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Abuse of all kinds tends to create perhaps the most damaging, gangrenous wound of the soul: doubt. Those who have suffered abuse find that it creates doubts about all of the most crucial things in their mortal lives and in eternity. These doubts tend to target their understanding of themselves (like their own sanity, judgment, worth, likeableness, and so on), their understanding of the world (this is just the way things are, there is nothing better out there, all people will ultimately behave this way, and so on), and their understanding of relationships. Perhaps most damaging of all is the doubt that tends to get lodged within their under- standing of God and how God feels about them.
This doubt becomes the crafty servant of the abuse, allowing it to fester and expand in a way that is so stealthy that the person who is the victim of the abuse comes to doubt their own senses and question their own ability to understand what is happening to them. And, even in the moments when they are able to experience clarity in under- standing that what they are experiencing is abusive, the doubt binds them to thoughts that they somehow deserve it.
Anything that causes us to doubt God’s love for us and His desire for our well-being is not of God but is a tool of the adversary intended to bind us down to whatever misery he has schemed to enslave us with. A proper understanding of true doctrines about God’s attitude about abuse is a powerful tool in beginning to find liberation from the doubt that keeps us captive.
There is no type of abuse—physical, sexual, mental, emotional, verbal, social, or spiritual—that God does not strongly condemn. People or societies may attempt to explain away abuse under certain circumstances. For example, people may claim that it is impossible for a married man to sexually abuse his wife, even in circumstances in which she clearly indicates that she is not giving consent. Alternatively, people may excuse some types of hitting as not qualifying as abusive. Or, people may try to explain away verbal abuse as being a form of humor. However, the Lord accepts no such justifications. He sees them as what they are: rationalizations for grievous, sinful behavior.
God does not tolerate abuse, even in small doses. It is not some- thing He is willing to excuse or sweep under the rug. He opposes it. He condemns it. He requires real and complete repentance and a cessation of the abuse. Those who refuse to do so will ultimately be held accountable before Him for their actions.
The following was taken from the book The Choice To Leave Abuse by Ryan Anderson currently on sale at cedarfort.com.