Sometimes one of the hardest things to do is to get free from an abusive relationship. Most likely you have been worn down and worn out by your abuser and may be battling to even know who you are anymore. Then there are all the moral questions. What will happen if I leave? Am I strong enough? What does God say about divorce? What will my friends and family say? Am I doing the right thing for my children?
The thing that made my mind up was simply that I was not going to let my unborn child be intentionally damaged by another person. Good parents fall short with the best of intentions, which is normal. Intentional targeted abuse I was not going to tolerate. When it came to dealing with the questions from my Pastor, friends and family, these were my thoughts;
When it comes to God and I, I want to be the faithful servant from the parable of the three servants in Matthew 25:14-30. He has given me all these talents and gifts that I need to use and share and develop. I think God would have a lot more to say concerning me missing my calling and doing his work within my skill set, than for staying in an abusive relationship and disintegrating into nothingness and worst of all, allowing the cycle of abuse to perpetuate in my child.
That was my personal perspective. For those of you who would like more scripture to stand on, I would like to highlight 1 Corinthians 7:15 King James Version (KJV) 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. The Greek word for depart is chōrizō, Thalers Greek Lexicon defines the word depart a) to separate, divide, part, put asunder, to separate one’s self, to depart from b) to leave a husband or wife c) of divorce to depart or go away. Now many people read this verse and interpret that the abuser must walk out in order for it to be applicable. Before you go down that road in dismay, let me point something out. Has the abuser not departed from their marriage covenant by perpetrating the abuse? What if your partner professes to be a Christian believer? The answer is simple. The person is not a true believer if they are conducting themselves in this way. 1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Verse 18 goes on to state that, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” This then makes it permissible for the abused partner to leave the marriage. We are no longer under bondage.
What about forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation? There is never a truer adage than this, “Un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and thinking the other person will die”. Forgiving a person who has hurt you will give you freedom. Part of the perpetuation of an abusive relationship is the cycle of abuse and counterfeit repentance. True repentance comes in the form of committed actions confirming the changed heart. You can choose to forgive and let go. You have no control over another individual’s desire to repent, get healing and get whole. That is entirely in their hands, and that is why reconciliation is not always possible. It is important to prepare yourself for the reality that your abuser may never acknowledge their behaviour and change. 1 Corinthians 7:15 confirms that God has called us to live in peace. Remaining in an abusive relationship, in a state of war with a person who refuses to live in peace with you, is not what we are called to do.
Feeding your mind the right stuff
It’s very easy for an abused person to go from one abusive relationship to the next. It’s really important to take responsibility for yourself by healing, so that you never have to go through abuse again. It is vital to transition from a victim to an over comer. You may have had no control, but you do now through the choices that you make for yourself. You are brave for leaving! ‘Restoring your spirit, mind, and body is vital to your future. Spend some time;
- Talking to a psychologist, or social worker
- Go for prayer
- Spend time with friends and family who love you
- Eat healthily
- Examine negative thoughts and vet them for truth
- Get active
- Tidy your personal space
- Write out your goals, both short term and long term
- Join a small group at church
- Write a joy list of all the things you like to do that make you feel good
- Write a list of reasons why you left so that when you feel like things were not so bad and you want to go back, you can read it and remember why you are not ever going back
It’s vital to cut the abuser out of your life. Cut contact, don’t check up on them via social media. Remove all things that remind you of them from your life. If you have to communicate with them for your children, try to do it through a third party like a lawyer.
Have a look through the Sapphire Leadership Group website http://theslg.com/content/9-free-stuff They provide amazing tools for getting personal freedom, as well as effecting change in your family too.
Two amazing books to read are:
“Christian men who hate women”
by Dr Margret J Rinck
“Divorce, hope for the hurting”
by Bishop Frank J Retief.