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The Hurt And Healing Of Abuse Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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February 20, 2023 1:00 am

The Hurt And Healing Of Abuse Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 20, 2023 1:00 am

If we’ve never dealt with the abuse in our background, it constantly interrupts all attempts at normal living. The trauma of abuse results in anger, guilt, bitterness, hatred, and shame. In this message, Jesus declares He is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61. Jesus can free us, vindicate us, and comfort us.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Memories of abuse have imprisoned millions in jails of guilt and shame. Some wonder if they deserved the abuse they received. And abusers are trapped with consciences so guilt-ridden they can't look anyone in the eye.

How glad we are to proclaim that there is a way out. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, I believe you'll be telling us today how abusers can turn their victims into emotional captives, as in the Stockholm Syndrome. You know, Dave, as a pastor I've encountered this occasionally in the lives of people who have felt free to share their past and to share their experiences. And it's almost impossible for us to get our minds around the kind of suffering and imprisonment that these dear people feel. I want to ask all who are listening today, if you find that these messages are helpful and I trust that you have found them to be helpful, would you consider for a gift of any amount receiving these sermons in permanent form? The title, of course, is Putting Your Past Behind You, and this is what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to be giving you that contact info again, but it is so important that we hear from God, that we give people hope, and that we realistically face their pain and help them on their journey. Let's listen. A person with immorality in their background oftentimes find that they are torn emotionally, and the reason for the tearing is because their soul has been joined to other partners. That must be broken in the name of Christ. Possibly your captor could be a false cult. The most destructive, the most awful experience I've ever seen of captivity is a young woman who gave herself to a man who, yes, abused her sexually, but also was involved in a cultish kind of an organization, and threatened her and told her that if she ever left him she would be instantly killed. This woman would leave for an hour or two and she'd always go back to him. Even when she was with friends, even if she were to give herself up to the police, she would leave the police station and run back to her captor. Total, complete authority and control.

Jesus came to set the prisoners free, to throw off the power of captors who keep people in captivity, who hold them bound and under their destructive, terrible, evil control. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, that kind of thing is going on in my home today. Let me say this to you now. If you're being abused or you know of abuse, you have a responsibility to talk to somebody who can go for help. But there are hundreds of cases that I consider to be borderline. Some of you live with alcoholic husbands, alcoholic fathers.

And there is some abuse, but it may be spasmodic. You know, there's a line or two in Mark Twain. I wasn't able to find it. I think it's in Huckleberry Finn.

If any of you want to do some research for me, you can send me that information. The line is this, that when this slave was being beaten and he had come to terms with who he was inside, it says, even though the blows fell on his body, they did not touch his soul. That's a good line.

That's the one I was looking for and couldn't find. You see, it's possible for you to have experienced abuse and even to be receiving a measure of abuse, and yet God protects your soul so that the blows, the verbal blows, perhaps sometimes the physical blows, do not touch your soul. Not hard-heartedness, but protection from God. What does Jesus say? He says, I came to set captives free, to take the captors and rid their influence of the captives. Secondly, second aspect, it says, and the day of vengeance, last part of verse 2, of our God. When Jesus read this in the synagogue, he didn't read that phrase.

He ended in the middle of verse 2 and then put the scroll back. Why? Because the day of vengeance had not yet come. That is still a future time.

Now let me ask you a question. The Babylonians who mistreated the Israelites, have they ever been called in account for what they have done? No.

They still need to be resurrected and they will answer to God for what they did 2,500 years ago. What about your abuser? Has he yet answered to God? Possibly not.

Will he ever get away free? No. What did Paul say? Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves. Vengeance is mine. I will recompense, says the Lord. So what you are able to do because of the justice of God is to say, Lord, I give you my situation, which was so traumatic, which was so unjust from a man who appeared to have gotten by with it or a woman or whatever, and what I need to do is to commit my case into your hands and let you deal with it because I can't. You may not be able to because your abuser may be dead. Maybe you don't know where he is.

If you confronted him, he'd deny it. You can't handle it. God is going to take up your cause, the vengeance of God. That's why I've told so many people who have hurts in their life that this explains to them why it is possible for them to forgive without surrendering justice because there is something within us that says, what do you mean? Why should I forgive? Just look at him.

Look at how free he is. Nobody has accused him. He's gotten by with it, and now I'm the hurt one and I'm supposed to forgive. The answer is yes because you must realize that that person has done enough damage to you, hasn't he?

Hasn't he done enough damage yet? Why should you continue to let him ruin your life by being bitter and with all that anger? Break his control by choosing to release the bitterness and the hatred and commit your cause to God. It says that when Jesus was reviled, he did not revile in return. When he suffered, he did not threaten, but he committed himself to God who judges righteously. And God has still not brought justice to that situation because the people who crucified Christ have not yet been brought into judgment, but they will be, and Jesus said, that's fine for me. The day of vengeance of our God. Thirdly, Christ comforts you. He frees you, he vindicates you, and he comforts you. Verse 3, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes. I know the King James, I think there's his beauty instead of ashes. What does that mean? Let me tell you a story that occurs in 2 Samuel 13.

You can read it for yourself sometime today. Remember the man Amnon? He was one of David's sons. Amnon was a wicked boy. He was the full brother of some of David's other sons because David had several wives. Amnon had a half-sister by the name of Tamar. Tamar was the full sister of Absalom, another son of David.

But here's Amnon lusting greatly after his half-sister Tamar. The Bible tells how he asked her to lie with him, to go to bed with him, and she kept saying no. So he played a trick on her.

He pretended that he was sick, and then he said to his dad today that he says, send my sister in that she may prepare a meal that I like. And she went into the bedroom. He tried to get her to go to bed with him, but she wouldn't, and he forced her, the Bible says, and he raped her. Incidentally, the text says that after he did that, the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. What a commentary on sexual immorality.

But anyway, what happens next is very instructive. She wants to stay with him, and he sends her out of the room, and she will not go. And here's what it says. She said to him, no, because it is wrong in sending me away.

It is greater. The wrong is greater than what you have done to me. Yet he would not listen to her. And he called one of his young men who attended him and said, now throw this woman out of my presence and lock the door behind her. It says that she had on a long-sleeved garment that was symbolic of her virginity, for in this manner the virgin daughters of the king dressed themselves. Then it says Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her long-sleeved garment which was on her, and she put her hand on her head and went away crying aloud as she went.

Young woman raped by a half-brother. Ashes on her head. Shame, disgrace, humiliation. Use whatever word you want.

It's awful. And it can't be undone. Now the text says that God is going to take the ashes that are on people who have been humiliated, and he is going to give them a garland, my translation says, that is an oriental headpiece that is used for festive occasions. God says, that's what I'm going to do to those who have been abused and those who mourn and those who hurt and those whose lives are filled with shame. Notice also it says the oil of gladness. What was oil used for?

Feasts. It was like perfume today. When you want to come to church or go somewhere, you put on some aftershave or some perfume, and it is a symbol of the fact that you are going to be with others and you want to feel well about yourself. Notice the text says the oil of gladness instead of mourning. The mantle of praise. That's what God wants to put in your lips.

Not all the curses that you have heard when you were growing up. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified. My friend today, my abused friend, God wants to make you an oak tree.

He wants to make something out of the hurt. And he wants to come alongside and comfort you. You say well Pastor Lutzer, how do I go about it? I would like to very quickly share with you just a couple of things that you must do. Remember that Satan wants to keep you bound. God wants you to be free.

What do you need to do? First you need to confront your past with Christ. With Christ present. And you need to do this by being willing to open your life first of all to God.

You say well Pastor Lutzer, it's too painful. I've put a lid on it. I've sealed the lid.

That's fine. As long as your past doesn't bother you at all and as long as it's behind you, if the lid is sealed, I don't want you to open it. There are some people who do not need to sift through their lives anymore. They've come to terms with it. They are at rest with it. There are a lot of people who think that they're at rest with it. A lot of people who will listen to the last statement I just made and say oh goody, I don't have to touch it. And yet they are constantly controlled by their past.

So I must speak here with great care. There are some people who need to go back. There are some people who do not have to go back.

But when you go back, don't feel that you have to confront all of your past. Just suddenly take a piece of it. Take a piece of it. One incident. One hurtful experience. One little part of the whole and share that with God and tell him how deeply you grieve because of what happened. You share it with God and then you share it with another human being who can sympathize with you, who can pray with you, and who can listen to you and who can accept you no matter what.

This woman who wrote to Ann Landers was right on the money when she said they must talk about it and get it out into the open. Only then will healing begin. You say well should I ever confront my abuser?

That's a very difficult question. About 80% of all those who abuse children deny it when they are told that they have done it. But sometimes it is even possible under those circumstances to say to your abuser after you've thought it through, I now leave all responsibility for what happened with you. I place blame where it belongs. And if some of the blame is upon your shoulders, there is forgiveness and there is cleansing for that too. Let me say this to you as a word of encouragement. This perhaps is the most important thing I'm going to say today. I believe that with all my heart that there is nothing that you will ever dig up in your past that will be too big for God.

You and God and close friends can handle it piece by piece. You confront your past. Secondly, you commit your past.

And these aren't done in consecutive order. Sometimes you confront and commit at the same time. Maybe you commit and then you confront.

There's no magic here. But what do I mean by committing your past? You give him your anger. You give him your hostility. You give him your shame. You give him the guilt. You give him the revulsion, the uncleanness, the impurity. And you say, Lord Jesus, I cannot handle it, but I release it to you. I give you my past with all of its ugliness. You see, some of you have been forgiven for your past, but you've never been cleansed from it.

It still has authority over you. Sometimes I've used the illustration of opening my hands. Now my hands are with a fist. And that's the way sometimes we are and we become very hard-hearted. We say, yes, but you do not understand the depth of my hurt. And I say to you, yes, perhaps I do not understand the depth of your hurt, but this much I know that God does and it will be of no value for you whatever to continue to hold it tightly to you. You must release it and say, Jesus, help me to open my life to you.

And would you take it away? I must be very clear and tell you that the healing is not an instant event. You know, if you break your arm, you say, well, I'm praying that God will heal my arm.

Good. But how will he do it? Instantly?

Sometimes. Most often just through the natural courses of nature. It may take six weeks or whatever. And that's the way the healing of the heart is too. It isn't so much an event as it is a process that you may have to go over time and time again.

But what I'm saying to you today is please get started because unless you come to terms with your past and are making peace with your past, you will be haunted by it for as long as you live. That boil will always be there. What would you rather have? Would you rather have a little bit of pain now as the boil is lanced and eventual healing?

Or would you like to have some pain for the rest of your life, just pain? Do you have the courage to open up your life to God? Dori Vanstone, as I mentioned, receives hundreds of letters and she's given me some. I want to read just a few to you to give you some encouragement. I'm 28 years old. My mother tried to kill me as a baby. My scars are very deep. I'd been a basket case on drugs, living like the dead. Though I met Jesus and fell in love with him, I was still very insane, hurt and shattered. There was no instant healing, but gradually God has healed me. One of the biggest healings came when I heard you speak. This is why I say to you, Dori, I love you.

You've given me hope. God is using you to shine a ray of bright hope to a scared, sad, and sorrowing heart. Dori, when you shared your life, you connected, you touched the person deep inside where the pain is so intense. My sisters and I were molested by our father, but God has removed the shame that kept me from talking about my past. For so long I was hurting, locked up within myself, but the dark areas needed to be exposed. We need to be held up to the light just like a broken pot to see if there is a fault in it or not. I've given my broken pot to God, the pot that I tried to make look perfect.

Now that it has been exposed to God's light, he can shine his love through me. I am his pot, the broken pot that no one would want to love and be proud of. One broken pot knows another broken pot. Jesus heals broken pots. Dori, my problem is that I can't believe that God loves me.

I know it in my head, but I don't know it on a deep level. I can't accept it because I'm afraid that if I did, he would reject me. It's an emotional block, not a reasonable one. Everything would be okay if I just knew that Jesus loved me, if I knew that he cared and would carry me through my circumstances. Then I could survive the struggles and the pain of my past. But Dori, you broke through my defenses. I fought very hard. I said to myself, I will not cry.

This is baloney. It's all emotion and will fade away, and I won't let it touch me. But I knew it wasn't baloney, that if I let down my defenses and let the tears come and accept God's love, there could be healing. Finally, Dori, I've never told anyone about my past that I shared with you, and I didn't realize how deeply it was hidden from me. As I was sharing bits and pieces of my past and actually said each one, the Lord pulled out those aches by the roots and healed them. In the days that followed, I could sense a change within me. When Jesus went into the synagogue at Nazareth, there were people around who had been abused.

It's not something new. Tamar in the Old Testament, raped by her brother, he said, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to teach the gospel to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted. And he's still doing it. Stuart Hamblin used to sing, it is no secret what God can do, what he's done for others he'll do for you. With arms wide open, he'll pardon you.

It is no secret what God can do. Will you let him? Let's pray. Father, in this moment I pray that you will do what I can't, what no human being can do. Would you reach down and minister to hurting people, people who have been abused, alienated, rejected, people who have a part of their soul missing? I pray that you might fill it with yourself and make them whole and complete and at peace. Do it, Father. We pray for all the women who have struggled because of abuse in their background, all of the young boys who were abused, all the verbal insults, the curses that still come to many ears of parents who should have loved them. Would they in these moments hear the words of Jesus, the kind, loving words of Jesus, the blessings and not the curses, the garland and not the ashes, the oil and not the stench? Speak to them, Father. In Jesus' name.

Amen. My friend today, have you been spoken to by the Holy Spirit? Do you know others who need to hear these messages? Perhaps you have heard only a few of them. It's very difficult sometimes to listen to an entire series. That's why it is we're making this eight-part series available to you in permanent form so that you can listen to these messages again and again. Share them with your friends.

Many will perhaps have to listen two or three times to just allow the Holy Spirit of God to take His word that they might be able to grasp it within their own souls. Here's what you do. Go to

That's And as I mentioned for a gift of any amount, we're so happy to send this to you, the entire eight-part series Putting Your Past Behind You. Or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I hope that you understand that our heart desires that more people would be able to hear God's word and be blessed as a result of the ministry of running to win.

So thanks in advance for helping us. And once again, ask for the sermon series Putting Your Past Behind You. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. As you've heard me say, together we're making a difference. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Next time, don't miss The Dark Side of Evil, a look at Satan, the prince of the power of the air and the archenemy of our souls. Knowing his intentions and tactics will prepare us to use the armor of God against him in the daily battle for our minds and hearts. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 02:16:09 / 2023-02-20 02:24:59 / 9

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