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A Destructive Secret – 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2024 1:00 am

A Destructive Secret – 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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June 7, 2024 1:00 am

Cycles of hurt and abuse can be broken. There’s a way forward from the scars, the guilt, and the condemnation we feel to forgiveness and healing. In this message, Pastor Lutzer shares three truths about ourselves, about others, and about our view of God. The truth will set us free.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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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 family is in trouble. Both external influences and our internal bent towards sin conspire to wreak havoc on those we love or claim to love. Abuse within families is epidemic.

Today, how to deal with the one secret people will do anything to keep. 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, are Christian homes immune to the kind of abuse you describe in today's message?

Unfortunately Dave, the answer is no. I've known many instances in which a man is one thing in church, maybe a Sunday school teacher. He might be involved in ministry, but at home, he can be an abuser. And of course, there are many different kinds of abuse. The question is, how do we confront this? And I always like to emphasize that if you're in an abusive situation, go for help as soon as possible. But at the same time, what do we do with the scars?

What do we do with all of the implications? Well, that's why I've written a book entitled A Practical Guide for Praying Parents. I did this because I want parents to pray for their children but also so that wives can pray for their husbands, husbands can pray for their wives and do so scripturally. And for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. By the way, I also want to emphasize that this sermon series can be yours in permanent form. But here's what you do. You go to

That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. These resources are made available to help you make it all the way to the finish line. And yes, wives can be sexually abused in a marriage as well, you know, by a self-righteous, determined self-absorbed man, and then child abuse of all different kinds. Remember this, that in the mind of someone like this, everything is totally justified. His roots go down very, very deeply in the soil of rage and he is convinced that what he is doing is absolutely right. As I mentioned that the world is out of shape. He sees himself as probably the last arrow left that is really, really straight and everybody had better shape up.

Furthermore, his conscience has been deadened because you see in his mind, what he's saying is this. When I was growing up, I had my own pain. Why should I worry about the pain of anyone else?

I've got my own agenda. Who was there for me when I was growing up? You see, and rather than allowing his past pain to humble him and to make him tender-hearted, it has done the opposite. It has made him very hard-hearted and very, very indifferent to the plight of those who are in need. Well, I've given you a brief outline of abuse. You say, well, what is really the cause?

What lies behind it? Why, why are there people like this? Well, almost always, you know, it does go back to childhood, huge abandonment issues. The feeling that I was abandoned and therefore I have a right to mistreat others. They don't think of it, of course, as mistreatment. And so what happens is this child grows up powerless if he's been abused. He grows up powerless and thinking to himself, someday when I'm stronger than my dad, someday when I'm stronger than those around me, I'm going to find some weak person. He may not be thinking of that consciously and I will show them a thing or two.

I will show them who is the boss. I can't emphasize too strongly that just because you were abused as a child, that does not mean that you have to turn out that way. In fact, the whole purpose of this message and the messages to follow is to break the cycle, is to break the curse. But without help from God, without seeking help at all, you have a tendency to recreate what happened to you. And so it goes from family to family and there it is. One quarter of all baby girls born this year will be abused sexually by a father, by a mother, maybe by a babysitter, by an uncle, by someone.

It's out there and it's terrible and it's everywhere. And maybe even if there isn't abuse in the home, all that you need to do is to grow up with this sense of inferiority and now you want to really prove who's boss. Take Cain in the Old Testament. I don't think that Adam and Eve abused Cain and Abel. What was Cain's problem? Well, firstborn characteristics certainly, but here's this brother of his, you know, and his brother is acceptable to God and he offers a more acceptable sacrifice and Cain says, wait a moment, I worked at my sacrifice too.

And it's the product of hard work. And furthermore, maybe Adam and Eve began to favor Abel just a little bit because he seemed to be more compliant. And so what Cain is saying is I can't stand this anymore. I can't put up with somebody like that who's making me look bad. What I'm going to do is to show who's boss here.

And he did show who was boss by killing him. Study the profile of all of the children in our schools who have committed murder, who've taken guns to school and blown others away. You'll always find the sense of powerlessness, the sense of humiliation, the sense of being put down, the sense of being, I didn't get a right shake in life and others are up there and they don't deserve what they're getting. And if they deserved it, I deserve it all the more.

You have this sense. I'm not, obviously, I'm not absolving them of responsibility. I'm just saying that it is this feeling that causes the deep rage that turns into the two kinds of anger that the Bible speaks of. Thumos, violent. I'm going to get it off my chest and I'm going to do it. Or, or the cunning kind of anger where you're going to plot revenge.

You think of all those students who, who for weeks plot the murder that they are going to commit and they pride themselves of being fully in control. So the question of course is at this point, what is the answer? Wouldn't it be terrible if the message ended here? Wouldn't it just be awful if we said, well, that's all I have to say today.

So go out, have a good day, enjoy a brunch and then go home. What is the answer? Paul Hegstrom in his book, Angry Men and Women Who Love Them tells his own story. Here he is nine years old. He's molested by a man in the neighborhood.

Paul himself grew up in a Christian home as father, a pastor. But here now the boy has this terrible secret and he cannot share it with his parents because you just don't talk about things like that, right? Parents, I say this with love, wake up. Your kids should be able to talk about such things.

You should tell them no matter what anybody does to you, no matter what happens to you, the first person that you tell is us. No matter how he intimidates you, no matter how he tells you he's going to kill you, you always come to us first about any thing. So here's a nine year old boy.

What does he do? He makes up a story and he says to his mother, mother, if David down the street were molested. Now here's a nine year old boy talking.

He may have used a different word, but he got the point across. He said, what would you say about him? His mother said, oh, if that were to happen to him, he would be a marked boy. You couldn't play with him because you must realize that he would know things that no boy at his age should ever know.

So, so you know, he, he would not be, he would not be a boy you'd want to play with. She does not know that David in the story is her own son at the age of nine. He grows up now living with this destructive secret and he begins to develop, these are his words, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. He woos and wins a lovely woman by the name of Judy.

Judy has no idea. She thinks this is Prince Charming, you remember? And she gets married and on the honeymoon, remember, someone like that is going to hold who he really is until he's got his victim trapped on the honeymoon. Suddenly becomes angry, violent and she's saying, boy, I hope that this was an anomaly, but it isn't. So she puts up with it a while and for three and a half years they divorce. He goes for counseling and he's being counseled for three and a half years. After that they got remarried and the book that he wrote was written 15 years after the second time they were married and he said in the book that to the glory of God, not once in 15 years has there ever been any abuse in his home and in his family.

So the question is this, the question is this, how do you get from point A to point B? I can't summarize the whole book, but I shall speak and of course I shall speak biblically. Jesus said the truth sets you free. By the way, you know, if that little nine year old, let's change the scenario. Let's suppose that little nine year old boy having happened to him, what did in the neighborhood, what if he'd have been able to go to mom and dad and say, mom and dad, you won't believe what this man did, but this happened and this happened and told the whole story.

Couple of things would have happened. First of all, that man might've received some just desserts for his pedophilia, but secondly, if they'd have affirmed him and said, you know, you're precious to God and, and the reason that Jesus died is because of the scars and the guilt and, and the condemnation that you feel is not from God. That's just your own way to process this, but there is forgiveness and there's healing. Think of how different his life would have ended up, but when you can't tell your secret, you don't know what to do with it alone. So the truth sets us free.

First of all, truth about ourselves. I speak now to those of you who are abusers. You need to face the truth in your own heart that your, your abandonment issues, your pain is much deeper than you ever realized. You may have dealt with this superficially, but in the presence of God, what you need to do is to pray and say, search me oh God and know my heart and try me and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting exposed to me. Oh God, those things that I have hidden from you, those sins that exist, sins of rejection, the feeling of rejection, of anger and rage and this deep feeling that I have been done an injustice. Help me to uncover all that in the name of Jesus and in the presence of God. And that's why counseling sometimes is very important because what a counselor does is if he's wise, in the presence of God and the scriptures and the Holy Spirit, the counselor can help you surface, surface things that are in your heart that you don't even realize they're there until you begin to talk it through with someone because the roots can often go very deep. So you need to know some truth about yourself.

Secondly, you need to know some truth about others. The reason that God gives us the body of Christ is so that we can share our pain. We have to say no to the kind of shame that would hold us bound. And here I speak now to you mothers, please take this from my heart to yours, would you? If there is abuse going on in your home by your husband or anyone else and you say to yourself, I have to play the game because I can't split up the family, et cetera, et cetera.

That is a wrong move. And let me tell you why. I remember a young woman saying, I can forgive the evil things that my father did to me. I cannot forgive my mother who knew it was going on and did nothing.

I encourage you today in Jesus name, do something. That's why in our bulletin today there is a confidential hotline that the women of this church have set up. And these women who will answer that phone will not only be confidential, but they will know how to instruct you.

They are trained. If you feel that you can't go to anyone else, call that hotline. Find out what your options are. Get help. Do not allow your children to be destroyed and say nothing.

I don't know how I can say it more clearly than that. The body of Jesus Christ exists for all of our benefits because in telling our secrets, in going for help, and in finding that others have gone through what we've gone through and their situation was far worse. And yet there was hope and healing and help as we see in the life of a Dory Vanstone. Hope and healing and help is contagious in the presence of others.

So you have to know something about others. And in the process, God is going to give you the grace to fulfill this verse of scripture. Be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. There is going to have to be a way in which you lay it all down, lay down the bitterness, the sense of injustice, the rage that you feel because of the abuse that you've experienced.

Remember that finally and most important. I want you today to see a brand new picture of God. I want you to see God as a knowing God. To the woman who says to me, Pastor Lutzer, did Jesus see the abuse that I had as a child? The answer is yes, Jesus saw it. Well, why didn't he intervene?

I can't answer that completely. But what if, what if he wanted to use you as an example of redemptive grace? What if he wanted to use you as an example of somebody who went through all this horror and yet believes in Jesus and believes in the healing of the emotions through Christ?

I don't have a complete answer, but I know he saw it. You need to have a new vision of a seeing, knowing God. You also need a new vision of a caring God. The scripture says that he heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. How does he do it? Does he take band-aids and put a band-aid here and a band-aid there?

No. What he wants us to do is to go into the inside of us as we, as we lay all of our burdens at his feet and all of our unanswered questions and then receive from him the grace, the grace that he promises to the destitute and to the needy, a knowing God, a caring God. I also want you to be introduced today to a feeling God. You see, what somebody is saying today as they're listening to this message is, well, it's wonderful that, that God knows. It's wonderful even that he cares.

What I'd really like to know is, has he ever felt what I felt? And the answer most assuredly is that in Jesus he has. Jesus was abused. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted, but he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised, we could say abused, for our iniquities. The chastis meant that would give us peace fell upon him and with his stripes we are healed.

Physical healing, yes, someday in the future when we get our resurrected bodies. Healing for our emotions right now, yes, he bore our griefs. He carried our sorrows. The scripture assures us that he is one who is deeply touched by the feelings of our infirmities. At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus wept.

And if you had looked at his tears and analyzed them, they'd have been human tears that he wept for those who were in mourning. He is touched, touched by your grief today. And yet he's not only able to be touched and to stand by, he is there to help you to work through the pain that you can say this is past, healing has begun. Scars remain, but a scar means that the wound is no longer open.

It is healing. He heals our broken hearts. So I invite you today to come to Jesus as somebody who's never trusted him as Savior, because he'll give you the two things nobody else can, the forgiveness of sin, but also the acceptance.

So you don't have to be this person who says I'm making my own way in the world. He will give you the acceptance that your heart craves in the presence of God. And Jesus will do that for you. For those of you who have never trusted him, for those of you who have trusted him, but there's a corner of your lives that has never really been opened. There are secrets too deep perhaps to ever share. Would you expose it all to the one who said, come all ye who weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. In his presence, it's safe to cry. In his presence, you have acceptance through him.

Would you join me as we pray? Father in Jesus' name, who are we to get into the human heart? Who are we able to see within? And to see the hidden pain and the secrets and the deep disappointment in others.

Parents who should have protected their children, violating them. Husbands who are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, lording it over them. We ask today in Jesus' name, would you bring healing to all who have heard this message? Would you bring healing to our families?

And we pray that this destructive secret may be a secret no longer. Help those father who are terrified at this message because they don't know where to go for help. Help them to know that there are women in this church who have experienced deep hurt in their own lives, who are willing to help them.

And the hotline that we've provided for them. We ask that many Lord shall take advantage and that in your blessed presence, the healing may begin in Jesus' name. Amen. My friend, this is Pastor Luther and I can't help but think that there are many of you who have listened to this message. Many of you may be in tears. Many of you may be in rebellion, in pain, anger.

I understand all that. And more importantly, Jesus understands all that. Would you come to him in faith? Would you ask God to bring healing into your life even though that healing seems to be impossible? God is with you. In fact, I'm reminded of the words in the book of Psalms, God heals the brokenhearted.

If you are brokenhearted because there are those who have failed you, those who have abused you, misused you, always remember that God is there for you. And we here at Running to Win are deeply committed to getting the gospel of God's grace and the hope of eternal life to as many people as we possibly can. So I want to thank you so much for your prayers, for your investment in this ministry. And we are making this entire sermon series available to you. The title is Reclaiming the Family.

It includes talking about fathers, mothers, abuse, your family, roots, stem, and branch, how those who have gone before you have affected you. For a gift of any amount, these messages can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the series of messages, Reclaiming the Family. And I'm going to be giving you that contact info again because my heart is so heavy for the many people who have heard this message and the many people who still have to hear this message. It's critical that there be hope and there be help in the midst of a nation that has lost its way, where families are fragmented, torn apart, and where abuse takes place in so many different ways. We here at Running to Win are so deeply grateful for all those who pray for us, those who are involved in our ministry through their interests, through their prayers.

I can't say that often enough because of people just like you, Running to Win is now in 50 different countries, 7 different languages. Thank you so much for helping us. And if you've been helped, as I've mentioned before, we're making this resource available to you in permanent form. Once again, go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago. Next time, a case study of a dysfunctional Bible family. Don't miss the saga of King David. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-07 02:38:20 / 2024-06-07 02:46:59 / 9

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