Included in this week’s issue:
The Wonderful Will of the Father
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life. -Jesus, John 6:40
A Neutered Christianity
The great Yale Scholar H. Richard Niebuhr had a very true and colorful way of summarizing the nature of the developing theological liberalism in his day which was anything but Christianity. We are unfortunately increasingly seeing this kind of adulterated faith today, even in certain sections of evangelicalism. His words are potent even today as we consider what should be, and always be, the center and meat of our faith and preaching. He said theological liberalism was about,
“A God with wrath brought men without sin in a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”
Understanding Emotional Abuse
Even in the most seemingly normal families, one can experience the pains of emotional abuse from a loved one. It can be from spouse to spouse or between parent and child. Sadly, even a child can be the one who abuses siblings or parents. It can even happen in the church in different ways.
We have a very helpful series of articles on this topic giving practical advice for recognizing, getting free, and healing from emotional abuse.
- Tell yourself the truth. Denial is a hallmark of abuse. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal the reality about a potentially abusive relationship. Admit you are being abused and recognize the damage it has done.
- Seek professional help and guidance. There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for healing. You need a trained professional to assess your situation and your safety. Healing is a lengthy and sometimes difficult journey fraught with emotional landmines. You’ll need help and professional guidance to walk through potentially explosive and destructive situations.
- Set appropriate boundaries. In the excellent book, Boundaries—When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend explain how and when to set appropriate, biblical boundaries. However appropriate, set boundaries with caution; it may escalate the abuse. Experts recommend seeking professional help to guide and encourage you.
- Find and maintain healthy relationships. It is critical to seek support from friends, family, and, ideally, your church.
- Support groups led by a trained professional are wonderful sources of healing and comfort. Work to build healthy, biblical friendships and relationships. Research has shown that healthy social connections contribute to better overall health.
- Soak in God’s presence and truth. God invites us into his presence and transforms us by renewing our mind (Romans 12:2). Spend time in God’s Word, prayer, worship, and fellowship. It’s possible that because you are damaged emotionally, you are unable to spend long periods of time in prayer or study. That’s all right. Do what you can and trust God with the rest.
- Forgiveness is not denying or excusing the damage caused by abuse. We forgive because God forgave us. When we forgive, we allow God to heal us. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Forgive your abuser and yourself, if necessary. God will deal with everything else.