Unbiblical, Part 2 – Sin Nature v. Abuse-Related Guilt

Woman with a broken heart, Author Nevit Dilmen, Source Sunset 02459.jpg and Broken Heart symbol.svg (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

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, bingeing, 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.

Originally posted 3/15/15

This series will continue next week with Humility v. Lack of Worth




Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Prostitution, Religion, Sexual Abuse

20 responses to “Unbiblical, Part 2 – Sin Nature v. Abuse-Related Guilt

  1. You have taken the relevant subject for post.Superb Anna .Your citations from Bible is very apt for me as it reforms my thought.Much pleasing dear.👌👌

    • It makes me very happy to hear that, Rachana. ❤

      • Ya Anna ! There is so many problems in our life se cannot share it with anyone . Sometimes it breakes our believe in God too.But as a true devotee I have some questions which is answered by The God itself in many ways, therefore I like your post very much.Thanks dear.😍😍

      • What a profound comment, Rachana! Many times we can feel rejected and alone. But God never deserts us, even we rage against Him. He knows the truth of our life experience, and can speak to our hearts as no one else can. May God bless you greatly for your loving kindness, Rachana. ❤

  2. StandingCrow

    May the Great Spirit, our Creator and Lord of All, bless you greatly for saying this. Amen.

  3. A person, like me, who have never experienced abuse, cannot understand why those who have been abused feel guilt. Why would an innocent victim, especially those who were abused as children, feel guilty?

    • You ask an important question, Bill. The answer is complex.

      A. Child Psychology

      Children are not simply smaller adults. The psychology of children is inherently different from that of adults. For a child, it is enormously threatening to think his/her caregivers may not provide protection against a dangerous world. For that reason, a child will blame himself/herself for the harm abusive parents or caregivers inflict.

      This is not a conscious choice. It is less painful and frightening for a child to believe that he/she is at fault, than that he/she might be abandoned and defenseless.

      Even as adults, it is still tremendously painful for victims to acknowledge that those who should have loved us cared more for their own selfish pleasure than our well-being…may even have despised us. This is rejection of the most fundamental sort.

      B. Manipulation

      Of course, abusers, also, manipulate children. The victims of sexual abuse are often told that they prompted the violation, that they were too seductive (no matter how young and innocent). The victims of physical abuse are told that they are bad and worthless. If not told this directly, they infer it from the fact they have been brutalized.

      The confusion, pain, and guilt can drive children to drugs or suicide.

      C. Psychological Scars

      The abuse creates deep psychological scars. A child who has been sexually abused is likely to sexualize other encounters. He/she may feel he/she has nothing to offer but sex. A child who has been physically abuse is likely to harbor anger. Acting out, he/she becomes the “bad” child, “deserving” of punishment.

      The child’s own behavior now generates guilt — further confusing in the child’s mind who the responsible party was, from the outset.

      D. Rebound Guilt

      While the abuser is always that responsible party, justice may not be done. The victim who is never vindicated is likely to experience rebound guilt, i.e. the guilt rightly belonging to the abuser.

      All this has to be teased apart before a victim can attain some peace of mind.

  4. So true Anna.
    Kindness has always been a great witness..

  5. What an excellent article. Thank you Anna.

  6. This is very comforting. Thank you ❤

  7. Pingback: Unbiblical, Part 2 – Sin Nature v. Abuse-Related Guilt – NarrowPathMinistries

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