November 7, 2016

Healing Domestic Violence through God's Word

In my previous post, I talked about how domestic violence is defined, the signs to look for and what help is available if you find yourself or someone you know in this situation. Now, I want to expand the discussion and talk about healing; true healing. I believe true healing from any situation, including domestic violence, comes from the foundation of our faith. I believe that God never wanted anyone to harm us in any way, and He is saddened by what He sees happening to those who have been victimized by abuse.
My desire is to see women (and men) healed from the abuse they have endured no matter how long they have been in the predicament. My prayer is that domestic violence shelters can close their doors because there are no more victims to help, that hotlines are no longer needed because no one has to call at 2:00 am needing to discuss how to stay safe in their home, that the hospital staff no longer have to call law enforcement for the one who walks in the emergency room with a black eye and broken arm. Today that is not a reality. But until it is, there are some things that we can do, especially as a community of faith.

The church or the faith community can do wonderful ministry with someone
experiencing abuse. We can walk alongside them in their journey; their journey of healing. We can encourage them and empower them through the word of God. Pointing them to what He says in His word about them; offering to allow them to let go of what the abuser has said and embrace what God says. We can pray with them and uplift their spirits. We can offer counseling if we are called in that capacity. There is so much we can do to help heal the brokenness that so many have endured; victimization no one should ever experience.
The faith community may be the only people the victim feels they can trust, and we need to make sure that we are willing and able to stand up to this charge. Are we ready to answer that call?
This is one of the reasons I wrote God Provides a Way of Escape because I knew there were people out there, especially women, who felt vulnerable and unloved and rejected. They have been told for so long that they are not worthy of being treated well, they are destined to fail, they are criticized, humiliated and beaten down physically and emotionally. At times, their spiritual life is thrown into the equation… the abuser demeans them because of their beliefs, doesn’t want them involved in fellowship with other believers, and causes such low self-esteem that they begin to question their own belief system and self-worth.

My desire for this book is to speak to women who have been or are in abusive or unhealthy relationships. I want them to know that they are not alone and that they can healed and restored. I empower women by letting them know that when God created them, He said “it is good”; that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, that the Balm in Gilead is salve for their souls.
No one has the right to abuse or degrade anyone else. Healthy relationships are a gift that should be cherished. And everyone deserves that gift. The doors should be closed tightly and locked on the relationships that are unhealthy. No one deserves that. I want to make the point that “you don’t have to go around the same mountain time after time, week after week, year after year… God has provided a way of escape and healing is yours”.
There is also some guidance in the book for those who counsel. I urge them to counsel according to the Word of God and to ensure that safety is considered when sharing information and advice. The key is to make sure that when the victim leaves and they step away from the counseling couch, that the counselor has done the very best to ensure safety and security, empowerment and encouragement, and promoted healing.

We have all been blessed with a measure of faith and this helps sustain us if we allow it. And one of my favorite verses is in Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness”. We are able to start again. Just because something has happened in our past (and the past could have been yesterday), we don’t have to stay there and endure that thing that is not the best for us. Because His mercies are new every morning, today can be the day that we make the decision to follow God’s way for us and live an abundant life. His word teaches us how to love ourselves, we can embrace this.
This will not happen over night and many times it’s a process of planning and having the foundation laid to be able to push forward, but it’s possible. It may not be easy, but it’s worth giving it all you’ve got to be in a place where you can look yourself in the mirror and not feel guilt, or sadness, see scars or the shadow behind you. You deserve to be treated well, with respect, loved, honored and held in high regard. We are valuable to God and His sacrifice for us proves that. God’s word is filled with promises just for you and me, promises to prosper us and give us a great hope and future. One filled up with His goodness and all that He is and He’s more than able to fulfill every promise.  

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