Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jesus Heals Wounds from Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse will create deep wounds that will require healing. As a child, Janet had been sexually molested. She spent much time as a child with her unmarried uncle who treated her "special," which was his euphemism for abuse. The painful memories of that molestation were burned into her heart. Now married for more than a dozen years, Janet found it difficult to have sexual intimacy with her husband. When she would attempt to have a physical relationship with Bob, the memories would surface and she would react. Bob interpreted those reactions as rejection. This set the stage for much pain and frustration in their marriage. Recently Bob confessed to having an affair, and Janet went into a deep depression. Bob sought counseling first, and he took responsibility for his adultery. He knew he had triggered Janet's depression, and he sought to win his wife's trust and rebuild a loving relationship with his children. During our counseling session, Bob broke and wept over the awfulness of his sin against God and Janet. Satan filled him with fear that she'd never forgive him, that he'd never find "true satisfaction sexually" from his wife, and that he would face even deeper emptiness for the rest of his life because God was against him. Bob, though, confessed these lies and as he faced them, he realized they were deceptions designed to keep him from real healing. In a sudden turn around, he shook his head and asked his wife to forgive him. He asked God to do radical amputation and cut the idols out of his heart. He prayed, "Father, I repent of the sin of adultery with (he named the woman). Please separate my body, soul, and spirit from the body, soul, and spirit of (he named the woman)." Later, as I talked with Janet, she realized that she had to forgive her uncle and release him to the Lord. His actions had made her feel dirty, trapped, and helpless; those actions also had made her uncomfortable about having sexual relations with her husband. Bob's confession and repentance had helped, but now Janet needed to forgive her uncle and purge those lies. Eventually she prayed, forgiving her uncle. Then the Lord spoke to her heart and erased the lies that had been planted there many years before. Gone were the feelings and beliefs of being dirty, guilty, worthless, and undesirable. As she submitted to God, love, joy, and peace took the place of those former feelings and beliefs. Now Janet was able to also forgive Bob from her heart for his adultery and released him to the Lord. I watched with joy as the Lord tore down the walls of bitterness that stood between them. Their hearts connected for the first time in their married lives. Bob reports today that their intimate physical relationship reflects what God intended all along and that they are learning that they can "trust in the Lord, and do good...Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:3-4). Almost daily in my counseling I hear the question asked, "Why did God let it happen?" Janet asked the Lord this question, and He gave her the answer that "I used it to bring you to Me." She told me, "It was during that awful time when I cried out to God that He saved me." God doesn't always give an answer like that, but He did give us Romans 8:28-29-the promise that He works all things for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. God the Father did not stop the crucifixion, but He gave us Easter. He is always able to bring good out of bad, if we'll only turn to Him in faith and trust Him to do it. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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