My Favorite Quotes

Allow me to explain it in terms that you can understand. I'm going to need some crayons...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Truth about Abuse - The story of a Young man named Joseph!

“The saying, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a lie. The abuse didn’t make me stronger. The abuse left me in a weakened state and it was only because I’ve worked on my healing for years that I’m functioning now and in a position to offer hope to others. Good didn’t come out of the abuse; good came from the overcoming of it.” -Christina Enevoldsen (author of the Overcoming Sexual Abuse blog)
The above quote hit home with me today in many ways.  It truly amazes me how people use such sayings "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger" as if it is the cure all in life.  Actually such sayings in my opinion is nothing but a slap on the face when the individual is facing traumatic events such as abuse.  
Abuse does not, in no way make a person stronger!  It destroys the very foundation of the individual/s .. Abuse does not promote anything good nor healthy.  Often times people mistake the good that can come about as being from the experience of being abused, but this is not true.  How on earth can any good come from being abused?  None! And truth is God does not condone it whatsoever.  The good that does often come about is by the individual/s who was abused making the choice to heal and overcome the effects of the abuse that was done to them.  By saying that good can come from such traumatic and horrid events is also like saying that the abuser did right by abusing the individual.

And sadly people try to justify all this with these little sayings that sound good on the surface but at the heart of it holds no truth whatsoever.  And even goes deeper than that.  Often times I have read things that implies that God uses such things as abuse to make us stronger or to prepare us for our future calling.  I beg to differ!  And I would like to point this out .. I am not trying to point a religious point of view but instead I am going to point out the story of a young man named Joseph!

In Genesis chapters 37 & 39 we can read the account of Joseph.  Joseph was the son of Jacob and Rachel.  Jacob favored Joseph more so than he did his other sons.  This caused his others sons to resent Joseph.  Now Joseph probably had his faults, don't we all!  However the treatment his brothers gave him was extremely abusive and devaluing.  Joseph had shared two dreams with his brothers and in each dream it referred to him being a ruler over his brothers or that is how his brothers took it.. Jacob had even questioned Joseph about one of the dreams.  As the story unfolds Jacob sends Joseph to check on his brothers who were tending to the flock.. they were sheep herders and farmers.

 Genesis 37:19-28
Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! 20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”21 But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” 22but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him”—that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father. And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood,
So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24 Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. 26 So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there27 Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. 28the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt. if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Then Midianite traders passed by; so

I can only imagine how terrified Joseph must have been and how very much hurt he was that his own flesh and blood would do this to him.  This was no small matter whatsoever.  To have your own flesh and blood to mistreat you in such a manner and to be sold as an object to be only forgotten about is utterly devastating..  Though the bible does not give us the details of Joseph's emotional state at this time however one can only imagine.  Furthermore I want to point out not one time during all of this is God mentioned .. that doesn't mean that God wasn't present that He didn't see all this however neither does the bible say that He condoned it either..
Now I have heard this preached many times and was lead to believe that God allowed the abuse in order for Joseph to fulfill his life mission.. again the bible does not say this whatsoever..
People take it to far when we assume God's role in this by saying that God had great plans for Joseph that is why he allowed Joseph to be mistreated and sold out.. the reason I say this is because first of all when we say this then we have to do away with free will.  And then we have to put God in the place of the abusers meaning that God was using the brothers to mistreat Joseph so that Joseph could fulfill his destiny.. that in of itself putting God to be someone He is not.
Now I know scripture tells us in Exodus chapter four that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and God told Moses this but there was a bigger reason and that did not have anything to do with subjecting Moses to being abused or mistreated to make him a better person.  Neither was King David subjected to abuse when God had the prophet Samuel to pick him to be the future king of Israel...

It isn't until chapter 39 of Genesis that we see God's roll in the whole matter ... though harm was truly meant for Joseph at the hands of his brother yet God paved a path for him.  And Joseph's brothers wasn't the only one that gave him grief,
Genesis 39:1
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there

The Lord was with Joseph and helped him to gain the full trust of Potiphar.  So much so that the bible says that Potiphar handed over all his business to Joseph and that the only thing he knew of was the bread he ate.  That is a lot of trust.  One has to understand the magnitude of such because Joseph being a hebrew slave and Potiphar being a commanding Egyptian officer that didn't just happen.  So truly God's hand was in it.  However once again Joseph finds himself in a bad predictment with Potiphar's wife who frames Joseph when she falsely accuses him of trying to "mock" her or the insinuation of trying to rape her.  Joseph had turned her down on several occassions and this angered Potiphar's wife.  In haste one day to get away from this woman he ran in which tore his clothes from him.  She framed him in such a manner and convinced Potiphar of foul play.. Potiphar had Joseph thrown in prison..

So here we have Joseph who has been abused and rejected by his brothers and now he has been falsely accused of a crime he did not do. Once again the bible does not say that God directed the woman to do this are cause the woman to lie as she did.. instead we see God's hand in it by making a way for Joseph while he was in prison... Joseph once again found favor in those who were over him, and through God's divine help Joseph was able to overcome his circumstances.  Which the story goes on to say that through God Joseph was able to interpret a dream for the Pharaoh who then made him the over seer of all the land of Egypt .. in which later on we see that him and his family (yes even the brothers that sold him off) were able to come back together.. I encourage each one to read this story for it is a deep story of truth, love, courage, and GOD's divine hand at work in the worse situation..

However through out the whole story not one time was God mentioned as causing the abuse and mistreatment of Joseph instead we see that God was with Joseph through it all.. and that God did bring about the good for not only Joseph but for many people but not one time did the abusers or the abuse get credit for the good that did come about, Because it was not the abuse nor the abusers that brought about the good instead it was the abusers who abused him that meant to do harm to Joseph not GOD instead GOD brought the good!  We must see the difference and not credit sin for the good! ..through God's help Joseph overcame his situation .. and the good that came about was from God's loving hand not the hand of abuse!

I wanted to point this out because it hit home with me earlier.  It is much wiser to seek the truth for our own self rather than relying on someone else to do it for us.  There is no such thing as blind faith .. God doesnt want us to have blind faith instead He desires we know the truth for the Truth does set us free..

God does not condone abuse.  Neither does He forsake His own..
often the reason why  people dont stand up for the truth is because the truth does hurt and it does point out the wrongs .. The truth is like a bright light that exposes everything in the darkness.  And often the abuser is a family member or family members ... in which we can feel loyalty too however this should never stop us from being about the truth and taking a stand..

A couple of years ago I had a realization about the truth .. that if I don't speak the truth about my own situation then I am the one standing in the way of truth in other words the reason that I could not overcome my own situation is because I didn't take a stand..

It takes courage however though I have had to take a stand and in a lot of ways this has made people distance themselves from me in which can sometimes feel to be a lonely place yet I am not alone none of us truly are God is always there.. I think one of the things that theologians and philosophers miss about the bible is that God deals with each of His children differently not because He is a respecter of persons or chooses His favorites but because He alone knows the heart of each individual.. 
God gets a bad rep due to people whether well meaning or not by taking scripture out of context and using it for whatever purpose they desire.  Sadly this happens more and more .. that is why I encourage people seek truth for yourself..  there are so many who are blindly lead to believe that God condones such sinful actions as abuse and sadly because of this false belief many stay imprisoned to the wounds the abuse causes and often times the abuse continues throughout the persons life.  I know because I was one of those captives I believed that I had no way out and that this was God's plan for me.. I believed a lie that was sugar coated with man's version of who God is.. 
God has given each of us talents and gifts that only we can share, these are part of who we are.  Abuse does not give us these things and to believe that is to devalue who we are!
To read the story of Joseph here is the link to the bible Genesis 37-46 The story of Joseph
Another good blog to read about this account brings about the choice that Joseph makes that makes a world of difference Time to Think: When the Sun stays Hidden

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