A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Were We Created To Be Toys?

Strange topic? Maybe, but I’ll bet more than one abuse victim has asked that question before. Sometimes the church denies that abuse has occurred or doubts the victim is telling “the whole story”. Other times, though, the church believes the abuse has happened and sees it as divine suffering. They will point to examples and verses in the scripture where Godly men and women suffered and God was pleased. I was told that my situation was “no different from missionaries being martyred for the faith.”

Wow, really?

I tried to believe that, I really tried. I tried to believe that there was some God magnifying, truth proclaiming, soul saving reason for me to suffer. But that isn’t the reality, is it? Did anyone look at my situation and go, “Wow, I get it – Jesus came to save me from my sins. Let me repent and be saved!” I did ask the elders at my church what the goal was – what was I trying to show the world? They never could give me a concrete answer except “to display God’s truth to the world”. What truth? The truth that we have the power to endure anything? Shouldn’t the cause of our need for endurance matter?

The real “truth” that we display to the world by accepting abuse in a marriage is that God would have us suffer for someone else’s pleasure (not his). Because that is the goal of abusers – for the victims to suffer for their pleasure.

Sure, those who persecuted the believers in the New Testament enjoyed the power and control they wielded when trying to intimidate the church, but the believers were being persecuted because they were sharing the Gospel. So what was the great goal of my suffering, the goal so noble that the church could call me to it in good conscious?

I found my answer in song. As some of you may be aware, I write music. Lately a lot of my songs have focused on reflections of my divorce and how various stages felt. One song in particular is an attempt to capture the feeling of losing my identity, something I really struggled with as I tried to put all of this “suffer for the Gospel” stuff into practice. This song really helped me clarify some things, so I’d like to share a few lines with you (note: these may not end up in the final song this way, so don’t quote me!):

Should I remove the part of me that only wants to live in peace
Is it really my goal to overcome the hope that I could be free?
Could I allow all that I am to be destroyed,
Sacrificed so I can be another’s toy?

Note that last line. This is something I’ve finally figured out how to put into words: when they call us to suffering, they are calling us to feed an abuser’s sense of entitlement and lust for power. They are saying God created us with a specific purpose: to be a plaything for someone else. Not to spread the Gospel. Not to worship him – but to be a TOY. It is sick.

I cannot accept that when God knit me together in the womb, that this was why he did it. No, we were not created to be toys for abusers – to suffer and feed their need for power and control. We were created to live in the light and proclaim the Gospel. We were created to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

I will serve my Creator in the light, but I will not serve an abuser in the darkness.

12 Comments

  1. Whoa! That last line is heavy! Very powerful! All in all, great post. That last line just is, just wow!

  2. Still scared

    This is an amazing post! I will not be someone’s toy! and Yes, I will serve my Lord, my God! Not my abuser!

  3. Pippa

    This is great especially if the connotation of the word “toy” is as in a mouse is a cat’s toy.

    • That’s certainly the way I took it, Pippa – the cat and mouse analogy.

    • Jeff S

      That’s kind of the image I had in mind. Something that gets tossed around for pleasure and has no real value outside of its ability to take the punishment for a season.

  4. “The real “truth” that we display to the world by accepting abuse in a marriage is that God would have us suffer for someone else’s pleasure (not his). Because that is the goal of abusers – for the victims to suffer for their pleasure.”

    Jeff S– By using the words ‘pleasure’ and ‘toy’, you’ve hit on an important truth here. Abusers enjoy mistreating others. They get a great deal of pleasure in watching someone under their influence and control suffer.

    When I finally started talking after three decades and would relate some of the almost unbelievable things that happened, people would almost always try to console me by some version of the following, ‘You know, he must be really miserable. That man is suffering.’ And I would always say the same thing, ‘He wasn’t suffering at all. He enjoyed hurting us. He took a great deal of pleasure in extracting as much misery as possible.’

    Just because you and I can’t imagine taking pleasure in another’s suffering doesn’t mean they don’t. And after thirty years I realized, he was only happy when he’d caused chaos and pain. In fact, after we left, I got report after report of how well he was doing, how he went about whistling, in high spirits and only broke out the crocodile tears for his latest audience of naive church-friends.

    It’s a twisted way to live, feeding off the pain you cause. But it is real nonetheless. And like you, I’ve come to believe it’s a tragedy, not the will of God.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Ida Mae – Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV (14) Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

      So, according to this Scripture, abusers who enjoy watching suffering and taking pleasure in it are of the devil. I still maintain that a lot more of this abuse we are seeing and talking about and which so many here have suffered under, is plain old persecution of Christ’s people by the evil one and his minions. I mean, think of the genius of the plan. The devil is out to destroy and he uses the “fear of death” to do it. What better way to destroy a vibrant Christian than to hook them up with a Screwtape! Now, Jesus was in the business of setting people free from demons. The cross is the ultimate “exorcism” by which He led captivity captive. Jesus is DELIVERER! And therefore any pastor, counselor, or professing Christian who says that a victim of abuse is bound to that abuser by covenant has become a spokesman for Satan and an enemy of the Cross. Jesus came “to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

      And so we say to all such principalities and authorities, by the power and Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we rebuke you! Begone! How long will you persist in making crooked the straight ways of God!

  5. Esther

    Thank you so much for this. Thank you.

    • Such truth!!! Truth makes me happy!! For sure created to be a Toy is perfect in the text of the subject here. Abusers objectify their victoms, making them non human so they are easier to kick around, freeing them of any real feelings of remorse. I remember as a kid the first time I witness our cat actually playing with a mouse!!! I was kinda appauled!!! I was like 8 years old and terrified of our cat after seeing what torture she put upon that poor mouse!!! My siblings and I distracted the cat, so the mouse could run for its life!!! We could not stand watching the poor little mouse be torutured!

  6. Missionaries choose to follow Christ knowing there will be suffering to some degree, every mission story is unique. When a person is abused, it is something they do not choose. However, sometimes I have seen people who are use to an abusive pattern, choose abuse thereafter unintentionally, risking to hope in something better, only to find another sorrow. But I am sorry, we as humans, especially believers, can say the wrong things. Most often I think people just want to spout an answer, any answer. Ah, the value of listening to one another, and sitting in silence thereafter, allowing God to be the center and not our own almighty words!

    • Yes! And welcome to our blog, cpsoulsoul. Nice to have you here. :)

  7. Jeff S

    I think they often do, HUG. :(

    Thanks for stopping by ACFJ!

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