"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1 NIV
Thoughts for Today
Domestic violence affects millions of people. In the United States alone, "between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data" (http://www.dvrc-or.org/domestic/violence/resources/C61/). Violence and abuse, especially in the home, are increasingly being exposed. Media attention and public outcries have riveted attention on child neglect and abuse, sexual violence, psychological maltreatment of children, rape, mate beating, mistreatment of the elderly, abandonment, and other forms of abuse. People who have suffered such abuse, or been in a household where it was taking place, are often haunted for years by terrible memories. They feel shame, fear, anger and grief brought about by the painful events of the past. This week we will look at these wounded emotions and discuss how to be set free from them. Hope and healing are available!
Shame is a pervasive feeling of being inadequate as a human being. Every area of family violence causes shame. For example, children growing up in homes where a parent is committing adultery feel ashamed of their adulterous parent's behavior and are similarly ashamed of the faithful parent who is trying to keep it a secret. Children of alcoholics are ashamed of their parent's drinking and the chaos it creates in their homes. When verbal abuse and labeling take place, shame becomes a dominant motivation for doing anything possible to avoid the continual reminders of inadequacy.
Shame leaves us with a strong sense of being uniquely and hopelessly different and less than other human beings. It isolates and alienates us. We may feel that we can never live up to the expectations of those close to us, or that the reason we were abused was related to some inadequacy within us that caused and perpetuated the abuse.
Consider this …
Shame occurs in secret and isolates its victims, keeping them from challenging their feelings. God's light allows us to begin to challenge our early assumptions and distorted perceptions. It exposes the destructive decisions shame breeds and sets us free from the lies we never before challenged.
God's light comes through prayerfully studying the Scriptures, absorbing them, believing them for yourself. God loves you and wants to heal your emotions. When you made Jesus Lord of your life, you became a child of your perfect heavenly Father. And the Bible promises there is no condemnation in Him. Jesus does not condemn you. Ask Him to help you see yourself as He does--loved by Him, precious to Him.
Father, I have suffered for so long with this shame. Help me to overcome the lies and see nothing but Your truth. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …Restoring Families: Overcoming Abusive Relationships through Christ by Janet M. Lerner, D.S.W. This study helps to minister to families caught in the cycle of abusive relationships. The curriculum deals with overcoming these abusive relationships through Christ and is recommended for use in support groups and Christian counseling.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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