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Serious, Compassionate Support
Adapted with permission by Talmid Ben
Be it rape or indecent assault, child molestation or the sexual humiliation of a grandmother, the violation is one of the most devastating experiences a human can ever suffer. The deepest part of a person seems incurably wounded. Countless thousands of survivors, however, have discovered the secret to healing.
A doctor is particularly fond of a little patient of hers. All that the little girl can focus on, however, is the vaccinations the doctor gave her and the painful stitches in her cuts. To her childish mind, the doctor is not a healer but a torturer. One day the girl is strolling along the sidewalk when suddenly she sees the doctor approaching. In her panic she flees across the road and is hit by a car, breaking her leg. Of course, the first on the scene is that dreaded doctor.Tragically, like that little girl, a misunderstanding causes far too many survivors of sexual abuse to waste their lives resenting and avoiding their Healer.
In time, the physical pain is overshadowed by the shame of walking with a severe limp. It scares her whole life, making her unpopular at school, later interfering with her marriage prospects, her career opportunities, her self image, and countless other aspects of her life.
The incident inflames her hate for doctors. She spends her life avoiding them and so never discovers that simple surgery would have totally cured her limp.
The horror of sexual abuse is that no matter how severe the physical pain, the mental torment is even worse. The physical pain might have ended when you were a little child, but if you fail to find healing, your inner pain will still be with you when you are a grandparent. There is no need for alarm, however. Healing is available. The extent of one's healing depends largely upon where you the blame.
There are several possibilities:
1. We could choose to heap upon ourselves the blame and the shameWhat torment follows the taking of this option! So many precious lives have been ruined or tragically shortened by unfounded or hideously distorted feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Young men and women of high morals can become so brainwashed into wrongly thinking themselves to be Ďtrashí that they end up needlessly cheapening themselves.
It is understandable how this false image comes about. One of the great traumas of sexual abuse is that the innocent are made to feel partners in wickedness. And if it occurred during oneís childhood, the pressures are particularly enormous. Since child molesters are usually considerably older than their victims, their lies sound authoritative to children. Abusers often manipulate emotions until tender consciences are shattered by an overwhelming burden of false guilt. The insistence upon secrecy not only inflames the conviction that something shamefully wrong is occurring, it forces victims to keep their emotions dangerously bottled up. Also, when the depraved offender is someone highly regarded in the community, or is close to the family or an authority figure it is natural for the child to have great respect for the person. To a child it can seem unthinkable that such a person could do something so horribly wrong. Forced into this almost intolerable situation, it is not surprising that many opt to blame themselves rather than their abuser.
2. We could blame other peopleSince the abuser is exceptionally blameworthy, he (or she) is the obvious target. Other possibilities are people whom we feel should have provided us more protection.
Blaming people other than oneself is attractive not only because they (especially the abuser) deserve severe punishment, but because it helps relieve the crushing weight of false guilt that sometimes seems the only other option. The problem, however, is that resentment and bitterness continually infect a hurting personís inner wound, preventing healing.
Itís as though someone broke your hand. This makes you so mad that every day as you pass that personís photo hanging on the wall, you punch it with your broken hand. The release of pent up anger might feel good, but the constant punching prolongs your agony by preventing your hand from ever healing. A desire to see someone else suffer ends up perpetuating our own suffering.
The devastating thing is that resentment is addictive. Like a junkie, we focus so much on the welcome relief resentment offers that we hardly realize it inflames the downer that follows, and so the agonizing cycle continues.
It is unlikely that we will ever see the person suffer so much as to satisfy our lust for revenge. So if we follow this track, in fifty yearsí time we will still be no closer to a resolution.
For as long as we are dominated by the longing to see someone suffer, that person has succeeded in lowering us to his abysmal level. He hurt us. Now we want him to hurt. We degrade ourselves by entering the slimy world of hate, staggering through life a defeated person, floundering in the same moral mud in which our tormentor lives. (In fact, sex offenders are often themselves abuse victims with heart-wrenching stories. They failed to resolve their anger and pain. Female suffers of abuse often grow up thinking that the typical male is a heartless, sex-crazed beast. Consider the implications of a male victim of sexual abuse gripped by such a thought. He concludes that because he is male he must act that way. Regardless of gender, resentment enslaves and corrupts its victims. Pathetically, people blinded by anger or hate usually feel morally superior to other people blinded by anger or hate. Bitter people are beautiful people turned ugly. Thankfully the process is reversible.)
We move from victim to victor only when we break free from resentment's death-grip.
I often hike in wilderness areas infested with snakes so venomous that without specialized medical treatment I would have only a couple of hours to live after being bitten. Suppose a snake bit me, then slid out of sight. I would be a fool to squander precious time angrily trying to find and execute vengeance on the snake. First priority must be to seek medical attention.
There is no question that sexual abusers deserve severe punishment. For your own survival, however, focus on healing, not revenge.
3. We could blame GodAgain, because it draws our attention away from ourselves, this option brings a degree of comfort, but it keeps the wound open and festering.
The God you thought you hated isnít real. The real God, as contrasted with the monster your imagination might have created, is tender, compassionate, and understanding. This is not an easy concept to grasp, living as we do in a world that is in rebellion against God, violently opposed to his ways of love and justice. (This is examined in greater depth in links mentioned later in this webpage.)
Just as by a dangerous trick of the mind the most innocent rape victims can feel justified in blaming themselves, we can feel justified in blaming God. Such feelings are as tragically out of touch with reality as a skinny victim of anorexia nervosa feeling convinced that she is fat.
Moreover, blaming God keeps you from the one Person who fully understands your anguish, who offers perfect comfort, and is able to bring supernatural healing. Resenting God is ultimately as self-destructive as suicide and as counterproductive as a drowning person fighting off his rescuer.
Hating yourself is a dead end. Hating another person keeps you in pain. And hating God is just another variation on hating another person. In fact, resenting people can be as spiritually suicidal as resenting God. Both forms of resentment build a wall between you and your Healer.
Monkeys are easily trapped by placing food behind a small opening. When they slip their hand in and grab the food, their hand becomes a fist that is bigger than the opening. Refusing to let go, they remain firmly caught until seized by hunters.
For as long as we make a fist at someone (even at ourselves, or at God) we, too, are trapped. While we hold on to our bitterness, we are unable to leave our painful past behind and get on with life.
4. We could choose to lay all the pain, blame and shame upon YeshuaYeshua wants to take upon himself all the guilt, all the horror, all the shame of your abuse. He wants every trace of filth to be dumped on him until it destroys him; because in destroying him, its power to touch you will also be destroyed.
ĎBut Yeshua had nothing to do with it,í you object, ĎHe was innocent.í Yes, Yeshua was innocent. In fact the intensity of his innocence and purity is like the white that shows up as gray every other thing that we ever thought was white. Relative to him, the purest of virgins, the kindest, most saintly person is sin-stained. And yet, Messiah was stripped naked, savagely beaten, bruised, tortured, publicly exposed, mocked, humiliated, his body cruelly violated until finally he died. He did that for you and me.
At first thought it seems inconceivable that an innocent man allowing himself to be tortured to death could heal someone nearly two thousand years later. You deserve an explanation. There are three difficulties in trying to explain the most significant event in all human history, however. First, explanations are lifeless. Sitting through a lecture about the psychology of being in love, for instance, is very different to being hit by a tidal wave of head-over-heels love. The Lord declares in his Word that the realm of God consists not of talk, but power (1 Corinthians 4:20). What we are seeking is a life-changing connection to the infinite power of Almighty God, not some quaint philosophy or feel-good story. The second difficulty is that Yeshua and what he has accomplished is so unique that there is nothing in our experience that can rovide an adequate comparison. Third, even a summary of an attempted explanation would be so long as to test your patience. I want to rush you to the benefits. So I will touch just a few highlights in The key to supernatural healing.
The benefitsThrough Messiah anyone can be made a chaste virgin, no matter how sordid, perverse or horrific their sexual past.
The uniqueness of Yeshua and his suffering makes possible a spiritual exchange whereby he takes from you every speck of humiliation and failure and sin, and puts it on himself. In exchange you take upon yourself Messiah's moral perfection. He gets your sin and shame and God's anger Ė that's what killed him Ė and you get his holiness and honor and God's smile of approval.
Even without being subjected to deliberate emotional torture, the trauma of sexual abuse is so horrific as to grossly distort oneís self-image, often making a person feel more morally debased than other people. Reeling under the horror of what has happened, it is natural to feel compelled to keep replaying the events over and over in oneís mind, endlessly interrogating oneself, trying to ascertain the extent of oneís guilt or innocence. What if I hadnít done that? Or what if I had done this? Nagging doubts persist, and so the dreaded cycle grinds on and on.
The great relief that Messiah brings is that he has so powerfully dealt with real guilt that even if people plagued with unbearable false guilt were actually a thousand times more evil than they imagine, Messiah would still long to purify them and make them as if they had never sinned.
Irrespective of whether the guilt is real or just a nightmare, Messiah longs to cleanse your conscience. What makes this so liberating is that we no longer have to agonize over humanly unanswerable questions, trying to determine the degree of our real or imagined guilt. The matter can finally rest in peace. Messiah's death ended the matter. Whatever the measure of our guilt, Messiah fully absorbed it within himself. It died when he died. Our innocence is restored the moment we trust Yeshua to bring about the spiritual exchange of our sin for his holiness.
Every valid reason for churning through your mind questions about guilt was laid to rest when Yeshua's mutilated corpse was placed in the tomb. And you gain a brand new and holy life when by faith you identify with the crucified Lord who in holiness burst through the tomb to live forevermore.
The fact is that relative to the perfection of Godís standards, a divinely forgiven prostitute is infinitely purer than anyone who has not come to Messiah for cleansing, even if that Messiah-less person feels spotlessly clean and is the purest virgin who has never even heard of sex.
Moreover, as a consequence of Messiah taking our shame, we become spiritually united with Almighty God. That opens up amazing possibilities, even miracles.
By miracles I mean sudden, dramatic healing of the wounds of sexual abuse, rather than a more gradual recovery. Whether it is sudden or slow, the healing is still from God and almost always the slow healing does us the most good spiritually.
If miracles could be guaranteed, they would be labeled natural events, not miracles, even though the same God is as much behind the painting of this eveningís sunset as the most spectacular, instantaneous healing of the wounds of sexual abuse. I cannot guarantee the instantaneous. Nevertheless, there is more power than most people dream in prayers to the God of the universe, through Yeshua (the only One by whom anyone can gain access to the God of gods). You have the opportunity below to request prayer.
If anyone has reason to hate God, itís Sue
You must read this inspiring story and how one woman found peace and healing in the midst of hate and bitterness.
Writes one abuse survivor:
Support in breaking blockages that hinder healing
Discovering that you donít hate God after allIn your pain it was natural for you to lash out at the hideous, unfeeling monster you supposed was God. The God you thought you hated is just a figment of your tormented imagination. Itís time you met the real God Ė your Healer.
Just as there are things about its loving mother that a tiny child cannot comprehend, mysteries remain when we try to understand the infinitely superior mind of God. Nevertheless, the following webpages will help.
Why would a God of love allow suffering?
Godís plans for you are comforting, not fearful
If anyone has reason to hate God, itís Sue
Lifeís Mysteries Explained
Discovering Godís love for youTragically, so many people bungle through life living shallow, wasted lives. Through Yeshua we can leave behind a meaningless life of selfishness headed for endless regret. We can choose a life in which every second counts for all eternity, achieving the highest good in union with the God who made you and loves you more than life itself. Life can be crammed with so many urgent things that we forget the really important ones. Donít let this wonderful opportunity slip from your grasp. Make lifeís most important issue top priority.
You Can Find Love: What your fantasies reveal A most significant webpage
The key to supernatural healing Why Messiahís suffering can change your life.
God as Mother Feminine aspects of God. Healing for those whose father let them down.
You are loved When you canít feel Godís love
Release from blaming yourselfHandling guilt is the first of many helpful and encouraging webpages about overcoming guilt feelings. Follow the links.
Overcoming feelings of worthlessnessTo God, you are special
Power to escape the trap of bitternessShould you forgive your abuser?
This most serious, often misunderstood, issue is carefully examined in two special webpages listed below. It is vital for your healing that you read them. So much hinges on this delicate matter.
I am convinced that just as martyrs are especially honored in heaven, so are those who have suffered greatly and yet have forgiven.
Forgiving others is tough. It is so critical to our own emotional and spiritual well being that our spiritual enemy strongly attacks us on this issue. Nevertheless, divine help is available.
People suffering great difficulty in forgiving others usually have as the basis of their agony the (sometimes subconscious) pain of having great difficulty forgiving themselves. The two sides of forgiveness Ė forgiving yourself and forgiving others Ė rise or fall together. Many people raging against someone else's guilt are pressured by a subconscious urge to keep suppressed the tortured screams of their own conscience. Shalom (Peace) soothes our troubled mind when we dwell on the extent of the forgiveness and purity that we have in Messiah. When we realize how much God has forgiven us, it becomes easier to act more Godlike and have that same forgiving attitude towards ourselves and others. For this reason, I recommend beginning with the webpages about handling guilt.
Breaking the stranglehold of bitterness:
Lord make him regret what he did to me!
Overcoming destructive thinkingWhether it be the desire to hurt yourself, or to hate yourself, or to hate others, it is a temptation.
Becoming a Winner! begins a series of webpages about overcoming temptation. Follow the links.
When you canít rememberGod has far more healing options than any earthly therapist. He knows your past. He has the power, if he chooses, to heal you without bringing best-forgotten memories to your consciousness. Even under professional guidance, it may not necessarily be wise to try to dredge up painful memories. I suggest you prayerfully seek Godís guidance before proceeding down that path. See Splinters of the Cross for the way one woman found healing.
When you canít forgetWhen haunted by memories, or terrorized by flashbacks
Lost virginityThe enormity of God's forgiveness makes all of his children chaste virgins in his sight, but how would a potential marriage partner, who is a believer in Messiah, see you?
Who says men, who are born from above, prefer women who are physically virgins?
Handling DepressionDark Blessings Follow the links.
When you canít feel GodSpiritual Wilderness Survival Guide
Learning to appreciate your sexualityIt is natural than anyone for whom sex has been a source of suffering would to some extent resent the fact that God made us sexual beings.
Celebrate your sexuality This webpage is intended particularly for singles but could help anyone for whom sex has unpleasant memories.
How holy wives express marital love This, of course, is intended for wives or women close to marriage. There are some useful thoughts there, but expect many of the suggestions to be beyond what you are presently capable of doing.
The Healing Secrets of 5 Abused WomenHealing from sexual abuse: A testimony
For the abused: A beautiful Poem
Patti Willis: A testimony of hope
Mary Lawrence Comm: Splinters from the Cross
Sexual abuse led to substance abuse: I was gang raped
Finding answers to hate and anger: If anyone has reason to hate God, itís Sue
Personalized supportE-mail Grantley Morris, the author of these webpages:
The Healing Heart Mission A live internet ministry for the sexually abused, not associated with the ministry of Grantley Morris.
Click the icon, or E-mail the author, Grantley Morris, by the method of your choice: email@example.com
Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society