Unbiblical, Part 4 – Trusting God, Self, and Others

“Christ and Child” by Carl Bloch (1873), Sankt Nikolai Kirke, Denmark, Author Jurgen Howaldt (PD-Art, PD-Old-100)

Trusting God v. Trusting Self

Christians talk casually about God’s plan for their lives and the lives of others. This can be grating to the ears of abuse victims (especially those new to, or unfamiliar with, the faith).

As victims are inclined to see it, God’s plan for them included abuse. Whether He caused that abuse or merely allowed it to occur, He failed to protect them against it. And they have the scars to prove that.

The issue of innocent suffering is a profound one, and cannot be papered over with a handy Bible verse. For abuse victims, coming to terms with it may be a lifelong struggle.

Trusting themselves can be as great a challenge. Abuse has effectively “taught” victims not to rely on their own judgment, their own instincts. This is something they must unlearn.

It is not helpful for Christians to urge victims to trust in God, rather than themselves. Such trust will come with time. It cannot be rushed. There are deep wounds which must be healed first.

Trusting Others

Christians should be sensitive in the language they use around abuse victims. To victims of incest, even the term “Father God” can sound disturbing. To those who were sexually abused or tortured by siblings, the term “brothers and sisters in Christ” may be equally threatening.

Christians should not pressure victims to drop their defenses, and should not hug or make other physical contact with victims without their permission.  Victims may experience either as invasive, and shy away.

Christians should allow abuse victims to take the lead, insofar as relationships. Friendships should not be forced.  These will develop as victims gradually come to see they will not be harmed.

This series will continue next week with Self-Sacrifice v. Codependence



Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

8 responses to “Unbiblical, Part 4 – Trusting God, Self, and Others

  1. Great advice for Christians, Anna.

  2. Great information, Anna. Lord bless you!

  3. jacqui

    Anna this is spot on, the whole concept of ‘family’, ‘brothers and sisters’ and yes ‘Father’ are words abuse victims are terrified of or of anyone wanting to become friends. It is so terribly difficult because many Christians give up and labels are put upon them. There is such a lot of good advice here Anna I wouldn’t know how to unpack it. Have you thought about writing a book on this? …. my heart bleeds for those like me who have so many issues just connecting and feeling safe. God Bless you Anna xx

    • I am glad you found this relevant, Jacqui. Trust issues are common among abuse victims, their trust having been so often (and so grievously) violated. Unfortunately, many Christians take a formulaic approach — not only toward abuse victims, but religion in general. That is cold comfort to anyone in real pain. Personally, I consider it a privilege to know you. Your faith is an inspiration. Your strength and courage put me in awe. Have a blessed Easter! With love, A. ❤

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