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Healing From Abuse – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 24, 2023 12:00 am

Healing From Abuse – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 24, 2023 12:00 am

Too many husbands and fathers are abusers, damaging their family physically, verbally, sexually, or spiritually. Abuse is real, and we need to acknowledge it in order that we are not bound by it. In this message, Pastor Lutzer offers a hopeful path to healing. No part of our past is ever beyond the redemption of Christ’s cross.

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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 devil wants to destroy the family, especially the role model of the father. When abuse takes place, abuse of any kind, a father faces severe judgment from God. Step one in coming clean is to acknowledge that the abuse is real.

Please 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, the damage from abuse is so widespread, I wonder if only a national revival could turn the tide.

Dave, that might be true, but even as I'm speaking now, I'm praying for individual families to deal with abuse, all those who hear this message. And you know, we here at Running to Win have prepared a resource by which these messages can be specifically applied. First of all, we've prepared transcripts of all of these sermons so that you can read them. And along with that, we provide a link whereby you can listen to them again and again, and also some reflective questions. For a gift of any amount, this can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. This message and these messages in this series are absolutely critical in a world that has lost its way. 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. Now, if point number one is to admit to reality, point number two is to go for help.

Point number two is to simply say that it must be brought into the light because if it is not brought into the light, it is the devil who works in darkness. And some of you mothers, you know that abuse is going on in your home, but you say to yourself, I'm not going to confess to it. I'm not going to go for help because of the consequences of going to the authorities or wherever you must go to a counselor to admit to what's happening. May I simply remind you that the consequences of remaining silent in the presence of abuse are always far greater than the consequences of finally exposing it and facing the reality.

Please keep that in mind. So what we need to do is to come from the shadows and go to the sunlight. And again, as I've mentioned, if you're here today and as a child and you're listening to this message, you must go for help too. You know, when we were kids, we used to run under street lamps. I was born six miles from a town that had one street lamp.

It had about 75 people and one street lamp. And as kids, we used to run and see how long our shadows would become until the shadows were way out there. And then there were times when we would stand directly under the light.

And when we were directly under the light, our shadows were very small in bits and pieces. I urge you today to come to the light. It is the light that heals. The Bible says in the book of James chapter 5, confess your faults one to another that you may be healed. And so the scripture is very clear that what we need to do is to recognize that it's not enough to try to deal with this on your own.

You've already tried that, haven't you? No matter where you are on the continuum, whether abused or abusers, light has power to heal. Come to the light. Let me say also that we must move from self-justification to forgiveness, from self-justification to forgiveness, and this is absolutely critical. I want you to take your Bibles and turn now to the book of Ephesians and Ephesians chapter 4. It's a familiar passage, but I want you to see it in your own Bible so that you remember where it is and how clear the scriptures really are. Ephesians chapter 4, and I'm going to pick it up at verse 29. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only as is good for building up as fits the occasion. By the way, does that verse rule in your home?

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up. That it may give grace to those who hear and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, does that characterize you, possibly? Wrath, anger, clamor, and slander be put away from you along with all malice. Now the Bible wouldn't ask us to put it away if we couldn't put it away, because we can.

And I think the next verse tells us how. Be kind to one another, tender-hearting, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you. I told you today that I want both abusers and abused to be in heaven together, to rejoice in God's grace. And may I tell you today that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, his death was such a sufficient sacrifice for sin that as we sometimes sing, even the vilest of sinners who truly believes that moment from Jesus, a pardon receives. Isn't that good news for sinners?

Now if you're not a sinner, you didn't have to clap. And so Jesus Christ invites us today to receive forgiveness. And someone has well said that forgiveness, first of all, is between, it's the key to God and me. Forgiveness is the key between me and you and between me and me. You can't go on in life and be able to function properly as long as there is long-standing bitterness in your heart that you will not give up.

And what the Bible is saying is that just as Jesus has forgiven us and cleansed us and we receive it, in the same way we offer forgiveness to people even if there's no possibility of reconciliation. Your abuser may be dead. Your abuser may not be interested in any kind of reconciliation because he's denying the abuse as most abusers do. Someone has said this, the man I hate may be many miles from my bedroom, but more cruel than any slave driver, he whips my thoughts into such a frenzy that my inner spring mattress becomes a rack of torture.

The lowliest of serfs can sleep, but not I. I really must acknowledge the fact that I am a slave to every man on whom I pour the vials of my wrath. God says to you and to me that what we need to do is to give it up and to recognize that giving up our anger is something that is difficult, but it is a choice we must make. If we want to accept the promise that God has given to us in his word that he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds, part of that healing has to do with forgiveness. So what we do is we ask the Lord to forgive us, and if you've not come to Jesus Christ, again, I invite you to do that. We invite God to come into our lives, and then what we do is we choose to forgive and to leave it all behind. And then what we have to do is to accept God's forgiveness.

Always remember this, the issue is never the greatness of our sin, the issue is the wonder of the righteousness that God applies to any one of us, whether abused or abusers. It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is applied to us. And as we begin to open our lives to the Lord, that healing ministry begins.

I opened this message by telling you about a prayer meeting that we had last Wednesday, and what we want to do is to give you an opportunity to do that today, because at the end of this message, I'm going to be giving an invitation as I mentioned and Rebecca and I will be here and we're going to have counselors, because I want you to experience the kind of freedom and the kind of prayers that enables you to pray with someone else to find God's grace and God's healing in your life. You know, the Bible says regarding Jesus, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed, because he was wounded for our transgressions.

He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. Now many people interpret that to be physical healing, of course there's healing in the atonement in the sense that eventually when we are redeemed we're going to be fully healed and won't that be a wonderful day when finally the healing is complete. But at the same time it definitely involves spiritual healing because the Bible, particularly in the Psalms, talks about, Lord heal my soul.

So I want you to realize today that God is available for your soul to be healed and he can do that in your life. In one of the things I wrote, I said this, in a seminary classroom a professor whom we will call Brother Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons. This day was no exception. On the wall he placed a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Brother Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone they disliked or someone they actually hated.

Then he would allow them to throw darts at that person's picture. One lady drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend, another drew a picture of a man who had mistreated her and lied to her. All the students found someone they hated and did so very quickly. For some the challenge was to choose just one among many.

Who shall I draw? The class lined up and began throwing darts with much laughter and hilarity. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were being ripped apart and ripping the target apart. Just then Brother Smith interrupted the students and removed the target from the wall and underneath the target was a picture of Jesus. A hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus. Holes and jagged marks covered his face. His eyes were pierced out. Brother Smith said simply, in as much as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me. No other words were necessary as tears filled the eyes of the students. They could not take their eyes off the picture of Jesus.

Even after the bell they sat in their seats until one slowly left and then another. Because every dart you throw at your wife, your husband, a friend, an abuser lands in the heart of Jesus. We will never deal with the roots of rage unless we know the meaning of forgiveness and we will never deal with those roots until we know the meaning of acceptance and we'll never be free until we know the wonder of Jesus. You say, oh Pastor Luther, how do I know that I'm healed?

That's a very good question. You know that you are healed or in the process of being healed when you begin to see that God has a purpose even in your abuse, though doesn't justify the abuser, God will deal with him. But God begins to use it in our lives and it begins to work for us rather than against us.

I've met many people who because of their experience are able to connect with people in ways that I can't connect with because I was brought up thankfully in a non-abusive home. But God is able to use even that evil for good. He used evil for good in the case of Jesus.

He was abused, shamefully abused because he was perfect and in the midst of all of that abuse he dies on the cross and purchases redemption as a reminder of the fact that for the believer who opens his life to God no part of our past experience is ever lost. Do you believe that? Can you trust God for that? I'm saying this as clearly as I can, whatever we do not forgive we transmit, we pass on. And if you do not allow God to transform you, you will indeed transmit whatever issue there is in your life and that's why I invite you today to respond to an invitation for special prayer. In a moment we're going to be singing together and when that happens you can stand up and you can come. As I mentioned Rebecca and I are going to be here. We have more prayer partners today. I don't know how many we will use but our intention is to pray for you. These counselors, I should not call them counselors, these prayer partners are not specific counselors, they are prayer partners. If you need further help they can perhaps connect you with other ministries and other opportunities but we're only here to lift one another up in prayer.

We're just a family saying who's hurting? Come and receive prayer today because these people, these prayer partners would love to meet you, connect with you, and lift you to the throne of God. We have prayed that this would be a healing moment for many people and however imperfectly the message went forth today, I believe that God is working in your life.

Would you join me as we pray together? Father, we still cleave to the promise that says He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. Today, Father, I pray that as many wounds would be opened that you might heal them all through your grace, through your power, and through the prayers of your people. Help this to be an important moment for many who say I need a special prayer that they might be healed. In Jesus' name, amen.

My friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. Could I have a personal word with you? What's happening in your life? Have you experienced abuse? Are you an abuser?

Do you know families in which abuse has occurred? Let me pray. And as I pray, I want you to pray along with me that God will bring about healing in the midst of such brokenness. Our Father, we thank you that that promise is true, that you do heal the broken-hearted. And today this message has gone into thousands of hearts, hundreds of thousands of hearts, where there is brokenness and where healing is needed. We ask, O Lord, that you shall fulfill that promise. Help all who are listening to believe it, to share it with others, and to give hope where there has been such hurt and such spiritual damage. You're there for us, Lord, and I pray that everyone who is listening will experience your presence, your forgiveness, your grace, and the ability to go on.

In Jesus' name we ask, amen. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Pastor Lutzer, we have a question today from Thelma.

She listens to us on KSIV in St. Louis, Missouri. This is her story. I know a teenage girl in our church who was raised in a Christian home.

She's had solid Bible teaching, including teaching on sexual purity. She admitted to me that she'd been physically abused, yet not sexually, by her father in her childhood. She calls herself damaged goods. This young girl instigated sexual advances early in a relationship with a young man. She avoids many who are showing love to her.

Outwardly, she shows anger, rebellion, and disrespect to authority. Your recent series on putting your past behind you has increased my concern that she's been deeply hurt. Asking her to confront her father will only fall on deaf ears. I want to help her.

What should I do? Well, first of all, I want to thank you so much for reaching out to this young woman. It's interesting that in your question you didn't mention where her mother is in all of this. But if her father abused her, now you say physically but not sexually, of course we know that possibly those two did go together. Maybe the girl isn't admitting it, but either way she's a young woman who desperately needs love, attention from those who are actually able to help her and to encourage her along in life. I think that the fact that she acts out her behavior, that's very natural in a case where you've been abused, where you are even angry with men, where you want to use your sexuality and perhaps entice them to become involved sexually because as she says, she feels as if she has damaged goods. So my friend, it's very important for you to befriend her no matter how angry, no matter how difficult it becomes, you have to hang in there.

But you're not the only one. There are others who should gather around her. As I mentioned a moment ago, her mother, I hope that she can become also part of the church family where she can relate to other boys and the whole body of Jesus Christ for her help and healing. But the bottom line is this, you need to encourage her to come to the Lord, to receive the Lord's cleansing, his complete acceptance, reminder of the fact that if she knows the Lord, she is the daughter of God and that he loves her.

She is number one on his list of important things in the universe. She needs to feel that closeness to the Lord. Remind her also that she is not damaged goods. That's a lie from the devil.

Finally, be patient. I've known situations like this where somebody perhaps has been rebellious for years, but eventually as you look back on their life, you discover that God kept bringing them through one difficulty after another, one hard lesson after another, and in the end, they're walking with God. So pray for her, encourage her, and I hope that someday you'll look back and say, what a wonderful trophy of God's grace. Thank you, Thelma, for your concern, and thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for your counsel. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Sometimes kids go astray, even Christian kids. Anguished parents cry out to God for a solution, and that's exactly what God wants us to do on our next Running to Win, Coming to Grips with Prodigal Children. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-24 02:11:34 / 2023-11-24 02:19:58 / 8

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