What comes to mind when you think of abuse? Sex trafficking? Bruises, and pain? Cowering beneath a raised fist? Abuse comes in many forms and can happen in any sort of relationship. Wealth, neighborhood, age, gender, education, culture, religion - none of these protect us from abuse. Being able to recognize the signs of abuse - physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal - as well as neglect is important. We all want to be loved and sometimes our need causes us to stay in an abusive relationship. Many people would rather be in a broken relationship than to be alone. Some stay because they believe that loving others means forgiving them, even when they do us harm. But God doesn't want us to abuse ourselves by welcoming others' abuse.
How do you know if a relationship has become abusive? When do you stop trying to fix it and when is it time to walk away? Teens believe they know everything about the dating scene, but it's important that parents stay involved and notice the warning signs of an abusive relationship.
It's time to leave when you partner makes you feel unworthy.
It's time to leave when you feel as if you could be replaced at any moment by someone better.
It's time to leave when your self-worth goes down the drain.
It's time to leave when your partner crushes your dreams and your spirit.
It's time to leave when you have been hit, thrown around, punched, etc.
It's time to leave when you have been abused sexually or emotionally.
God created you wonderfully and miraculously! God sent Christ to die for you and to redeem you. God chooses you, calls you and nurtures the gifts within you. In God's eyes you are precious. You deserve someone who values you, who celebrates your uniqueness, and who is happiest when you shine. You deserve someone who will grow with you in your relationship with God and with each other. Ask God for patience as you search for that person. You will not regret the wait! Read I Corinthians 13 today.
Ask your child...
Think of people you can trust when you are in trouble. Make a list of people you could talk to if something bad happened to you. Do you need to find a few more trustworthy people?
God, please give us the courage to ask for help and the strength to speak up when we are afraid. We know we are safe in your love. Amen.