Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Do I Have to Suffer From Abuse?

Break Free From the Cycle of Abuse

When I first started writing, it was my goal to tell my own personal story as a way of reaching those who have suffered from abuse, and those who have been abusers as well. I wanted other survivors to understand that they can have hope. I wanted abusers to understand that their actions have profoundly devastating and long-lasting effects, but they too can have hope.

Being a survivor of abuse, I've experienced what I view as "typical" challenges. I went through periods of trying to make sense of it, blaming myself and others, and questioning God as to why it all happened.  By telling my story, I am hoping that others will see that life does not have to remain a challenge.

I was also diagnosed with Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.  The diagnosis does present some not so "typical" challenges.  I tried the usual treatment plans without success.  So I have set out to try some non-traditional methods of managing my symptoms.  Currently there is no "cure" for PTSD.

Sometimes the most difficult person to share the truth of having a relationship with the Creator is the one who has suffered from or inflicted upon another such traumatic events as physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual abuse and neglect.  The lasting effects of abuse can create a calloused heart and an emotional "wall" that is difficult to penetrate.  The greatest tragedy of abusive situations is folks tend to blame God for such suffering or behavior, but God is the very One Who can take away the pain!

I am a (non-traditional) follower of Jesus Christ, and I did question God about my abuse.  I really just wanted to understand why I had to suffer so much and for so many years. I looked for answers in scripture.  A lot of abuse survivors either quit believing, refuse to believe in or even blame God for their trauma.  I am glad that I did not turn away from God, because ultimately God is the reason why I have made progress.

So what did I find when I looked for an answer to the question of "Why was I abused"?

When we consider an abusive situation, we might find that being a victim of abuse or an abuser carries back to previous generations within a family.  It becomes a cycle of abuse/victim abused/abuser over and over.  Self-worth is destroyed and a feeling of hopelessness can set in, both for a victim and an abuser.  It is time to take a stand and put the blame where the blame lies, and it lies with sin.  Sin re-visits generations of families (Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18), and the accuser (darkness or "satan") walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he can destroy (1 Peter 5:8).  But know this, sometimes suffering is allowed so that through your suffering God may be glorified.  (I must admit, this is a hard truth for me to accept.)

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'  Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."  John 9:1-3 (ESV).
In this story we have a man born blind, and because of the understanding that sin brings suffering and sin from parents can lead to suffering throughout generations (Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18), the disciples' asked Jesus what caused this man's blindness, his sin or his parents' sin.  Notice how the Master Jesus responded, ". . . that the works of God might be displayed in him," or that the man born blind might be used as a vessel to carry a testimony of God's healing power.  Jesus healed his blindness and the man who was blind no more carried the Good News to others!  So sometimes we suffer not as punishment, but that God might use us as a vessel for His Good Purpose!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 (NIV).
If you have suffered, perhaps God has a purpose for you.  According to Scripture, there are at least four reasons why we could be suffering:

  • Our own mistakes
  • The mistakes of our ancestors
  • The darkness is looking to draw you away from God
  • We are being prepared to do good works according to God's purpose

But what about abusers?

Paul (originally called Saul) persecuted Christians (Acts 8:1-3) before he met Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-6), he was an abuser before his conversion to a follower of Christ.  After his conversion, he still continued to suffer, but he became a powerful messenger for the Christ.

In 2nd Corinthians 12:7-9, Paul asks three times to be healed, and three times he is denied.  Paul was still struggling with his ego (to boast or not to boast), so to prevent him from becoming conceited, he was still afflicted.  Notice in the conversation between Jesus and Paul about the "thorn" in his flesh, and Jesus' response:

But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).
Once you are one of God's children, "HIS power is made PERFECT in your weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).  One thing has to happen first, though. You must get to know God, and accept Jesus Christ and what He did for you, so that you can spend eternity in the presence of God in Heaven!  Then He WILL use you for His Good Purpose, if you surrender to His will.

Become His child and allow Him to be your Father in Heaven and He will restore your soul and guide you in the path of righteousness, even in the face of your enemies! (Psalm 23:1-6).  So what good purpose could possibly come out of being a victim or a perpetrator of abuse?

  • Who could be a witness to a victim better than a victim who has overcome adversity and been healed by the love of Jesus Christ?
  • Who could be a witness to an abuser better than an abuser who found forgiveness through Jesus Christ and turned away from their sin?
  • Who could be a witness to an abuser better than a victim who has found the strength to forgive their abuse because of Jesus Christ?

A survivor of abuse can become a walking billboard for success.  I know because I have been there!  I have been set free through Jesus Christ, the Great Physician:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3 (NIV).
He is near to the broken-hearted.  Psalm 34:18 (NIV).
The same offer is extended to abusers.  Anyone who will seek God through Jesus the Christ can find a transformation in their hearts and lives.  If you would like to know more about your worth as a child of God, please visit and read "Father's Love Letter" at http://www.fathersloveletter.com for your free downloadable copy.  The folks at Father's Heart Communications did a wonderful job summing up God's love for His children!  Thank you to Father's Heart Communications for putting this group of verses together in such a beautiful way!  You will see just exactly what it means to be a child of God!

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