One of the more difficult parts of my job is listening as people tell their personal stories of being abused. Many women get abused by their husbands, and at times, husbands get abused by wives. The most disheartening stories are those of adults, and especially those of children, talking about the physical or sexual abuse that was perpetrated on them. We in Pennsylvania have certainly heard of the travesties and reports of serial molestations by high profile coach Jerry Sandusky.
Abuse takes many forms … but it is always debilitating. It cripples not only the direct victim, but also the abuser and the people who witness it. When kids witness abuse it is especially devastating. In the United States alone, husbands and partners batter 3 to 4 million women each year. Three million reports of child abuse are made every year just in the United States. But experts estimate that the incidence of abuse and neglect is five times greater than reported. Many children are suffering from this hidden epidemic. While these are U.S. figures, the same problems exist around the world, and in most places at much higher rates.
Last month, a YouTube video, KONY 2012, went viral. Joseph Kony is a ruthless militant rebel leader in Uganda who has been terrorizing a nation of kids for more than 20 years. He has used rape, maiming, disfigurement, and physical, emotional, and psychological abuse to kill off parents, and enslave or brainwash children to do his diabolic dirty work.
Abuse is a sin that dishonors God and disrespects His creation of life. Psychological abuse and spiritual abuse inflict critical damage above and beyond the terrible aspects of physical and sexual danger. The most chronic damage is the distortion of the lenses we need to see life accurately, from God’s perspective. We need eyes that see the truth. But abuse contaminates and significantly interferes with proper lens development.
Abuse erodes confidence and self-esteem. We begin believing what we are told about ourselves; we think that anyone treated violently and abusively must deserve it. These beliefs are often accepted early in life and become part of the initial lenses through which we see and process all information. Even if abuse occurs when we are older, the intensity of the experience makes it a formidable opponent to seeing ourselves as God sees us, our God-image.
Abuse communicates “I am worthless” … “I am an object to be used by you whenever you want” … “dignity, respect, and honor are not for me” … “I don’t deserve anything in life” … “I’ll never accomplish anything in life.” These distortions and interpretations form part of the foundation on which we build the rest of our lives.
Today, ask, “How do I see myself?” “Is my self-image based on other people’s words and actions toward me? Or is it based on the truth of God’s Word, a God-image?” God knew you before you were even born. He created you … and His works are wonderful. Let Jesus help take your focus off yourself and begin the process of training your eyes on Him. He is able to heal your eyes, to see yourself as He sees you.
Yes, as I wrote above, hearing reports of child abuse is the most difficult part of my job. On the flip side, being able to help these kids is a great blessing God has given me. In July this year, I will be privileged to lead a team of 6 into ground zero of Kony’s devastation in Gulu, Uganda. We will be working with 300 children who now live in refugee camps who were abused by Kony’s army and tactics. We will also be counseling and training 50 mentors who currently work with these 300 children. Unfortunately, most of these mentors were also victims of Kony’s terror. To read about our upcoming trip. This will be a very unique journey and the first of it’s kind in this area. Please support us financially and in prayer. The war isn’t over till the children are healed!
Dear Father God, Thank You for this reminder that You formed me and made me … and that Your works are wonderful. I must admit, though, sometimes I don’t feel as though I’m wonderful at all. In fact, sometimes I feel as though I don’t deserve anything good. Help me to fully grasp what Jesus did for me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
Kw: Addictions / Addictions Treatment, Mental Health Treatment, Attitude, Perspective, Mind of Christ, Needs, Emotions, Trust, Adversity, Baggage, Control, Identity, Old Self, Loneliness, Relationship with God, Bible, Confidence, Encouragement, Parenting,