Fallen in a Hole)
I’ve spent the last several posts talking about the situation of both perpetrators and victims of abuse. I have considered the various false narratives they start to live, lies that seem more palatable than facing their soul-wrenching reality. I have mentioned how these lies must be surrendered, though, and the harsh truths must be faced. Perpetrators must fully appreciate their wrongness and victims must fully appreciate their brokenness.
With most of our actions, if they take to places that we do not like we can reverse our steps to go back to where we were before. This is not the case with abuse, though, where our steps carry us over an edge and we fall into a hole, and no matter of walking around the bottom of that hole is going to find us a way out of it. Both for the enactor and the receiver of the abuse, they have been carried by choice or by force into a place that they cannot get themselves out of. And it is a damned place, a place that can only be described as godless. In that dark pit we will be made to understand what the very definition of hell is.
That might seem a harsh thing to say of the victim, who has not brought this travesty upon themselves, but it is the reality that they live even so. Like a dark cloud descending, their connection to God seems to be blotted out, and it is not at all unusual for those who experience this trauma to find their faith and core belief systems crushed.
Our Common Fate)
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.- Matthew 5:48
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. -John 15:11
See in the verses above what God intends for each of us. He calls us to be pure and to be joyful. But pure is the one thing that the perpetrator of abuse cannot be, and joyful is the one thing that the victim cannot be. They cannot live in the light and glory of God because they are in the hole, and neither of them has the power to get themselves back out of it.
At some point in our lives, each of us is going to receive harm from another. At some point in our lives, each of us is also going to harm another. Thus at some point all of us will be a victim and at some point all of us will be a perpetrator. That isn’t to say that we will all receive or inflict harm to the same degree, but each of us will break and be broken in some way or another.
And in that moment we will begin to understand—really understand—why it is that we all need to be saved. We will understand how helpless and hopeless we are on our own, how incapable we are of getting ourselves back up to the light.
We will find that our friends and families, no matter how hard they try, cannot piece back together our broken soul. They might alleviate some outer pains, might provide some worldly needs, but they cannot resolve the inner despair. They have no access and no power in the most secret places of our heart. Indeed, now that we find ourselves down in the pit, for the first time we will realize just how many of them are also right down there with us!
In this situation, whether as a victim or a perpetrator, the only one that can help us is a Savior. The only one that can help us is one who has never fallen into the pit, so that he may lower us a ladder, but one who has leapt into the lowest depths of the pit, so that he can mend our heart where it is. The only one that can help us is one that can take our hopeless and dark truth, swallow it within himself, and in return give us a new and bright truth.
I realize that I’ve leaned heavily into metaphor with this post, and perhaps it’s starting to sound like hyperbole. Frankly, it’s that I am struggling to find more straightforward words to communicate the ideas that I am trying to get across. My own experiences in the dark hole have literally fueled my nightmares, which perhaps lends to the language I have used. I shall finish, though, by summing up what I am trying to say just as plainly as I can.
As I mentioned before, I have been in that hole myself. It was a horrifying place. Without exaggeration, it was my greatest suffering in life, and I was totally unable to save myself from that hell. Even so, and much to my surprise, I was rescued from it by am unseen being. And I have seen this drama play out in the lives of many others, and I know that it can for you as well.