Written by Paul J. Bucknell on April, 24, 2019
Combatting Abuse: Taking Positive Steps Against Fear
The Growth of Abuse
Abuse of all kinds has grown both in the number of cases as well as in severity. How can we possibly get beyond past assaults on our lives? A parent now is willing to kill his/her spouse and children! We have entered a world filled with demonic voices. With the departure of God’s Word, the evil one finds more access to our minds. We join the Lord in deploring all forms of abuse whether verbal, attitudinal, physical or emotional. The world’s ways of handling abuse, in many cases, are far from helpful for it only sponsors further hatred, bitterness, and separation, thus spurring increased division. The Lord has a better way.
We need to be careful with what happens as a result of fear. Some, even commonly accepted organizations, use fear to manipulate others, perhaps by herding them into panic mode. The reason for this is easy to see, once one steps back and takes an objective look. What can mend two groups or individuals from fear? Trust. But fear destroys the foundation upon which trust is built, namely, calm communication, reason, facts, hopes, patience, and genuine care. Once we rip the foundations out, often in a spirit of fear, we have left no room for God’s love and healing.
Let me give an illustration. Where does your GPS lead you? You answer, “To the address that you put in.” Of course! But what address do you put in? Don’t allow the evil one to put in an address that God does not want you to visit! You are in control of what is put in. We are not innocent bystanders but fully responsible for what we allow in that address box.
Finding Healing from Our Fears
As long as we stare at our fears of what he or she might do or say, then we will not allow healing from God to take place. Often we will not be able to change another; that is understood, but we can focus on what we need to do. This is God’s will for us.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18).
For us to pursue this peace, we must (1) take control of what we think so (2) we can regain a proper mindset steeped in God’s love.
I know, those suffering from abuse, are commonly taught to never trust those people again. This advice counters the biblical teachings of mercy and grace (Mark 9:50). All of us are responsible to forgive “our enemies” (Luke 6:27-28). But God also wants us to pursue love. “But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (1 Tim 6:11). We are not just running from past pain and sin but also deliberately accomplishing that which is good and right (Phil 4:8-9). So no matter how people treat us, even our spouse, we are to gain a Christlike response. This secures the ability for trust to arise which leads to reconciliation.
This striving to love others does not mean, and should not in any way be interpreted to mean, that the abuse did not matter or is of no consequence. Nor should we enslave ourselves to those who mistreat us. Quite the contrary!
We live in God’s world. God sits as the Judge. No abuser goes free. We need to learn from Joseph (Gen 50:19-21) and Jesus who forgave those who killed Him (Luke 23:34). The world can’t think this way, but we can love our enemies because we allow God to handle judgment. “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord” (Rom 12:19). I know that we are tempted to make an exception for our injury for “It ruined my life” and such thoughts. We must intercept such responses with God’s Word. “God will care for him. I will forgive him. This is my duty and the path I need to walk.” When we know that God the Just will exact justice, then we can move ahead with life and love.
Do you see how some commonplace responses that the world give are so different from God’s own suggestions? For this reason, the world cannot find peace. But God’s people can find peace even in tumultuous times.
Take deliberate steps to love one another. Live beyond the harm and pain you have suffered. Although others might despise or belittle your importance, you are important to the Lord. If you don’t know about God’s forgiveness for your sin, go first to the Lord and believe in the Savior Lord Jesus. He died to take away our sins. Understand why and how did Jesus died for His people’s sins.
Fear destroys your ability to pray and talk about some serious issues nicely. Trust, on the other hand, establishes you. Once the trust level between two people or groups is strengthened, it will be easier for all to search back into their past to rid oneself of the evils they have inherited from their forefathers and confront their own responsibilities.
The world knows nothing of healing but fear and escape. This approach is so different from how His people experience the power of God’s love which delightfully strengthens one’s faith. Focus on where we are going not where we have been. We might need to revisit the past, but cover it with forgiveness, entrust it to the Lord, and forgive. Anything worthy of building up must be upon the foundation of trust.