Galatians 5: 13-15
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
When I hear the word abuse I often picture someone who is black and blue from a beating or someone being verbally beat down by a bully. But the word abuse has a larger platform than I realize. I have hated parts of my body that aren’t perfect. I have stuffed my face with unhealthy food. I have gone a few days without brushing my teeth. I have brought pain, stress, and hate into my body. No one has abused my body more than I have abused it. Abusing myself was acceptable because I allowed it to happen. I gave myself permission. But when someone else becomes abusive towards me or crosses lines I don’t want them to cross, my anger and hate for those lines being crossed rises and I just might lash out…
Lashing out in anger and hate is also a form of abuse, where we bite and consume, so …I become abusive to someone other than myself. It’s hard to see that we are in the wrong when we feel justified and self-righteous in our own thinking. But, the honest truth is, everyone is abusive in one form or another… whether it is self-abuse, neglect, lashing out in hate and anger, control, over affectionate, to cold, over indulgence, under indulgence, and many more…
Some abuse is viewed as normal- where people don’t even think of it as abuse, some abuse is hard to go through but we carry on- fighting the good fight until the end, and then …there is the dangerous abuse- where it could bring death to our body or soul- where whatever choice that is made will greatly impact our lives. No outsider can tell you which is which (unless it’s a professional) …this is something everyone has to realize for themselves. Some people are strong enough to carry on and others are not. Some view abuse different than others. It comes down to asking ourselves what abuse is and what it isn’t? …
“The word abuse is made up of two parts — “use,” which means to employ, and ab-, a Latin prefix meaning “away” — and as a whole comes from the Latin abūsus, meaning “misuse,” or “use wrongly.” It began as a verb and became a noun in the mid-15th century. Abusealso refers to anything that is employed improperly or to excess, such as the abuse of alcohol or drugs.”(This is from https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/abuse.)
When we use our power wrong we live in bondage not in liberty. Overuse and misuse can bring destruction. Everywhere we look we can see the evidence of this fact. We see it in human nature as well as nature itself. But, it also can bring out the best in us as we are refined by its fire… Beauty from the ashes…
In all its glory
Strong winds come
The earth’s heart keeps beating
New growth brings healing
The earth continues to survive…
The earth knows how to love its creatures and plants- through, during, and after hardships, we need to learn too.
Galatians 5: 16-26
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Think about where you stand in all this… as the abuser and the one being abused. Seek forgiveness for both sides and find healing. I pray for God to release understanding in you and to walk before you as he guides you in all things.
Author H.E. Olsen