1. I love you, Lord,
Please help me
By forgiving all my sins,
2. By healing me,
And saving me,
And giving my soul wings.
3. I love you, Lord,
Please help me
By redeeming me from death,
4. And crowning me
With mercy, Lord,
Beyond my final breath.
1. I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy (Psalm 28:7; NLT).
He forgives all my sins, and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! (Psalm 103:2-5; NLT).
2. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15; NLT).
Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31; NLT).
3. God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave (Psalm 49:15; NKJV).
4. The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).
Today’s blog is about emotional abuse, and its consequences.
Introduction The following quotation sets the scene, though its relevance might not be clear until you have read the whole article:
Turn your steps towards these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the places where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved panelling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshipped in the land (Psalm 74:3-8; NIV).
An open letter to my mother Mother, despite claiming to love me, you established control over me from my early childhood onwards. You did this through scorn, criticism, bullying, condemnation, rage, and bouts of violent destructiveness. These behaviours made me fear you deeply. I lived in dread of your next outburst.
You continued to maintain control over me during my teenage years and adulthood, too, using intrusion, disapproval, and anger when I dared to express personal feelings, thoughts or beliefs you didn’t like. Similarly, you reacted with fury and threats of coercion if I tried to make my own decisions about what I wanted to do with my life. When I made mistakes, or got things wrong, you never forgave me, or forgot it. All this made me dread seeing you and spending time with you. I particularly hated the sound of your voice, and loathed you touching me, but was afraid to stand up to you, or to say “no”.
Your ways of controlling me have had severe, pervasive, long-term consequences for my mental health, in the form of low self-esteem, anxiety, dread, panic attacks and agoraphobia. I have also had to cope with a constant sense of not wanting to be alive, with chronic depression, and with episodes of acute depression. Furthermore, one question has always preyed on my mind:
How could you say you loved me, yet behave as you did towards me?
It didn’t make sense. I just couldn’t square what you said with what I experienced.
Then, on the 24th of May, 2020, a friend sent me a message she had seen on a Facebook site about domestic abuse. It read:
It’s not CONSENT if you make me afraid to say no.
I stared at these words, instantly electrified by their brevity, clarity and profound truth. Within seconds, a personal variation flashed into my mind:
It’s not LOVE if you make me afraid to say no.
Deeply stirred by this insight, further phrases began tumbling out of my unconscious mind. Here are just a few examples:
It’s not love if you make me afraid to disagree.
It’s not love if you criticise me all the time.
It’s not love if you make me afraid to be myself.
It’s not love if you make me afraid to choose for myself.
It’s not love if you belittle my achievements.
It’s not love if you only approve of me when I behave like you.
At last, in my late sixties, my friend’s message had given me the answer to my question: your behaviour towards me shows clearly that you did not, in fact, love me in any meaningful way at all.
This shocking realisation made me consider what kinds of behaviour do, in fact, reflect and express genuine love. Here are the best answers I’ve found so far:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude. It does not demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4-5; NLT).
It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5; NIV).
I know that none of us is perfect, mother, but when I confronted you, you could at least have admitted what you did to me, and said you were sorry. Over the years, I managed to raise the subject of your behaviour with you several times, always at huge personal cost. However, you never responded with genuine understanding or honesty, instead always trying to justify, minimise, or deny what you had done.
For many years now, I have worked hard to forgive you. Sometimes I even think I’ve succeeded. Fortunately, God understands and accepts the intense anger and bitterness that can still occasionally emerge from my mind, heart and soul. Slowly, gently, he gives me the insights I need in order to be healed, for which I am profoundly thankful.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other (Romans 12:9; NLT).
Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them (Ephesians 6:4; NLT).
1. After death, Lord,
All of us will meet
Those we abused,
2. And we will grasp
How much we damaged
Those we have misused.
3. We will face
Our callous deeds,
The hurtful words we spoke,
4. Until we beg forgiveness
From all those
Whose hearts we broke.
5. Help us now, instead, to change,
Say: Sorry, Lord,
6. To live more like
Your only Son, on earth,
Before we die.
1. The time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgement (John 5:29; NLT).
2. Now I will pour put judgement on you for the evil you have done to them (Jeremiah 23:2; NLT).
3. Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the Lord will be exalted on the day of judgement (Isaiah 2:17; NLT).
4. You should fear punishment yourselves, for your attitude deserves punishment. Then you will know that there is indeed a judgement (Job 19:29; NLT).
5. If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-4; NIV).
6. As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgement, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world (1 John 4:17; NLT).