Today our “Wired for Love” series takes us into painful territory – that of molestation and violation. You are encouraged to watch this message in its entirety, as Pastor Miles’ teaching is followed by a powerful personal testimony of healing from rape and molestation and an encouragement to all who have experienced this in their lives.
In this series we have learned that people were created by God so that we can enjoy loving relationships as He does. He created a man and a woman to be united as one flesh, but we know that the devil will do anything he can to destroy a person’s ability to trust and bond with, live in relationship with, and achieve intimacy with another person. Tonight we discuss how rape and molestation interfere with our ability to have godly, intimate relationships.
In the book of 2 Samuel 13, King David’s son Amnon lusts after Tamar, which is improper because she is his half-sister and because she’s a virgin and he is not married to her. Amnon manipulates Tamar, lures her to be alone with him and without protection, and then rapes her.
We know from 1 John 5:3 that to love God is to obey God, and therefore loving another person means helping that person to obey and draw near to God.
Amnon claims to love Tamar (v. 4), but he does not actually love her at all; he lusts after her. He had a strong desire for her, thought about her constantly, and wanted to be with her. We know that this is not love because the Bible tells us that God is love, so one cannot act against God’s Word and call it love. We know from 1 John 5:3 that to love God is to obey God, and therefore loving another person means helping that person to obey and draw near to God. If we love another person, we want God’s best for him/her and a life that is consistent with His ways. We don’t ask the person to sin, as Amnon does with Tamar (and then he forces himself on her when she refuses).
Lust and Love
Lust desires to please self at expense of others—lust wants to get
Love desires to please others at the expense of self—love wants to give
Myth: Rape is sex.
Fact: Rape is as an act of violence that is about power, not sex.
Myth: Most rapists only rape one time.
Fact: Most rapists rape again, and again, and again - until caught.
Myth: Women incite men to rape.
Fact: Research has found that the vast majority of rapes are planned.
What if you are violated in this way? How can God begin your healing process?
1. Do not hold onto your peace – pursue God’s peace. Romans 5:1, Matthew 11:30, Proverbs 4:23
In verse 20, Tamar’s brother Absalom advises her to “hold [her] peace.” Just as Absalom suggests, many victims of molestation and rape never report the crime, but this advice is not helpful. Keeping silent doesn’t bring healing or protect other victims from the same violence. (Offenders of rape and molestation typically attack again and again if they are not stopped.) If you have been violated, don’t keep your silence. Seek the peace of God.
You may wonder where God was when you were hurt. He was right there with you. He did not cause your pain or want you to be victimized. But God has given us all freedom, and unfortunately people sometimes abuse the freedom God has given in order to hurt others.
God is still there with you, and He wants to heal you, encourage you, and love you. Don’t just do your best to forget about it and live normally. God can bring you through it and help you enjoy your life to the fullest.
2. God’s purpose, not your pain, should rule your life.
Pastor Miles explained that there is a part of the human brain called the amygdala, which stores memories of emotional experiences. When something horrible happens to you, your brain develops danger cues or signals in an attempt to keep you safe. Sounds and signals prepare you for danger and train you over time, whether you are aware of it or not. As a reaction to untreated trauma, you will begin to put up walls and create certain beliefs, such as, “parking structures are dangerous,” or “men cannot be trusted.”
For this reason, it is important to process the hurts in your life and work through them in a safe environment. Don’t allow your pain to dictate how you operate in life; seek therapy and the healing of God so that the devil and the person who hurt you cannot retain power over you in any way.
3. You are not alone in your pain.
Unfortunately, rape and molestation are common crimes that affect millions of people. In the United States today, every 45 seconds a woman is raped. One in four women and one in every six men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. According to those statistics, 2500 people listening to today’s message in the church have been victimized. You are not alone in your pain. Others around you can help support you and assist you in your journey toward healing and wholeness. And the Lord is there, too. Call out to Him and ask Him to help you take the first steps.