Tag Archives: trust

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

Detail from “A Girl Comes to Christ” by Fritz von Uhde (1884), Museum der bildenden Künste (Accession No. 550), Germany (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.

Originally posted 3/29/15

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

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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

Christian Marriage and the Misuse of Scripture, Part 3 – Forgiveness

We continue this series on abuse in Christian marriage with the widely misunderstood topic of forgiveness.

Christ came to forgive sins (Matt. 26: 28; Rom. 5: 28). He repeatedly forgave sinners (Luke 7: 44-50), using the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” even from the cross (Luke 23: 34).

Christians are called on to love their enemies, to forgive those who persecute them (Matt: 5:44; Luke 6: 27-29). The Lord’s Prayer contains the line, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matt. 6: 12).

“Forgiveness Requires that a Woman Return to an Unsafe Marriage”

But the assertion that forgiveness requires a woman to return to an unsafe marriage is patently false.

Forgiveness and trust are distinct from one another. A Christian woman may choose to forgive her husband’s caustic comments, his violence and brutality – electing not to waste any more of her life in bitterness or regret. She need not live in fear under his roof, and run the risk of additional harm to herself or children.

“There Is No Escape from Marriage but Death”

Many an ignorant minister has described submission to the point of death as the hallmark of a Christian woman, and divorce as more harmful to children than a childhood spent in an abusive home.

However, the biblical right of self-defense supersedes any duty of “submission” to an abusive spouse.  Women and children were not ordained as sacrificial lambs to the tempers of men.

Domestic violence, Source http://www.psicoterapeutas.com/paginaspersonales/concha/violenciadegenero.htm, Author Concha Garcia Hernandez (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

As many as 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence annually [1]. These children are likely to experience low self-esteem, social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression [2]. The boys so exposed are many times more likely than normal to become abusers; the girls, many times more likely to become victims [3].

If nothing else, we must save our children.

[1] Huffington Post, “30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic” by Alanna Vagianos, 10/23/14 (Updated 2/13/15), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html.

[2] and [3] National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), “The Effects of Child Abuse and Exposure to Domestic Violence on Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems” by C. Moylan, T. Herrenkohl, C. Sousa, E. Tajima, R. Herrehkohl, and MJ Russo, 1/10, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872483/.

This series will conclude next week with Part 4 – Public Shame

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Physical Abuse, Religion, Violence Against Women

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

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

8 Comments

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

Venom

“…[The] poison [of the wicked] is like the poison of a serpent…” (Ps. 58: 4).

The toxin that venomous snakes inject into their victims can cause pain, tissue necrosis, respiratory paralysis, and kidney failure, ultimately resulting in death.

In an effort to shield loved ones from the abuse to which we were subjected, many of us swallowed the venom our abusers spewed.

Powerless, we submitted to their violation of us or neglect of our basic needs, and accepted their lies about us – that we were worthless, that we were undeserving of love, that we were responsible for their violation and neglect of us.

As children, we suffered in silence. Often, as adults, we maintain that silence, wrongly believing the details of our abuse too off-putting or too shameful to share with others.

But until it is spat out, that venom continues to wreak havoc with us. It causes incalculable pain, destroys hope, and interferes with our capacity to breath in cleansing truth, ultimately resulting in a kind of spiritual death. Continue reading

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Breached Defenses

Do a search on variations of the title to this piece, and you will be directed to instructions on how to breach the defenses of various video games, and a few posts on breach of contract. Those are not what concern abuse survivors.

Property

Oh, our defenses were most definitely breached. Whatever meager defenses we had as children – whatever protests we made or attempted to make or wanted to make but were too confused and frightened or too young to make – were ignored and overridden as if our bodies, our souls, were the property of someone else.

Silenced

That is, in fact, how our voices were silenced. Protest was so clearly useless, what would have been the point?

Ongoing Vulnerability

But breach is one of those wounds that keep on giving. Years later, we may tolerate the unexpected groping by an older boy at the beach, the fumblings of a middle-aged optician in a darkened exam room, and despise ourselves for it, when the fault is not ours. Was never ours.

Boundaries are meant to protect us. When they have been violated physically, sexually or emotionally, we become vulnerable to further violation.

This is not an indictment against us, not a sign of weakness on our part. The fact that wounds leave scars is simply proof that we are human.  And we were, after all, children. We never had a real choice; were forced to submit to violation of the most profound kind. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women