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8 Scriptures to Heal from a Verbally Abusive Relationship

  • Anne Peterson Contributing Writer
  • 2020 3 Dec
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You don’t remember how it even started, but somewhere along the way, the words said to you in your relationship made you feel bad. At first, you didn’t believe those words, but after hearing them over and over, you felt shame. And after a while, the words seemed true. The self-confidence you once had started dwindling. If you’ve ever had someone put you down, you know what I’m talking about. Here are eight scriptures to help you heal from a verbally abusive relationship.

Why do people say hurtful things? Have you ever wondered about this? I believe people who are hurting, hurt others. Let’s see what God’s Word says about this.

God Is Close to the Brokenhearted

Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 

It’s Important to know God cares about us. When our hearts are broken and our spirits are crushed, God draws near to us. He’s close enough to hear our heart beating and to gather our tears. When Jesus walked the earth, no matter who he spoke with, Jesus was kind and gentle. God values each person. And when someone verbally abuses us, we don’t feel valuable. We feel like the lowest person on earth. God cares about how we feel. He’s available to us no matter when we call on him.

God Heals Us 

Psalm 107:20: “He sent his word and healed them, and saved them from their destruction.” 

People who have been abused need God’s healing. Harsh words can leave invisible scars. God can heal those wounds because of who he is. When a person is verbally abused, they don’t realize what is being said to them is not their fault. The abuser blames the one they are abusing.  After a while, the victim feels they are to blame for the words they’ve heard.  But this is the truth. No one deserves to be abused.

God Answer Our Cries for Help

Psalm 30:2: “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” 

God does not put us on hold. Whenever we need him, he’s just a call away. And if we can’t verbalize the pain we feel, God looks at our hearts and knows what we feel. In a world that is so busy, we feel overlooked. It’s comforting to know God doesn’t miss one tiny thing that happens to us. God, who created butterflies and centipedes sees everything we go through. We know God heals because when Jesus came to earth, Jesus healed the sick, the lame, and every sick person who crossed his path. When you hurt, call on God and let him heal you as well. And when God heals, his power never diminishes.

God Restores Our Souls 

Psalm 23:1-3: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths.”

God is the kind shepherd who looks after his sheep. Sheep are not considered to be smart animals. Sheep see green pastures, but they don’t lie down in them till the shepherd makes them lie down. Then the sheep are led to the quiet waters because they are thirsty. God refreshes our souls and gently leads us where we need to go. He is infinite and his resources are limitless. Doesn’t it make sense to trust him, instead of wandering aimlessly when we’re lost and tired? And when we’re wounded, our shepherd tenderly cares for us because of his great love.

God Brings Us Peace

Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

John Gottman, a researcher in relationships, studied the effects of positive and negative experiences and discovered for every negative comment heard, they need five positive ones to counteract the negative ones. We can write out truths which will also help. Then eventually we’ll learn how to replace our negative thoughts with truths. Here are some truths to use:

I am valuable

I am made in the image of God

I have worth

God loves me

When negative words invade our minds, we can choose to cast them down (2 Corinthians 10:5). Imagine yourself sitting with Jesus. When a troubling thought comes to your mind, hand that thought to Jesus. If the thought is pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy, he’ll hand it back to you. If it’s not worth thinking about, Jesus will discard it. And you can trust him because he wants what’s best for us.

God Hand-Crafted Every One of Us 

Ephesians 2:10: “For we are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Another Bible translation says we are God’s poem. As a poet, I love that image. I am God’s poem that he knows by heart. God created us and loved what he saw. And if the creator of the universe calls us his handiwork, no one else’s opinion matters. God Almighty loves you. He loves you so much he sent Jesus to pay for your sins (John 3:16). God didn’t tell us, “Clean yourself off and then come to me.” No. God demonstrated his love for us when we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). God said, “I know you’re sinful, come to me and I will make you clean.”

God Responds instead of Reacts

1 Peter 2:23: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

In our flesh, we want to react instead of responding. Reacting is something we do impulsively. Responding takes time. It also takes a lot of practice. In responding to someone, we can stop and consciously choose to be silent, even when everything in our flesh screams for us to lash out. No one had more right than Jesus did to lash out. Jesus was innocent of all of the accusations hurled at him. And yet, in those moments he submitted himself to his Father. And Jesus went much further. He died for those who made him suffer. He did the unthinkable. He forgave them. Even though Jesus knew some of those he died for would never accept him. That is hard for me to comprehend.

God Calls Us to Forgive

Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

God knows that If we refuse to forgive, our resentment will turn into bitterness. At times, we look at the offenses and decide the person who hurt us does not deserve to be forgiven. But that’s not to be the basis of our forgiveness according to God. God tells us to forgive as God forgave us. We didn’t deserve forgiveness, but God forgave us anyway. And when we believe it would be impossible for us to forgive someone, scripture tells us the things impossible with men are possible with God (Luke 18:27).

My father was physically and emotionally abusive. His words were cutting and harsh, and he said things a loving father would never say to his kids. Yet God did a work in my heart and here’s what happened the day I forgave my father. If you have someone in your life you need to forgive but you don’t know how to begin, here are 6 powerful steps toward truly forgiving someone.

When someone is verbally abusive it is complicated. There needs to be healing, there needs to be a building up of self-esteem, and there needs to be forgiveness. As a loving parent, God is involved in all three aspects. We need to trust God for our healing, Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. 

My sister, Peggy was abused both verbally and physically. She was a victim of domestic violence and was killed. Believe me when I tell you I’ve had to rely on God so much concerning my sister. God continues to help me even though this happened in 1982. We still have many unanswered questions.
For those of you who have been abused, I’m very sorry for what has happened to you. But I can tell you this, God can heal your wounds, no matter how big they are, just as he continues to heal mine. And God can teach you truths about his character. This is what I learned about God from my sister’s murder trial.

Prayer for Those Who Have Been Abused,

God, I lift up all who have been hurt by the words or actions of others. I pray you would heal their wounds and help them know what you think of them. Father, this isn’t what you designed for your creation, and yet, because we live in a fallen world, we know this does happen. I pray you would help all of us know which thoughts we need to hold onto, and which ones we need to dismiss. And Father, if we need to forgive someone, will you give us the strength to do that? I pray that those who feel shame would give that shame to you, for you tell us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1). Help all, Lord. And when things seem impossible, we commit those things to you. We pray all this in your Son’s precious and Holy name. Amen.

All my Tears

God, sometimes with my memories,
I feel the pain as though,
it’s happening right now to me
instead of long ago.
And God embraces me with grace,
as he has done for years.
And as I feel his love for me,
he gathers all my tears.
-Anne Peterson © 2020

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/arkira

Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hopeSign up for Anne’s newsletter at and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.