Why Restoration from Victimization Is Possible

Pressing through Shame to God

There is a story in Scripture of a woman whose life was ruined by sexual victimization. It's one of David's daughters, Tamar, who was raped by her stepbrother. That someone can be absolutely crushed under a feeling of shame, dirtiness, and degradation for something that was not his or her fault is a human reality.

Where we're dirty, God washes us. Where we feel dark, he brings us light.

There are other stories of people in Scripture who experienced great shame, and they walked through it, coming out in a good place. For example, in the culture of those days (and this is true to a degree in our culture, though not so forcefully), it was very shameful for a woman not to be able to have children. In multiple stories—Hannah, Sarah, Elizabeth—women were unable to conceive, and felt it was a blot and a darkness on their entire lives. What you see in those stories are some of the ways they mishandled it, and some of the ways that they pressed through it to a God who takes us in our shame.

The Honesty and Safety of God

Consider some of the primary biblical metaphors. Where we're dirty, God washes us. Where we feel dark, he brings us light. Where we are crushed and humiliated, he raises us up from the ash heap.

The very themes that play out when someone feels ashamed of what has happened to them are the same themes of how our Lord also redeems and loves us. Scripture uses such graphic, concrete language of the experience of humiliation, and then such vivid pictures of the opposite of those humiliations.

The Genuine Sympathy of Christ

The ultimate example of someone who experienced extreme shaming and humiliation is Jesus. Now, it wasn't a sexual victimization, but he was systematically humiliated. He was stripped naked and put up on a cross for all to see, and then tortured publicly. To be hung was not only extremely painful, but it was extremely shameful. It was the ultimate degradation.

Making All Things New

David Powlison

This book holds out hope in the midst of sexual brokenness: the grace and mercy of Jesus, supplying true, lasting mercy to both the sexually immoral and the sexually victimized.

It is no pat answer, but it is certainly a huge comfort, that Christ endured that humiliation for the joy that was set before him. He is both knowledgeable of the experience of being humiliated and he is patient to walk with us when must traverse that hard road.

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