Why Christian Abuse Victims Retain Their Faith
John 17:14-15, I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (15) I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
Today I was working on Sunday’s sermon, which comes from the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel. This chapter is known as The High Priestly Prayer of Christ. This actually is most properly called “The Lord’s Prayer” because it is His prayer. We have been given the incredible privilege of hearing The Son pray to The Father. We don’t appreciate what that means right now – one day we will.
Even more incredible is that the content of this prayer is offered by Christ for us, His people. As our High Priest, Jesus prayed for us (and continues to do so as our Intercessor). This prayer is a perfect prayer, completely conforming to the will of the Father. Therefore, this prayer is an answered prayer. All that the Son requests has been, is being, or will be brought about.
Why haven’t all of you who are victims of abuse, renounced Christ a long time ago? Why hasn’t your faith disappeared? Why don’t you hate God? Humanly speaking, all of these things should have happened, right? And yet, as I have mentioned a number of times in other blog articles, the Christians I have been meeting since entering this ministry to abuse victims are the strongest Christians I have ever known. Some of you may not think you are strong. But the mere fact that you still love Christ, you still desire to please Him and obey Him, the fact that you get up in the morning and serve you children, read your Bible and pray is testimony to the fact that something quite remarkable has happened to you.
As a police officer in my earlier life (sometimes I think it was my former life, it seems so long ago), I had the sad duty on numbers of occasions to deliver death messages to people. That is not fun. And more than once, I have heard parents whose son or daughter had been killed, immediately begin to shout and scream and curse God. Why haven’t you done that? I can hear some of you saying to yourself, “Well, Jeff, if you really knew my thoughts sometimes, you wouldn’t be speaking so highly of me.” I understand that. I understand moments of intense anger at God, times when you think you never want to enter a church again. I haven’t suffered the intensity of abuse as much as many of you have, but I can tell you that there have been moments when I envisioned driving up to my office at the church building, backing my pickup to the front door, loading all of my library of theological books and papers into it (not gently, either) and taking them to the dump to be done with it all forever. So I know what you are thinking.
But I didn’t. And you didn’t. We didn’t fully and finally renounce Christ and here we are right now today still serving Him. Why? Because we are so tough? Ha! That’s a joke. Tough? Hardly. No, it is because, even if I had hopped in my truck and headed for the church building and started loading up all of those books, I would have known full well – “Jeff, you aren’t going to do this fully and finally. The Lord owns you. He isn’t going to let you. Under all of your anger and discouragement, you know Christ loves you and has a mission for you. You can’t leave Him. He won’t let you. And in fact, you don’t even want to. Not really.”
And I have been feeling that way for 30 years now. Thirty years! I have never stuck with anything that long, ever. And there you are, many of you, 10, 20, 30, 40 years of torment at the hands of your abuser. Terrible suffering. Horrible confusion. And yet – you still have your faith, set upon Christ, knowing He is the Lord and that by His blood He has redeemed you and is going to bring you safely home. You can’t shake it.
Why? Because Jesus Christ prayed for you. “Father, keep __________ (insert your name) from the evil one. Sanctify her in truth.”
He is bringing us all home. We are all going to make it. If you are a Christian, nothing can stop it from happening. Not your abuser. Not the devil himself.