by chaining a baby elephant’s rear leg to a large tree. The immovable resistance of the tree trained the elephants to believe that any chain was immovable, even though an adult elephant could easily yank a stake out of the ground at any time.
Many who’ve been abused find it hard to remove barriers of self-protection and feel uncomfortable trusting because they’ve learned that to be vulnerable is to be unsafe. God does not always protect one from going through the torment of abuse. But God will provide avenues of healing so the victim won’t be disabled by wounds that otherwise would impair a healthy relationship with Him and others.
The key to this healing and strength is to know and live in the truth of who I am in Christ. Then I won’t be restrained by stakes in the ground that are associated with my past. “Be strong in the Lord. Put on the full armor of God.” Ephesians 6:10-11.
Abuse Suggests We Were Partly Responsible.
Typically abusers are great manipulators, and believe they’re never wrong or at fault. They elevate themselves to a superior position and leave the abused thinking, there must be something in me that’s responsible, or if I had handled myself differently it may not have happened. An abuser is an accuser. Though they may not make direct accusations they frame the situation to deflect blame.
The abuser is an accuser because that’s what his spiritual father, the devil, does. For the abused to accept invalid guilt doesn’t create a clear conscience or peace. Rather accepting God’s healing and making biblically healthy choices restores a clear-clean conscience and personal peace. When we walk in the light we have fellowship and the blood of Jesus purifies us. 1 John 1:7.
* We are seeing people understand the difference in having a relationship with God vs having a religion about God.
* Couples are seeing God rebuild trust and love for each other.
* There are adolescents who are growing in discernment and are making wiser choices.
* For the families who are finding it slow and tough in bouncing back from mistakes and wounds. Pray for their endurance, comfort, and constructive behavior and thinking.
* For our ability to accommodate the people God wants us to work with.
* For us to live balanced lives.
Thank you for friendship and support. God is using you to encourage us and provide a ministry of restoring personal and spiritual wholeness to many of all ages.