Inseparable, p. 161
**CONTENT ALERT: sexual abuse, molestation, domestic violence**
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS HELP:
National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-656-HOPE
National Child Sexual Abuse Helpline – 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (866-367-5444)
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
National Human Trafficking Resource Center – 1-888-373-7888
The word victim conjures up various different emotions for people, doesn’t it? Some of us have been told to stop playing the victim, implying that perhaps we are “blowing the whistle” for attention. But so very many of us, myself included, have truly been victimized. Statistics show that about one in four women were sexually abused, molested, or otherwise assaulted as children, and those are the conservative numbers. The statistics for domestic violence aren’t any more encouraging. That means that, chances are, you very well may fall into the category of “victim.” Or you probably know someone who does.
Take a moment to read Romans 12:17-21, and part of my story from this week’s chapter of Inseparable:
What had happened to me was wrong. It was evil. And I wanted someone to pay for it.
At that point I felt the gentlest words come to me, almost like an audible whisper: “I did.”
I sat in silence as those words washed over me. It was as though Jesus were standing right in front of me, saying, “I feel your grief. I feel it stronger than you do. And I wanted someone to pay for it, too. So I did.”
Up to that point I really had forgiven the perpetrators to the best of my ability. But something changed that day for me. Forgiveness went a little bit deeper than it ever had before. I accepted that Jesus had died for the perpetrators’ sins.
I’m never going to get an apology from the people who molested me. Some of them I will never see again. Some of them may not think they did anything wrong. But I knew I had to forgive them anyway because otherwise the pain of their actions was going to eat me alive. Realizing Jesus had died for their sins, whether or not they ever sought my forgiveness— or His, for that matter—pushed that very forgiveness deep into my soul. If Jesus could die for my sin, He could die for theirs, too.
When we’re in Christ, we’ve died to our own sin and walk in newness of life. We’re new creations. We have been freed from sin. That means we can be free from other people’s sin against us.
Father, the number of us who have been abused at others’ hands is staggering… and we will never understand why these things happen. Help us give our wounds to You. Heal us completely, Lord. Press the ashes of our pain into diamonds that reveal Your grace, beauty, and glory. Help us forgive. Remind us that no matter what, You remain and You reign forever. You will make things right.
This week’s assignment is to read the final chapter of the book, Chapter 11: Royalty Crowned. I can’t believe that we’re so close to the end of our journey together. This final chapter explores the amazing inheritance we have in Christ.
This week’s discussion question:
Is there anyone in your life to whom God wants you to extend His forgiveness?