LIE 2: “I AM NOT PURE BECAUSE I WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED.”
We hear stories of sexual abuse and the saddest tone in all the stories is what shame sounds like. It is undeserved and unplanned. When physical wounds have healed, emotional wounds seem to take so much longer to heal – if they ever do. This is a difficult issue to address yet incredibly important as the number of victims who experience sexual abuse seem to be on the increase.
Our only source of clarity, hope and healing in this time is found in the person of Jesus Christ. The only sense in the world right now is when we read the Living Words of a Living God…
Let us look at a story of sexual violation from the Bible and then let us ponder on some points and consider what we can learn from it. Remember the people in this story had cultural differences and lived in a different society to what we know today. It will be helpful to keep in mind, as you read, that even though they had different traditions – they were still people like us – with hopes and dreams.
So lets look beyond the customs to acknowledge the reality of Biblical purity:
2 Samuel 13:1-22
Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, Davids son, loved her. And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man. And he said to him, “O son of the kind, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you no tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.” Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.” So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took fought and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not without me from you.” But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her. He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.” Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went. And her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? NO hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house. When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.”
2 Samuel 13:28-29
“Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Mark when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon’, then kill him. Do not fear; has I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.” So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.”
I highlighted points here that mark the person abusing in a very different light to the one that was abused. It is important if we are going to compare impurity to purity. It is difficult but vital to see the difference.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
GOD CAN and He explains to us directly, repeatedly and specifically that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
It is interesting that in this story the abuser’s life (Amnon) does end in physical death, but if you read back a bit you will also see that he “hated her with a great hatred…” That is also death – when hatred replaces love, it kills love.
We need to look at what biblical PURITY means.
The sexual purity movement when I was a teenager was motivating but had a missing dimension of biblical purity. There was so much focus on what we did physically, with little attention to what CAUSED our actions – The Bible paints a clear picture that what we DO begins with what we THINK about and entertain. What we do physically is definitely significant – do not think I am undermining that. But in terms of what we see in the Bible – Biblical purity is a HEART ISSUE.
“And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
If we study a typical case of sexual abuse; It is the perpetrator who is acting out what he has entertained in his heart and mind. His evil actions against another person is the manifestation of his heart (which often plans abuse of this kind). The victim did not expect to be a victim – God looks at the heart and in this case INTENTION MATTERS.
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person…”
If you have been sexually abused, please consider Tamar in this story. She did not want this for her life yet she let shame consume her as she “Lived a desolate woman…” This does not line up with what Jesus said; He explained that what defiles us is what COMES OUT of our actions and NOT WHAT touches us or what we come into contact with.
It is important to know the difference between shame and guilt:
GUILT: “I have done something wrong.”
SHAME: “There is something wrong with me.”
As a victim of sexual abuse; shame can keep you a prisoner in your own condemnation for something you had no control over. Jesus came to take our shame away and He can heal the deepest pain imaginable, He is our healer.
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT OUR BODIES ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE – THEY ARE SACRED – MADE TO BE TEMPLES FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT. THEREFORE WHOEVER (YOURSELF OR ANOTHER) WHO HARMS A BODY WILL BE ANSWERABLE TO THE ONE WHO MADE IT. (1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20)
We believe that purity is a state of the human heart towards a Holy God – a pure heart that effects a life produces sexual purity.
We believe with ALL our hearts that the Lord Jesus has a special mercy for those who have been victims of sexual abuse and His healing power is available for all those who will invite Him into their lives!
May His Truth rule and reign.
Yours in Justice,
Morne and Chantelle