Tag Archives: rape

God Does Not Waste Pain On Us

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

woman raising her right hand
Photo by Murilo Folgosi on Pexels.com

God does not waste pain on us. For me, it took despair and suicide attempts to discover value in living. Those ruins of loss and struggle have become building blocks for the restructuring of joy and the real me.

A man named Paul wrote half of the Bible’s New Testament. He also strained against something he figuratively called “a thorn in the flesh.” Three times he prayed for it to go away. God’s answer was that it was through Paul’s weakness that God would prove himself to be enough to keep Paul going.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Do you think anyone in Paul’s time, or even Paul would have imagined that the persistence of his “thorn” would become a powerful lesson reaching countless numbers of people for two thousand years?

We do not always know why we suffer. For most of five re-building years following my dive into major depression, I tried to make sense of personal value and purpose. Remembering Paul, my broken spirit almost daily asked God, “Can my thorn also be a blessing? Will you ever allow me to help other people again?”

One afternoon at a 12-step meeting, a young woman shared that she was trying to escape the trauma of being raped multiple times by her youth pastor.

An inward nudge from Jesus’ Holy Spirit pushed me to go talk to her. We were strangers, yet she searched my eyes in desperation.

“Why did God send him?” she said. “Why did he send a man of God to rape me?”

She could not be free from the chain of addiction and self-medication until she was free of her deepest anguish.  It was not the horrific memories nor lack of safety that had her bound. It was fear that she had lost the God she had always known to be good. 

Referencing the Bible book of Matthew (chapter 7, verses 15,16), I said, “Have you heard about wolves in sheep’s clothing?”

“Yes!” She rose in her chair. “Is that what happened?”

“He was not a man of God.” I said. “He was a liar and a wicked man who used the church to cover evil. God loves you. He did not send that man to rape you.”

“Really? He was not a man of God?” Her eyes were wide.

“No. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

If I could ever find words to describe the scene playing out in her eyes- it was as clear as a movie. From desperate fear and searching to flickers of hope,  then wide-eyed wonder and finally, freedom.

The timing that day was perfect, and the God who knows all hearts used my unsteady one to speak life to her dying one. In one moment, the Restorer of souls fashioned ruins into life-giving shelter.

Stone hearts become flesh again, human weakness is covered by divine strength, spiritual poverty becomes wealth in faith. Chains turn into testimonies, lost is found, damned is saved, and pieces of shattered minds are Tenderly gathered by the Savior.

This is what Jesus does for people. This is his amazing grace.

Your ruins have purpose in the Master Builder’s hands. If you are willing to be free,  God will incorporate all that is broken into formation of the you he always intended.

Today’s Helpful Word  

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 

Three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -Paul

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

#MeToo. Be Careful, Sisters. Not All Who Charm Tell the Truth

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

A  vile man in Hollywood is receiving national attention for his sexual assaults on women.  Former co-workers and employees are exposing his character en masse.

A creepy man lives quietly and voyeuristically, a peeping Tom protecting his fragile reputation and delusion of respectability.  He thinks no one knows. 

A rapist hides among his brothers as they cover for him and set each other up with unsuspecting women.  Victims leave that family home ashamed, convinced the assaults are their fault. 

Two male college students scope out a party for the most desirable prey.  They chat with her while one distracts and the other slips something in her drink.

Internationally, bodies are sold, raped in so-called acts of war, and used without regard to the priceless souls within. 

And on it goes…

Don’t listen to lies

While terrible sexual abuses happen to both male and female targets, we have to admit that to some men, children, women, and even life outside their own is not sacred. 

Corrupt men in high and powerful places who regard women as pawns in their grand schemes of self-satisfaction,  are difficult to identify on the surface.  Poorer and less influential abusers are often equally masked.  To their targets, the message is clear – I have power, you do not. I am entitled to your body,  you are mine.  I deserve to have my needs met, you have no needs that matter. I am worthy, you are valueless.

Know the truth

A reader of this blog sent me his disturbing arguments FOR objectifying women in relationships and through pornography by incorrectly asserting, “From a biblical perspective women were created to be sexual objects for man’s enjoyment and pleasure [sic] … and that’s the bottom line”.

Be smart. If someone is willing to write off half the human race as objects for the other half’s enjoyment, he is probably not the one you want interpreting the BIble for you.  He twisted 1 Corinthians 11:9 and Proverbs 5:19 to support his views.

It’s a shame the Bible is misused this way, but also nothing new. Taking passages out of their grammatical or historical context, and ignoring original social and cultural realities for the original audience, opens the door to any-ol’ misapplication. Also,  pretending that other biblical passages contradicting false claims do not exist  is convenient.  The reader’s comment saddens, but does not surprise me.  

The Corinthian verse,  “Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man,” is conveniently removed from its context about appropriate public dress and worship in first century AD. Only two verses later, the intended biblical message ends with, “For just as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” That sounds to me like equal responsibility and dependence under God, not ownership of one over the other. 

Then there is the Proverbs verse. This is beautiful.  A full chapter of a father teaching his son to be faithful to his wife and to avoid lust and adultery, is the context out of which the blog reader pulled support for his case!

Be aware

It’s this type of ridiculous rationalizing that fuel sexual harassment and sexual assault. Winking at it is also culprit.  It is silence of non-victims who see what is happening, and complicity of those who refuse to look, that enables cruel and criminal actions against women. 

Be careful, sisters. Not all who charm tell the truth.

Today’s Helpful Word

2 Corinthians 4:2

But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

 

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

 

 

Beware Wolves in Sheep Clothing: Accepting Blatant Abuse in View of God’s Mercy

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Fifty has-beens and wanna-be-agains gathered in a small, gray room. At the front, three men faced the crowd from behind a table. They represented the made-its, the yes you cans. Their stories offered hope.

One after another, people stood and spoke of failure, consequences, struggle, and joy. Those further along in progress took full responsibility for his or her behavior. Healing and new life sprouted from that honesty.  This Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was meant for just that – a chance to encourage each other through hard truth.

Across the room I spotted a dark-haired young woman sitting with a friend. She looked uneasy, as if her heart was heavy.  After asking God what to do, I planned to speak with her as soon as the meeting ended.

We were strangers, but as happens often at recovery meetings, I found her open and ready to spill. She told me she’d been raped repeatedly by the youth pastor at her church.  The pain in her eyes blended with confusion. She was in agony.

Then she said, “How could God let that happen. I mean, he was a man of God.”

Taking her hand and looking her straight in the eye, I said “He was not a man of God.”

“He wasn’t?”

“Have you heard the story in the Bible about wolves that  dress like sheep so they can sneak in and destroy?”

“Yes, I know that one! Is that what happened?” Her eyes were earnest.  She was like a bucket without a lid,  inwardly begging to be filled. There was no doubt my next words held life or death for her. The responsibility weighed heavy,  and I asked God to heal her as I spoke.

“He was a wolf. He came in sheep’s clothing. God did not send him.  He was not a man of God.”

It is often said that eyes are the windows to the soul. Hers exemplified that to perfection as hope visibly appeared. She turned to her friend and said, “He was just a wolf. God didn’t send him.” Her friend nodded, and they hugged.

I walked away knowing God had sent me to the right place at the right time.

“Sorry” is never enough

Experience and research had taught me the difference between people who actually walk with Christ and abusers who play the game.  Not everyone has that insight.  While scripture tells us to show mercy and forgive a person who is truly sorry,  Saint Paul had much to say about this.

In a letter to a Greek Christian church mentioned in the New Testament, Paul used the example of a man whose sexual behavior was sinful, recommending he be removed from the church. The mercy Paul encouraged was the opposite of accepting the man as-is.  Once held to accountability, correcting his ways was the man’s responsibility alone. He had to want Jesus more than his sin.  He had to long for change.

People who break over the pain they caused others, and whose hearts churn over turning Jesus’ name into a mockery,  do NOT continue to abuse or pursue excuses. They will submit to accountability and consequences.  No one who abuses a spouse and is honestly repentant will demand s/he stay, harass, or otherwise make life difficult any more. A truly sorry former abuser will make restitution, honor earlier promises, and keep covenants they once broke even if they get nothing in return.

Does that sound like too much to ask? Yet that is precisely what is demanded of victims. Support the abusive church leader,  don’t stir up trouble.  Stay with your spouse, submit to harm, and by all means keep those promises you made at your wedding. You know, “for better or worse.”

I do not know if the rapes became public at the young woman’s church or if the abuser confessed. I have seen abusers claim remorse and return to their evil ways. So beware. Wolves really do know how to dress and talk like sheep.

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 7:15- 19

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act…   Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

 

 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

Sheep picture by JONFLETCH and Wolf picture by MZACHA on rgbstock.com