As we saw with Saul in our last article, abusers might employ a barrage of emotional abuse tactics that can make it very difficult to know how to spot a non-apology. Those tactics can make conversations about harm and responsibility very confusing. To cut through that...
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water”
Psalm 1 carries such a beautiful picture of the relationship between our ethics and our health and wellbeing. The poet calls us to avoid harmful behaviour but also calls us in a positive sense. Since we are created in God’s image, there is a part of all of us that loves to treat people well. When we spend time reflecting on our own behaviour, and how we can best care for those around us, I suggest that’s us nurturing the image of God in ourselves. It’s just like caring for a garden and can be as beautiful, or as much hard work.
We have been looking at some of the ways we can sift the lies from the truth despite the mess created by abuse, and the story of Elijah gives us some clues. Much of what God did with Elijah was simply care for and affirm him. But God also helped Elijah refine his understanding of what was happening around him.
It’s possible Elijah was experiencing some degree of hypervigilance. There was certainly cause for that. Elijah was on the run for his life.
Listening through the mess created by abuse is difficult for most.
In the previous post, we touched on some of the ways abusers disrupt our capacity to hear clearly. Those tactics can create significant, even overwhelming, internal noise and confusion.
Jesus made it abundantly clear that good shepherds cherish their sheep, while wolves are intent on doing harm. And there is a sense in which we are all called to be shepherds.
We all have a responsibility to care for the humans around us, and those responsibilities are reflected in our daily communication and interactions as well as in larger ways. Even children can learn to be increasingly kind and respectful of others.
One of the beautiful things about Jesus’ engagement with Mary and Martha was his respect for their boundaries after Lazarus died. Even though he was the Son of God, a recognised teacher with a large following, and a man, he still asked for permission to enter into their emotional world. Even though he hadn’t done anything wrong, he listened to and respected the pain his actions had caused. He asked for consent.
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.
Where is God in the turmoil of abuse, or other trauma? Over and over again, we see people in the Bible asking this question. If you’ve been following this series, we grappled with it in the story of Lazarus. But what about us, now? One of the last things Jesus did...
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains where does my help come from?” Two of the most powerful tools of abusers are to isolate, and to confuse. Or, really, to disrupt our capacity to hear from others, from our innermost self, and from...
Why didn't Jesus help Lazarus sooner? We have been looking over the last few days at the story of Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and Jesus. We've looked at the shock of Jesus not turning up in time to help, and at his deep respect for boundaries. So far, the focus has largely...