1 Corinthians 13
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Lord knows I have had my fair share of broken relationships and attempted ones, but by far, a couple of relationships stand out because they remind me why knowing my value in Christ is always essential and relevant (meaning, it’s important and I can never set my identity apart from Him). It also reminds me of what can happened whenever two broken, wounded, and incapable persons get together and “call” themselves to be “committed.” It can be disastrous in so many areas. It can be damaging when both of the people are confessing to know Christ, yet living in complete sin. It can be even more damaging when one is on the receiving end of emotional abuse and not even be aware that it’s happening to them. I know first hand that it can cause confusion and dare I say – make you feel like you are losing your mind. Those feelings are signs of what I will refer to as…the silent abuser.
You don’t know something is wrong until your partner let’s you know something is wrong. I remember how one guy would get mad at me for stuff he did. Then, he wouldn’t call for days at a time, yet I would be calling him. He eventually would return my calls and would always tell me he didn’t answer because he needed time to deal with his issues. This guy pulled these disappearing acts occasionally and when I would say that it hurt my feelings, he brushed it off as me being needy. He would say things about other girls in front of my face. When I would bring up how I felt, or try to explain something that was important to me, he would say things like, “It’s not about you, Katrina. It’s about Christ. You just want to be selfish.”
One guy wasn’t the best at being emotionally supportive. He didn’t want to hear about me “complaining about my life” when things in his life wasn’t the best. “Would you rather be me?” is what he’d ask when I wanted to talk to him about my problem at that moment. Eventually, I learned to not ask him for stuff and I shut down. Then another guy would be driving on the road, I would hear background noise, and if I asked him where he was going, he would get defensive or tell me he wasn’t doing anything. This same guy later told me that he would always answer “nothing” when I’d ask him what he was doing (when I heard him driving) because I didn’t ask the right question.
I think by now you get the point. I was a victim to this silent abuser of emotional and even mental abuse. I was always wondering if I was doing something wrong to make these guys not love me or appreciate me. I was always plagued with, “Am I going crazy because I know you said this but now you say that?” I had a hard time discerning the truth. I was overcome with shame and guilt with the thoughts of being the one causing the problems in the relationships.
When I look back on those times, I’m heartbroken that I put up with the things that I did.
However, now I understand why I did it.
Beloved, let me state here now that I do not believe we ask for or deserve abuse. However, I will say that sometimes, because of our mindsets and where we are, we have a tendency to gravitate toward people and situations that match whatever shape of our current spirits/emotions, etc. We will, at times, unknowingly seek those things out, regardless of the matter, shape, or form.
For me, I was really desperate to be loved, accepted, and paid so much attention that I saw unhealthy signs in these men, yet I chose to stay. Why? They were available. I wanted a huge void to be filled by any means necessary and they filled it.
Filled it with hurt. Filled it with rejection. Filled it with manipulation.
They knew what I needed most and was able to use it against me…to hurt me.
As I reflect on those times in my life from years ago, I rejoice now knowing that I’m not that same person anymore.
The person who willingly entered and stayed in those relationships no longer exists.
- Because I am forgiven and I have forgiven those who have hurt me in those relationships, I am free from the burden of regret, guilt, and shame.
- Because I know who I am in Christ, I no longer find certain things, behaviors, and certain types of relationships acceptable. I’ve raised my standards.
Finally, because I know who I am Christ, I know that I am always loved and passionately pursued by Him – the one who loves me most! Therefore, my propensity now leans toward true, patient, and kind love – found in Jesus Christ and the Godly relationships He places in my life.
It is possible that you can truly BE LOVED, Beloved!