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Healing From Abuse – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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November 23, 2023 12:10 am

Healing From Abuse – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 23, 2023 12:10 am

The dark secret of abuse lies under the surface of many families, causing incalculable wounds. But God’s grace is available to both the abused and the abuser. In this message, Pastor Lutzer identifies the abusers like Saul and the abused like David. Healing is available for the brokenhearted.

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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. The dark secret in all too many families is abuse. It takes several forms, verbal, physical, even sexual. The hurt caused by abuse is incalculable, both to the abused as well as the abuser. Today, what to do if you are a victim or a victimizer?

Stay with us. 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, as you teach us about fighting for your family, there may be no more insidious danger than parents and relatives abusing young people, having fed their lusts on the Internet. Dave, what you've said is absolutely true.

And you know what? It may be happening next door to you. It may be happening in some of the homes that are represented in churches.

And to all who are listening, it may be happening in your home, or maybe it happened to you. These messages are so critical, we are committed to getting them around the world. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner?

Endurance partners are those who stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, you need info. I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy so that you can write this down. You can go to When you're there, click on the endurance partner button.

Or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Of course, I'm going to be giving you this information again at the end of this message, but I want you to understand its incredible importance. He is charming, helpful, appears to be generous, willing to commit himself, the kind of man that many people think that you ought to marry. You do notice that sometimes he does things for you that make you feel uncomfortable, but after all, you're thankful for the attention such as it is. And furthermore, as you stop to think about it and you begin to reflect, you do notice that he is somewhat controlling, but it's nice to be loved by a man who seems to take charge.

That's a welcome relief. The problem is that as time goes on, you begin to discover that he's very controlling, and your opinion doesn't matter that much because he always knows what is best and he knows what should be done. Something else that gives you a bit of pause, and that is the fact that he speaks disparagingly of his own parents.

And you notice that everybody seems to have wronged him. And then you notice that he even speaks disparagingly of your own family, and that becomes very important and will be very important after you're married because he's going to want to separate you from your family. But he tells you that you alone understand him.

You're not like everybody else out there. And so it is, he perhaps pressures you sexually, but you begin to think, well, all men are like that. Well, by the way, all men aren't like that, but you begin to think that that's maybe somewhat normal, and so you commit and you marry him. And what you don't understand is he's not interested in a partner. He's interested in someone whom he can control, someone whom he can possess.

That's really what he's interested in. And then you see his dark side. First of all, it is verbal put-downs as he tries to minimize you, as he tries to criticize you and make sure that you know that he is so much superior and you are so foolish and maybe even stupid. And then he begins to tell you, you're just like the rest of them after all.

You're not the woman that I thought you were going to be. And then perhaps his temper gets the best of him and you begin to notice that it is physical abuse. He slaps you and you hope that it will be the only time and he may actually ask forgiveness. Of course, he will remind you that you made me slap you. So the good news is he might ask forgiveness and when he does, he is genuinely sorry.

The bad news is it won't change anything. He will do it again. And then when you have children, perhaps he will abuse them physically, verbally, maybe even sexually.

Welcome to the world of abuse. And of course, you as a wife don't know what to do. Who do you tell? All of your friends think that he's such a nice man that if you were to indicate what was going on at home, they'd either call you a liar, A, or else B, they'd say, what kind of a horrible woman are you anyway to make such a nice man act that way? Because remember, his reputation in the neighborhood and in the church is still great.

It's not necessary for him to be good, but it's very necessary for him to appear good. So you don't know who to tell. You don't know who will even believe you. Just for the sake of the record here at the Moody Church, if you come to us and tell us that you have been abused or you are being abused, we will believe you.

Keep that in mind. Well, what I'd like to do today, as you know, is to speak about this very difficult topic and a couple of words by way of introduction. First of all, even though I'm going to be speaking about men primarily as the abusers, of course, there are women who also abuse their husbands, oftentimes because they are very passive aggressive or in other ways. And of course, there are mothers who abuse their children.

But during this message, I can't continually refer to that and remind you of that, even though it will become apparent as the message continues. Furthermore, this message is not only for the abused, but the abusers. When I was a young pastor, I would speak to all those who were abused and forget the fact that if it is true that one in four girls will be sexually molested or in some way disparaged by the time she becomes a teenager or older, I used to think to myself, now who is doing all this? And then it realized that in a congregation like this and the wider audience that we have well beyond the walls of Moody Church, the wider audience, there are plenty of people out there who are the abusers. And I want to speak to you abusers now, as I will later, and tell you that first of all, I care about you. You too are a human being. And my desire is that you will be in heaven redeemed by God, along with those whom you have abused as a testimony of God's amazing, incredible grace.

So I care about you as an individual. Let me tell you about the prayer meeting that we had on Wednesday. We were praying about this particular message in this day.

And I asked if there were any women present who had been abused. And we were willing to pray for them. And one dear sister began to just pour out her soul. So I invited other women to come around and to pray for her.

And about 15 or 20 perhaps gathered around. And then when we were finished praying for her, I asked for other women who had been abused to indicate their desire for prayer. And it was so wonderful to see that in the midst of all of this confession, to see these women rally around one another and pray for each other. So I'm going to let you know that at the end of this message, I'm going to give an invitation. Rebecca and I are going to be up here to welcome you. We have prayer partners, more prayer partners than usual. Because what we'd like to do is for you to be able to experience the same grace, the same outpouring of love, and the same prayer support as we had at prayer meeting this past Wednesday. People say to me, you know, is it difficult for you to preach a message like this? And my response is no, not really.

And I'll tell you why. I am so excited about the possibility that there are people who are listening to this message who are going to be helped. I believe that lives are going to be changed forever as a result of what we're going to share today.

And that excites me. I have four or five books on abuse and I read only one and that was plenty. My heart was absolutely broken as I began to see what happens behind closed doors and I began to think of all of the pain that is out there that most of us know nothing about. So today it is from my heart to your heart that I speak and I care about you, abused and abusers. All of us stand in the need of God's marvelous grace. I'm going to ask you to take your Bibles for a moment and turn to Psalm 147. Psalm 147, I want to leave you with this promise. In the book of Psalms, we have these words. Psalm 147, I'm going to pick it up in verse 2. Psalm 147 verse 2, it says, the Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the outcasts of Israel.

Of course the Psalm begins by inviting praise to God because he is good. But he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars.

He gives to all of them names. Great is our Lord and abundant in power, his understanding is beyond measure. He lifts up the humble. He casts the wicked to the ground.

So there you have it. God binds up the brokenhearted. If you're here today and you are brokenhearted, God stands ready to bind you up, but his grace does not enter into closed doors. You must let him heal you.

And that's what we're praying toward in this message. Well, before we get to the healing part, I want us to think briefly about a quintessential example of an abuser in the Bible, and that is King Saul. King Saul is very interesting, and you may not have time to turn to this passage because I'm going to look at it very quickly. But Saul was an amazing man because he had these advantages, these strong points. Saul was anointed by God. Samuel anointed him and says, the Lord is anointing you to be king. Wouldn't you like to be anointed as king?

Wow. Saul furthermore had the gift of prophecy. The Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, said Samuel, and you will prophesy and you'll be turned into another man. And then Saul begins to prophesy under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the people even ask, this is all in 1 Samuel 10, the people even ask, is Saul also among the prophets?

And the answer is yes. Listen to him prophesy. He appeared to be humble. Later on in the chapter, they are having a coronation. Samuel gathers the whole crowd to a place called Nisba, and he said, we're going to crown our king. And lo and behold, if Saul is chosen to be the one crowned and they can't find him, the Bible says he was hiding behind the baggage. That appears to be humility. And then when he was brought before the people, the Bible says he was taller than anyone else, and he was impressive in appearance. And you know that tall people do have a great advantage over the rest of us.

They are impressive oftentimes in appearance. Saul had all that. And then you go to chapter 11.

You can find it there. And what do you discover about Saul? He won a great victory for Israel. How would you like to have a king like that, anointed, gifted by God? But there was another part to King Saul. There was some darkness in his life. And we discover this as we look at the Scripture now in 1 Samuel chapter 18.

I know I'm hurrying today, but keep in mind that all this is in the text, and you can find it yourself. It says in 1 Samuel chapter 18, I'm picking it up at verse 6, and as they were coming home when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of the cities of Israel, singing and dancing to meet King Saul with trombones and the songs of joy and musical instruments, and the women sang to one another as they celebrated, Saul has struck down his thousands, David his tens of thousands. Oh, brother, Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him.

He said, they've ascribed to me thousands. He liked that part of the song, but to David tens of thousands. And so this man, anointed by God, called of God, gifted by God, tries to kill David. The very next verse says the spirit from God, a harmful spirit, rather, from God rushed upon Saul. He raved within his house while David was playing the harp, as he did day by day, and Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, I'll pin David to the wall. But David evaded him twice. And so there you have it, the two sides of human nature, gifted, anointed, the kind of man that any woman would want to marry, an abuser.

Even here we learn a couple of things about abuse that might be helpful. How did David handle it? First of all, he decided to run. He didn't say to himself, well, I'm going to stay here and be a martyr.

No, when the spear came at it, he dodged it, and then he left. And when you get to an abuser, oftentimes, almost every time, the best thing to do is to leave, put physical distance between you and your abuser, because remember, we're not dealing with people here who are rational. How would you like to be able to reason with King Saul, this great man who was obsessed with jealousy, demonic jealousy?

You can't reason with people like that. I have a friend who says that you should never wrestle with a pig. First of all, the pig is going to enjoy it.

Number two, you will get dirty. And number three, the pig might win because he plays by a different set of rules. Saul played by a different set of rules. He put out all of the witches from the land, but when he was in desperation, he went to the one witch that still was in existence. In other words, what applies to you does not apply to me.

You can't reason with people like that. And so what David did is run. By the way, did any benefit come out of that, David being pursued by Saul for 10 long years?

The answer is yes. There's a book written entitled The Tale of Three Kings that explains that God used this time to take the Saul out of David's heart, because David had the potential of being another Saul. And so God worked in David's life, and as a result, we have some Psalms that we'd have never had if David had not been running from Saul. For example, Psalm 34, I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Many shall hear it in fear. I sought the Lord, and he answered me and heard me and delivered me out of all of my troubles. We'd have never had those Psalms, or at least a half dozen of them, written by David as he was fleeing from Saul.

God wanted to do something good out of something very evil. Well, the question is, how do we begin the healing process as I speak to you? And as I speak to you today, if you want to begin to cry, and some of you may do that, I want you to know that you're welcome to do that, and the people next to you will understand, and if they don't, it's their problem and not yours.

All right, remember that. Some of you may be tempted to leave. I've had that happen when I've spoken on this before, and I prefer you not do that, but if you feel that you have to, why then indeed do so? I think it would be very appropriate before we get into the steps toward healing if we were to bow our heads and pray one more time, that this might be a moment of deliverance for many people who've never faced these issues in their lives before. Would you join me as we pray? Father, as I've sought your face regarding this message, I pray today that it may go directly to the heart. We're counting on your promise that you heal the broken-hearted. Do that today, Father.

And we ask that even though there may be pain, we thank you that the purpose of pain is for healing. Bring that about for your glory. In Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. Number one, what you need to do is to face reality. We need to face reality. You know, abusers live in denial, and so do the abused. I told you that this message was for both, so first of all, I want to say a word to the abusers. If there's anything about people who abuse others, it is this. They are keenly aware of the hurts that are done to them. In fact, those hurts are revisited over and over and over again, but they are insensitive to the hurt that they are doing to others.

In fact, if they were abused, perhaps in their minds saying, because it happened to me, I have every right to do it to you, and they're destroying their children and they're destroying their wives and families and really down deep don't care, verbally sometimes. I'm thinking of a father, and the little child said this to one of our daughters, I wish I were a dog, the child said, because my dad loves dogs. He's left the family, but if I were a dog, he would love me. Listen, I'm speaking to you very directly right now because I want you to be in heaven, but I want you to face reality, all right? This is what Jesus said. He said that if any of you cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would have been better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea.

I plead with you today. Do you understand what you are doing to your wife because of your verbal put-downs and what you are doing to your children because you slap them and you speak disparagingly of them and you criticize them without lifting them up, honoring them, praying for them, encouraging them. Do you understand that? You must face reality. You know the Bible says in Psalm 139, search me, O God, and know my heart and try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

I'm interested in human nature and I know something about it living with myself. I'll tell you this though, I have long ago learned that there are things about us that we will never admit to unless God shows them to us. Would you in this moment of honesty see what you need to admit to?

God will show you what it is that you need to admit to. And of course you also as someone who is abused, you must face reality. You must recognize that indeed abuse has happened. And there may be some of you listening here who have never been able to say that about your parents, about your environment.

80% of all abuse by the way takes place either within the home or among relatives of the home. And you've never been able to admit to it. And so as a result this festers within you and I'm saying to you today what you need to do is to look at reality and mourn the loss, yes, but face it and don't pretend, don't pretend that it didn't happen.

Because believe me, it may have. And if you're listening as a child, would you go for help? Would you speak to a teacher, to a Sunday school worker, to someone? Because we have to face this and not pretend that it's not here. So first of all what we need to do is to move from denial to reality. Secondly what we need to do is to go from hiding in the shadows, hiding in the shadows to seeking help in the sunlight. Well this is Pastor Lutzer. As I like to emphasize, it is so important that you continue to listen to the ministry of running to win so that you hear the end of this message and the others that follow. But I want to ask you a question. If you're blessed as a result of this ministry, if you've discovered that we are speaking to issues that concern people from a very biblical point of view, do you rejoice with us?

I know that you do. The fact that running to win is heard in more than 20 different countries in five different languages. People throughout the world are going to be listening to what you have just heard and it's going to touch a nerve. It's going to bring the opportunity of healing and help. As a matter of fact, as we speak about these matters, we've already received reports about people who have been helped as a result of the series of messages fighting for your family. Let me ask you this, would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts so that we can continue to expand this ministry so even more people can hear these messages.

Now, here's what you do for info. You go to and then click on the endurance partner button. I'm going to be giving you that info again or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Right now, you can go to Click on the endurance partner button and that's where you will learn what an endurance partner is or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. The devil wants to destroy the family, especially the role model of the father. When a father abuses his kids, that father faces severe judgment from God. Step one for a dad to come clean is to acknowledge that the abuse is real. Next time on Running to Win, more on coming clean. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-23 02:20:29 / 2023-11-23 02:29:35 / 9

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