Hi everyone, I hope you’re all fine by God’s grace. Today’s post is about abuse we receive from those we consider to be our friends.
Abuse is defined by Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary as unfair, cruel or violent treatment of someone.
In a normal friendship, it’s normal to have some conflict, arguments and misunderstandings from time to time. However, when one person in the relationship repetitively behaves in an unfair, cruel, or violent way towards the other, we can start talking about an abusive relationship.
Of course, we consider them as our friends and we love them, but if your friend starts being physically abusive towards you, then it’s time to think a little bit about yourself and probably move away, enough for your safety.
Mark 12:31 NIV
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The commandment to love your neighbor as yourself wasn’t meant to imprison you in disfunction relationships. Loving your neighbor as yourself first implies loving yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can you love your neighbor? The commandment doesn’t ask you to love your neighbor more than yourself, or more than your health or more than your safety. Don’t remain stuck in a relationship where you are treated like a punching ball.
Here are some little things you can do, when you have an abusive friend.
1. Pray for this person
Matthew 5:44,46 KJV
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
It is usually said that people give to others only what they have received ie if someone is abusive towards you (verbally, physically, emotionally) it’s because that’s what the person has received (personal experience, TV, observing parents, entourage). Only God can change the heart of this person and show him/her true love (God’s love) which doesn’t hurt the other, nor seek its own good, but the good of the other one.
2. Forgive him/her
Luke 6:37 KJV
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
When your friend becomes abusive towards you, though it’s hard, forgive. The greater the pain inflicted to you, the greater you give glory to God in forgiving inspite all. Remember everytime you have difficulties in forgiving someone that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. Forgiving this person doesn’t mean you are OK with his/her bad behaviour, it just means that you took a step of faith to forgive just as The Lord forgave you.
Matthew 10:8 KJV
freely ye have received, freely give.
3. Quit the relationship
2 Timothy 4:14-15 NIV
Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
Some people remain in emotionally, verbally, and or physically abusive relationships because they believe that they won’t ever find someone better and the person they are with is kind after all (Stockholm Syndrome – please take time to Google it)
Others remain in abusive relationships because they think they’re disobeying God by breaking a relationship, and not showing “unconditional love” and “unconditional forgiveness”. Forgiving your abuser is wise in that you’re obeying God, but continuing voluntarily to expose yourself to the person’s abuse is kind of…. stupid.
Some others remain in an abusive relationship just because they think that under no circumstances should a Christian break a relationship and create “zero-contact” with the other. However, there are circumstances in The Bible where Christians are advised to totally break some relationships and avoid contact.
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 NIV
Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
2 John 1:9-10 NIV
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.
When someone abuses you, you tend to believe that you’ve exactly what they said you were (inferior, weak, guilty of their abuse, unworthy, stupid, responsible for every bad thing happening to you, etc).
Getting away from the relationship is one thing, but breaking free from the negative self image they have inflicted on you is another thing.
It’s your responsibility to see yourself not as your abuser describes you, but as God sees you (Fearfully and wonderful made, loved by God, God’s chosen people, a blessing etc).
Finally, it’s true that, quantifying abuse in a relationship isn’t easy. This is because a word which could sound verbally abusive to me, may sound totally normal to someone else (this is for verbal and emotional abuse). May God grant us wisdom in dealing with such cases. Nevertheless, if abuse reaches to the point where it’s physical, don’t remain in the relationship, move away.
A pastor once said something like this: if your husband beats you up, don’t only call Jesus to save you, also call the police. (Pastor Steven Furtick)
Father Lord God Almighty thank You for opening my eyes on what abusive relationships are, and on the fact that I am not obliged to remain in such relationships. Grant me wisdom in dealing with abusive people, and courage to leave when necessary. Help me to forgive them and to pray for them, so that Your love may transform them. In Jesus Christ’s Name I pray. Amen
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God bless you all.