This post is about how to begin recovery from being used and abused – and it is mostly relevant to women. But first, let’s get the bigger picture clarified….
The sexual liberation of the 1960’s and beyond has left millions of women “used and abused”. What might have seemed like ‘liberation’ has become ‘slavery’ to many. Instead of new and unbridled freedoms, people are now trapped in pain and the aftermath of abuse and exploitation.
Men exploit women. Since women were made as a ‘helper’ (Genesis 2:18) ‘for the man’ (1Corinthians 11:8), womankind is predisposed to fit in with the expectations of the men in their lives. This makes them vulnerable and dependent.
This vulnerability and dependence leaves women open to sexual exploitation, or “sexploitation” as I refer to it. The men who are meant to protect women can be overcome by evil. Lust, sensuality, selfishness, eroticism, pride and other forces can invade a man’s life (assuming he has not invited them in anyway) and cause the man to think of himself, rather than his moral responsibilities before God.
Humans are created beings, morally accountable to their creator. God is perfect and holy. So everything He made must be measured against God’s holiness. We are commanded to “Be Holy, just the same way our God is holy!” (Leviticus 19:2).
We all innately expect people to live with moral responsibility. We expect parents to care for their dependent children. We expect people to respect property rights and to restrain themselves from harming others. We expect people to tell the truth, keep their word and to meet their commitments.
When we see people who do not do these things we regard those people as out of order, criminal and socially unacceptable.
Yet the Sexual Liberation of the past half century has promoted an alternative morality. Instead of people learning to restrain their impulses, as a matter of responsibility, they are encouraged to indulge their impulses. Pleasure has been exalted above morality.
The prevailing morality is the notion of “happiness”.
Happy Little Cretans
I recall an older couple telling me about their son’s second marriage. He abandoned his first wife and his children and took up with another woman. Rather than see this as morally wrong, the parents celebrated his actions, because now he was “happy”.
The fact is that his first wife and his children are not happy. They were abandoned. He neglected them out of self-interest. His first wife, it seems, did not always please him. That was sufficient justification, it seems, for him to act in an abusive and selfish manner.
So, as I said earlier, “Happiness” has become the prevailing morality. People evaluate their choices based on what they think will make them happy. This is the very opposite of living by the code of moral responsibility.
We encourage the value of happiness in our children by giving in to their demands, offering them needless choices and telling them that they must please themselves.
Just as in that case of the “happy” husband, millions of people are abusing others, in the quest of their own personal happiness and fulfilment. Anyone who does not fully meet the expectations of another (even if those expectations are delusional) should expect to be thrown over in the other person’s quest for self-indulgence.
Now, more than ever, women are “sexploited”. The men in their lives are far less likely to act on the basis of moral responsibility and thus protect the women. Men are much more likely now to act in pure self-interest, abusing and exploiting the vulnerable people around them.
You don’t need a degree in sociology to realise that what I am describing is tragically real.
Protecting the Gals
Protecting the womenfolk has long been a cultural and legal requirement. For centuries the law penalised a man for “Breach of Promise”. If he caused a woman or her family to believe he intended to marry her, and then abandoned that course, he was able to be charged for “Breach of Promise”.
This law was to cause men not to play with the emotions of women. It slowed down the hasty flirtations of a man, since he could be creating expectations which would come back to bite him. In Australia the statute which overturned this law of Breach of Promise was not enacted until 1971. So this is not simply an ancient and obsolete notion, but one which prevailed into the modern time.
Nowadays women rely on capsicum spray, assertiveness training, flame-throwers mounted under their car (as I saw advertised in South Africa) and their heightened wits to navigate their way through a more jungle-like modern culture. Women are no longer respected and protected, but abandoned to their own devices or used by those who can take advantage of them.
Women are not only the physically weaker sex they are emotionally predisposed to look for affection and care. Some men have become effective at winning the confidence of a woman, lying to her about their intentions, playing on her emotional needs and seducing the woman into exploitation.
I recently spoke with a woman who discovered that the man who had been using her had done so to at least three other women before. She was fooled by his stories and bought into the emotional promise of his affections. He then dumped her suddenly for another woman.
The code for such men is to use and abuse the woman, then “forget her”. But the woman is not playing a user game and buys in emotionally. So she is damaged, wounded in heart, rejected, shamed and unable to “forget” what she has been through.
Get Your Heart Back
A key issue for the gals is to “get your heart back”. It is easy for a woman to give away her heart. She is designed to be in a faithful, loving relationship where she invests her emotional capacities in the success of her man. So she readily buys into that personal investment, even if she is being fooled by a user.
So, if you have been used by someone who stole your heart and then left you behind, you need to reclaim the affections you gave to him. This is virtually the same as breaking the soul-tie that is set up between two people in an affectional or physical relationship.
I lead people through a simple prayer that goes something like this…
Prayer to Reclaim Your Heart
“In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I repent of giving my heart and affections to this person who has used me. I now break the soul tie that exists between us. I revoke the hopes, dreams, expectations, emotional investment, delight and other responses which I invested into that relationship. I now reclaim my heart and affections. I take them back off that person who is unworthy of them. I place those affections and my heart at the feet of Jesus. Lord, take my heart and my wounded affections and please heal them. Teach me how to make You the centre of my affections, so I can live for You and for Your glory. Heal me of the offence, rejection, shame, abuse, hurt and wounding which I have experienced. Make me whole and take me into Your embrace, healing me and building me to be the woman You created me to be. I ask this in Jesus’ powerful and lovely name. Amen.”
Jesus Heals the Abused
Jesus Christ met and ministered to many used and abused women, who had even bought into a lifestyle of being someone else’s sex toy. He set them free and gave them back the life He created them for.
So, Jesus heals the abused, and He is ready to heal you. You were not created to be exploited. You were not created to be used and abused. You were created for His throne room. You were created to carry His glory.
Don’t settle for less. Press in to Him and find the healing, wholeness, freedom and destiny which is uniquely yours. I command you to do so, in Jesus’ powerful name.