“The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin…because of his great folly he is led astray.” (Proverbs 5:22-23b)
Lately have considered two significant problems in families: favoritism and neglect. To these, we add verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, which entirely disables families from functioning effectively. Why don’t abusive husbands, wives, and parents stop when they know that what they are doing is so wrong and hurtful? They are caught in webs of sin, like trapped animals that cannot escape sin’s power. Frustrations and anger result in verbal filthiness, sexual immorality, and physical punishment. Some parents and siblings cannot control their sexual urges and secretly find satisfaction with children. Family members who are addicted to alcohol or drugs are robbed of their restraint.
In the Old Testament, God sought to control his people’s sin through his laws, to help them be separate from the other immoral nations (Leviticus 18:7-30; Deuteronomy 27:22). The New Testament epistles remind us that, as Christians, we are no longer what we used to be, or like those without Christ. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).
Christians caught in the besetting sin of abuse need help to escape, just like a trapped animal needs someone to come and release the snare. Consider Lot, when men demanded that he allow them to have sexual relations with the intercessors who came to rescue him. When Lot did not seek help and offered his daughters to the abusive men on the other side of his door, the Lord interceded on their behalf. But Lot’s sin was exposed and later imitated by his daughters who abused their father in his drunken state. Their children became the Ammonites, who were rejected by God. (Genesis 19:4-36) All Christians struggle with sin, and sometimes we get stuck in its allurement and passion. The problem of sinful abuse started early in history, as seen in Cain’s murder of Abel (Genesis 4:8) and the corruption of humanity before the flood (Genesis 6:1-7). “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 7:24-8:1)
Christians can experience a flood of forgiveness that will help with the work and healing for the deep, painful hurt of the abusers and their victims. Will you pray for and, if necessary, intercede on behalf of the abused and those abusing them? Christ’s forgiveness is the balm that will heal and repair the deep, painful hurt of the abusers and their victims.