I am so sick of abuse. It’s everywhere. In the news. On social media. On our jobs. In our hospitals. In our churches, schools, legal system, families…homes.
It feels like a malignant cancer which has evolved from a slithering menace skulking around in dark shadows to a monstrous abomination gliding down the middle of Main St. It mocks us as it very intentionally and systematically divides and destroys everything. No one is spared. No one.
It pits us against each other, all the while justifying the harm it causes. It uses some of us to hurt and destroy others.The closer a relationship or the more vulnerable the victim, the better. It, then, convinces others that harm was either not done or is justified, somehow.
It teaches the perpetrator to use their own pain and dysfunction to justify or, at a minimum, excuse causing pain in others. It encourages some onlookers to look away or sweep things under the rug, ofttimes, twisting scripture to do so.
The wounded are left ostracized, re-victimized and broken convinced they are not worthy of protection or love. Still others, it compels to demonize and attack offenders who are then never really able to face and conquer their own internal struggles.
It teaches us to fight one another instead of turning to face the evil between us. Abuse gives us permission to see each other as less than human and deserving of being mistreated. Or, arguably worse, it manipulates us into believing that some are super-human and incapable of hurting someone else.
What if we didn’t fall for this anymore?
What if forgiveness included accountability as well as gentleness?
What if judgment-free didn’t also mean responsibility-free?
What if we separated understanding and agreeing? (Kinda like in the TV show Criminal Minds. The FBI agents use understanding and compassion to stop abuse. They obviously do not agree with the actions of the criminals and always hold them accountable yet all the while protecting and helping the victim.)
What if “love covers a multitude a sins” applied to the victim, too? Could we cover their pain in our love? What would that look like?
What would happen if we put down our proverbial torches and pitchforks and helped each other pick up the broken pieces of our lives?
What if we found a way to protect and heal the victims and the offenders? Would the cycles of abuse stop?
I don’t know, but I think it’s worth a try.
Questions to ponder in your quiet time with God:
- Who has abused me?
- Am I still angry? On scale of 0-10, how angry am I? How is the impacting my life?
- Have I abused someone? What reasons do I give to excuse this? How can I make amends for this?
- Have I ever ignored or justified the abuse of someone else? Why?
- Do I wield my own pain as a weapon hurting others in my vicinity?
- What does forgiveness mean to me? Does the definition change depending on whether I am the offender or the victim?
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