A Cry For Justice

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

Biblical meekness is not weakness

Biblical meekness is not weakness that lacks courage or resolution. It is a condition of mind and heart which demonstrates gentleness not in weakness but in power; a balance born in strength of character. It is strength that gets angry at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason.

In modern English the work ‘meek’ connotes humility, quietness, lack of courage and resolution. It suggests weakness, timidity, someone who easily imposed on and thus contemptible. But the Greek word which is translated as meek does not have any sense of spinelessness or weakness.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart. (Matthew 11:28-9, KJV)

The meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command.

The Greek word praǘtēs has no exact parallel in English so it is usually translated as ‘meekness’. This has given rise to a stumbling block for Christian victims of abuse.

Praǘtēs is a quality that is not in a man’s outward behavior only, nor in his relations to his fellow man or his mere natural disposition. Rather, it is an inwrought grace of the soul, and the expressions of it are primarily toward God.

The word ‘wrought’ is an adjective that means:

  1. (of metals) beaten out or shaped by hammering.
  2. (in combination) made or fashioned in the specified way: well-wrought prose.

Therefore, if praǘtēs is an in-wrought grace of the soul it is a quality that can develop more and more in the believer in the process of sanctification.

Praǘtēs is that attitude of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist.

The quality of praǘtēs will lead a person to respond in certain ways because their behaviour flows from their inner attitude. But as we know, people can fake similar behaviour without having an inner attitude of praǘtēs. For example, it is easy to do that on Facebook. You can be a sociopath and quote a few scriptures at your Facebook account about enduring persecution…and many folks who use Facebook will think you are godly because you are quoting scripture.

Some English translations use the word ‘gentle’ instead of ‘meek’ when translating praǘtēs. But praǘtēs is primarily a condition of mind and heart, whereas ‘gentle’ is appropriate rather to actions. So the word ‘gentle’ may in fact be even less satisfactory as a translation.

What kind of behaviour might a believer show if they have this inwrought grace of the soul?

According to Aristotle, praǘtēs is the middle standing between two extremes, getting angry without reason (orgilótēs), and not getting angry at all (aorgēsía). Therefore, having praǘtēs means getting angry at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason.

Therefore lay apart all uncleanness, and all lingering evil and vice, and receive with meekness [praǘtēs] the word that is grafted in you, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 NMB)

If any be wise and learned among you, let him show the works of his good living in humility [praǘtēs] that is coupled with wisdom. (James 3:13 NMB)

Getting angry at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason.  Yikes! – I know I’ve failed at that often. But with the help of the Word and the Holy Spirit I seek to cultivate the inwrought grace of the soul which will enable me to do that better.

When a person is being abused she/he is often in the position of having to make micro-moment decisions about picking battles. What bits of my abuser’s behaviour do I overtly resist and what do I let pass? When is it wise to appear to capitulate, or to contest, or to draw boundaries? And when is it prudent to play gray rock/grey rock?  In all those micro-decisions I think victims of abuse can develop and exercise the quality of praǘtēs. Learning how to get angry at the right time for the right reasons.

To resist the temptation to blame God and cast Him aside is to exercise biblical meekness.

To resist the temptation to take vengeance into your own hands is to honour and respect God’s law, majesty, power, justice and authority. Believers who do this are expressing praǘtēs in their relation to God. They are inviting/allowing God to develop in their souls this inwrought grace of biblical meekness.

The meek-spirited shall possess the earth; and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace.
— Myles Coverdale’s translation of Ps 37:11 in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer

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I wrote a post about biblical meekness in November 2014. Today’s post in January 2018 is, I hope, an improved version.

You might like to read the comments at the 2014 post. Go here to find that post and its comments (the link will open in a new tab).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29 Comments

  1. Kind of Anonymous

    I remember hearing once that meekness is power under control and it is intricately tied to humility, another one of those words that gets misused in Christendom a lot. In times past, humility was considered one of the hallmarks of a true believer. Not wanting to go off topic too much here, just musing on the connection between the two. I am guessing that the H word has something to do with knowing our true estate and our proper place in substance in relation to who God is and meekness is about not needing to flaunt it because you actually know what you have, as well as a lack of pride?

    If you will indulge me, I think this AW Tozer quote relates well to the discussion:

    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20, KJV)

    To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins–egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion–are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy.

    They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the church visible. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice….

    • Finding Answers

      Kind of Anonymous commented “I remember hearing once that meekness is power under control and it is intricately tied to humility, another one of those words that gets misused in Christendom a lot.”

      ^That.

      Thank you for adding this to the discussion, helping me clarify two words at once – BOTH were altered to their negative meanings by all the abusers in my life.

      I need to think on this…. 🙂

    • Thanks for that quote by Tozer. 🙂

      • Kind of Anonymous

        You are welcome, he says things better than I ever could and is one of my favorite Christian authors because of how clearly he saw things.

  2. anonymous

    “It suggests weakness, timidity, someone who easily imposed on and thus contemptible. ”

    The last part of this sentence is problematic. In this world, the strong eat the weak and those with power do commonly look at those who are victimized, “easily imposed on” as being contemptible……..BUT this should not be.

    It’s not contemptible to be weak. It’s not contemptible to be vulnerable. How many persons are developmentally disabled in this world? Are they contemptible? No. Yet, they are easily imposed on, generally speaking.

    And traumatized, made-to-be-fearful victims are made to be weak, timid, and they should not be seen as contemptible.

    I challenge the whole cultural notion that strength and power are everything. Not everyone is a warrior.

    • Finding Answers

      Thank you, Anonymous, for providing me with more food for thought, showing me another concept altered to negative meaning by all the abusers in my life. 🙂

    • Helovesme

      Anonymous thank you for that!

      “And traumatized, made-to-be-fearful victims are made to be weak, timid, and they should not be seen as contemptible.”

      It would take too much time to explain in detail—-but I can relate to this. I am not what you would call a “tough” person. We might need another post to describe the connotations and implications of that word!

      I was never taught how to, when to, and how NOT to and when to—stand up for myself. Even in the Christian world, there are lots of opinions, but not always something concrete.

      I was badly traumatized by a bully who called herself a Christian in my 20s. She targeted me and tore me down ruthlessly. I got the impression from those around me that I should have been “tough” and therefore I deserved what I got, since I chose to be fearful instead.

      Fear tends to paralyze a person. I “froze up” plenty of times whenever I felt like I was in danger, or was in an intense situation. This is very hard for others to comprehend (why would anyone do that?)—so it seemed natural to feel contempt towards me.

      We often mock what we don’t understand. Fear is something no one WANTS to admit—-that it is a truly powerful thing—so for those of us who have lived in fear for so long—we are mocked as if we are to blame for being such a doormat.

      I’m keeping this comment very generalized. There is plenty to say about if one chooses to be a doormat, or if they become one at the hands of their abuser. I mostly wanted to thank the person for that comment.

      • Finding Answers

        ^That.

        Helovesme commented “…..We might need another post to describe the connotations and implications of that word!”

        Especially ^That.

        Helovesme commented “Fear tends to paralyze a person. I “froze up” plenty of times whenever I felt like I was in danger, or was in an intense situation. This is very hard for others to comprehend (why would anyone do that?)—so it seemed natural to feel contempt towards me.”

        From Barb’s post and the comments generated, I have realized three words were redefined to me by all the abusers in my life: meekness, humility, and weakness.

        There is a vast difference between God’s use of those three words and the world’s use of those three words.

  3. Kind of Anonymous

    Oops was trying to post that I wholeheartedly agree with Anonymous regarding the contempt aimed at anyone who appears weak in any way and hit the wrong button and it all disappeared. But yes, the value system is warped and inside out for sure.

  4. Helovesme

    Barb did a wonderful job dissecting and defining meekness more precisely. You always do a wonderful job in your writings. It’s obvious you put so much hard work and thought into what you put out there. I hope we show our appreciation often enough!

    The misconceptions about meekness were right on. Think of a sentence like: “he or she stood by meekly.” Or: “he or she looked at the ground meekly.” The implication is that this person is not very tough. Not very forward or forthright. They are passive, almost fearful.

    A “meek” person might be thought of along the lines of a doormat. Someone you could easily walk all over, and he or she will probably say or do nothing.

    For someone like me who struggles with the conflicting desires to lash out, versus staying silent—-the fact that meekness is something “wrought” within us is a major encouragement. It was a good reminder that this is a fruit of the Spirit, and that it is a product of the Lord’s work within us.

    I also think the Facebook example was beyond excellent. I believe that sort of thing happens all the time. It is not easy to know when someone is being truly sincere or not, because they are hiding behind a computer screen. Facebook is not necessarily indicative of who a person really is or is not.

    The way meekness works in abusive situations really struck me. I can’t tell you how many times I wonder if I behaved correctly. Where were my limits? Did I even HAVE limits? When do I put my foot down, and when do I stick to my guns, but don’t fire?

    Perhaps one thing that we should recognize is that one SHOULD have limits. There should be a threshold or boundary that can be crossed—-and when and if that line is crossed—there are consequences. There IS a such thing as going too far, and when if that happens—you will make that clear.

    Meekness, as Barb described, is this: “It is strength that gets angry at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason.”

    So WHEN a person gets angry under those circumstances, a person does not cease to be meek. It is meekness in action, working from the inside out. It’s not a light switch that is turned on and off. If meekness means you can be kept in line because you’re such a tolerant, loving person—-that person isn’t defining meekness correctly.

    Sometimes I think we choose certain definitions of certain words (like meekness, patience or love) because they suit a personal agenda.

    In the OT, when the Lord gave His people over for judgment, He did not cease to be compassionate and loving, as they seemed to think. Why is He showing His “dark” side by releasing His wrath on us? Why has He stopped loving us?

    He never stopped being who He was (and is). His characteristics are NOT light switches, where one gets turned off (His love) and another gets turned on (His wrath). As we are told over and over again—-His righteous judgment IS a reflection of His love!

    I have withdrawn from certain persons in my life. It would not surprise me if they asked and/or complained or wondered why—-as if I had hardened my heart towards them and have ceased to be giving and generous.

    I haven’t ceased being those ways (if I have, that’s up to the Lord to convict me). I withdrew AT His direction, after much agonized prayer. I give who He tells me to give to, and I stop when He tells me to. When you cease to give at His direction, it may because you have reached a limit as to how much you can give. It may be because the recipients are abusing your graciousness long enough, and the Lord tells you that you’ve reached your limit.

    When Jesus drove out the merchants in the temple, it is fair to wonder if the people around Him wondered why He had “ceased to be meek” as He previously described Himself.

    Absolutely not. It doesn’t work that way with Him, nor with us. We have to be careful to remember that we are made in HIS image. He is NOT made into ours.

    If He is nothing but a image of what we expect Him to be, then we may be guilty of idolatry. We’ve made Him into a god that doesn’t really exist, yet we try to “sell” that version to people as if that is the God of the Bible. But that god is nothing more than a figment of our own imagination. It is not a savior that saves, it is a savior that suits our preferences.

    • Finding Answers

      ^Like.

      Helovesme commented “Absolutely not. It doesn’t work that way with Him, nor with us. We have to be careful to remember that we are made in HIS image. He is NOT made into ours.”

      ^^^That.

  5. FindingJesus

    When the fog finally started to lift and I started to see more clearly these past number of years I am wondering if the sin I see in myself is not as bad as my husband’s. How does one tell the difference from their own junk and what they added to the mix and what was premeditated by my husband, meaning is he choosing to abuse and could he not be a Christian and is his heart really that evil and did he use coercive control to get what he wanted (which is to be my mini-GOD)?

    We had a really bad weekend and I was in no mood to deal with him because of outside pressures relating to my future economic condition and being under the weather (meaning I have not been praying as much as I should have and and got bit in the butt because of it). I have put on the pressure as far as not allowing him to face up to his part in our current economic condition and he has not been happy.

    When does one get past the point of total shock of can this be true and — I am a abused woman (– I would not even believe this could be true if it was not for the medical report and the late night hospital visit). My abuser is so nice to me… but as one of the other ladies said that this is the worst kind as it is harder to see his motives and evil heart. I am learning the techniques talked about here but is there really any hope that my marriage can be saved? I asked him after a day of arguing why was he still in this marriage and he said that any answer he gave would not be one that is [seen as] worthy. I did tell him that I would be contacting or minister and his men’s group leader after he said a statement that was mean and contained expletives (I hope I said this right) I set a boundary for once from the get go.

    Most of my marriage has been the reality that he would /has done what is good for him and in the meantime used my strength as his own until I am physically broken. The only reason I am still in it is like a lot of ladies I woke up too late and it was not until a lifetime of false religion and abuse my body is shot, I have no skills and what I will get in in a settlement will be spent and would only last until I become a welfare receiver. I know God will provide but the reality short of him I am in deep water, I have no one but God and that is hard.

    How do I become the person who needs to be wise when my anger and own sin has to be broken. Please do not beat on me people or tell me I said this wrong, bear with me and show some love as I am really in need of even a drop of it.

    • Dear Finding Jesus. I believe your husband is an abuser. I don’t think it is sinful for you to feel anger about how he has treated you. I don’t think your anger or sin needs to be ‘broken’. Your abuser has deeply bruised / broken your body and spirit. God does not break bruised reeds. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice (Isaiah 14:3). God is gentle and tender with bruised reeds.

      It is not your fault that your husband is an abuser. You are not to blame!

      Let me welcome you to the blog and thank you for your comment. 🙂 You might find this page helpful:
      Is it wrong to feel anger and hatred for my abuser? And this one too: Deciding to stay or leave.

      • FindingJesus

        Thank you for your comment I see so much sin in myself but, yes my husband is an abuser, and yes it feel good to admit that and say it. Still can not believe it after it happened (meaning he hit me ) – it has changed the course of my life. I was so dumb, naive but looking back God has found me and I him (he really was not lost but I was). The worst part is that in the past we were very high up in the church, oh God what is lurking in our pews!

        I found this site by “accident” and have put into practice lots of what I learned, by no means am I good at it (.Yet ha ha). I am working on hiding money and have established credit in my name with my own credit card and savings/checking account. That in itself was a miracle as how does a stay at home mom get credit? I basically told my husband I wanted to establish it in case he died or we needed my credit. He gave me a small amount and I went and got a secured savings account and started hiding funds in that, then after two years I was approved for a checking account which I demanded he put my food account money into and the house payment and then from advice from one of your articles I “Lied” and told the loan officer I was creating a home busn and that I would be putting a monthly income into those cards. I have had the card for one year and have paid it on time. So from the bottom of my heart Thank You!!!!!!

        One question I would like to ask, could my husband really be evil? Did the fact we were fighting cause him to snap. He says his counselor says he disassociated from the event. Is that a bunch of hogwash? He has been in therapy for 5 years, and just in the last few months I have demanded he pay for it on his own without me working harder in this household to save money with a broken body. What I am asking is how can I find out if God believes this as opposed to what you believe (I read all the articles), if my husband is evil/abusers are evil/I did not cause this /I have been a target how can I know for sure so it is my reality I have asked God to show me. Am I already during this (walking in this belief by preparing way out) and how do I keep from getting destroyed by the evil one. This is hard to wrap my mind around and maybe it is one more step God wants me to take? This is the only question I will ask as I know with this work load you can not service everyone.

        [Eds: paragraph breaks and some punctuation added for readability]

      • He says his counselor says he disassociated from the event. Is that a bunch of hogwash?

        1. He could be lying; his counselor may not have said that at all.
        2. Even if his counselor said that, the counselor’s assessment could be wrong.
        3. Even if he is someone who has a longstanding pattern of dissociative amnesia about what he has done, he is still someone who it is not safe to be in close relationship with because he is using that as an excuse to resist taking responsibility for his bad behaviour. (Hello Sunshine explained this well in her comment.)
        4. The mere fact that he has financially abused you for years shows he is an abuser.
        5. Individual therapy does not usually help abusers. The abuser lies to the therapist and tries to do a snow job on the therapist. And the therapist does not / cannot hold the abuser accountable for his bad conduct while the abuser is resisting being honest and resisting taking responsibility. When Dr George Simon Jr detects that a client of his is character disordered and is fighting against taking responsibility for their character disorder, then he tells the client there is no use working with him in therapy. The fact that your husband’s therapist has dragged out the therapeutic relationship for five years, suggests to me that the therapist is unwise and poorly trained in dealing with abusers and perhaps is too motivated by the $$ they get from ‘treating’ your husband.

        …could my husband really be evil?

        Is there any difference between someone being evil and someone being an abuser — not from the safety point of view. The victim is just as unsafe whether her spouse is evil or whether he is an abuser.

        The Bible uses the words evil, wicked, oppressive. Modern people use words like abusive, character disordered, sociopathic, etc. But what all these words have in common is the fact that they are used to describe people who intentionally mistreat and oppress others for their own selfish ends, and they do this as a PATTERN of conduct. It sounds to me like you have realised that your husband has been displaying a pattern of conduct towards you for a long time in which he intentionally mistreats and oppresses you for his own selfish ends.

        I encourage you to take your focus off trying to figure out what negative or pathological descriptive words may or may not apply to your husband, and turn your focus to figuring out how to build a life of greater well-being and safety for yourself and your kids. 🙂

      • Hello Sunshine

        Reply to Finding Jesus: I’m not the expert here and you will certainly find heaps of good resources around this site, but I do understand your feelings of wondering what is true about your husband. Surprises and unwanted events are usually disorienting, often frightening, and take time to sink in.

        You ask if your husband snapped because you were arguing. Has he ever been disappointed/angry/frustrated before with anyone else? Did he put them in the hospital? If he is able to solve problems and control his anger with everyone else enough to keep his hands off them, then I’d say he is choosing to use violence on you to get his way. I’d recommend Lundy Bancroft’s books (you can read more about him around this site) about this.

        Let’s say you live with someone who is bigger and stronger than you, who quarrels with you, and who has spells of uncontrollable violence. And he has trusted, valued professionals absolving him of responsibility by saying he disassociated. Say all this is true and not his fault. Say he’s not evil, just…something. Well, then, it’s like living with a tiger. It’s not the tiger’s fault that he wants to eat you, but you need protection and distance from the nice tiger nevertheless. A person who puts you in the hospital and is going to claim that they cannot really be held accountable for their violent actions is a person you need protection from no matter what their problem is. You don’t even have to figure out the classification and cause of his problem.

        I do think even anger can help us become wise. There is such a thing as righteous anger. Please be kind to yourself just now rather than focusing on needing to be further broken or accept more blame.

        And I just want to acknowledge the reality of difficult finances and decisions. I hope you are able to feel a drop of love today from God, yourself, another person, or an animal and feel a drop of love yourself toward someone or something else. I find when it’s hard to feel love from others, it helps me to enjoy things I love, even if they are ideas or objects.

      • Helovesme

        Finding Jesus: Barb and Hello Sunshine gave such wonderful responses. They really know what they are talking about. I’m so glad you found this site by “accident,” but I would suggest that it was anything but an accident. 🙂

        I will be praying for you—-in all the areas you mentioned but especially the financial one. I don’t mean to elevate that issue above the others. But it’s a practical and huge priority—and one that might easily be neglected in favor of praying for (and rightly so) healing and deliverance. Well, being physically free and feeling physically safe apart from the abuser IS a part of being healed and delivered!

        My abuser was my father, who is not a Christian. But I’ve dealt with abusive behaviors from others, AND what I tend to call “toxic” interactions with people—mostly with professing Christians.

        I can relate to much of what you spoke of. You brought up such honest and real questions (Is my abuser really evil? How did we get here? Where does MY personal sin play a part, if any?)

        By the way, I am so sorry he hit you. We never elevate physical abuse to be any more devastating that the other forms of abuse on this site, so that is not my point. I am deeply sorry for any form of abuse inflicted on someone. It sounds like he may have been guilty of other forms of abuse previously: financial and verbal.

        May I just also say that you are NOT dumb, or naive. What you see right now seems to indicate that, but I would suggest otherwise. I’ve said that about myself plenty of times, with supposed heaping mounds of “evidence” to support my claims.

        But I don’t think it’s always fair or accurate to blame yourself. It is one thing to say you lacked knowledge or didn’t see the full picture. It is quite another to call yourself “dumb.” The latter is more of an abuser’s voice taunting and demoralizing you.

        The former, when done with the Lord’s heart and voice—is something to rejoice over. When a person is caught in a web of lies, God graciously finds ways to reach us. The first step is just realizing that we ARE caught in that web! Many times, we don’t even know we are in bondage, (possibly, but not always) we’ve found ways to “normalize” being abused.

        Yes, it is discouraging to look back and realize you were unaware of what was going on—-but the first step in living as He intended us to live (it is for freedom that He set us free)—is realizing that you were not living in His freedom. And no one but the Lord is better at setting captives free. It was (and is) His main mission when He came to us in human form.

        I am in agreement with Hello Sunshine about the “disassociation” claim. I too am no expert, so I honestly do not know if there are real situations in which such a thing is valid. In the category of abuse, however, I lean towards saying that it is not a worthy claim to make. It is one that victims might try to cling to, and understandably so, because they may so strongly desire to save the marriage that they will embrace even the most unlikeliest strands of hope.

        There are many arguments that professing Christians might try to make to diminish the sin of abuse, and this site is a wonderful resource in debunking such claims.

        Bottom line is that abuse is sin, period. When victims are unsure of it’s really abuse or not, this is where the Lord’s perfect discernment steps in. Discernment is like an X-ray machine. It will illuminate what you cannot see with the naked eye. And God gives it to whoever asks for it. Whatever your education level, gender, age or IQ level is makes no difference to Him. I would also encourage you to ask Him to help you accept what He reveals to you. X-ray machines often expose things that we wish we had not seen, but it is vital that we take what it shows seriously.

        The comments you made about your sin and your abuser’s sin is one that I too struggle with constantly. I was a child when I was being abused. It would easy to label me as a “problem child,” so therefore the abuse, while inexcusable, was more understandable. I bore at least some form of responsibility, basically, even just a small part of it. Even professing Christians might have a hard time absolving me of ALL guilt, because I’m sure a lot of them could relate to how hard it is to raise children.

        My problematic nature aside, this truth still stands. Abuse is never the fault of the victim. When I say never, I mean never. Ever. No matter how many Bible verses are thrown around, or how many Christian sayings are brought up (Aren’t we all sinners? Doesn’t God love everyone? Isn’t forgiveness the Biblical thing to do?). It is never the fault of the victim.

        I’ll use another example. Victims of sexual assault are often shamed and blamed the moment they dare to tell their stories. They dressed this way, acted this way—the list is long. The reason why these persons were attacked is for one reason only: they were targeted. The reason why I have never been sexually assaulted is NOT because I was a “good girl” who dressed right and didn’t flaunt myself towards the male gender. I never drank or did drugs so therefore I was spared the horrors that the “not so good” girls faced. It was because I wasn’t targeted.

        We are getting into a terrible, seemingly normal habit of excusing the sinful nature of an abuser (He or she is a sinner. Let’s show them God’s grace). However, the sinful nature of a victim is used to tear him or her down (He or she sinned. That is why you were victimized).

        Never, ever should we use the sinful nature of a victim to excuse the sinful choices of an abuser/attacker. There is no such thing as a victim who is sinless and perfect, and therefore was 100% victimized because he or she is 100% innocent and pure. There is nothing in the Bible that supports that sort of thinking.

        I’m more than willing (or I try to be) to be held accountable for my sins, and there have been and still are plenty. Being an abuse victim doesn’t mean I get to go off and sin as much as I please, and now the world has to revolve around me. It’s not like that, and no one should expect that.

        Trauma is a real thing, and I’m angry about it most of the time. I certainly know what you mean about feeling angry. I try to give that anger to Him as much as possible, because I must trust Him with it, along with everything else.

        To be honest, I felt numb for so long that feeling “offended” at what was done to me felt like a bit of a breakthrough. What kind of person would be “okay” with being abused? Who in the world would NOT take it personally? It was personal to me, even though abusers might try to argue that “it wasn’t personal.”

        This isn’t to support out and out rage, of course! But realizing that wrong was done to me, admitting it and feeling angered by it—I felt like a bit of dignity had been given back to me (abusers steal and destroy every sense of worth in their victims)—-felt like I might be on my way to becoming whole again!

    • Helovesme

      “The Bible uses the words evil, wicked, oppressive. Modern people use words like abusive, character disordered, sociopathic, etc. But what all these words have in common is the fact that they are used to describe people who intentionally mistreat and oppress others for their own selfish ends, and they do this as a PATTERN of conduct.”

      Barb, thank you for that! That was especially poignant to me.

      I recall watching a short program about head trauma. The people interviewed in this show were all males. They sustained injuries to their heads that affected their behaviors. Some of them may not have been aware of how seriously damaged their brains were.

      I can’t even come close to remembering the medical terms to explain how their head trauma affected their choices. Basically, these men became dangerous to live with. They were too volatile and unstable. Regardless of the fact that they had real, serious medical issues—-their families could not safely live with him.

      This also happens in the cases of PTSD, when soldiers come back from war with serious emotional trauma. As much as their families love them and want to support them, sometimes that person becomes too unsafe to live with.

      They choose to put safety first. They do not mean to abandon their loved on in their time of need, but they aren’t willing to sacrifice their own emotional OR physical well being—-nor should they be expected to.

      It is fair and wise to set limits with your loved ones. In fact, I would question anyone who claims that there are no boundaries, no lines that cannot be crossed. That indicates a mentality of deep indifference, or a decision to remain in determined denial.

      I have tried to befriend people who were abused. I chose to distance myself from them eventually because they were simply too volatile. While I had compassion for what they’d been through—after a certain point I had to set a limit—and yes, it was for the sake of my personal sanity! I understand they have been through a lot. But I couldn’t keep swallowing what they were shoving down my throat. I also couldn’t handle the tension—-wondering if they were going to lash out at me if I rubbed them the wrong way, or did not do anything wrong at all!

      And yes, I still struggle with knowing if I did right or should have tried to stick it out. I understand that others may have had a higher threshold than I did.

      Hello Sunshine really did put it well—-not using a medical or physiological condition (real or imagined) to justify bad behaviors. If we do that, it may set a dangerous precedent. Suddenly no one is responsible for anything anymore—because someone or something “made them do it.”

      My previous comment touched upon how abuse victims should not be given a free pass to engage in sinful behaviors, and then try to use their abusive histories as justification. Bear with me, careful discernment needs to be exercised in this respect! Abuse victims are often unfairly blamed and told to repent, when they have done nothing wrong in the eyes of the Lord. I speak of times where the sin is real, and the need for repentance is real.

      I have no problem if, in the act of repenting—-they realize their abuse they suffered played a part. Abuse changes a person. There is no such thing as “casual” abuse. It inflicts real trauma on a person. However, that STILL does not make the act of repentance optional.

      That has happened to me on multiple occasions. For example, my abuser had a tremendous influence over me. His horrible temper is something I emulated—-and now must work hard to discard. I struggled between blaming him, but also trying to take responsibility for myself. It was a constant tug of war.

      My conclusion is that the emotional trauma from my years of abuse is real. He inflicted it upon me, against my will. It wasn’t my fault, what he did to me—-and it never will be.

      Even IF my dad repented of his abuse, that would be great for his relationship with the Lord (he is not a Christian and never was). His sins would be wiped clean and he would be forgiven by the Person he sinned against most of all—the Living God.

      But that would not undo anything that he had done to me. Even IF my dad wanted to, he can’t undo the abuse. The trauma I suffered would remain. The Lord and I must work this out together, because my dad cannot get into my head and heart and undo the many ways in which abuse warped me.

      I often wonder what kind of person I would have been IF I hadn’t been abused. There is every chance in the world that I may STILL have had a sinful anger issue to deal with. Anger is not just linked to being abused. Anger exists in all sorts of ways, apart from abuse.

      I’ve wondered if it would make a difference if he took full responsibility for the abuse, because I tended to be scapegoated for it. So I’ve felt burdened and berated for many years, which didn’t help the healing process at all. It made me even angrier—-as if I didn’t have enough anger to deal with. It frustrated and worked me up like nothing else. Being victimized is one thing, being blamed for it is a whole new layer of abuse to deal with.

      The truth is, I don’t know for sure. It would probably help, but just a bit. I can’t get back my childhood and relive an abuse-free one.

      One of the things I get most angry about (and I try to keep that anger righteous in His eyes), is when people take their anger out on me. That is an absolute no-no in my mind. That is what my dad did to me, constantly. His problems (which likely had nothing to do with me) were vented onto me.

      I try not to do that sort of thing to others (taking out your anger on the innocent is evil, period), and if I do—I’m just as guilty as my father was. No matter what. He is not to blame, I am.

      Part of getting back (or trying to) my dignity involves living with a sense of integrity and honor. That means owning up to who you are, and what choices you make. Yes, I have real worth, after years of thinking otherwise. Yes, I am loved by God, after years of believing otherwise. And yes, I was abused and traumatized by it, after years of subtle and/or determined denial.

      But once you embrace such things, now you also embrace the fact that OTHERS around you are just as worthy, loved and have their burdens they are carrying around. In fact, that is one of the best things about being made whole in Him again. You look at others around you in a whole new way (pun intended!) You see people (more so) as He sees them.

  6. Finding Answers

    Helovesme commented “Finding Jesus: Barb and Hello Sunshine gave such wonderful responses. They really know what they are talking about…..”

    ^That – including Helovesme.

  7. Finding Jesus

    Thanks for the many wise comments – you reaffirm what God has been telling me and what I found the answer to yesterday! I really do not take anything people or religious groups say at face value after getting involved in false groups and spending years getting out from them. It has only been in the last few years I have established a prayer life after trying and begging for years. When I went to pray, I would fall asleep.

    I have been asking God if my “nice” abuser was really a Christian – I do not think so. I read the article “the abusers claim to be a christian examined in light of prayer”. That really answered and settled the question for me. My nice husband has never established a constant prayer life of bible study unless he wanted to show off his advanced knowledge (he is really verbal and extremely smart in book knowledge), even after leaving the cults and getting into a real church he does not hunger after God. He brings God down from the shelves when he needs Him or he piggybacks on my relationship or prayers. If he ever cracks his bible he always studies Romans because I think it feeds his “what a sinful man I am “, so therefore there is no way to be holy and know God.

    I have come to the conclusion that evil or not, he will put his needs/wants ahead of mine every time, wrapping it in the nicest and Christian terms. Like one of the ladies said, I am in a room with a nice beautiful tiger and one day he is going to eat me if I allow it.

    Now the plan is to find a way out. Oh God help me. I know He will because He has helped me so much in the past decade. He has released me from the fog and I can think clearly most of the time, whereas in the last few years before he [husband] started to lose his grip on me, I could not even finish a statement without him butting in. It got so bad that even others in his [husband’s] grip did it. I have been in hell the last decade, medical issues that left me unable to work and in that time I have found the real Jesus and have thrown off a lot of shackles. My “church” left me, my extended family and all of my friends. No one wants you when you cannot serve them.

    That looking back has been the biggest gift and mercy to me, when it is only you and God you start to find Him!!!! Praise be to Him!!! Ladies please continue to pray for me. We are facing some major life changes in the next month which will determine my financial future in retirement and when/if I get free of him. Thank you so much, may God reward Barbara and each and every one of you on this site and for your comments, if not in this life in the one to come.

    [Paragraph breaks added for readability. Editors.]

    • Helovesme

      Praying for you, Finding Jesus. Confident that the Lord is actively watching over you now, and is going ahead of you to prepare the way.

      I recall a worship song that had these lyrics: “Take me, Mold me
      Use me, Fill me
      I give my life to the Potter’s hands
      Hold me, Guide me
      Lead me, Walk beside me”

      I love how the Lord is able to do that much multi-tasking!

      You said so many wonderful things that rang with me, but the one that I related to the most were so simple and straightforward: “No one wants you when you cannot serve them.”

      I’m often amused when someone ELSE finds the right words to describe MY personal experiences! It is a blessing, but also amusing—because I think I should know how to describe my own life. 🙂

      It would take way too long to explain how I empathized with that statement, but it hurts like nothing else and I often wonder if the scars will truly heal.

      Trying to be objective about our loved ones is a work of the Lord, no more and no less. Of all people, those we love, I used to think we should know them rather intimately. But sometimes the exact opposite is true. We don’t see them as they really are, and it takes a real work of the Lord to open our eyes. Many testimonies I’ve read about abuse victims claim how the Lord really had to work on their hearts to finally admit that they were living with an abuser.

      So many professing Christians I’ve known were incredibly nice on the outside. But being nice is NOT the true mark of being a believer. Understandably, most of us WANT to be around nice people, but now I am making sure to remind myself that that does not mean they are trustworthy. Or that the Holy Spirit is in them.

      Their claws were just underneath the surface. Even when they came out, I was still in denial. I mistook it for hurt feelings, or touching a raw nerve, or triggering them somehow.

      Sometimes we make so many excuses for our loved ones, when the Bible declares that the exact opposite should be the case. If you love someone, you will challenge and confront them when needed. You won’t be so afraid of them that you absolutely refuse to start a conflict.

      If you say or do nothing, or actively encourage and enable them—-that indicates that something is not right.

      Most of my relationships in the past were like this. I can easily say that I did not know what Biblical love truly is. It is NOT about two people being “nice” to each other. Having good manners matters, but love goes far deeper than that.

      I don’t know where I would be had not the Lord actively challenged me, gently prodded me and most of all—-would not let me “get away” with anything.

      That might NOT sound like love, right? Not to mention unconditional love, where it might be assumed that we are loved, or love someone with no requirements attached.

      I can easily say that it would indicate that the Lord hated me, had He not spoken into my life, into my heart—-and into my very thick skull of a mind. Speaking the truth in love is what He does best. I never got the impression that He didn’t love me when He convicted me of sin. And when I say WHEN, I mean a lot.

      Now I’m trying to be loved and love others in ways that I was previously too afraid of. Rejection is a serious scar, one that I carried around (and still do) for years. I think I was willing to do almost anything to prevent more and more of what I had already had plenty of experience in!

      Hoping to encourage anyone who is in my boat, not just this wonderful person who so kindly shared so much of herself.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented “Hoping to encourage anyone who is in my boat, not just this wonderful person who so kindly shared so much of herself.”

        ^That.

        Helovesme also commented “I’m often amused when someone ELSE finds the right words to describe MY personal experiences! It is a blessing, but also amusing—because I think I should know how to describe my own life.”

        ^That.

        “Take me, Mold me
        Use me, Fill me
        I give my life to the Potter’s hands
        Hold me, Guide me
        Lead me, Walk beside me”

        ^That.

        My apologies, Helovesme, for hijacking so many of your comments, including those giving thanks to other people. When words fail me, I try to express myself with what is at hand, sometimes adding on to comments I have made in the past.

        Finding Jesus commented “That looking back has been the biggest gift and mercy to me, when it is only you and God you start to find Him!!!! Praise be to Him!!!…….”

        ^That.

  8. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    Helovesme wrote –
    “Being victimized is one thing, being blamed for it is a whole new layer of abuse to deal with.”
    And In response to Finding Jesus –
    “You said so many wonderful things that rang with me, but the one that I related to the most were so simple and straightforward: “No one wants you when you cannot serve them.””

    In relation to the above I can say I empathise much as I relate to a lot that has been said – I say, “Me too!”

    Some scars are bigger than others and take longer to heal and I know I have wounds that leave no visible scar, but underneath the surface (my mask) it is like nerve damage has been done. From time to time I lose the ability to feel anything. I’m sure Barb or nurses could compare and give better descriptions or analogies.

    I have a few big scars from my past abuse and from time to time they seem to be picked at (not by me) like a scab and the wound is opened again (sometimes intentionally by others and sometimes perhaps due to ignorance). I feel I’ve taken massive steps forward this last 6 months and yet been pushed back to feel the scars bleed (weep) again. Satan certainly does not give up easily and knows just where to hurt us most. He has opened up past and inflicted fresh wounds of spiritual abuse.

    I know I made strides ahead and had breakthroughs in areas like Helovesme and others have had to go through due to spiritual abuse and losing of church, friends and ministries. It’s very complex and I feel ashamed. It is very hard to go anywhere without fear of bumping into those of former years, and having to deal with the awkward moments, the painful questions, the shunning and when home the culmination of feelings of rejection and worthlessness and much more. I therefore try not to go out much. I have lost virtually any socialisation outside my family and am completely afraid to do any for fear of my safety. I know I would like to do more, but I’m trapped.

    Learning how to pray, read scriptures, and praise etc holds so many triggers for me. Anything spiritual or church related has been a real struggle in some ways to get through. The hurt at times is so real it was as if it was yesterday.

    I will never forget the breakthroughs recently, but I know there is more that I know will come in time. I know these things are not lost as my deepest feelings are to be doing more, it’s just (as with many things suppressed in safe keeping) hard to get past so many wrong feelings. I know with those who I know will not judge me I am at ease to reach into those areas that are good and right, not forced or coerced but a natural letting go in order to be able to partake and enjoy many spiritual things. At the moment these things are in hiding again.

    I’m still struggling to get beyond some things that have resulted from past hurts. I take great comfort here in ACFJ and by comments that have helped me so much feel I am not such a sinner, and cursed as some have told me I am. I am not so sure sometimes myself. The devil keeps telling me I am no better than my abusers, a heathen and an abuser just as bad, and it’s abhorrent to me after all I’ve been through with others and personally.

    Helovesme, by what you say here in ACFJ, often you have touched my heart and I don’t feel like it’s “just me?”

    I’d value much prayer from my friends here at ACFJ because wounds being opened up again are very hard to bear.

    It is the secondary abuse that for me is the harder to bear.
    I am by nature a giver and love to give and serve. It’s so difficult when living on your own with little support, you feel so bound in areas you used to abound in.
    My heart aches to be of service and to help others
    And minister into lives as God intended me to be. Now I am just lost and numb.

    Thank you to those here who have inputted so much truth, love and good into me. It never goes unnoticed and day by day I’m thankful for you all. Keep on praying. I’m not where I used to be but I’m also not where I want to be either. 🙂

  9. Now free

    Meekness is not weakness, but sometimes to be meek is not always so much being strong in order to be vocal, ie. to stand up and be heard, but sometimes perhaps to be stronger inside just to be. Content, not at the injustice, but perhaps in spite of it stronger internally in dealing with it.

    I’m pondering on these things. Food for my thoughts.

    I pray God gives me a stronger internal heart and spirit to endure. I guess it’s all about balance. As Lamentations 3 says there is a time and season for everything.

    • Helovesme

      Finding Answers no need to apologize for hijacking my comments—-I don’t see it that way at all. I don’t expect people to read my comments (except for Barb, who monitors them), so if someone has had the time or made the time to read them, that’s a huge blessing in of itself.

      Now free, you give us lots to think about, and you write very well. I take no joy if anyone is in my boat, or relates to my sufferings—-but it is gratifying to know someone can relate. We are all wounded in our own ways, but we have one Healer who knows how to tend to any and all of them.

      The imagery you gave of scabs being picked at, feeling numbed or feeling overwhelmed was well said. Trauma has a way of having high and low tides. Sometimes it stays relatively distanced. Other days it is up close and very much in our faces. Trying to keep a balanced, realistic yet calm and cautious demeanor through all that is no easy task.

      “Satan certainly does not give up easily and knows just where to hurt us most. He has opened up past and inflicted fresh wounds of spiritual abuse”

      This is important to keep in mind. I’m not the kind of person that likes to give TOO much attention to the devil, because our ultimate focus needs to be on the Lord. But it would be unwise to forget that we do have a real enemy in our midst. The Bible is clear that we are fighting a battle against the darkness, and it is not one we can see with our natural eyes. But it is real, and it is not to be treated in a casual manner.

      The paragraph you wrote about not socializing much describes my life as well. Depending on who you listen to, they might be quite insensitive, almost condemning about it. For example: you isolate yourself so you have no one to blame but yourself for being lonely.

      My response to that sort of thing is simple. I would never wish what I’m going through now, and what I’ve been through in the past that got me here—-on anyone. I would never even wish it on persons like yourselves, who seem to think you know everything about me.

      However, if you ever do get even a “taste” of your own medicine someday, perhaps you will change your tune. If you experience even one tenth of my sufferings (or that of others in my boat), I have a feeling you will finally see past your own extremely flawed and short sighted perceptions that you freely, unthinkingly doled out to me.

      It was THIS part of your comment that left me thinking and processing for almost two days:

      “I am by nature a giver and love to give and serve. It’s so difficult when living on your own with little support, you feel so bound in areas you used to abound in.
      My heart aches to be of service and to help others
      And minister into lives as God intended me to be. Now I am just lost and numb.”

      As I mulled those words over, it brought back 20 years of my walk with the Lord. It would take WAY too long to describe how much I relate to your words, and how I can hear the pain in them. Again, when someone puts into words what I’ve been through, or am currently experiencing better than I ever could—-I sit up and pay attention!

      I think we’ve all spoken about abuse in that it makes us feel unloved and unwanted. But there’s often another layer to abuse: feeling unnecessary.

      Need and want are two different things! They are separate, but sometimes intertwined. I was involved with an organized ministry that I sacrificed a great deal for. It ended badly, which is putting it mildly. I left in a bad way. It took almost a decade to even get partially past it, but things like that never fully leave you.

      As much as I felt the rejection from people that no longer wanted me around, I also felt the sharp sting that none of them seemed to need me anymore as well. I felt as though (spiritually) my hands had been cut off. If you are like Now free, you know what I mean.

      Would I ever be involved in any sort of ministry again—-organized or otherwise? Has God rejected me from any sort of ministering, for good? Are my hands, for giving and blessing and serving—-ever going to grow back? Or are they gone for good? CAN they grow back?

      The answer? There IS none—at least nothing easy and nothing obvious. One thing that we all need to be careful of is assuming we know exactly how God is going to move and work. We know He will, but no one should ever try to “guess” how and when He will. Maybe He’s doing this. Maybe He’s doing that. The truth is, you don’t know, because you are not Him. His limitless thoughts and purposes towards us cannot “fit” in our limited minds.

      I do know this. Those that belong to His kingdom are NOT out of the “family business” just because a certain ministry or church or whatever kicked or pushed you out. What I mean is—is that if you are His son or daughter, you are a part of His work. There is a part for each one of us. No one is left out, and no one is deemed “unnecessary.”

      There is no way of knowing which doors He will open, and which ones He will close. For example, I used to engage in certain things when I was a part of that long ago ministry. They do not at all resemble the very mysterious but unmistakable ways He moved on my heart, many years later. Things He was asking me to engage in help serve, bless and give were nothing that I had in mind for myself. And I faced much opposition around me as well. What the heck was He thinking, was my constant cry. Why choose me for this? Last thing I wanted was to crash and burn all over again. I was seriously afraid, anxious—and fairly appalled. Maybe it would have been better if my “spiritual” hands had remained cut off?

      I had a lot of spiritual weight on my shoulders, borne out of those awful ministry years. I felt bitter, angry and extremely jaded. When some of that weight came off, shifted to the Lord’s omnipotent shoulders, where I worked hard to trust Him in order to finally be rid of the worst of it—-I certainly felt lighter,. I felt like a different person.

      I used to be an overweight person, literally. When I did shed a sufficient amount of pounds, I did NOT have a bikini body. I did not look like the persons on the magazine covers. Anyone who expects to lose weight, and then you will look a certain way—needs to be cautious. Diet books and fitness gurus try to promise all sorts of things that they can’t guarantee.

      So when I literally lost weight, and spiritually lost some of the heaviness I’d been carrying around for years—-I didn’t look a certain way. But I was in much better health, inside and out.

      And to be honest—-those around me seemed to still find fresh criticism for how I looked, inside or out. I had made some changes, but folks still found ways to put me down. They still found ways to taunt me. They still found ways to make it clear that I wasn’t “pleasing” to them, because I hadn’t turned out as they wanted me to.

      My answer? Take your complaints to the One you are really railing against. Let me know what He says in response, because I have a feeling you will be eating a huge humble pie when He is done answering your supposed “concerns” about His work in and through me.

      By the way—I once had a person make a (probably unintentional) comment about what the Lord put on my heart to do. I don’t have kids of my own, and she implied that that was a part and parcel of what I do. So, what God gave me, in essence, is a “consolation” ministry. I don’t have what others have, so God gave me this work, because He felt sorry for me? And He didn’t want me to feel “useless” because I am not a parent, who would be too busy with their kids and whatever else they do, to do what I do.

      Don’t listen to those lies. God simply doesn’t work that way. I am very much in the background now, where I used to be more up front and frankly—-very much an attention junkie. When you’ve been abused, sometimes you can be “ravenous” for attention as I was—-desperate for others to make you feel loved and wanted—-and of course, noticed.

      I was never NOT noticed by Him, whether I was in or out of helping, giving or serving. I don’t have to lift a finger for Him to notice me. I also don’t have to lift a finger to be loved by Him, any more than I already am. When I became born again, it was just Him and me—- and no one else. It will always BE Him and me as long as I live.

      I don’t belong to His kingdom because I worked my way in, or worked to remain in. I also wasn’t saved to become a “worker” for Him (although works matter!). But I was saved as His daughter, first and foremost. If I lose that perspective, I lose sight of what our relationship is based on, was ALWAYS based on. From start to finish, I needed a Savior.

      • Hi, He Loves Me,

        I just want to clarify a small point. You said. “I don’t expect people to read my comments (except for Barb, who monitors them).” Actually, both I and my assistant Reaching Out read all comments. We also moderate them, which means we decide whether to publish them, whether to edit them before publishing them, etc.

        We put a lot of time into moderating comments and we often discuss it behind the scenes. It takes up more time than many of our readers perhaps realise. Comments that are well written (so we don’t have to consider whether to edit them) take less time to moderate. But one or the other or both of us reads each comment before it is published. And if one of us has published the comment, the other one will read it after it has been published.

        We work as a tag-team. And from the reader’s point of view, it helps that Reaching Out and I are in different time zones, because that means comments can be published pretty much any time.

  10. Now free

    There is no misfits in God’s kingdom. There are no uglies, only beautiful works of a master when He is allowed to put His touch on our lives.

    The Psalmist says, **”He knows our frame. “ Psalm 103:14. ** That is a phrase I continually encourage myself with especially when I feel weak and not on top of things when I feel I should be as I recover and heal. He understands and knows us far better than we even do.

    He tells me we are the apple of His eye, as His children.
    **Psalm 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings”. **

    Zechariah 2:8, “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye”.

    We are precious to Him as God’s children. We are no longer under condemnation.
    Romans 8:1-28, tells us who we are in Christ Jesus.
    In these verses we can see four positions we are when in Christ Jesus. There’s is :-
    No Condemnation
    No Accusation
    No Separation
    No Trepidation
    For those in Christ Jesus.

    ”CAST all your cares on Him for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7&8

    This is how we can be alert to the prowling lion and avoid being devoured.

    A lion will always seek to go for the weak one of a herd or isolate one from it.
    It’s all part of his tactic. We must rest in God’s strength by learning to hand things over to God and stop trying to deal with ourselves. (Preaching to myself)

    Sometimes the lion will hide and just sit and wait until opportunity presents itself before pouncing, but it has nevertheless set out to eat.
    He (the devil) prowls around seeking whom he may devour may give the impression he doesn’t care who he devours. It may look indescriminate on face value, but in reality he picks his target carefully.

    He is on the look out so we must be too. Alert and vigilant. I must confess I let my guard down all too easy when triggered or shocked.

    So tips that help us to show God’s strength and wisdom in us are good for prevention if we take the prowling lion analogy further.

    We can stand against the voices or the fiery darts, when we truly grasp who we are in Christ, what God says about us, who our enemy is and his tactics and still place all in God’s hands and rest in Him.

    We know these things, but sometimes if you are like me, we just let our flesh speak more to us than the reality of God’s words about us. He knows our frame. He understands. He has been here. He has been through it all too. He has felt it all on the cross when He bore all our sorrows, sins and griefs. When perhaps we feel no one understands, He gets us!
    Even in moments of fear and weakness, hurt or disbelief, I keep telling myself – He gets us. Now I really do need to get Him!!!

    It is true sometimes I am my own worst enemy. Satan sows a seed of doubt and I do all the rest. He is so subtle and so cunning. I am reminded of the apostle Paul who had similar battles. We really are not alone and God really has seen and heard it all before I guess. He knows what He is doing with me and in me. I need to trust Him more.

    Beautiful hearts are hard to find, but when God has a heart He makes it so. I think God smiles when we are not so proud in one sense of ourselves that may lead us to be conceited , but hurts (as has been rightly said) when His handiwork is mocked at. I don’t feel He feels hurt when we don’t always see ourselves as He does, but I think He feels our hurt instead and grieves with us. Surely our God is the most beautiful person ever!

    Satan’s pride was his downfall. Now all he wants is for us is to either be so proud we feel we don’t need God or heed Him, or to hate ourselves, have no self worth and no self esteem that we don’t listen to God or heed Him.

    Satan wants to keep us “down and out” and blind – To see ourselves not as God sees us but how he (Satan) wants us to be.

    I’m reminded of Samuel who said when choosing the new king of Israel, to replace Saul, “man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

    I for one am glad He does and He has left me words to silence my accusers; even to silence myself. I really must listen more!

    As we become wiser in life we begin to see that the outer things are not the thing that is important. Many a person is pleasing to the eye, in worldly terms considered beautiful on the outside, but some are most ugly on the inside and vice versa. We are all unique. We are all beautifully or wonderfully made as God tells us in
    Psalm 139:14
    “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

    It is who we are in spirit and heart that really matters to God. One day this earthly body will fade and decay and we will be changed. Perfect forevermore. That’s going to be some day for us. 🙂
    Until then I must listen to my Abba Father. He sees me oh so differently than everyone else. Now that is real beauty that blows my mind.

    I am fearfully and wonderfully made despite what I see in the mirror. 🙂
    Despite what I feel and what I may hear, I must believe the Most High God. He sees everything as it really is! 😀

    Thank you for bringing these things back to my mind today through your comments. Pondering on these truths really blesses your heart. It made a normal journey home from work special today.

    A tip that I know my former church did was to list scriptures about who we are in Christ out on paper, and place them in places you will see them every day.
    Eg. Back of toilet door. Beside a bed. Beside a mirror.
    List them on your computer or phone as random wallpapers or screensavers.

    God’s word written and visible about ourselves really made a difference to those who really did this in my home church. On visiting homes I often saw these writings and realised this is why this person has changed so much this last while despite adversity.

    Perhaps another tip to help us overcome the negativity in a practical way.

    Resource: Lauren Daigle – You say (lyrics) on You tube.

    Ive started to make a playlist of songs for healing and keep on my phone or handy and play some each day.

    Laurens song relates to my comment in a music format. Music is a great tool to memorise God’s word.
    Enjoy!!

  11. Helovesme

    Thank you for that reminder, Barb! Please apologize to your new assistant; I keep forgetting that you have much needed help to run this site.

    • Reaching Out

      Apology accepted, Helovesme. 🙂 I prefer to remain behind the scene, so I completely understand when someone forgets I am here.

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