Critically Wounded, Trust Broken by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
This is the dream that I woke up with this morning.
I saw a huge lion attacking a person. It had clawed down the chest and abdomen of the person and had gouged out great wounded tracks down the centre of the body. I could not recognise if it was a man or a woman as it was too disfigured. The person was in a critical state and near death.
This was the question that I sensed the Spirit of God saying to me. “Lisa, if you had known this Lion from a cub, had trusted it and then it turned on you and attacked you near fatally, would you trust this Lion again?”
The answer is an obvious one – ‘No Lord. Of course I would have trouble ever trusting this Lion again’.
This was the reply: “What if this Lion was a person?”
You know I hear story after story of families and people who are destroyed by vicious attacks like this. It may be by a spiritual leader, it may be by a brutal marriage breakdown, it may be by a sexual predator or a violent offender. If a dog did this it would be put down. Why is it that we treat people differently? Is it because the wounds are often not visible?
In the case of domestic violence or criminal violence the wounds can be strategically administered so as to be hidden from view. These wounds can be fatal blows leaving lasting and permanent damage emotionally and psychologically. Wounds of rejection, betrayal, abuse, causing us to struggle with our boundaries and safety.
Too often families protect offenders and make excuses for them. Why?
I feel that this warning this morning is a message to some of you and to myself to help you see that if someone hurts you or attacks you like this, it is not okay. You may not see the visible wounding but the results are the same as if you had been admitted to an emergency unit in a hospital in critical condition.
After I pondered on this I closed my eyes and began to ask for more of the picture.
As I meditated I saw the wounds starting to heal. Because of the nature and deepness of the wounds the skin puckered and stretched as it healed. The wounds, even in healing, were ugly and brutal to look at. Then I saw a phial of healing oil being poured over the wounds. The disfigurement remained but the skin became supple and elastic and able to move without pulling and causing discomfort. However they remained a permanent testament to the trauma and viciousness that had been suffered.
What am I trying to say here?
I have been wounded to near death like this many times. The healing comes but it takes many years and a lot of work. The hard work of forgiveness. It also takes time to come to terms with the level of woundedness. Often if this has happened from someone close to us we try to minimise it, manage it and we reject the full impact. Sometimes we live in survival mode for a long time until we are safe enough to review it and examine what has happened. All of these reactions are normal and take time.
As I read the account of Jacob in Genesis I realised that after he had wrestled with the angel throughout the night, he was left with a limp. I have found this to be true. Healing comes if we allow it but we are never the same. We will always walk with a limp.
For me personally several of these attacks have come from family and also from Church Leaders.
In the instance of a family Paedophile, some of my siblings and cousins were also affected. Interestingly the extended family’s first reaction was to protect the Paedophile even though the abuse spanned several generations. Some of the family were distressed that we were taking action to a court level. As I have pondered this I can understand how difficult this must be for family members as their first instinct is maybe to protect that family member who is in the most eminent danger – that being prosecution. The abuse is finished, it is in the past, why can’t you leave it alone? Why can’t you just forgive?
Well some of us can and have forgiven, but we will never trust that person and we should not be asked to protect them from the law and its repercussions.
In the case of Spiritual abuse, you may wonder why I have listed it next to Paedophilia. Well for me personally, and I am talking personally here. I found the spiritual abuse worse than sexual abuse. This is certainly not the case for everyone.
My experience has been that as a child you can spot the predator, you sense that something is not quite right.
You are scared, you don’t want to be around that person, you don’t want to be left alone with them. Even as an adult you can sometimes get a sense that something is not right but you don’t have to trust that person or have anything to do with them.
With spiritual abuse, this is harder to pick. This comes from someone that you are asked to trust, that the community trusts and that society trusts. This is difficult because group trust desensitises your alarm systems. It is also wrapped up in theology and your vision of who God is. This abuse is harder to see coming and when it does it takes you out. Trust is at the core of every relationship and very difficult to get back once broken. Obviously not all church leaders are like this. Most are kind and good people who mean well.
If you are struggling with Spiritual Abuse remember: Jesus does not wound. He himself was wounded for us, it is through the wounds that he received that we find healing.
Jesus loves: builds up, carrys’, holds, comforts, cares for, is compassionate toward, is gentle, is kind. If a spiritual leader has treated you thoughtlessly, unkindly, harshly, demeaningly, unjustly, if they have rejected, betrayed or sabotaged you then these are not the characteristics of Christ and these could be the signs of spiritual abuse.
So the lesson here is:.
- Understand the impact of the injuries on your life – if you find this difficult make time to speak to a professional who can help illuminate and bring understanding to what has happened to you.
- Healing takes time and you may be left with a limp or disfigurement which tells the story of who you are.
- Forgiveness is necessary for healing
- Trust is not mandatory. Trust is earned and given and can be taken away at any time.
- ‘Philosophers such as Annette Baier have made a difference between trust and reliance by saying that trust can be betrayed, whilst reliance can only be disappointed (Baier 1986, 235). Carolyn McLeod explains Baier’s argument by giving the following examples: we can rely on our clock to give the time, but we do not feel betrayed when it breaks, thus, we cannot say that we trusted it; we are not trusting when we are suspicious of the other person, because this is in fact an expression of distrust (McLeod 2006). Thus, trust is different from reliance in the sense that a truster accepts the risk of being betrayed’ (Wiki).
- Trust can be restored depending on the circumstances.
- ‘Picture trust as a bridge that has been damaged or destroyed. The resulting gap is great and the challenges ahead are difficult, but not insurmountable. There are no shortcuts, however. It simply takes time. Time to heal. Time to earn again the trust that was lost. Time to rebuild the bridge’ (K. Bubna).
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