PC Alisha Mullett
Abuse is terrible and can be devastating. And I’m passionate about helping those who are hurting to find healing from it. I’ve blogged about sexual abuse here and here. But the actual abuse is usually not what causes the horrible destruction in an individual’s life…It’s the aftermath of it. The enemy will do everything in his power to blind them from the crippling effects of what is guaranteed to destroy their entire life. It’s called bitterness.
This is the part of the heartbreaking and destructive trauma they could actually prevent. But, of course, the enemy will do everything in his power to blind them to this healing and freedom…as well as the crippling effects of what will actually destroy them.
Even though our family has never personally dealt with this, I’ve heard many, many stories from women who’ve experienced all forms of sexual abuse. Some so unthinkable and horrendous that it literally made me feel sick. Many of the women in prison have faced ongoing years of terrible abuse from the very men who should have been protecting them.
One young woman was weeping and shaking as she told me that she was in prison because of killing her abuser. She had always declared in the courts and to her legal advisors that the murder was committed in self defense. But as she was broken and weeping, she confessed to me that this wasn’t true. It was premeditated murder. The anger and bitterness she’d harbored for many years finally got the best of her. As she was sharing, I realized that the enemy had convinced her that if she’d retaliate and destroy her abuser, she would finally be free. But this was far from true. She was still being controlled by her abuser. And he was continuing to destroy her life even after his death. She was bound by the anger and bitterness toward a dead man, and suffering the consequences from it. She had brutally stabbed this man to death, but it wasn’t until she prayed to release him, taking that first step in forgiving him, that she was able to begin cracking open the door towards healing.
When someone is sexually molested, the protection of their heart is cracked by this trauma. Satan is eagerly waiting with a root of bitterness to take root in their soul, bringing extreme darkness to this area of their life. And along with this bitterness usually comes a spirit of control. As we understand abuse, we can easily understand why.
Think about it. After someone deeply hurts you by forcibly doing unspeakable things to your body, it’s normal and natural to fight back in anger. Since you were forced to give up control in this deeply personal area of your life, you will look for ways to compensate for this lack. To take back a resemblance of the choice and control you lost.
It’s normal and natural. But we have to ask, is it God’s way? Bitterness and retaliation is normal and natural in these situations. But is it right? My friend, the sexual abuse cannot destroy your spirit. But bitterness and your need to control will.
Bitterness can be just as ugly, sinful and devastating as any other type of abuse. I don’t believe a person can find wholeness and healing from sexual abuse without first forgiving their offender.
If you’ve been abused, I realize I don’t know where you are on your journey towards healing. I know there is a grieving period. A time when you are slowly beginning to process the terrible things you’ve survived. I’m aware that this is a sensitive topic. And I know your first need is to experience love and comfort from God and others. But I’ve met too many individuals who simply remain stuck as a victim, because they refuse to release their bitterness. My heart aches for those of you who are bound. You are not experiencing freedom and healing because you can’t forgive.
When any of us have the sin of bitterness in our lives, it always affects those around us. It may or may not hurt or harm those we are bitter against, but it will always destroy ourselves and those we love. No exceptions.
My friend, God doesn’t ask you to do something impossible. With His enabling grace and strength, He compels you to forgive your offenders. Your abusers. Those who have done you wrong. If you cannot forgive your greatest offender, God cannot impart forgiveness to you for your wrongs.
Now I definitely don’t condone any form of sexual abuse or infidelity. I believe consequences are needed. However, our family offers God’s grace and forgiveness to the worst offenders behind bars. Why? It’s not because we’re such kind and wonderful people, or because it’s what we always feel like doing. We do it because this is God’s way and what He’s asked us to do. He extends grace and forgiveness. And He asks us to be like Him.
It’s not up to us to determine whether someone has committed the unpardonable sin. We are exposing the sin of pride in our own lives when we don’t willingly offer grace and true forgiveness to our greatest offenders. We have a Pharisaical attitude when we think our sins are not as bad as theirs.
Our friends, David and Linda, were an inspiring example of forgiveness as we sat in the courtroom with them when they met the man who ruthlessly murdered their innocent son. Through tears and although their hearts were still broken, they did the unthinkable. By God’s grace, they looked at him and said, “…today I choose to forgive you for taking the life of my son.” My friend, this isn’t humanly possible. But it is what God asks us to do. Did they feel like forgiving? Absolutely not! But they later told us that when they said those words that day, they reached a new level of healing they hadn’t felt before. Let me ask you, if God enabled them to forgive their son’s murderer, why can’t you forgive your offender?
You can’t always control what others do to you, but you can control your destiny. If you choose to continue walking in bitterness and control, Satan the Accuser will continually have access to your soul.
When you have bitterness in your heart towards someone, you eventually become like them. You’re still focusing on them, even as you’re determined never to become like them. And what you water is usually what will grow. You may not have been able to prevent the terrible, wrong things done to you, but you can prevent these events from destroying you. Every time you choose to walk in God’s way, He supernaturally does the impossible. And He heals you in the process. What a God!
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)