How Abuse Blinds the Christian to the Love of God
One of our readers wrote the following paragraphs to us directly and they are so helpful that we asked if we could put them into a blog post. She agreed, so here is what she said. Many thanks to her. (JeffC)
1 Jn 4:18-19 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (19) We love because he first loved us.
When I first married my abuser, I was pretty sound in Christ. I didn’t know a lot about marriage or headship and submission, but I knew Jesus, very well. I knew His love, although I did not know it to the depth I needed to, probably because we live what we learn and living in abuse and not having good discipleship in this area, I just did not have a great understanding of His love for me, but I knew in some way, that Christ did love me and had given Himself up for me. As the abuse started and went on over the course of all those years, my self-worth became nothing. It was gone. I had no sense of even who I was anymore. This is how I think it happened.
Our true self-worth is found in knowing that God loves us unconditionally. Although we know it is unearned and undeserved, as God’s own, we know that He loves us unconditionally (even if the lines get blurred for victims of abuse). Living in abuse erodes that love of God, as we are constantly being put down and abused and eventually feel and begin to believe that we are responsible for the way the abuser is towards us. It is sick to be responsible for someone else’s emotions/abuse, etc. So, we end up having our self-worth destroyed because marriage is supposed to be a representation of unconditional love – that being the connection between our relationship with Christ and how marriage demonstrates that relationship. When it is abuse and hatred, there is no love there, but as Christians, we are left with that sense that marriage is supposed to be about God loving us – it strips us of any sense of our self-worth, because our only hope of self-worth comes from knowing that God loves us unconditionally.
When we are degraded and made to feel worthless and are unloved by the very one who is supposed to demonstrate Christ’s love to us, it distorts the entire picture of Christ and His love for us. I began to doubt and think that God saw me the way my abuser saw me. Hence, I began to look for approval from others, to be loved and accepted and so I could think that the abuser was wrong in his treatment of me – that I did not deserve it, and therefore God should not think of me that way either. If only I could gain acceptance and love somewhere.
Enter the false church.
How much greater destruction to me could there ever have been? And not just then, but that it still continues on and on as that false church keeps aiding the abuser in all his efforts. The confusion lies in that these people claim to be Christ’s and for a victim of abuse, who is already confused and already believes that God sees her the way her abuser sees her, because she has been brainwashed by his lies, it is complete and utter devastation, confusion and bewilderment. There is no sorting out what is real anymore. Satan’s whole lie to us is that we would be better off independent of God. But it is a lie. Abuse separates us from God, because of the confusion it brings and the erosion of love that we can sense from God toward us. The abuse in my life robbed me of my knowing of God’s love and I turned to trying to save the marriage, instead of dumping it and going back to God. It all makes sense now and I am in the process of being restored and not just restored, but being made better and more whole than I have ever been in my entire life.
God hates abuse and it is never His will for anyone to be being abused. We need to stop saying that it is, by saying, “well if you are in that situation, it is because it is God’s will for you to be there, or you wouldn’t be there in the first place” and we need to start saying, “This is not God’s will, nor ever will be and if you are losing touch with God because of this abuse, you need to separate yourself from the marriage. God never approves of evil and this is evil. It is never God’s will for anyone to be abused, but He is with you in it and will work it and use it all to your good and to what His will for you really is.” I think that would be a better way to say it.