Ever since Satan rebelled against God and he was cast out of heaven to roam the earth, he has been on a mission. That mission is to steal, kill and destroy as many lives as possible. We might understand it in this way, that Satan attempts to steal our hope, kill our joy and destroy our souls. One mode of his plan can be seen in the many lives of those who have suffered abuse and trauma.
Abuse and trauma can take many different forms. The trauma might be from something they witnessed or been a part of, such as parents fighting, war or witnessing a crime. It could be of a sexual nature such as rape or child molestation. It may result from the physical abuse of a parent, spouse or other loved one. It may occur once or repeatedly over a long period of time. For many, the abuse is made worse as it is at the hands of a loved one, making the betrayal and hurt even more deadly.
When the abuse finally ends some hope that the pain when end too. But the real damage is not in the abuse itself, but in the lasting damage to our souls. For the physical pain may heal quickly, the emotional wounds continue to fester, never improving with time. That's because time does not heal all wounds. In fact, infected wounds only get worse with time.
The deepest wounds of the abused person are difficult to spot, for they cannot be seen with our eyes or even our most advanced medical equipment. They are wounds of our heart. Wounds that often consist of the messages that we have received as a result of the abuse or trauma that have twisted our concepts of self, purity, love and others.
Messages such as "I am forever ruined and unlovable." "Never trust anyone." "I am dirty." "I am used and nobody will ever want me." "I am broken and worthless." "I can't tell anyone. If they knew they would never be able to look at me the same way." "It is my fault it happened." "I am alone, nobody can keep me safe." These messages are ever present in our subconscious mind, impacting how we understand and interpret our current events.
The pain of the abuse or trauma can lead some to experience unexplained anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts. They may attempt to self medicate their pain with alcohol, drugs, sex or by simply keeping busy so they can try and keep the pain out of their line of vision.
Often the messages resulting from the abuse lead people to respond in two primary ways. The first way is where they vow that they will never become a victim again by becoming hard, untrusting and controlling. Here the walls of protection often become the walls of their prison. For while their hard exterior shell may keep out some future hurt and pain by keeping people away, it also prevents the love they desperately need from coming in, leaving the person feeling cold and empty inside.
The other common path is when the abuse leaves the person without a sense of boundaries towards what it is unhealthy and impure. This results in them being further abused by more unhealthy relationships or even becoming an abuser to others. Here, they, not knowing any other way, continue the cycle of abuse to the next generation.
Many sufferers of abuse are left wondering if there is any hope of freedom and healing from their abuse. Praise God there is. For while the enemy came to steal, kill and destroy - Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. That we would be made whole, for ultimately that is what the word salvation literally means.
At Crossways to Life we have had the joy of walking with countless people who have suffered various forms of abuse as they come to Jesus to receive healing. Their lives are transformed as they discover healing, hope, peace, joy and deeper love for God as they walk in their new life in Christ.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with past abuse and trauma and would like to discover the hope and power that comes from wholeness in Christ, then please contact our office to make an appointment.
For more information on our Christ centered counselling approach please check out the following resources: