s women from deeply religious, conservative families, most of us can say without a doubt that our parents truly desired to live righteously and raise us in a godly manner. Drawing from biblical texts, through prayer and selective external influence, our parents did the best they could to ensure we would grow up to seek the Lord, to love Him, and to walk in obedience to His voice. To have a pure heart and to take a stand against worldliness, and be strong Christians. While exceptions may exist, I have not heard from one young woman who believes her parents intentionally, willfully tried to damage her.
And yet, abuse and heartache abounds. Where does this leave us? We can ignore it and pretend it goes away. We can live our days in denial. Or we can let the Healer do what He came to do ~ and help us face our pain, and make us whole.
But in a sad, strange irony, those who attempt facing issues of childhood pain, abuse, and family dysfunction often encounter objections.
- "You are just blaming your parents."
- "Why can't you take responsibility for your own sin?"
- "Love covers a multitude of sins."
- "They did the best they could. You shouldn't judge."
- "Just forgive."
- "If you honored your parents, you wouldn't bring this up."
- "Leave the past in the past."
These responses are unhelpful and crippling in the least, with potential for inexpressible emotional, spiritual, and physical damage at the worst.
Let's say you draw a bath for your baby and unwittingly make the water too hot. And after you place him in the tub, you notice that his skin blisters and burns through your inadvertent mistake. If you dismiss these very real concerns by defending your actions, saying, "But I didn't mean to," or "I meant well," what's to become of his poor little skin?
And say you ignore them and he grows up with scars. Yes, there is a chance he will forgive you. But as an adult, if he desires to discover the truth of his scars and seek recovery, he must take necessary steps to address the well-intentioned (because he did need to bathe) fruits of your mistake. Would you begrudge him this?
And when scars touch not only skin, but heart and soul ~ what then?
The only way healing can occur is to acknowledge the truth of pain and abuse. Sometimes this gets messy. Parents get defensive. Daughters (or sons) feel torn. Yet Scripture teaches that the fruits of doctrine, teachers, and those in authority reveal whether something is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. And in most cases, the fruits of patriocentric, fundamentalist doctrines are bad. Depression, chronic fatigue, self-injury, attempted suicide, and murder are just a few serious ramifications from doctrines of man perpetuated in patriarchal households.
Consider that it is actually honoring to parents for children to examine the abusive environments that affect them even into adulthood. Because this way they can heal and learn how not to perpetuate the same lies, the same hurts within their own families. Parents, particularly Christian parents who claim to want to "be a light" or a "witness" or to "transform the culture", should be overjoyed that their offspring seek recovery from false teaching, lies, and spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical abuse.
If you have been injured by some of the common objections to seeking recovery, realize that these only serve to perpetuate pain and denial and keep you from receiving the healing touch of Jesus ~ who came to heal the brokenhearted, to set free the oppressed, and to bind up their wounds. Don't let others stand in the way of Christ.