"And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." 1 John 4:17-18 NLT
Thoughts for Today
Daily the media reports violence and abuse, especially in the home—child neglect, sexual violence, rape, abandonment, and on and on. Victims of such abuse usually suffer pain long after the actual abuse has ended. Memories haunt them. They continue to feel the shame, fear, anger and grief brought about by painful events of the past.
Are you or someone you love a surviving victim of abuse? If so, you may be allowing fear to rule in your life. The fear you experienced when you were being abused has become a fear of everyday life. Fear of committing to a relationship. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of intimacy.
These feelings of fear often cause victims to put up barriers to God and to relationships with other people. Fear is an extremely powerful emotion that we don't know how to control. It attacks our ability to trust. It compromises our ability to relax in relationships. Fear of becoming vulnerable, of being betrayed by others or even by God.
One of the first steps to overcoming fear and tearing down the barriers it has built between you and others is to ask God's forgiveness for your failure to trust him. This will open the door for you to begin building a relationship with him. To know him better by spending time talking to him and reading his Word. Only then can you begin to know how much he loves you. Only then can you grow to understand his character. With that understanding, you will know that you can trust him, and he will help you build closer relationships with those around you.
Children raised by an abusive or neglectful father often have an incorrect view of God, picturing him like their earthly father. The good news is that our Heavenly Father is perfect and fair. Perfect love drives out fear. God's love is perfect.
Father, forgive me for not trusting you as I should. I believe you love me. I believe Jesus died for me. I want to be your child. Help me to trust you and your perfect love … and then to be able to overcome the fear that has ruled my life. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from…
Restoring Families: Overcoming Abusive Relationships through Christ by Janet M. Lerner. This study ministers to families caught in the cycle of abusive relationships. It deals with overcoming these abusive relationships through Christ and is recommended for use in small groups and Christian counseling. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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