Abuse impacts our lives. In order to get free of our past, we must forgive ourselves. To do that we need to examine ways that we’ve reacted to our abuse, ask God for forgiveness, and then accept that we are forgiven and redeemed. We can let go of the shame and begin to see ourselves as worthy of love and joy. Shame does not have to bind us and color our actions.
Four lies we believe about abuse.
1. The abuse was my fault.
I used to believe that something I was doing caused him to hurt me. My mother knew about my abuse and told me that I shouldn’t give my father kisses or go over to the couch when he called. The problem was, had I disobeyed him, he would have beaten me. But I blamed myself for what he did and tried to figure out what I could change to stop the abuse.
The truth is, the problem is with our abuser, not us. Our abusers are so caught up in lust they have no awareness of the deep pain they inflict. A parent is supposed to love their child and make them feel special, not abuse them.
2. If I was perfect, he wouldn’t have abused me.
I used to say, “If only I got straight A’s. If only I knew what he wanted. If only I were a better daughter, he wouldn’t abuse me.” If I could just figure out what I was doing wrong, my father would love me and quit hurting me. I could never meet the high standards I set for myself and used my failures to justify my father’s actions. I also believed a Father God couldn’t love me because of my imperfections.
The truth is, my failures did not cause my father to abuse me. He made that choice with his own free will. And God loves us just as we are. We don’t have to jump through hoops, be perfect, or do anything to deserve His unconditional love. I was scared of that love for a long time. It was too good to be true, but He knows our weaknesses and loves us in spite of ourselves.
3. I am the only one who was abused.
I used to look at others in my elementary school classes and wonder what was wrong with me that my father molested me. I believed I was different from my classmates. They detected my insecurity and teased me which increased my shame. I figured no one else in my class had a parent who abused them.
The truth is, one in four people are abused. Shame keeps us from finding out that truth and we hold hurt inside, turning our shame against ourselves. We aren’t alone. When we share our abuse, we find that many people live happy and fulfilled lives in spite of the abuse they received. This gives us courage to make positive changes in our lives and overcome the pain. As we heal, we can encourage others who have been hurt.
4. Because of my abuse, I’m ruined goods and might as well act that way.
When my father first came into my bedroom he said, “You are so stupid, dumb, and ugly, no man will ever want to marry you, so I’m going to teach you to put out so that you can at least get a man.”
I believed his lies and acted on them. His words became self-fulfilling prophesies. I was sexually promiscuous, used drugs and alcohol, and was suicidal. Hurting myself did nothing to relieve the pain and only increased my shame.
The truth is, what our abusers did to us does not have to control our futures. We can choose to change the patterns of our past. We can choose to make wise decisions with our lives.
Fortunately, when we accept Christ into our lives, our sins are forgiven. There are many who were abused and turned to God, not acting out in sin. But, if we made mistakes in our past, we are not ruined for life. God is the restorer. We have the choice to turn to God and have Him help us bring our life back in order. Yes, there are some actions that have repercussions, but God has done remarkable turnarounds in lives far more damaged than ours.
Questions for consideration:
What lies about abuse have you believed?
What is the truth about those lies?
Thank you for reading with me. I pray your day is blessed.