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Keep Yourself from Abuse

by Tamra Lee

It's true in history, as well as in the Bible: where Christ is the center of a life, a home and a nation then life is sacred, marriage is respected, and women and children are given places of protection and honor. While that doesn't mean abuse never occurs; it does mean that it is much more rare than in lives, homes and nations where Christ is rejected and scorned.

In societies that do not honor the Lord Jesus Christ (and that includes much of the U.S.), the woman is either so completely dominated that abuse is "normal"; or the woman rules and carries the majority of the burden of work. The man is a grown pampered child for all respects. Neither of these is pleasing to God; and doesn't fulfill His commandments as to family relationships.

Whether you grew up in a single parent home, were abandoned or had a 2-parent traditional home, you and your children are in danger of physical abuse if your life and home are not Christ-centered.

To avoid getting into abusive situations, we must first take a look at real life as defined by God.

1.We're all in big trouble.

Adam and Eve were the first parents of mankind. God gave them the awesome task of making the decision for the entire direction mankind would take: life forever with Him, or death and hell. God had made a covenant with Adam: if Adam obeyed God (by not eating the fruit of the forbidden tree)—he, Eve and all their children forever would enjoy paradise for all time. No sickness. No danger. No problems! Just paradise with God and all other perfect, loving, good people—forever.

Unfortunately, Adam lost sight of this marvelous promise. When Eve was tempted by the devil to eat this beautiful, delicious-looking fruit (despite the fact that there was a garden FULL of other good things to eat), she gave in. She ate it, and coaxed Adam to do the same. Adam deliberately turned his back on God and chose sin and death, by eating the fruit God had told him not to.

When he did this, Adam brought onto all mankind the fatal, disgusting, deforming disease of SIN. A vaccination, or genetic engineering, or therapy can't cure this disease. This awful inheritance is in each one of us, and makes us automatically separated from God. "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23.) No one gets away from it. Even the "nicest" of us have hearts of darkness and sin. (Please read: Genesis 2-3, Romans 5:12-14 and Isaiah 14:1.)

2. God had a plan.

Even from before He made Adam, God had a plan to break the chains of sin from His people's lives. The Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit planned for temporary covering for sins through animal sacrifice as God directed; until the time Jesus would come and take upon Himself all punishment for the sins of His people.

Because God is Sovereign (He is in complete control and authority) His plan worked. God called men and women to Himself throughout time, and those who loved God honored His laws and gave sacrifices of bulls, pigeons and lambs to cover their sins.

At the right time, in the right place, Jesus Christ was born to a virgin. He fulfilled many prophecies from the Bible (about the Messiah) before He was even 2 years old; more than anyone else has come close to in their entire lives!

Living a sinless life, doing all the Father called Him to do while on earth, Jesus then gave the greatest sacrifice: He gave His life for ours. He accepted the beatings, the scorn, the spitting, the cursing, even the awful death on the cross—the abuse!!—that is rightfully ours. Because the Father was pleased with the Savior taking our sins shed instead of ours. This is what the Bible means when it upon Himself, He accepted His blood being speaks of propitiation and atonement.

It is by the death, and literal, physical resurrection of God the Son (Jesus Christ) that our sins are forever covered, forever forgiven and forever forgotten by God. It is by the death and resurrection of Jesus that we are made clean of the filth of sin; and given new hearts.

"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgements, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God." (Ezekiel 36:25-28)

(Please also read: Hebrews 9.)

3. His plan continues today!

For all those the Holy Spirit draws to God by the Lord Jesus, there is new life! Those who surrender their hearts and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (and it will show by living Christian lives) are those who have their hearts made new.

God does not discriminate between men, women and children; black, white, Latino, or Oriental. God has His chosen people in every era, every nationality, both sexes and all ages! (Please see: Revelation 5:8-10.)

Being made new by the Holy Spirit is the beginning of eternal life for all of us who love Christ! There is a life of meaningful work, joyful obedience, and loving relationships for each Christian. But we must see what our Father shows us about these things so we can enjoy them.

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 2:17

4. His plan has guidelines and rules.

a. Start with the 10 commandments in Exodus 20. In ourselves we can't keep these 10 laws of God. But enabled by the presence of Jesus in us (His Spirit empowering everyone who knows Christ as Lord), we can! And when we fail, we have a loving lawyer on our side—Jesus Christ, the advocate, who speaks to the Father on our behalf! (Please read 1 John 2:1.) God's laws show us our need for Christ; they also show us a lifestyle, born of love, which pleases Him.

Many places in the Bible "flesh out" how to live this way. Again and again we see that word. Love isn't a sweet, warm feeling (though it sometimes has that too); love is an action! If you hadn't seen it that way before, take a good look at 1 Corinthians 13. See how many things "Love" is busy doing! Not just a warm romantic glow with a special guy—real love is a way of life!

There's a clue for you, Sister. Are you living in obedience to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Are you growing both in faith and knowledge in His Word? Are you learning His commandments, and happily doing them? Are you growing in real love—enjoying His love and giving it to others?

Avoiding abuse starts there. Why? Because the first responsibility you have is yourself. Getting your own heart right with God keeps you from being abused by your own selfish, sinful nature. It keeps the devil from abusing you. And it helps you have the wisdom to stay out of abusive relationships.

b. Let it get personal. Please see 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. If you want God's blessing, God's protection and God's provision, you must walk on the path the Lord has laid down. That includes your friends and sweethearts.

If you are close to those who call themselves Christian, but don't live the life; or if you are sweet on a man who doesn't serve the Lord—you are dragging yourself into a life of abuse!

Those who live for themselves: for their own pleasure, to look good, and get all they want from life are those who will abuse you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

God has commanded that we stay out of close relationships with those who hate His Son and His law. He also commanded we find our close friends and husbands in those who are dedicated to walking with Christ. God doesn't say that to be cruel; His ways are the ways of love and wisdom.

If you're married to a non-Christian, don't divorce him just because he doesn't know Christ. Learn all you can about God's Word, and live it in a humble, gentle way. Your change of life could be what God uses to save that man and give you a new life together! (Please see 1 Corinthians 7:12-16)

However, if you're living with a man you're not legally married to you are courting trouble. This is a peach ripe for picking! A man is careless of what isn't truly his. This is what the Bible calls fornication (sex outside of marriage), and brings down God's judgment on it. Break off this type of relationship immediately because you love God and want to please Him!

"The works of the flesh are adultery, fornication...they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21.)

Anyone who isn't willing to make the commitment to God and their beloved is not going to receive God's blessings. It's worth the wait to let the Lord bring a real man into your life. So, you may ask, how do I meet someone who won't abuse me?

Assuming that you're listening to what I said above, here are some suggestions that will give you a foundation for meeting the right kind of friends and the right kind of men—ones who won't abuse!

1. Keep your eyes on Jesus. First work on getting yourself strong in the Lord before you start looking for a man. Get solidly founded in the Word: read it every day (take your time and make sure you understand it). Pray often. Study the Word with others (at Chapel or in Bible studies), and apply it to your own life. When you realize you've sinned, quickly and truly repent—then seek God's help to avoid that sin!

This is a part of the normal daily Christian life. Falling in love with Jesus—His love being sweeter than wine to you (Song of Solomon 1:2)—is the recipe for a happy life.

If your eyes are on Jesus: praising Him, trusting Him, learning from His Word, obeying Him, enjoying Him, you're going to find meaning in your life. You won't go shopping around looking for a fix or high or thrill to take you from one day to the next. And you'll naturally be staying away from the abusers, hanging around those who are enjoying Jesus too.

2. Good friends (and lovers) are defined in the Bible. A good friend may irritate you sometimes because they won't sin with you. A good friend will stick by you, even when you've blown it. A good friend won't manipulate or threaten you to do things her/his way. They are gentle, patient and kind. A good friend prays with and for you, encourages you with God's Word, and gently brings your failures to you so you can get right with God.

Are these my definitions of a good friend (lover)? No, they're all in the Bible. Please study these verses carefully:

As you think about these verses, you need to ask yourself:

No matter how good looking, rich, exciting or fun someone is, you don't want them if they're dangerous and wild. Use your mind, not your heart in these situations. You're not going to change someone just because you care about him or her.

This is just a beginning, but it helps you to understand that a good friend (or lover) is one that shows the reality of Jesus in their lives. It takes time to get to know someone well enough to see if they what they say. That's all right—our lives are well ordered by a loving God. If He isn't in a hurry, why should we be?

Come to think of it, we need a little time to be the right kind of friend and lover ourselves! That's where we continue with #1: Keeping our eyes on Jesus.

If you'll do these things you'll be spared many abusive situations and people. Keep on the high way, Sister; and enjoy your life with Jesus Christ!

2000 by Tamra Lee. This article may be copied on these terms: 1. That it is copied completely, verbatum, unless permission granted by author to do otherwise. 2. The author is credited. 3. No charge be made for distribution of it. 4. All glory go to Jesus Christ; Author of all Truth.

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