I have recently observed an incident involving two women; both have been victims of various types of abuse in their lives. However, as I observed their words and behavior during a conversation they were having, I concluded that the first woman allowed the abuse she suffered to dictate to her an inability to show kindness and compassion to the other woman. When this first woman heard something that reminded her of her own abuse, she suddenly became incapable of offering time to be a listening ear to the other woman who was deeply hurting by a recent event in her life.
On the other hand, as I observed the second woman, who attempted to share her wounded heart, I was reminded of this second woman’s overall attitude and behavior. She has suffered tremendous abuse throughout her childhood and teen years, including multiple sexual assaults from more than one of her uncles. Consequently, during her young teen years she developed a problem with bulimia.
In truth, while both of these women have suffered abuse, the second woman has suffered far greater abuses and for a much longer time. Even so, she has risen above the chains that can emotionally imprison a victim. She consistently gives time and a listening ear to anyone who needs to talk out their own troubles. At times, what people share, naturally reminds her of the hurts that she, too, has suffered. Nonetheless, she does not allow those reminders to shut her down, rendering her too stressed to be a needed listening ear. She does not allow her mind to be held captive by those memories.
What makes the first woman a slave to her pain while the second woman makes pain her slave? The first woman is controlled by her stress levels while the second woman controls her stress. How does this happen?
We read in Psalm 27:10, “Even if my mother and father abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” The second woman has learned the beauty of that verse which reminds us that no matter who may reject and abuse us, Jesus in all His beauty has promised never to leave us. We also read in Philippians 2:4-5, “Don’t just look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” The second woman has come to understand that Jesus is the one who can offer perfect comfort and peace to the hurting and faultless strength to the abused. He is also the one who can enable someone to be that listening ear to another, rising above the effects of their own pain.
The world’s philosophy says to take care of number one, avoiding anything that reminds one of their own pain. The philosophy of Jesus says to be that listening ear to those who hurt because when you are reminded of your own pain, Jesus is big enough to squash it, tame it, and bring it into submission. Through the strength of Jesus, personal pain can be brought under control rather than the pain controlling one’s mind and emotions and behavior. Isn’t that amazing?
There is absolutely no pain of this world that is stronger than the peace of Jesus. When we learn of Him and His ways, then we take on that strength, rising above the status of victim; thereby, enslaving pain, never allowing pain to dictate inability to simply offer someone a listening ear.
Jesus said when talking with His disciples in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give you a rich and full life.” Satan, the god of this world, seeks to steal all joy, kill all peace, and destroy ability to rise above the role of victim. Jesus came with HIs purpose to restore what pain has stolen, to heal what abuse has killed, and to bring back to life what being a victim has destroyed.
In Christ there is always victory. Through Him we can be a conqueror. He is our everything to get us through anything.