“Face of Christ” by Claude Mellan (1649), Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (PD)
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God’s love is not withdrawn when we make mistakes or fall short.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. Continue reading