Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wrestling with Questions and An Abusive Theology

Wrestling with Questions

What’s the difference between being discontent and desiring a change of scenery?

What’s the difference between being discontent and desiring to raise a family in a better place than you were raised?

Where do you draw the line between being unhappy with where you are and wanting something simpler, something freeing, something different, something fresh, something better for your future?

Where do you go for the answer?  
Do you look inside yourself?  
Do you look to other people and follow their example?  
Do you read a book, pour through Scripture for the magic verse that answers your soul’s conundrum?  
How do you differentiate your desires from God’s desires from others’ desires?


An Abusive Theology

I recently read a blog post by Rachel Held Evans about what some would consider an abusive theology, taught by John Piper.  That abusive theology is this: You are doing better than you deserve.  Or:  Being abused is better than you deserve. 

I was once told this phrase by someone I respect and, at the time, it made me feel better because there is some level of truth to it.  As sinners, we all deserve to burn in Hell, to be eternally damned, and to be separated from God’s Holy Presence forever.  And all these things are worse than Earthly abuse. 

BUT:  This phrase, this theology, does nothing to help the abuse victim heal.  It leaves them in a broken state with no hope for repair or recovery.  It tells them that they are lucky to have only been abused – and that is how they continue to see themselves for years afterward! 

The problem with this is that:
Abuse of any kind is NEVER okay. 
Abuse goes against the very nature of God.  God abhors abuse!

To leave an abuse victim in the mental clutches of their past abuse experiences is to sentence them to a lifetime of torment, angst, and false identity.  They continue to see themselves as a victim rather than as a valuable human being.  They cling to the thought that being a victim is their only lot in life – that they should be grateful they didn’t suffer something worse.  They wrestle with fears of being targeted again, with trusting people again, with feeling like they are only good for being an object, with feeling worthless and degraded.  

I know because I’ve been there. 

I’m going to come out and say it now:  I have been abused.  I have been abused and I am still dealing with the negative effects from that experience years later.  I’m not talking about spiritual or mental abuse, either.  I mean physical and sexual abuse.

I was touched and physically restrained, while also being emotionally manipulated, by a boy who claimed to be a Christian.  The experience scared me so much that I told my then guy-friend, now-husband, about it and he stepped in to defend me against any possible future attacks.  Thankfully, there were none, but the negative effects did not disappear.  

Right after it happened, I became immensely afraid of my abuser.  I did not want to have any contact with or see him again.
I questioned my worth. 
I struggled to trust people, especially men. 
I felt like an object.  
I felt dehumanized and violated.  
And I still have nightmares about being targeted again.    

These hurts, these feelings, are not going to go away just by believing that being abused was better than I deserved, that I’m lucky to have only been abused.  In fact, it makes me angry that this theology serves to brush abuse victims aside and tell them that they should essentially “be grateful” for being abused.   

Physical, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse are things that I do not wish on anyone at any time.  And you know what?  Neither does God.

God does not show His love for us by making us suffer on Earth.  He showed His love for us by sending His Son to suffer on Earth for us.  All the suffering and abuse in this world is caused by sin, which we chose to bring to Earth when we turned our back on God and decided to live our lives our way.  But He sent His Innocent, Perfect Son to suffer the punishment and death we deserved so that we could be adopted by Him as His beloved children.  Not His abused children, His beloved children.      

What is your take on this abusive theology?  If you have been abused, what steps have you taken to heal?   


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

ur a bitch

Donna said...

I empathize with your experience and pray that you will meet others, like me, who have walked the road toward healing.