Thursday, October 23, 2014
“Abuse is Cyclical”
Today is October 23, 2014, and you’re listening to The New You, the daily broadcast for people who have been made new by the blood of Christ. Here is today’s Scripture:
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Heb. 10:26-27).
When we’re discussing domestic violence and domestic abuse, it is important for us to understand the nature of abuse. Abuse is not an isolated incident; it is a pattern of behavior. In many ways, this characterizes one’s lifestyle. Now this is not to say that the one who is abusive cannot change. He or she certainly can! In fact, they must! Nevertheless, they demonstrate a pattern of behavior.
Many people say that abuse is cyclical, that is, it follows a pattern of some type. Some have described the pattern to have three phases.
First, there is the tension-building phase. In the tension-building phase, communication often breaks down. In a “classic” situation in which the male is abusing the female, he turns her words against her and stores up things to use against her at a later time. She feels like she needs to stay out of his way so that he won’t get mad. She constantly questions herself. See, she’s been manipulated into thinking that his behavior is her fault. Consequently, she asks herself, “What am I doing wrong?” She tells herself that, if she would be a better wife, then he would act better. She tells herself that because she has been told that. She is confused, tired, and thinks she is going crazy.
Second, there is the acting-out phase. In this phase, he may use any form of abuse. He can be one man in one moment and then it’s like he is a totally different person the next moment. Perhaps he becomes aggressive and raging. He intimidates her, a form of abuse, as he tries to control her into getting what he wants – whatever it might be. She feels that everything is her fault for not being more careful. The more she tries to calm him down, the angrier he becomes.
Third, there is the honeymoon phase. The acting-out phase passes and, over time, it seems like things are getting to the way that they should be. He may apologize for his actions, and he may even promise not to do it again. He still blames her for this, but he does it in a way that seems reasonable, at least, it does to her. She loves him and she wants to do whatever will help him, so she complies and even agrees that it’s her fault. He gives gifts, takes her on trips, and promises that he’ll never act that way again. The more he says and does, the more she believes. Her hope for their relationship is renewed. Unfortunately, this is only an illusion. It won’t be long before the cycle gets back around to the tension-building phase.
Let’s wrap it up: This is sad, isn’t it? But it’s an important discussion, my friend. Do you see how this is a lifestyle? The one who is abusive chooses to act this way, to keep this family and loved ones in this cycle. It’s all because he or she is hungry for control; they must get their way.
Listen to me: one who chooses to live in a sinful way is walking on very dangerous ground. Hebrews 10 says that there is no more sacrifice for his or her sins (Heb. 10:26-27), and that they should fear the day of judgment. Peter states that it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than for them, having known it, to turn from it (2 Pet. 2:20).
By contrast, John tells us that someone who is a child of God is going to keep himself from sin. John says, “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). The key word there is “keep.” What separates the child of God from the one described in Hebrews 10 and 2 Peter 2? Faithfulness. That makes all of the difference. If the one who chooses to live in sin would simply return to God, casting off his or her own will and conforming their lives to God’s Will, they could be saved! They wouldn’t have to dread the judgment day any more!
It is my prayer that those who choose to live in sin will repent and live faithfully to God. It is my prayer that neither you are not and that I am not ever among that number who chooses to live in sin.
Memory Verse: You may feel as though you are “in too deep” to be pulled out of sin, but remember that God is able. He is exceedingly abundantly able! Here’s Ephesians 3:20.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Eph. 3:20).
The New You 10 Week Challenge for a Better Internet! This week, we’re focusing on this question: What moves you most about the cross of Christ? So head over to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like and compose a post which says, “What moves me the most about the cross of Christ is _____. #NewYouChallenge” This is week 4 of the 10 week challenge for a better Internet!
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This is The New You, I’m Robert Hatfield, and I hope you have a great day!