"It Wasn't My Fault"
One of the most common ways that the enemy deceives victims of sexual abuse is to make them think that what happened was their fault. Some of the comments we hear as we counsel these individuals are, "If only I would have said no," or "If only I could have been stronger and resisted," or, "I went back for more so it MUST have been my fault." What so many victims of sexual abuse are unable to see is that they were setup or groomed by their perpetrator, and these lies play right into his or her objective--to silence the victim as a result of the shame that exists. A tragic outcome of this abuse is that it often results in the victim holding this "secret" inside for many years and thus living with the lies and the self-contempt. In fact, many victims of sexual abuse do not even see it as abuse. They only see themselves as being "sick and perverted" for being involved in such a gross thing.
And do you know what? You don't have to be sexually abused to believe that the impact of your childhood wounding--including wounds caused by not receiving the love and affection from your parents--is your fault! One major reason this core lie develops is that children, by nature, are very egocentric. They have "magical thinking" which says that everything revolves around them. They have not developed the reasoning skills that come later. For example, when parents are arguing and the topic is money, a child might conclude that if he did not get that new pair of shoes yesterday at the store, then things would be alright and they wouldn't be fighting. Therefore . . . it MUST be my fault! When these lies develop in a child or teenager, they can become a part of their core identity and create major internal conflict well into adulthood. It is only when these lies become exposed to the light and truth of God that freedom can occur.
We recently received a communication from a couple who had come to us for intensive counseling five years ago. In that message the husband was sharing how grateful he was for how things had changed in his heart since that time. This man, a pastor, had been sexually abused in the 7th grade and had lived with the shame and the lies from that abuse for 30 years, telling no one. In fact, he did not think of it as abuse--only that he was a participant in something gross and perverted, and if he could just get God to forgive him, then maybe things would finally be alright. But you see, God viewed what happened very differently than how this boy and man viewed it. The boy and the man did NOT need forgiveness. He needed to see things for what really happened--that he was a victim of a crime against his body and soul--and thus needed to embrace that truth, grieve the cost of this abuse and begin to love that boy inside the man. Ultimately, he would have to forgive the one who violated him. However, he had to come to terms with a fundamental truth, It wasn't my fault.
This pastor eventually chose to share his story in a Sunday morning sermon to his congregation, which then allowed others to begin to identify their own toxic shame and allow God's light to shine into their wounds. That's how the Kingdom is meant to work!
We are very grateful that this pastor shared this message with us and gave us permission to share it with you. It is about 32 minutes in length and we have extracted an 11-minute segment to listen to. We strongly encourage you to also listen to the full message and share it with others. It is a wonderful testimony of the restoring and redeeming love of God not only for this man but also for all of us.
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BOOKS AND MEDIA: "Loving God, Loving Myself" and our Expanded Edition of "The Missing Commandment: Love Yourself," are available at jerryanddenisebasel.com and Amazon.com.
COUNSELING MINISTRY: If you or anyone you know is in need of finding a safe place for emotional and/or spiritual healing and restoration, please contact us at The Father's Heart Intensive Christian Counseling Ministry. Check out our web site at fathersheart.com or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are located in the North Georgia Mountains in a retreat-like setting and counsel individuals or couples for periods of two to five-days in length.