During my childhood I was abused sexually, emotionally, verbally and physically. Many of you have also been abused, or you deal with someone in your life who comes from an abusive background.
What does abuse mean? It means “to misuse, to use improperly, to use up or to injure by maltreatment.”
The effects of abuse can be devastating and long-lasting. Many people never recover from it.
4 Types of Abuse
Sexual abuse is considered to be the most degrading and offensive type of abuse. It consists of things like rape, molestation, incest, exhibitionism, and voyeurism.
Emotional abuse consists of withholding attention, loving touches and words of acceptance.
Abandonment is a type of emotional abuse and can occur when one or both parents leave the child physically or mentally. Adults can also experience abandonment if important people in their lives leave suddenly or violently.
Verbal abuse can be “overt” or “covert.”
When someone is overtly abusive, they use aggressive, angry words that convey another person is flawed or unacceptable.
When someone is covertly abusive, they withhold loving words of acceptance that help a person develop properly.
Physical abuse consists of someone inflicting physical harm on a person. It can involve things like beatings, unfair discipline, or withholding food.
The Effects of Abuse in My Life
Although I appeared to function normally in society, I had so many problems on the inside!
They were things that prevented me from experiencing the righteousness, peace and joy that Jesus died to give me (see Romans 14:17; John 10:10).
I was bitter about my past and had a chip on my shoulder, which caused me to have the attitude that everyone owed me preferential treatment.
I was full of self-pity, especially if things didn’t go my way. I was controlling, manipulative, fearful, insecure and harsh. I was just plain hard to get along with and often downright obnoxious!
I was judgmental, suspicious and very negative. I also experienced a lot of guilt and condemnation.
And since I didn’t like who I was, I spent many years trying to be like someone else. I’m sure you get the picture—I was quite a mess!
If you have suffered abuse of any kind, you may see some of this in your own life. You may have wondered why you act the way you do or why you just can’t seem to get past it.
If that’s you, then I have good news for you: God can heal you from the pain of abuse.
Recovery Begins Here
Years ago, early in my walk with the Lord, I was doing “all the right things.” My life revolved around church, and I was constantly doing church work. And this is a good thing, but I still had all of the same problems.
Then God began teaching me one of the most important lessons of my life: Only His Word can change me.
Second Corinthians 3:18 (AMPC) says looking into the Word of God is like looking into a mirror which transforms us into His image from glory to glory.
I have been changing ever since. I have changed and changed and changed…and I am still changing! Today, I am a completely different person. I even look different—younger, happier, more peaceful.
Second Corinthians 5:17 says that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature—old things have passed away and all things are made new. But that really doesn’t mean everything from the past just vanishes.
The Amplified Bible says it out this way: Behold, all things have become new.
In other words, without Jesus there is no hope for newness of life. The past always affects the future without the power of God to overcome it.
When the fresh and new comes, there is opportunity to be free. But we must give the Word of God an exalted place in our lives. We must face the truth as it is revealed to us in His Word, and then the truth will set us free as it is acted upon (see John 8:32).
I want to encourage you to keep pressing on! Philippians 1:6 says that He who has begun a good work in you is able to bring it to completion.
You will keep changing if you stay in God’s Word and keep looking to Jesus, who is the author and the finisher of your faith (see Hebrews 12:2).
Now, I am enjoying the kingdom living of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And no matter what you’ve experienced in your past or how many problems you have, God will do a miracle for you!
He will change you into the image of Jesus Christ and give you a new life worth living!
Joyce Meyer Ministries, joycemeyer.org