Two Valuable Lessons Learned in the School of Abuse
[The following article was submitted by one of our readers who learned these vital lessons through long trials of abuse. Thank you for sharing them with us!]
I just wanted to share with you what I have learned this week, in the midst of meeting with the pastor of my church as well as all my reading. I received the book Tired of Trying to Measure Up, along with Into Abba’s Arms and The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. So I am really on a roll! Amazing to me, how the church today says that you only need a Bible to be competent to counsel.
I am realizing, that after years and years of abuse, that we victims need to be able to master identifying “behaviors” in others in order to keep from choosing abusive people to have relationships with. And we don’t learn those signs, necessarily, just from reading the Word. We can see in the Word how others are evil, but we do not learn the dynamics of their evil in order to identify them.
Those who are screaming “no psychology for any reason”, are those who are either too scared to deal with the abuse in their own lives, have never experienced abuse the way we have, or are abusers themselves. Strong statement, but I can see how someone who has never dealt with abuse, could easily use only the Bible for their counsel. However, for years and years and years I have tried to just read the Bible and pray and hope that things would change, believing that God can do anything. Yes, He can, but . . . consider boundaries as an example.
I can now see that boundaries are established in the Bible in various places, but I never knew that’s what they were or that it would help me to establish them. People still believe there should never be any boundaries because there are none in the Bible (they claim), but I don’t see it that way. Perhaps some people who are very smart may be able to read between the lines in the Bible and pick up certain distinctions in the evil people which will help them identify an abusive person. But I could not.
I don’t believe that God objects to people getting help to aid them this way. If the Bible was all we needed for all of life, then we should never see medical doctors either, including chiropractors, nor read any other book to aid us in life. No commentaries or the writings of the Reformers or Puritans or famous men of the past, AND on Sunday morning, the pastor should do nothing else but read the Bible to the congregation!! We know that does not happen, so why would it be that way when it comes to counseling? I hate saying that because I believe that God is all I need and that His Word is likewise sufficient for my life, but I also need food, clothing and physical shelter all to survive and even though He provides that for me. I don’t get it by just reading the Bible. He has given me the other extras, to make my life more comfortable here.
I also am really learning about the binding of our consciences. I am no longer going to share details of my life with anyone who is not there to help me through it all, including any pastor/elder/leader/friend. Not out of rebellion, but because it is my own conscience and if theirs does not match mine, then I either leave them thinking they need to measure up to mine, or they leave me believing I need to accept theirs! I don’t believe that is right.
If my interpretation of Scripture leads me to a certain conviction, and my heart does not tell me before God that I am in the wrong, then who is any other person to come along and tell me that I need to follow them instead? I am free in Christ to have my own conscience determined by how I interpret the Word and what I believe is pure for my life as long as I am not twisting it or using it to make an excuse for my actions.
I am tired of having to feel like I am trying to convince someone that I love God and want to do His will. It is like I am standing before judges who will decide whether I love God or not. They do not know me, nor have they ever known me, and here I am on the judgment stand before them. The greatest blow dealt to me was someone trying to take me from God just so they could do with me whatever they wanted to, including throw me away.
So, when it comes to the Word and abuse and divorce, etc., I finally feel free to make my own decision about all of it, as I stand before God, allowing Him to lead me in it.
Colossians 2:6-8 ESV Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.