Healing From Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexua Abuse
Every six minutes a child is sexually abused in homes, schools, cars, hotels, sport fields, locker rooms and yes, even churches and Christian homes. No child is immune. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 and only 1 in 10 ever report it. Abuse ranges from inappropriate sexual talk to being exposed early to sexual images, to actual physical violation, and produces extreme emotional, physiological and spiritual damage.

Over 90% of child sexual abuse is committed by someone the child already knows, loves and trust – parents, step-parents, guardians, friends, babysitters, teachers, coaches, pastors, clergy, etc. Child sexual abuse is seldom a one-time occurrence and lasts an average 1-4 years.

Nothing cuts at the heart of a child like the violation of sexual abuse because it robs a child of their innocence, defiles their purity and leaves them feeling dirty and traumatized. The effects will last a lifetime unless healing is sought. Victims may experience fear of relationships, anxiety, hatred and distrust for the opposite sex, and an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt, loss of self-worth, difficulty with sex in marriage, a tendency to promiscuity, and an inability to relate to God. Often, victims of sexual abuse will feel powerless and out of control and may become sexual abusers themselves to gain power and control. People who hurt others were often scared little children who were also abused. It’s heartbreaking.

Despite the pain of past sexual abuse, In Christ, there is healing from the damage it leaves behind. You don’t need to carry the burden alone. You no longer have to carry the secret. God can bring cleansing to defilement that brought damage to your soul and crippled your ability to love and feel loved and know your value and worth in Jesus Christ. God can heal all wounds and give you a life of purpose and identity beyond the pain.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for rejoicing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Psalm 126:5-6

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The Needs of Children

Needs of Children
All human beings have three basic needs for love, security and acceptance. Out of all of these needs, love is the most essential nutrient a child needs to develop emotionally, mentally, spiritually healthy and whole. The other two needs are the byproduct of experiencing authentic love.

How can a child’s need for love be met? According to Lana Bateman, founder of Philippian Ministries, children from birth to about eight years old can only grasp love in one of two ways.

Touch – a child needs lots of warm, healthy displays of affection. They need to be cuddled, kissed and shown how much they are valued and loved. The importance of human touch should never be overlooked.

Time – a parent needs to show a child that they are willing to invest time to get to know them, communicate with them to draw out feelings, to laugh with them, talk about what they think, fear, what makes them sad, cry, what interests them, etc. The message sent is that they are valuable, precious and worth the investment of time, all the while seeds of love and security are being planted into their little hearts and minds. They will begin to grow secure in the knowledge that they are accepted by the most important people in their lives.

Beyond these two displays of love children, do not comprehend more sophisticated forms of love such as a house to live in, clothes, money, food, and toys. Sadly many parents think that they are meeting the needs of a child if they merely provide their physical needs. Children need so much more in order to grow and thrive.

When the needs for love, security and acceptance are not met, children will learn to redefine love. For example, a child who was showered with material things but little forms of touch and time may redefine love to mean that material possessions are the only things that satisfy. As adults they may go to great lengths to buy, earn, and store up material wealth, causing extreme feelings of failure and disappointment when those things are unattainable. Another child who never received affection from a mother exhausted from working long hours to provide and care for the physical needs of her family may redefine love as having to work hard to prove or earn love. Other children may not get much of anything and are left with a ravenous craving in their heart for love leading them to search for it in various unhealthy ways.

Children are a gift from God and need to be loved and cherished. If your were a child whose need for love was not met in a healthy way, it’s never too late to let your Abba Father nourish you with His perfect and satisfying love. Your past does not have to define you or affect you. Jesus can heal your wounded heart and meet all your unmet needs.

“When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me. “ Psalm 27:10

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The Roots of Our Pain

the roots of our pain fb

We are all rooted in something. We are like a tree that has been planted and in order to thrive and produce healthy fruit; we must start life out with healthy seeds planted in healthy soil. We need to be watered daily and receive plenty of sunshine. This produces a healthy strong root system that allows for health and growth. Sadly many of us have deep unhealthy roots that are stunting our growth and we are barren, barely hanging on, unable to live the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10.

Much like a tree that has been planted by a stream, if you are dependent on that stream to be the water source that nourishes you —what happens if say 15 miles upstream there is a dead animal that is decaying and polluting the water? You may not be able to see the poison in the water but it is going to head downstream and you are going to receive it and take it in. It does not matter if it is a huge dead animal or a drop of poison, no matter how big or small, you are going to get contaminated and affected by it.

It works the same in our root system. The nourishment we receive will drastically affect our growth. Whether pure healthy streams of water – love, grace, security, acceptance, significance, or polluted, toxic water—shame, fear, guilt, neglect, abuse, unmet needs, will dramatically affect who we are at a core level and becomes our belief system. If we are nourished as intended by streams of living water – we are going to believe that we are precious, valued, and loved children of the Living God. If our water source is polluted then by default we will believe lies about ourselves – unworthy, unlovable, defective, unacceptable, etc. We will also believe lies about God…He does not care, He is not there, He doesn’t exist, He doesn’t love me, He’s mad at me, and so on and so on it goes.

What we believe then (our root system) determines the kind of branches we are going to grow. These branches represent our decisions (how we think) and our emotions (how we feel). If we have faulty toxic belief systems, it will result in negative thinking, negative emotions, and negative decisions. These can manifest as shame, fear, anger, guilt, rejection, depression, doubt, hopelessness, etc. These branches then bear fruit which represents our actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Negative emotions manifest in negative behaviors – addictions, eating disorders, codependency, rage, critical spirit, control, abuse, perfectionism, etc. What we believe, affects how we think, feel, and behave.

So if we have a contaminated root system it is going to skew what we value, our emotions, and our decisions, which will ultimately affect the end result, which is our fruit. We are either going to produce living healthy fruit that nourishes and brings forth life, or we are going to produce unhealthy toxic fruit that brings forth death.

We do not have to live bound by unhealthy rooted systems that wreak havoc on our lives and leave deep wounds in our hearts caused by sin, (our own or those imposed by others) that strangle the abundant life our beloved Savior came to give His believers. Our God is bigger and more powerful than anything that has happened to us. He can heal us. God’s word says…. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:2). He wants to prune us and pour healing into our root system so that we will be healed.

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When Rejection Is Deserved

deserved rejection

There are different causes for rejection. Some are beyond our control – abandonment, adoption, infidelity, divorce, favoritism, indifference just to name a few. However, we can experience rejection when we do things outside of God’s word that grieves His heart causing others to back away from us by setting a healthy distance between our wrong behaviors and actions that cause strife, division and defilement in our homes, relationships, work place and even our place of worship and our ministries.

An example would be adultery. This kind of relationship is strictly forbidden by God and ending the relationship is not only the right thing to do but it is what God requires. Refusing to end the relationship will not only cause separation from God but others as well. People desiring to walk righteously with Jesus will never condone sin. They will love you enough to speak truth to you. Perhaps you are engaging in sex outside the holy bounds of marriage, or engaging in “everything but” behavior convincing yourself it’s not sin – God sees it differently. His is a Holy righteous God and cannot condone sin because it separates us from Him and leaves us unprotected and under the grip of Satan, who comes to kill, steal and destroy. You may have even lost friends because of your bad choices and are feeling alone and rejected.

God sees your hurt and feels compassion for you, even if your feelings of rejection and painful circumstance are a result of wrong choices. Learning from your mistakes and allowing God to change your direction and your life is always possible. Our Savior is in the business of rescuing us from the clutches of sin and destruction and can turn our lives around. But we need to acknowledge our sinful behavior that led us to feeling rejected.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Many people have a history of turning to the sin of sexual immorality because they have a ravenous need to be loved and accepted. If this is you, please know that you will continue down a spiral of sin, shame and rejection until you deal with the root causing you to mistake sex for love. Jesus is waiting. He is not only the Balm of Gilead, the ointment that can heal the wounds of your heart, but the only One who can fill it completely with the only love that truly satisfies the craving of the human heart.

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
Psalm 107:9

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