I have another post about abuse today.
It won’t be especially sad though. Today I have more of a thought “Why does abuse happen?”
There are many, many reasons, I couldn’t possibly address them all.
But for a christian family like mine, I believe there is one reason that can be common. It’s not the only reason, but it’s an important one to understand if there’s ever going to be road to healing.
That reason is Idolatry.
Idolatry is a fancy sounding word for one of the most common sins to man, that of worshiping something other than the One True God.
Even if you are not a Christian, it’s probably no strength for you to agree that there are things worth devoting your life to, and that many people do not devote their lives to the right thing, so if the religious term throws your off, just think of it like that.
Idolatry is just easier to use for me, since it’s one word, but in Church we usually call it False Images, False gods, or just Idols themselves.
In my family the False Image was My Family itself.
My dad has long been obsessed with being a better person, but his version of better was rather vague and unrealistic. It usually involved ridding himself of his faults as a parent and husband.
But his biggest faults in that regard was simply focusing on the flaws. He didn’t prioritize us ourselves, but this idea of what our family should look like.
Our family should have its own ministry (one he approved of)
Our family should make music
Our family should be more hospitable
Our family should all go tot he same church.
Our family should be a witness to the extended family.
He never took into consideration that maybe it was not his job to decide how we should serve God.
I am aware of the Bible’s teaching about a whole household serving God. However, it never says everyone in the house should do the exact same thing. In the New Testament the control of family is a little lesser, since may early Christians did not have their whole family’s support.
It didn’t stop with Church stuff anyway. That was just what annoyed me the most.
Maybe you’ve had the same experience with your relatives.
My dad would also say repeatedly that our family was the most important thing to him and he got his happiness from us.
Which bugged me, I thought “We get our happiness form God, not each other.”
Not to misunderstand me, people can greatly increase our happiness, but it does not spring from them. If it does it’s fleeting, people die, they move, they move on, they ditch us, not all of them, but human based happiness is just not permanent.
It sounds like a Christian Cliche to say We Get our Happiness from God.
Oh, we’re so spiritual, right?
I know, but it really is true. It can be misused sure, to hide real problems, but so can most things.
It’s not that God makes me feel happy all the time, it’s that when Id o feel happy, it’s in God. I know it is from Him, and it is a gift.
By the way, there’s been a teaching in the Church that says the Bible never says “God wants you Happy”
Let me set you free if you’ve heard this: That is bull-crap.
No, you won’t find the exact words “God wants you happy” in scripture, the Bible prefers the words “Joy” “Rejoicing” “Praising” “Thankful” “Peaceful” “Exalted” and “Satisfying the desires of your heart.”
All that is stronger than happiness as a chemically induced fleeting feeling, though that too, because God also wants you healthy, and a healthy person will produce that physical feeling of happiness too.
My dad used our family as a false god. Like all idols, it had to be removed from him for him to turn back to the real God.
And we had also to give up serving my dad’s happiness, instead of serving God’s. We wanted our dad to be happy, sure, but we could not keep trying to fill the void of God in his heart.
And we could not let him punish us with emotional abuse for inevitably failing to do the impossible.
It struck me what the Bible is talking about when it warns about idols.
You are what you adore, what you trust in, you become.
If you trust in a lie, you become a liar, and eventually, if you fall in with C. S. Lewis’s point of view in The Great Divorce, you become a lie itself.
If you trust in money, you become a miser.
If you trust in drugs, you become an addict.
All these states of being are merging you with the thing you worship. In the case of drugs it literally will get worked into you bloodstream, your DNA, and your brain engineering, and passed on to your kids.
“Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.” Psalms 115:4-6
“They have mouths but they do not speak; eyes they have but they do not see; they have ears but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.” Psalms 135:16-18
That’s why we are all sinners, by the way. Adam became a sinner, and in a way, he became sin, and so we carry that in our DNA now. We are born in sin, as the Word puts it.
Jesus became sin for us, the Word also says, in order to finally get Sin out of us. He killed sin by becoming it, and then dying.
The Bible also teaches that the Spirit of God is able to divide soul and spirit, and that is how we are saved from sin. God can separate the sinner form the sin.
We ourselves cannot do that, except by loving the sinner. We cannot transform them. But loving people will help them choose to be transformed.
In summary, I think almost all abuse happens due to idols
Many abusers are addicts, after all. All of them put power above God, certainly. Abuse is all about feeling powerful.
It’s important to keep in mind that focusing too much on being abused also can be a form of idolatry. God wants us to be healthy, and if we focus on him, we’ll start to heal. If we are letting Him help us.
But don’t wear your sorrow like a badge of honor, Paul boasted of his weakness because God was glorified in it, not because weakness all on its own is a glory.
One last thought
All of us are meant to be at rest, and to rejoice. Abusers and abused alike. However you handle your past, whatever you went through, even if you were the abuser in some ways, don’t think it mean you cannot ever be happy,
Happiness is not what we deserve, desert does not come into it at all. It’s the natural state of things. You can’t earn it because you were created for it, it’s just like putting a key into a lock. No question of deserving it, it would be stupid to ask that.
So, it’s okay to move on. Really.
And that’s all I got for you today. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.