Abuse frequently destroys the faith of victims, undermining our capacity to trust. While we may reject God or despise Him, He loves and values us. It can be difficult for us to reconcile God’s love with our experience. But that love is real.
Let me try and explain what I mean.
Self-Worth and the Cross
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16).
As abuse victims, we were taught at an early age that we were worthless. Our needs were insignificant. Our feelings did not matter. Our bodies were not our own.
These were the inferences we drew from our experience with those who rightly should have loved and cared for us. God, however, sees things differently. To Him, we are of infinite value. He proved it by giving His Son, Jesus Christ over to a death on the cross for our sakes.
Our value is not governed by a predator’s opinion of us. It was established for all time at the cross. No one need add to it. No one can detract from it.
God’s Unconditional Love
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies” (Ps. 36: 5).
God’s love for abuse victims is limitless and unconditional. The concept of unconditional love may be foreign to us. We were taught that love was unreliable. It had to be earned, over and over again. Most of us paid a high price for a counterfeit version of love.
Sin and Our Relationship to God
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8: 1-2).
God’s love is not withdrawn when we make mistakes or fall short. We grieve His heart at such times, but He does not turn away from or reject us. We are His beloved children. Even when our relationship with Him is rocky, He continues to love us immeasurably.
Fear of Rejection and Failure
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4: 18).
The scars of abuse frequently include fear. That may manifest as a fear of rejection and/or a fear of failure. But our worth is not determined by other human beings; it is not dependent on our productivity or status.
Our worth is actually separate from our function. For abuse victims, this means that we are fully loved and accepted by God, but all have different assignments in life. The piccolo is no less important to the orchestra than the tuba.
People pleasing is unnecessary. We may even get to the point where we recognize it as an obstacle to a closer relationship with God.
Our True Selves
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11: 28).
Lies accumulate in any area of our lives that we do not turn over to God. We may believe that we are undeserving of love; that we have been irreparably damaged; that we will never find happiness. But those are lies we absorbed, along with the abuse we endured.
“The more we enter into His rest, the more we are truly free to be who we were designed to be…[We are] home in Him.”
-David Murry, “The Mind of Christ”
Feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred have no place.
God’s Tenderness toward Abuse Victims
“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42: 3).
God understands better than anyone else our suffering. He was there when we were beaten, ignored, violated, and betrayed. He caught every tear we shed.
God asks us to allow Him into our lives, broken and bloody though we may be. His love heals and ultimately transforms us.
“Choose to accept what His Word says about how lovely He sees His children. We are accepted in the Beloved. We are beautiful in His sight.”
-David Murry, “The Mind of Christ”
Originally posted 5/7/17
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