Most Christian teaching focuses on dealing with the sins, the abuses that each of us commits against God, others, and ourselves. No spiritual, emotional, or relational healing can take place when a person denies the truth about their behavior and the only behavior we have any control over is our own. However it is also, important to heal from the abuses committed against us because often, our abusive behavior is rooted in them. The forgiveness we receive from Jesus is immediate but complete cleansing from sin is a process. To truly, be free from sin, it isn’t enough to change outward behaviors; the cause of harmful behavior must be dug out by the roots. For those of us who were victimized by abuse as children, it requires facing the truth about what happened to us along with the wrong messages about ourselves and how we relate to others that abuse taught us.
I was an abused child and I started out in life as a very broken woman. Jesus met me at the lowest point in my life and by putting my hand in His, through faith, I was lifted from the deep pit where He found me. I’m not talking about a six-foot ditch but a near bottomless pit that I had no hope of emerging from on my own. Though, I was immediately rescued, the ride to the top is a long one and I’m not quite there yet. I was shattered by the crimes committed against me in childhood and my thinking so damaged that I couldn’t even recognize them as crimes. I thought I was bad and deserved the things that happened to me. I thought it was my fault and I spent many decades of my life as a Christian trying to find forgiveness for things I hadn’t done. Outwardly, I changed sinful habits but the wounds that caused me to develop those habits in the first place, remained unhealed and denied.
I’ve never heard very much Christian teaching aimed at healing victims of child abuse and when I suddenly, came to the realization that I was such a victim, I was at loss in knowing what I should do about it. The Bible doesn’t specifically, addresses “child abuse” and as I looked for a character in the Bible to reference I suddenly, realized that Jesus is the fellow-abuse-victim of the Bible. He much more than I suffered for no other reason than He was innocent and an easy target for abuse. He was good and that made Him the target of evil. He was abused to death and people still verbally abuse Him today. It is in the person of Jesus that I find what I need to heal from abuses committed against me, as well as those I’ve committed. In Him I find hope, validation, and guidance in a pattern to follow of how I should be in the world. No matter how broken and defeated I became after a childhood of abuse, no matter the abuses committed against me as an adult or the abuses I’ve committed in return, in Jesus I have resurrection power. I have the strength to rise and live again. By my faith in Jesus, I continue to overcome and I look forward to the day when I will be completely free from abuse; and sin won’t be remembered anymore. I was shattered but my faith in Jesus is making me whole. My joy increases as I become more complete and realize more fully, the woman I am intended to be. No one is beyond the saving grace of Jesus.