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Stop Blaming and Get Busy Healing

 

Refer to Step 3: I accept that the responsibility for getting back on track is mine and no one else’s.

 

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.

—Sir Winston Churchill

When you’ve experienced abuse, regardless of the type, you inevitably lose your ability to trust. It just goes with the territory. Some people never regain their ability to trust and lead half-lives, ruled by suspicion and distrust—sometimes a great deal of it. If your abuse has come from a trusted spiritual leader, you’ve probably lost your ability to trust God as well.

Although the abuser will have to answer to God for the problems he or she created, you also have substantial accountability. Regardless of where the problem began, it’s still your responsibility to get back to the place where you began—trusting God. It’s easy to blame someone for your situation, but that will not solve the problem, and it doesn’t help you move forward, getting back to a life filled with peace, joy, and fulfillment.

Being in this situation is obviously very difficult, but the alternative is even worse. Once you’ve had a deep experience with the love of God, it’s impossible to settle for anything less. And chafing at the bit does nothing but waste precious years of your life—your years not your abusers.

Why not look at this as a time to return to your first love—to return to the Lord?  You’ve already experienced a measure of recovery, but you know your potential is far greater. It requires a lot of work, but if you put your heart into it, you’ll never regret your decision to move forward. What do you say? Why not let today be the day when you become committed to improving your life?

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:58)

Jack Watts   Resources

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Injured Relationships Just Go With The Territory

Refer to Step 7: I will make a detailed, written account of my abusive experiences, as well as my subsequent behavior. I commit to being as thorough and honest as I’m able.

 

We must never allow anything to injure our relationship with God. If it does get injured, we must take time to put it right.

—Oswald Chambers

I don’t think it’s possible to GO through an episode of religious abuse without injuring your relationship with God. It just goes with the territory, regardless of which role you play in the situation.

If you have been falsely accused, the pain and hurt from the confrontation causes damage, and you suffer from it. If you have a measure of guilt and have been accurately confronted, pride inevitably rears its ugly head, which always injures a person’s relationship with God. That’s why it’s number one on the list of the “Seven Deadly Sins.”

Although each position in the conflict has its own unique set of problems, each is injurious to the person’s relationship with God. The tendency is to sweep the problem under the rug and proceed with life, as if nothing has happened. Following this strategy is a mistake, but it’s one many people make, paying a heavy price for doing so.

The first thing you need to do is be honest with yourself, admitting that you are angry with God. Nothing good can happen until you do so. Then, realize that you have to do everything in your power to get back on the right track. Nobody is going to do it for you. You have to do it yourself.

One of the best ways to do this is by being honest about how you feel by journaling about it. By writing it all down, you will be more likely to avoid denying that the problem exists. Once you’ve written it, you can leave it for a few days or even a few weeks. When you return to it, you might be surprised by what you have written. Most people are. It’s a great “snapshot” of your true emotions, and it can help you be increasingly honest in the future.

Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; Teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Thy lovingkindness remember Thou me, for Thy goodness’ sake, O Lord. (Psalm 25:4-7)

Jack Watts   Resources

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When you stop blaming people and circumstances for your lot in life, you’re at the threshold of wisdom—God’s wisdom. It’s when you begin to think soberly rather than being self-centered. You are not a victim and you never were one. Everything that has occurred has had a purpose, including your abuse. Sooner or later, you may come to understand the reason why. At least, many people do. Perhaps you already understand some aspects of it. Even if you don’t, you know you can count on God’s character. You know He had a purpose for it.You also know He’s always working on your behalf, and He wants to heal you at the core of your being. He wants to free you from your chains of bitterness.

By embracing gratitude rather than resentment, it’s much easier to develop an attitude of forgiveness. By forgiving others, you will be setting yourself free. That’s right. You will be set free—not your abuser. You see, being resentful doesn’t hurt your abuser; it hurts you. In essence, it’s like saying, “I’ll get even with you. I’ll hurt me.”

That’s what resentment and un-forgiveness does. It hurts the abusee not the abuser. It’s a little puzzling, isn’t it? You see, the person set free by forgiveness is you. When you realize that you are only hurting yourself and prolonging your recovery by nurturing your anger, doesn’t it make sense to let it go?

Why would you want to hold on to toxic bitterness and resentment, which do nothing positive for you? Why would you stay in an emotional prison one more day when you can go free? Why would you?

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Environmentalists tell us everything we do leaves an imprint on the earth, either positively or negatively—either friendly or unfriendly. It’s the same thing with our moral actions. We are either friendly or unfriendly to the people we love and to ourselves. The Scriptures teach that the sins of the fathers are passed down through the generations adversely impacting our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

The tentacles of self-defeating behavior sink deep into the fabric of those we love, and they become just like us in ways we wish they wouldn’t. Liars begat deceitful children; those with substance abuse problems are much more likely to have children with the same issues; and people with low self-esteem produce likeminded children who are shackled by the same emotional prison.

This is where the value of STEP 7 really takes hold. Not only will your honesty help you but it will also help those you love for future generations. Through your honesty—your painstaking inventory, you can break your emotional chains and begin to lay claim to a brighter future for yourself and for your children’s children. Those who are in your genetic pool will either be blessed or cursed by your life just as surely as they will by your carbon imprint.

The choice is your, but there is also some really good news. By being honest and admitting your culpability rather than continuing to live in denial, you can wipe the slate clean and create a new beginning. You can clean your emotional pool of all pollutants with the stroke of a pen, just like the man who wrote Amazing Grace. Although he was a slave trader adversely impacting thousands, he turned his life around, and the product of his transformation has blessed millions for generations.

You have that same power, and it starts with your candor. If you think of it this way, being fearlessly honest isn’t that hard, is it? The positive value of your life still lies ahead—not behind, but to bless all that you touch, you have to wipe the slate clean first. There’s no other way. Isn’t it time to begin?

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The political season is over, and we have a new president. Because I was so vocal about my concern over President-elect Obama, I thought I would let you know what I intend to do in the future.

I will pray for him as the Scriptures command. While I can’t pray for his policies to be successful, I can pray for ten things at least. Here they are:

  1. Pray for Obama’s protection.
  2. Cover his wife and daughters in prayer.
  3. Pray that Obama will govern with God’s wisdom.
  4. Ask God to keep our president humble.
  5. Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him.
  6. Ask for the spirit of reconciliation.
  7. Pray that Obama will adopt pro-life convictions.
  8. Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our President.
  9. Pray that Obama’s door will remain open to Christians.
  10. Pray that our nation will enjoy God’s peace and blessing during the Obama administration.

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If you’ve made the decision to compartmentalize Christianity—to keep God at arms length, you have essentially thrown the baby out with the bath. You have neutralized God’s power in your life.

When you discarded Christianity—or at least most of it, you were probably surprised so few negative consequences followed—at least not at first. You walked away, and God just let you go. He didn’t chase after you, even though it broke His heart to see you leave.

God never chases after anyone and always honors an individual’s decision to stay or wander away. In this case, “Free Will” is not a doctrine; it’s reality—your reality. When you chose to shelve Christianity, perhaps throwing stones as you went, God honored your right to do so. There’s something noble about that. God respected your decision and treated you like an adult, even when your behavior may have been very childish.

Leaving is not the end of the story, however, it’s usually just the beginning. You may think you’re done with God, but He’s not done with you—not by a long shot. Because His Spirit lives in you, He has a huge stake in your future—in who you become. For a while, you probably enjoyed being finished with Christianity, but life has a way of coming full circle. Like the prodigal son, pursuing materialism or vice is not as rewarding as you thought it would be, is it?

Has God orchestrated your circumstances so your life is meaningless, or is it worse than that? Are you miserable or just bored? Are you tired of suffering the consequences of poor behavior—of being half dead while you’re still alive? Do you own enough of your soul to admit this, or do you still live in a state of denial, telling yourself you’re OK—you’re fine the way you are? Are you finished running, or do you need to run for a while longer?

When you come to the end of yourself—when you’ve bottomed out; there’s no place to go but home—home to your Heavenly Father. At the end of your anger and your rebelliousness, there is nothing but sorrow and pain—a life unfulfilled and wasted. You’re not where you belong, and you know it.

Come home—not to meaningless religion or more abusiveness, but to a deep, fulfilling relationship with God Himself. He’s waiting; it’s time. We can help you make the transition. It would be our pleasure.

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If you’re trying to get somewhere, turning into a cul-de-sac is never a good idea. The further down the road you go, the further back you have to travel. It’s a road that leads nowhere—a dead end; probably like the life you’ve been living. At first, it may appear to be the right direction but, at some point, you realize it isn’t. Turning around and coming back the way you came is a good analogy for what you will be doing in STEP 5.

In this STEP, you will be addressing two areas. The first is your relationship with God, which is your vertical relationship. This is the easy part because God is so eager to have you back. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve strayed or how wretched your life has become, He’s there for you whenever you are willing to acknowledge the error of your ways. He wants you back—no ifs, and, or buts.

The way back is clear, but you have to be honest with Him, acknowledging the exact nature of your wrongdoing. You can’t hedge on this. It won’t work. You must be forthright.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 New American Standard Bible).

Once you’ve confessed your wrongdoing, it’s over. You’re forgiven, and you can count on it. You’re square with God, and you don’t ever have to worry about it again. That part is complete and you can move on with confidence that you’re completely clean.

The second part, the horizontal part, is more difficult. Undoubtedly, your acting-out behavior has adversely impacted others, perhaps quite a few others. Like coming out of the cul-de-sac, you have to address how you have wronged others. The list may be long, but you must make a good faith effort to apologize to each person you’ve offended. This can be very hard, but when you do it, you’ll be glad you did. The experience can be very rewarding, regardless of how the offended person responds.

Apologizing for poor behavior is important but it doesn’t mean a thing unless it’s accompanied by making appropriate amends. This means you have change your behavior or repay a debt. You can’t skirt this. You have to do it. The quality of your recovery depends on it.

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