September 12, 2021

I wrote this lesson a number of years ago when it became obvious that numerous people in our life group had suffered from some form of abuse in their lives and were suffering the consequences. Abuse of one form or another is a much bigger problem than we like to believe. If it helps one person, then it was well worth the labor.

Starting Point:  Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.

  Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Healing Power:  We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  Philippians 2:13

In past weeks our lessons seem to apply to making bad decisions in our lives which led us away from a relationship with God.  It’s easy to see that trying to control our lives and being in denial is an issue.  But what about those broken lives where physical or emotional abuse has occurred?  What about someone who has suffered abuse by inattentive neglect for their needs.  I know abuse comes in many forms, but we must start some where.

First, let me say, if you are in an abusive relationship, you are a victim.  There are three very important issues that you need to know and we call them the three C’s.

C #1: You Didn’t CAUSE It.

Maybe you made a bad choice because you had reasons to be concerned about the character of your boyfriend or future spouse.  It may not be the first time you have been in an abusive relationship.  So what?  No matter our age we are still naive about “love” because we expect love to change people and their behaviors.  Besides, promises for change were made and perhaps even kept until after the relationship was formed.  Then it wasn’t long until the abuse began and one common feature in abusive relationships is the abuser’s accusation, “See what you made me do!”  Then comes the remorse and more promises while trying to load you down with guilt because “you don’t love them.”

Just remember the old joke, “The only way you’ll every change that person is if they are wearing diapers!”  

Perhaps you suffered abuse as a child and it was at the hands of the very ones who should have protected and cared for you.  Again, you didn’t cause the abuse; the cause is inside the abuser.  Right now I’m not concerned about what makes an abuser what they are, that’s a lesson for another time.  Right now I’m only interested in the victim and if that’s you, I am so sorry for what you’ve suffered!  

By now you probably believe you are unworthy of anything else, but that’s not true.  Remember John 10:10 where Jesus said, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”  If that’s the purpose of Jesus, who are you to argue?  I repeat, you didn’t cause the abuse and you don’t deserve it.

C #2: You Can’t CURE It. 

We’re back at being powerless to control or correct the situation.  You do not have the power to reach into the abuser and heal all of their fear, anger and pain.  Only God has that power and He will only do that when that person is ready to accept healing power.  Write it down.  Only when that person is ready to be healed will they change.

To support this statement I remind you of the woman who had bled for 12 years.  She wanted healing and in faith she reached out and touched Jesus for healing.  What did Jesus say?  “Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace’” (Luke 8:48).  She was ready to be healed.  So don’t think that you can cure an abuser, you don’t have the power to overcome their will.

Do you believe that if you forgive them and make-up that the problem can be healed?  We are called upon to forgive others, but please do not expect your forgiveness to make a difference in another’s life or behavior.  Sometimes it happens but most often they continue doing what they have always done.  At His crucifixion, Jesus forgave the Sadducees and the Pharisees and they kept doing the same old things, telling lies and abusing the followers of Jesus.  

C #3: You Need To Be & Will Be CARED For. 

As a group, we cannot fix the problem for you.  We are here to support you, pray with you, and lend the strength we muster through Jesus Christ.  In Luke 12:6-7 Jesus tells us, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  That is a promise of care from God in Heaven.  To receive care, you must make the choice to receive it.  That means stop the denial and stop trying to fix it on you own.  

Then start praying for guidance and strength through Jesus Christ.  Then make the choice to follow His guidance. It is a choice, a choice that you must make to be healed. If you don’t exercise faith in God by following His guidance you are turning off the connection with His power that can give you a new life.  

Can we agree that it’s OK to seek safety even if it means leaving the relationship? It may be scary but listen to Psalm 4:8, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord make me dwell in safety.”  God wants you to be safe and when you are safe it is easier to make good, Godly decisions for your life. You can’t cure it, but you can find safety so that you can heal from all of the hurts you have suffered.  The Good Samaritan left the injured man at an inn where he would be safe and could heal from his wounds.  If you are afraid, there are safe havens in this very city.  Don’t reject this opportunity.  

You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you need to be cared for.

I could stay on this topic all night but let’s move on to abuse by neglect. 

Abuse By Neglect

Sometimes, in spite of the best intentions you can be a victim of neglect.  Your family can make many sacrifices to serve others and yet not look within the family to see that you are hurting and need help.  Sometimes, like Solomon, we can’t apply our wisdom to caring for our own families.

God gave us families to love, support, and comfort us and for us to comfort them.  Paul tells Timothy “….learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family…”   How foolish we are for not honoring our responsibilities to our own families.  Again, we are not discussing what causes this kind of neglect, we are addressing the victims.

You did not cause this. 

A loved-one’s lack of wisdom caused the problem.  If you tried to communicate your problem you may have been miss-understood, ignored, or perhaps told that other’s needs or feelings were more important.  I call this being sacrificed on the alter-of-the-greater-good. When your needs are seemingly ignored you act out to get attention.  Now you’re the problem in everyone’s eyes, and your problems are now covered up by your misdeeds.

You are and were powerless to cure the problem so you just denied your feelings and kept acting out.  I know it hurts, but it’s time to concentrate on forgiveness.  Jesus has no reservations about forgiving you for anything you did during this time and He wants you to work on forgiving those who harmed you.  Forgiveness does heal all resentments.  

Right now let’s concentrate on caring for you. 

Pour out your pain to someone you trust then pour out your heart to “…God, who comforts the downcast…” (2 Cor. 7:6). Let the pain from your past be healed by faith then accept the new life that is promised to you.  It’s time to take action in caring for yourself or finding a place where you can be cared for.

Please don’t leave here tonight believing that the abuse is your fault or blaming God.  There are three wills working in this world.  The first is God’s permissive will where He grants us free will.   As God granted us free will, man’s will is the second will in this world.  The third will is Satan’s will.  You don’t have to think too hard to decide which one causes abuse.  It’s also Satan’s will for you to take the blame for the problem.  Don’t do it!

Remember the three C’s.  You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it and you need to be cared for.  In closing, I’m taking the liberty of adding a fourth C.  The fourth C is choice.  The choice is yours to continue doing the same thing or to accept the healing power and guidance of Jesus. 

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By R H Clark

Ron is a retired pharmacist with 42 years of experience. He and his wife Kitty have been on mission trips to Thailand and Columbia. Ron lives in Rockport, TX and enjoys fishing, hunting, and riding motorcycles.

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