NOTE: Today’s post is about an abusive relationship. If you are being abused, please get help.
During the quarantine times, I have heard about families enjoying the extra time together and growing as a family, etc. When you live with an abusive person, quarantine is your complete nightmare.
Perspective is everything, so I consider my current situation to be a trial. There are verses about trials in the Bible telling us to expect them, but there is one verse in particular that I have struggled with over the years:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Um, what James? Consider trials to be pure joy? This situation I am in does not feel like joy, nor cause it.
During my quiet time with God this morning, I was studying the authority of Jesus. God will sometimes connect two unrelated topics in my mind during my time with Him and show me something new. I felt led to write down what I need to get through this trial, and how I want to handle the circumstances of the trial and the person involved in it. I wrote down, “Love, peace, joy, increased trust in Him, deepen my obedience to Him and to be as Christ-like as possible.”
Then I felt led to look up the fruit of the Spirit:
“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Funny thing about this is I was not at all thinking about the fruit of the Spirit when I listed what I need to get through this trial.
Showing love to people, no matter how they act, is Christ-like. To be clear, I am not suggesting that if someone is abusing you in any way that you just keep loving them. This love is about loving yourself, too. You are the temple of God and there are times in our lives when we need to end a relationship and THAT is loving both to you and the other person. You are created in the image of God and abuse of any kind to the image of God is completely unacceptable and an affront to Him.
What I am saying is that when that person hurls hate, you do not reciprocate. God will address their choices (Romans 12:19).
Peace in Jesus, at all times in all things, is the most critical thing to my soul. My life and the world around me can be in pieces, but I must focus on the peace of Jesus. I have learned that when you focus on the peace of Jesus, joy comes right after it. How can you focus on the peace of Jesus and not feel joy??!!
When we go through trials, it is clear throughout the Bible that He is going to use them for our good. He is going to grow our faith, and we will emerge stronger and wiser than before we went through the trial. But, friend, we must get out of His way. Trust Him, completely and unconditionally. Stop fighting and listen to Him. Stop trying to solve it all alone – He’s got it. Stop investing time and energy into things that are not of Him or for His glory. Take those thoughts and actions captive.
You are a child of God who has been freed, act like it. Focus on the work He is doing in you or wants to do in you. You cannot control what other people do – their behavior is between them and God. Just like yours is between you and God. Focus on the fruit of the Spirit. Be stretched by the Almighty, Loving Father.
And, oh by the way, yes, it hurts. Trials hurt. There is no growth without hurt.
Pray to Him. Cry out to Him. Cling to His Word. Journal. That last suggestion is so that WHEN you get through this trial, you do not forget how you hurt, wrestled with God, cried out, and how He answered prayers along the way.
I have wrestled with God about unanswered prayers. For years, the same prayer – unanswered. But, I realized that me living to see another day is Him sustaining me. He loves me, He loves us so much. The fact that He brings us through each day means that He is not done with us yet. We may not know what His plan for us is, but, friend, it is a beautiful and perfect plan that will arrive in His time.
Jesus can end any trial at any time, so why does He allow it to continue? Our growth is paramount to Him. Redirect all of your energy toward deepening your obedience and trust in Him.
As for the negative person in my life, this verse provides hope to me, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4).
In that verse, who are “those people” that are referenced? Everyone who does not proclaim Jesus is the Son of God. That is a lot of people. It is the majority of the world’s population, I am sorry to say. But we have the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
So, remember, friend, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Focus on the peace of Jesus when you look around and all you see is pieces.
“Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.”
May You protect Your children from anyone who dares attempt to hurt them, be it spiritual, mental, or physical abuse. We lift them all up to You for healing. May these wounded butterflies soar ever higher with wings powered by Your strength. Please fill their bodies, minds, and spirits with love, peace, joy, and trust in You. Surround them with Love, Light, and Truth.
In the blessed name of Jesus we pray.
If you are in need of a personal prayer, please reach out. You are never alone.