Overcoming any type of abuse is easier said than done. However, with hard work and assistance, it is a possible achievement. Granted, the invisible emotional scars never go away and the pain can be easily recalled to the surface. How one chooses to handle the pain of abuse is crucial to the spiritual health during the rest of their lives. In addition, it is essential that the victim truly desires to be healed and free of the emotional pain caused by the abuse. Unfortunately, victims are likely to repeat the pattern of abuse or attract similar person or persons that have the same characteristics of the abuser. To be healed and have a healthy lifestyle there is One who guarantees and promise to heal you of the pain caused by the abuse, who can give love and show you how to begin the healing process of forgiving. How does one gain control of the constant guilt and anguish? Isaiah 61: 1-2 reads “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound” Jesus fulfilled this very scripture in Luke 4:18-19. If your spirit and mind are crushed from the abuse you have suffered, Jesus has made a promise to you that He will never leave you and that He has come to heal your broken heart, all you must do is accept His perfect unconditional love.
In her book, Beauty for Ashes, televangelist Joyce Meyer recounts the physical and sexual abuse she encountered when she was a young child. She makes it clear that the purpose of writing her book is for others to receive deliverance and freedom from the past and not to remain in bondage. Sure, everyone wants the perfect loving family, but no one can change the cards that they were dealt as children. Unforeseen circumstances and events impact individuals differently for the remainder of their lives, many unknowingly react emotionally depending on the situation. Joyce gives an analogy on how negative and positive experiences have affected her life:
Bad roots in life = abuse, rejection, shame, and guilt.
Fruits from bad roots = depression, self-pity, anger, low self-esteem, controlling, and judgmental.
When rooted in God’s love one feels = loved, no guilt, acceptance, and valuable.
Fruits from God’s love = love, joy, peace, kindness, self-control.
These analogies from Joyce’s personal experiences can give one a unique perspective as to how people subconsciously behave without being aware of the painful fruit that abuse has caused in their life. Jesus provides living water (John 4:13), by applying Christ in your life, new fresh healthy fruit can grant nourishment to your soul. Being a victim of such atrocities can make one feel alone, isolated, and afraid to love. The hard part is ignoring the rampant discouraging thoughts that demean one self. Joyce explains, “The devil’s goal is to separate us from God’s love, because God’s love is the main factor in emotional healing.” “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. We love because He first loved us. (1st John 4:18-19)” Each time a negative thought enters your mind, tell yourself “…because He first loved me.” With all our faults and insecurities, God still loves you. Do not let the enemy deceive you into believing otherwise. He sent His Son to die for you, all you have to do is accept His love.
Dealing with the guilt and shame of abuse affects relationships with friends and loved ones. The feeling of guilt can fundamentally handicap all relationships, especially with God. The shame of abuse creates a burden upon the spirit that only God can lift. After finally accepting God’s love, Joyce recommends the following steps:
Seek God and His plan for your recovery. He will lead you one step at a time.
Don’t remain in the past. Choose: “Pain of Change” or “Pain of Never Changing and Remaining the Same.”
In order to progress emotionally-“Don’t give up as hard as it may be to- Don’t!”
Always trust God, going through pain can be beneficial.
In going through each step, remember that you are not alone. “For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!” (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)
Someone once said, “Forgiveness is a gift given to those who do not deserve it.” In using God’s help, one can eventually come to forgive their abuser for this is important to the emotional healing process. Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Harboring unforgiveness and bitterness is not healthy physically or emotionally. Forgiving does not necessarily mean that one forgets the abuse. Forgiveness simply allows those who have been hurt to release their abuser to no longer have a hold on them, stop the poison of bitterness, and allow God to heal. In her book, Joyce lays out the subsequent plan in overcoming abuse:
Receive God’s forgiveness (and love yourself)
Choose to forgive and release those who hurt you.
Pray for your enemies.
Bless those who have hurt you.
Believe that God is healing your emotions.
Wait (Keep your eyes on God).
Waiting is not easy, but don’t be deceived into thinking that God is not moving on your behalf. While abiding in the love of God, build your self-confidence and say out loud, “I am the righteous of God in Christ. (2nd Corinthians 5:21)” Over two thousand years ago, the prophecy of Isaiah 61 was fulfilled, know that Jesus came to “comfort all who mourn…to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning.” (Isaiah 61:3) For all your suffering and heartbreak of your abuse, Jesus said that He will provide Beauty for your ashes. Simply trust and believe in Him.