Right now. Wherever you are in your life. You are being abused in a way that you do not even recognize.
I’m not talking about your friend accidentally hurt your feelings and you should get upset about it because you were “abused”. There is a very specific form of abuse that is unidentified and ignored.
Abuse – verb – “to use or treat so as to injure or damage; to attack in words” (thanks Merriam-Webster)
The victim of the abuse is you. The abuser is someone who is constantly trying to injure and damage you. The abuser has many tactics and ploys, but the best scheme is that you don’t even realize you are being attacked.
Let me reveal what has completely revolutionized my thinking: SIN is your abuser.
Sin comes into your life all warm and fuzzy making you feel comfortable. Your life seems easier with lies here and there, or seems more interesting with a few lines of gossip here and there, or seems less lonely with a few scandalous chick-flicks here and there.
Sin cozies up to you and whispers, “I would never hurt you.” You accept this lie and sin grows a little more at home in your heart. Sin starts to move more and more of its stuff into your heart-home.
It all seems ok until one day you realize sin is making some pretty hurtful accusations. Sin says, “You need me. You aren’t good enough alone. You will never amount to anything without me. Your life would be worthless if I left.”
You are kind of shocked, but sin has been in your heart for so long that maybe it is right. Maybe your life would seem empty without sin. Maybe you would be bored. Maybe you would have an identity crisis without your drinking buddies or the money you “borrowed” from your parents or the substance that makes your pain subside.
So you accept the lies again.
Then one day you try to leave your sin. Just to see if you can, to see what it feels like. But sin comes chasing after you, tearing through your barricades. Sin screams, “How dare you try to leave me?!! You know that no one else could ever love you! I am the only one who accepts you because you are dirty trash. Anyone who really knew you like I know you would kick you out. You are nothing, and you know it. This is your fault. You wanted me in your life. You invited me into your life. You agreed to this. Now, say you are sorry. Apologize for trying to leave and I might let you stay.”
Shaking from the shock of your trauma, you accept sin back into your life. Sin’s hold gets tighter and the lies get more convincing – probably because you have heard the same ones over and over for so long.
If “sin” was the name of a my friend’s boyfriend, I would immediately tell her to run away forever. If “sin” was the name of a student at school, I would turn them in as a bully and protect the other kids from this aggressor. So why is it that I let real, actual, active SIN abuse me spiritually every day of my life?
When I saw sin in this light, I could not unsee it. When I realized that sin was doing all this emotional and spiritual harm in my life but putting all the blame on me, I saw sin as the ugly abuser that it is.
Yes, I sin. I cannot blame that on someone else. I am not actually being forced to sin by an abuser. However, when I try to cling to living in the Spirit and obeying God, sin is still going to bring out my flesh and then blame me for my actions. So yes, you have a choice to make. Yes, sin is an action that you choose. No, it does not have the right to berate you. No, sin’s hold is not stronger than God’s forgiveness. No, it should not be in your life.
The next time sin comes whispering around with its tangly lies: tell it to leave! Tell sin your door is bolted and you have changed the locks. Tell sin it cannot push you around and degrade you.
Think of sin as one of those awful, abusive people that you have seen mugshots of on the news. Picture sin as an abuser and RUN AWAY.
“For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NASB)