ABUSE

    (Domestic, Child, Sexual)

     

    DEFINITIONAbuse is mistreatment of another person.  It includes child abuse, spousal abuse, physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse.  The term also applies to the misuse of legitimate authority, for example a government official or religious leader who abuses their power.

    FACTS ABOUT ABUSE:

    Abuse takes many forms.  It may be domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, or physical, emotional, and mental abuse.

    Abuse is not tolerated in God’s Kingdom.  Certain types of abuse–such as domestic abuse–is permitted in some countries, but we are not citizens of the nation in which we live.  We are citizens of the Kingdom of God, and we are governed by God’s laws that prohibit any kind of abuse.

    Abuse is against the law in the US and many other nations.  See God’s mandates regarding believers abiding by the law in Romans 13:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13-14; and Luke 17:2.

    Abuse is against God’s law.  One of the two greatest commandments is to love others (Matthew 22:37-39). Abuse is not love.

    Abuse can be learned behavior–for example, a person sees their Dad abuse their Mom and models similar abuse in their own relationships.

    Causes of abuse.  The root cause behind abuse is often uncontrolled anger.  It also stems from a low self-image which makes a person abuse others to try to elevate their own status.

    Abusers tend to justify their behavior.  They blame others for making them so angry that they are forced to respond in this manner.

    DEALING WITH ABUSE:

    If you are being abused, remove yourself from the situation.  Remaining in an abusive situation may cost your life or that of your child.  In many nations, you are legally responsible for removing a child from an abusive environment.  Move in with a relative or friend or seek help from a Christian shelter.   If you are being abused by an employer, seek a new job.  If you are experiencing abuse by a spiritual leader, find a new church.

    If you are the abuser, admit your problem.  As long as you are in denial, you cannot change.

    Ask God for forgiveness if you have abused someone.  Abuse in any form is a sin and violates God’s law of loving others  (Matthew 22:37-39).

    Ask forgiveness of those you have abused.  God requires it.  Your own gifts, prayers, and worship won’t be accepted until you do this: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

    If you tend to be abusive, ask God to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in your life.  Love, patience, and self control will replace your abusive behavior.

    If you have suffered abuse, the first step towards healing is to acknowledge that the abuse happened. Maybe your abuser warned you not to tell anyone, or maybe your family didn’t believe you when you told them what happened.  Healing starts when you admit the truth about the abuse, whether or not others believe you.  As you admit the abuse, you may experience feelings of confusion, hurt, blame, and shame. You might be tempted to drown those feelings with alcohol, drugs, food, anger or sexual addictions. Instead, replace these negative thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.  God made you in His image (Genesis 1:27).  He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you (John 3:16).  He has a plan to give you a future and a hope.  Admit that what was done to you was wrong, sinful acts committed by sinful people, Whether or not you are able to confront your abuser, you must forgive them. When  anger or shameful thoughts over past abuse try to return to your mind, reject these immediately.  You will never have a future as long as you are living in the past.

    WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ABUSE:

    Abuse in general.

    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’   This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself .'”   (Matthew 22:37-39)

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  (Galatians 5:22-23a)

    Sexual abuse.

    No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. (Leviticus 18:6)

    Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you. (Leviticus 18:10)

    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

    Child abuse.

    See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

    Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.  It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luke 17:1-2)

    Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  (Ephesians 6:4)

    Spousal Abuse.

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the chWives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  (Colossians 3:18-20)urch. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.   (Ephesians 5:25-32)

    Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  (Colossians 3:18-20)

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