In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 6 – Restoring the Relationship with God

The abuse experience can warp the lens through which victims see themselves and the world. It skews even their view of God, since He – perhaps more so than the predator – is blamed for the abuse. Abuse victims must be permitted to vent the full range of emotions elicited by the violation, if their faith in God and relationship with Him are to be restored.

God’s continuing love for abuse victims is more powerful than any symptoms or shame. This does not necessarily mean that the scars of abuse will be erased. Victims are likely to need frequent reminders, both of God’s love and His mercy.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103: 10-12).

” ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’ “  (Isaiah 1: 18).

” ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more’ ”  (Isaiah 43: 25).

Victims might ask themselves whether they would judge another exploited child by the same harsh standards they have applied to themselves; whether the thoughts and behaviors they now characterize as defective on their part would have occurred at all, if they had not been abused.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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6 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

6 responses to “In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 6 – Restoring the Relationship with God

  1. Thank you for your reblogs!

    A.

  2. Q's Corner

    Dear Anna, your post speaks to the present me and descibes in one sentence all that is upon me, ‘The abuse experience can warp the lens through which victims see themselves and the world. It skews even their view of God’, yes, yes, yes! Not just abuse caused in childhood, but now the abuse that came through the Church, its people, as well as ones own present family! Everything that was good and wonderful has been shattered, what remains of faith and hope are now lifeless ashes.

    • My dear Q, it grieves me to read this. You raise a profound question all human beings ask, at some point in their lives. Why does God allow the good to suffer? It is a question with which I have wrestled for years [1]. Let me try and give you my answer.

      Suppose you were shown a photo of a man, but the photo had been crumpled and torn, scratched and scribbled over. You might not be able to tell from that distorted image whether the man was young or old, handsome or homely. But the man, himself, would not have been altered by the damage done to his image.

      God, in a way, is like that man. Our natural mind forms an idea of Him from our life experiences, and the character of those around us. Abuse colors that image. It is as if we now see God through a distorted lens. Since abuse can weaken our defenses, abuse may be heaped upon abuse.

      But God’s character has not changed. He remains holy and good. It is just that we cannot see that through our pain.

      No matter who or what may have distorted our image of Him, God is our true Father. He feels our pain and grief, as any loving father would. Cry out to Him. David did throughout the Psalms. Jesus Christ lived and died not only to redeem us from sin, but to make clear that He knows firsthand how hard and unfair this broken world can be.

      It may seem thin consolation in the midst of suffering, but God can use suffering to strengthen our character (and our faith), and to make us holy. Understandably, you may not want to be holy, if suffering is the price. But God views us against the backdrop of eternity.

      And we can use our suffering to ease the suffering of others. Suffering – even abuse – can increase our empathy for those who have endured the same hardship. That emotional connection may take the form of a kind word, a blog comment, a prayer, or countless other things.

      You may feel that everything good and wonderful in your life has been shattered. But God can use the pieces to create something amazing.

      It is shameful that church members would add to your pain. Of all people, Christians should act in a supportive manner toward abuse victims. Like all people, however, Christians have flaws. Not all are equally mature, in terms of their walk with the Lord, or equally familiar with abuse. Some have been misguided enough to remain loyal to an abusive minister, at the expense of his victims. Some certainly gossip, regardless of the harm this may cause. Only a few still confuse the sexual misconduct of an abuser with promiscuity on the part of his victims.

      As for your current family, I can only urge you to seek professional counsel. Disclosure – which I take to be the issue – is a complex matter which cannot be adequately addressed in a blog such as this.

      You are in my prayers.

      [1] I have written about suffering by the innocent many times. Solid Food – When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Part 1 at http://alawyersprayers.com/2012/05/09/solid-food-when-bad-things-happen-to-good-people-part-1/ and In Defense of God, Part 1 at http://alawyersprayers.com/2015/01/04/in-defense-of-god-part-1/ are just two examples.

  3. Q's Corner

    Thank you Anna, for your kind encouragement, it helps like a cold wet rag on a fevered brow. It has taken me many days to figure out where your response was, I am so… confused these days and becoming more and more forgetful; I keep losing where you, Michael and Susannes posts are! that is very frustrating! So relieved to find your response!!! Love you dear Sis.

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