Christians speak regularly about the “sin nature” of mankind, the inclination by human beings to do wrong, as illustrated by wars and crime.
The following verses on the topic are typical:
“…[T]he imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Gen. 8:21).
“ ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…’” (Jer. 17:9).
“ ‘Then I will…take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in My statutes…’ ” (Ezek. 11: 19-20).
“ ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ ” (Matt. 15: 19).
If anyone has experienced that sin nature, abuse victims have. Victims, however, have been more sinned against than sinning.
Unfortunately, the continuous emphasis on sin is likely to sound like condemnation to victims, when what they need is love, encouragement, and hope.
Christians should remember that abuse leaves behind deep scars. Victims of abuse may struggle with gender identification, sexual addiction or dysfunction, self-neglect, anxiety, depression, dissociation and related amnesia, drug or alcohol addiction, cutting, anorexia, bulimia, binging, and other issues. The majority of prostitutes are thought to be runaways, with a history of abuse.
Dealing with major problems like these is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the self-righteous. Merely living ordinary lives can take enormous effort and enormous courage by abuse victims. That victims, for the most part, accomplish this is amazing.
Victims should not be made a topic of gossip. Nor should they be subjected to snap judgments, whether about their morality or mental state.
Above all, victims should be reassured that they were not the guilty party in abuse; that, as children, they were wholly incapable of consent to whatever was done to them; and that God still loves them, despite all they have been through.
This series will continue next week with Humility v. Lack of Worth
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15 responses to “Unbiblical, Part 2 – Sin Nature v. Abuse-Related Guilt”
Dear Anna, I feel like Job just now and my suffering offends people, mostly Christians. They leave their footprints and come close then stand afar. It reminds me of the Good Samaritan who was the one who got off his mule and took care of the wounded. I am very wounded at this time, going through some serious stuff of childhood abuse ….. the loneliness is unbearable. You are right sometimes it is hard to take care even of yourself. The Lord has shown me how many Christians are afraid of suffering yet it is in this we are the closest to God, He spoke to me about this last night. This is entering into the sufferings of Christ. I should feel grateful about this and in one sense I am but also I am not because the Body of Christ is invisible and distant to those who are hurting. Many in the body are like Job’s friends ….. I wait for the deliverance of the the Lord Anna. God really came for the broken. I am broken and bereft I stand because of His Grace alone. jacqui
Jesus loves you so dearly, Jacqui. How could He not? It is a sad, sad commentary that the Christians you have encountered do not see Him in your suffering and in your eyes. Loneliness, I think, is a permanent part of the human condition. Some spend their whole lives running from it. Surrounded by Wi-Fi, we are bombarded day and night by TV, radio, online movies, and video games on devices of all shapes and sizes. For victims of abuse, loneliness is intensified. But in that silence we have a greater opportunity to hear the voice of God. May He bring you comfort. You are always welcome here. With love, Anna
Christians need to learn gentleness – with others and with themselves. And yes, foremost with abuse victims. A bruised reed He does not break.
This is certainly true. I fear, however, that Christians are inclined toward self-righteousness. We, of all people, should know that we are sinners saved by grace — not superior mortals.
Morning Anna, I was just reading Jacqui’s response to you, in doing so, I found that her description of suffering and how church folks have acted towards her, treated her is so very parallel to my experience, that I could have written the above words! This is the second time that this has happened, first with Susanne and now Jacqui, a woman that I DO NOT KNOW!
Her words explain clearly what I could not put to words! And your words about loneliness, well all that I can say right now is, a resounding YES!!!
Loneliness has a depth of pain so deep, so cutting that it leaves one to feel as a wilted rose whose life is ebbing away.
Jesus, was a very lonely man too. All He wanted was to love, comfort, heal and deliver those who are and were His object of love. But, turned on Him, attacked Him, abused Him and then they MURDERED HIM! Their lover, their saviour, their deliverer!!! Why? Because He mirrored their sinful nature, their evil attitudes and they could not bear it! My thoughts this morning.
It is always good to hear from you, Q! It grieves me that your experiences parallel Jacqui’s and Susanne’s. (For those who may not know them, Jacqui blogs at jacquishofargirl.org and dailypoetblog.wordpress.com. Susanne blogs at enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com.) Sadly, I have heard this before. Jesus instructed us to love one another (John 13: 34). In fact, we are to be identified by that trait (John 13: 35). If we fail to love others, then we fail in a very fundamental way as Christians. I agree completely with you that loneliness can be piercing, and that Christ, Himself, was often lonely. Jesus’ separation from the Father, while bearing our sins on the cross, has been described as the most painful aspect of the crucifixion for Him. Let us hope we do better.
I have sent a request to Jacqui’s site, another new experience for me.
In the organization that I was apart of for 40yrs, the main consensus was if you did not get in, get involved, pay your dues (tithing etc.) or break any of the many unspoken rules you were iced out! Shunned! If you sought fellowship with them they would not respond to you. You never learned what grave sin you committed, so you couldn’t rectify your wrong! If indeed you even did such a dire thing?!?!? I was shunned and Iced out and never knew why! It was baffling, confusing, as well as exasperating! I was so fearful of rejection that I could not face reality! That reality was in fact that I WAS Being Rejected! It happened, but fear kept me locked into trying anyway. Geeze I just needed and wanted to be loved! My family didn’t and I had heard that Gods people would! But they did not! I finally woke up and when I did, I broke away from them and no I no longer associate with them. They have LOST ME! Forgive them yes, trust them, NO MORE!
Oh, Q! This is heartrending. I am glad, however, that you chose to share the details. I’m sure they will benefit others.
My own view is that there are individuals and even groups holding themselves out as Christian which are little more than charlatans and cults. These so called “Christians” do great harm, not only to individuals like yourself, but to the very name of Christianity. I cannot tell you how it grieves me that you were starved for love for so long by this counterfeit! As you say, the loss was theirs. But there will, I believe, be eternal consequences, as well.
At Matthew 7: 15 the Lord warns of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are “ravenous wolves“. Matthew 7: 22-23 continues: “Many will say to Me…[at the Final Judgment], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
Dear Anna, I’ve been following this article and comments and you are right there will be dire consequences and this grieves me. I was demonized and called evil and they didn’t even know me. As a single parent I gave once in tithes £1,000, I writhe now in horror. It never occurred to me it was counterfeit in truth I didn’t really know what this word meant. Like Q said the reality was I was being rejected. I never thought of that at the time. I saw some dispicable things go on in the name of Christ so bad I should have called the police but fear was their rule. I had despicable things done to me. But now I understand and God is loving and healing me in His love. It has taken quite a time, and still does to understand what love is. God Bless Anna …. jacqui xx
It is distressing to know you suffered all this, and at the hands of supposed Christians. But you bring up an important point, Jacqui. Some of the activities by organizations operating under this guise may well be criminal.
Passing themselves off as “messiahs” of some type, cult leaders have engaged in forced sex with male and female members of their congregation, practiced polygamy, “married” underage girls, committed fraud, lived in luxury on the voluntary (and not so voluntary) contributions of their sometimes destitute followers, and by the way evaded taxes.
Consider Warren Jeffs, former head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (convicted of rape); Charles Manson (convicted of murder); or Jim Jones, at whose direction the mass murder-suicide at Jonestown took place.
Not all cults are so large or well known. But their tactics are similar.
Cult followers are often hurt and isolated individuals, seeking love and acceptance. Initially, the cult seems a warm and welcoming place — a substitute for the loving family they never had. But, all too soon, followers are actively manipulated (just as you and Q describe) until their will is broken.
What often shields cults from inquiry is the shame followers who have left the cult experience. This is akin to the self-blame rape victims may feel. It can take a very long time for former cult followers to come forward.
In truth, self-blame is another form of abuse. Cults rely on it. Self-blame can magnify followers’ real and perceived inadequacies, in effect, paralyzing them. But cult followers were victimized for the sake of ego/pride, power, sex, and monetary gain. They did not victimize others.
That you (and Q) managed to escape these abusive religious settings is a tribute to your strength. That you were not embittered to the point of rejecting God altogether is nothing short of a miracle. May our loving God comfort and heal you.
Powerful post!! You are so right. Victims are not the guilty party. Love what you said here, “Victims, however, have been more sinned against than sinning.” So many deep wounds have been inflicted upon victims of all ages, leading to brokenness with intense feelings of guilt… but they have no reason to feel guilty. They are innocent victims.
Thank you so much! That means a great deal to me, especially coming from you. You provide such comfort to victims at your own website secretangelps911.wordpress.com.
Awe… You are so sweet. So many of us have had the misfortune to experience these abuses… till we get set free and then can use it to help others. God is so good!! He does not want us abused. God bless you, my sister!!
God bless you, too!