A lovely lady friend sobbed on my shoulder, her painful memories dogging her life and causing sleepless nights. I embraced her, allowing the tears to shed freely. Who was I to judge? Abusive scars nailed her to despair.
“How can I help?” I asked
The need for the NSPCC
Professor Pat Thane Research Professor in Contemporary British History, King’s College London says (https://www.britac.ac.uk/users/professor-patricia-thane) “Child abuse was exposed in the late 19th c. It was the reason for the founding of the NSPCC in 1883. They demonstrated that abuse was extensive. This led to legislation rather more speedily than domestic violence, in 1889. Cruelty to cattle had been outlawed in 1822.”
How interesting that cruelty to cattle appeared more important than child abuse!
The daughter of the King
“Talk to me about God’s love,” she said.
We sat down in her sitting room and played some praise songs quietly, just loud enough to be heard but not intrusive.
“God adores you; you are his daughter..”
“But I am soiled, battered and bruised – how can he love a wretch like me when I don’t like me?”
“God’s eyes do not see the stains of the painful memories only the pains. His heart and love for you are bigger than the universe. Nothing stops him loving you. And he wants you to learn to love yourself.”
The uncomfortable nature of abuse
“Those painful memories prevent that. I am unclean, disgusting; I can’t even look at myself in the mirror without feeling guilty.”
“What do you feel guilty about?”
“The past, the things I allowed to happen.”
“You were not responsible; your father beat you, how could that be your fault.”
“If only I learned faster, understood what he was teaching me. I riled him – made him angry. He said so.”
It’s not your fault
“That is not your fault. Your father allowed his anger to boil over. You did not deserve to be beaten.”
“There’s no suppose; your painful memories are not based on I suppose. They were real, frightening and wrong. That little girl faced abuse from a trusted adult. Kept it hidden like a dirty secret and now it is time to call on God to hug you to show you the real love of a Father. Your tears from the past and present have been heard in heaven.”
Hope in solving social problems
“Throughout history, people have been aware of social problems- of crime, violence, abuse. Perhaps what was new in 20th c, beginning in the 19th was the belief that they really could be solved, with the help of emerging expertise in psychology and the social sciences, apparently increasing understanding of the problems and with the growth of government action, reaching into areas previously thought private and beyond its remit. These hopes may have been over-optimistic.” (Professor Pat Thane)
The power of forgiveness
“How do I find peace?”
“By acknowledging who has power over your life. The painful memories or God? Through the authority of forgiveness.”
“Yes, forgiving your father, yourself and God.”
“You ask too much.”
“It is not I that asks it.”
“God. It is He who will heal your mind, heart and soul.”
My friend sighed deeply and shook her head. “Then I am lost. I can’t forgive my father. He took everything away from me. My childhood, self-esteem, trust, confidence and joy. He installed fear and anger where innocence once lived. I hate what he did.”
“This is God’s promise” – Revelation 21:4 (AKJV)
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
“Forgiving those that have hurt you will release you from death, sorrow, crying and pain. Is your life not a living death?”
“Yes, I have not lived it to fulfilment due to my brokenness.”
“Then would you like to?”
“If you forgive, God will hug you and your pain; He will make you whole again. I know this is not an easy path for you maybe, this quote will help by Corrie Ten Boom might help.”
Corrie Ten Boom
Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.
“I will think upon this and pray that I can seek this solution.”
I left my friend at her crossroads and hoped in time she might seek God’s peace.
Painful memories of childhood or adult abuse live long in the mind – seeking help is not easy, nor throwing off the power of hopeless and helpless feelings. God treasures you, and He does want to free and hug you. He longs to be your Father, who protects and loves His children. In Him, there is healing, in Him there is hope.