“Pain is inevitable, misery is optional.” – Barbara Johnson
In the previous article, we discovered that God is interested in reconciling with us and that we can come to Him just as we are. The next layer in forgiveness is not staying the way you are. It’s choosing to practise the truth you know in spite of how you were violated.
When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, the Bible says that the Lord was with him, and he was a prosperous man. Again, in the Bible, the woman caught in adultery was the only person who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, an expensive perfume, and dried them with her hair. She’s also the first person who saw Jesus after His resurrection. Some Bible commentaries say that this woman was defiled by her uncle, Simeon (who hosted a party and invited Jesus), and perhaps that’s what led to her secret lifestyle. She was searching for love and belonging.
It’s easy for victims to fall into a destructive lifestyle after being violated. We tend to adopt habits and behaviours that give us meaning and help us cope. Sometimes we adopt harmful behaviours because we feel like we don’t deserve any good thing. But this is exhausting. A lot of time we feel too dirty to return to God or too wasted to reform. But God does not condemn you for this. He looks beyond our faults, sees our struggle and need and reaches out to help.
Those who violated you did that because they chose to. Not because you deserved it. Not because you are evil but for their own pleasure. It’s possible to still lead a righteous life even after being violated. Joseph is the best example I can think of when it comes to this. His brothers hated him, envied his vision and were intimidated by his confidence. They even planned to kill him. They got rid of him by selling him off into slavery, hoping that he won’t show up to intimidate them again.
When Joseph was taken to Egypt, he chose to worship the Creator and not the created gods. He chose to hold on to his identity in God. He chose to remain faithful to God in a strange country. Losing his mother at a young age made him vulnerable to Mrs. Potiphar’s sexual advances, but he did not fall for that. He still trusted in God even when he was falsely accused. God honoured his faithfulness and granted him a high position in the land of Egypt where he had been a slave before.
God does not condemn us for what happened to us, but He invites us to walk in the path of His righteousness.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NLT)
Being violated is not a ticket to living a careless life. It’s not a ticket to be irresponsible. We still have the power to rebuild our lives. Though we feel powerless sometimes, that power was never taken away from us. And God wants to restore us.
We can be angry and still lead a responsible life. We can grieve and still be gentle with ourselves. We can desire revenge and still present it to God without harming others.
The violation was not our fault, but our healing is our responsibility. Now begin caring for yourself. Make peace your priority. Seek psychotherapy support, find healthy social circles, seek legal aid, nourish your body. Be consistent in habits that favour your healing, learn to set clear boundaries, get up when you fall and press on by faith. Take a break when you need to, and remember that you can dream again.
This is just a chapter in your life. It’s not the end of your story.
Faith is a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. She is a children’s content creator at Learn & Grow enterprises, an artist and a public speaker. She tells her story to offer hope, help and healing to survivors of sexual abuse.