Monday, June 17, 2013
Working out the wages.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you read the above verse, if you're a survivor you may ask, "Why then, is my abuser alive?" Or, "Why am I suffering a living death (as I call it), at the hands of an abuser who is walking free?"
I want to share with my fellow survivors (and those looking for insight on the mind of a survivor), my struggle with this scripture when used in a topical message.
Here's the thing.... the key to this verse (my opinion), is the reminder there is a power bigger than us to save us. I've struggled hard with the idea of letting God be my higher, bigger power. My abusers were in a sense a higher, stronger power. How can I trust God to be bigger and more powerful than my abusers when He let it happen?
Let me speak to the accusation that God is to blame for what happened to me.
In the beginning God gave mankind free will. Then God allowed mankind's will to be tested. What is the point of having free will if you're not given the option of choosing death or life, right?
From there mankind repeatedly chose death. First the fruit, then brothers killing each other, and well, basically it did not take long for things to get ugly and death to rule.
So, God in all His infinite wisdom added an eternal "life" option. The sacrifice of His Son.
God is as much to blame for my hurt as He is my healing. Where evil has been allowed to triumph in my life, God has made a way for good to overcome. It is a journey and some days an all out war.
It is a struggle to not want to blame God for my pain because He gave us free will.
When I focus on my hurt, my nightmares and all the HELL of being a survivor, that is all I can see.
"You gave us free will God and look just at how I have suffered in life... and it all started before I ever had a fighting chance to understand good from evil! Why didn't you stop it? Where were you?"
Survivors, here is a painful hard truth. Even all of our hurt, anger and overwhelming sorrow we must remember... it is not about us.
Let's take a look back at Romans 6:23 again. "The wages of sin is death...."
Okay, religious folk. I have been taught my whole life "If you're gonna sin, sin big!" and "All sin is equal."
Sin is sin... I get that. Any and all sin leads to death.
I want to challenge you though, why is it assumed that all sin equals the same impact on earth?
It is my belief that, while yes, sin equals death eternally it's impact this side of that bridge are NOT all the same.
For instance if a stranger speeds past me on the highway in his car and gets pulled over it is no skin off my nose. He "sinned" he got caught and was given a penalty. It was not the roads fault, nor Gods.
Now, take abuse...A father rapes and abuses his daughter. What and who are affected by that?
First the daughter, that is easy enough. Next, any children she may ever have will be affected by this abuse, either by the absence of a grandfather in their life or by becoming fellow victims with their mother.
Any man who wants to get to know the daughter, will have a lot to work through with her if he wants any kind of deep meaningful relationship. Not to mention there are more people OPENLY affected if the father is ever caught and stands trial or doesn't.
Both men sinned and this side of eternity the effects of one far out way the other.
The ripple effect of abuse/sin through generations is haunting. It is one reason why people hate to think about it. "That can't possibly be in my family!"
It is not a hopeless situation for a family if a member has been abused. It can be overcome if they band together and choose Good, life, hope, love and most of all, God. Not just any god. God, the big enough, strong enough, high enough, Son sacrificing, eternal life giving, God. Romans is saying... yes, the wages of sin eternally are death BUT, the FREE gift of God is eternal life. This does not mean that this side of heaven evil won't have it's day in your life. It also means that even though you have suffered in life... if you're still breathing, it's not over.