Did God Cause My Abuse For My Good?
Sometimes the sentiment is subtle, sometimes it is overt: Your abuse was God’s will, a part of His good plan, for your good and His glory.
Whether this idea comes from a theological framework that declares God sovereignly ordained the experience in your life in accordance with His plan or whether it is a friend who utters “I’m sure God had a reason for your abuse”, this toxic idea is sadly prevalent within Christianity.
When I got the nerve up to tell a friend just a bit of the abuse I had experienced I was heartbroken by her response. At first, she stared blankly and then proceeded to relay something about how she wasn’t exactly sure why the abuse had happened but she knew God had caused it to happen for a reason so that God would use it to sanctify me for His glory... or some other such nonsense.
Disappointment filled my soul those years ago and I knew she was no longer as safe person to confide in about my pain.
Despite what others may tell you, regardless of what some theologies imply, God did not cause your abuse for some Divine ego trip to gain more personal glory, to punish you for a wrong, or to instill some moral lesson in you or those watching.
I believe fully that God can redeem and work good out of the pain you have experienced, but I reject statements and theologies that imply God caused the abuse or willed it to happen.
God is love and love lays down one’s self for the sake of another. It does not cause fear and it does not cause abuse. Love is kind, it does not dishonor others, it does not delight in inflicting evil.
God despises abuse and I believe God’s heart aches when you are in pain.
This myth that God somehow caused your abuse is something we feel very strongly about at The Courage Conference. At The Courage Conference, an event to empower survivors of abuse and to educate the church on proper response, we reject damaging spiritual teachings about abuse and suffering. Whether you have chosen to remain within institutionalized religion or not, we want to support you as you heal. And, one way we do this is by dismantling damaging rhetoric you may have been exposed to in the past.
Find out more about The Courage Conference, online and onsite tickets available at an affordable price. There are also some scholarships opportunities open to survivors who need them.
Notes and Sources:
(1) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8 (NIV)
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” -John 15:13
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” -1 John 4:18
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8