Category: Kindness

Deep calls to deep

“Deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waterfalls”

I’ve written earlier about the experience of having significant disagreements with God. I’d like to suggest some of those ongoing disagreements might demonstrate we are listening to his image in us. If we are moved by compassion and concern for others, doesn’t that sound like an expression of the fruit of the Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Made in the image of God

Being made in the image of God gives us innate value. One of the clear evils of abuse is disrespect for the image of God in people. Rather, God created us as incredibly precious creatures, and to love and cherish a person involves holding high regard for this being God made.

What does it mean to cherish someone?

What does it mean to cherish someone? It’s a word that is often used in wedding vows, but it is relevant in all our relationships.

When Paul and Timothy wrote to the Colossians, they praised them for the love they held for all people, and that sense of holding love is like cherishing.

The degree of difficulty

There is a difficult problem in that committed abusers will seek to load their victims up with impossible burdens and expectations. It’s a game. Then, even after leaving abuse, a victim may have a massive volume of external and internal balls to juggle. It may well be...

The value of true friends

Dedicated abusers can be really good at turning up the heat. One part of the cycle of abuse, in fact, is to apply more and more pressure until their victim does something apparently worthy of complaint. For example, they might just “press your buttons”, again and...

How can I be a friend to someone in need?

How can I be a friend to someone in need? The psalmist wrote:

May he give you the desire of your heart

and make all your plans succeed.

One of the most difficult challenges for a victim of abuse is to be believed. Even by their friends. Abusers play on it and often use tactics to perpetrate further abuse through other people. These third parties are colloquially known as “flying monkeys”, reminiscent of the servants of the Wicked Witch of the West. Some might be only too glad to join in on hurting someone, but many will be innocent and unaware of the way they are being used.

Boundaries and safe behaviour

Creating a healthy community requires the practice of boundaries and safe behaviour. If you have been following along in this series and can recall Psalm 120, this pilgrimage was a journey away from a place of danger. The psalmist wrote:

“I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war,”

Although the Songs of Ascents had other meanings and purposes, the evil behaviour they describe is abuse. In the same way, the slavery the Hebrews experienced in Egypt was abuse.

How good and pleasant it is

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

As we come near to the end of our series on the Songs of Ascents, I feel for those who are still trapped in abuse, or who are in the early stages of escaping. We have, in the space of a few weeks, travelled from danger to sanctuary. Life is not that simple for victims of any significant trauma, let alone victims of abuse.

They have greatly oppressed me from my youth

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but have not gained the victory over me”

It is common for abuse victims to have to deal with the impact of abuse every day. Even when they have successfully escaped the direct relationship. There are still memories and triggers: mental and emotional injury. There is a need for ongoing vigilance and the complicated, exhausting world of hypervigilance.

Those who go out weeping

Special days of the year are complicated for many people, and Easter Sunday is no different. It might be worth noting that on the first Easter Sunday, God had always known how things would turn out, but Jesus’ friends and followers didn’t. Even that morning, once Jesus had risen, there was a delay between the fact of hope and his disciples’ experience of it.

It’s not that they weren’t interested in hope. Mary Magdalene went down to the tomb while it was still dark that morning, and even when Jesus stood right in front of her it took her time to recognise him. For poor Thomas, who, (we see in the Lazarus story), had been willing to die with him, it was a week before he shifted from despair to reality.

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