Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where Can I Get Rid of My Disgrace?

I’ve been interested in studying about and helping victims of sexual abuse since I was a little girl.  When I was in 5th grade, a classmate told me her step-dad was sexually abusing her.  I told my parents, and they immediately contacted the authorities.  She lived in our home for a couple of months.  She was put through the system and eventually adopted by an aunt.  Because her mother sided with her step-dad, I am now fully aware of the impact of my parents’ quick action to the injustice.  

Over the past several years in counseling with couples, Chris and I have met with many victims of sexual abuse, both men and women.  There is nothing more damaging to the soul than stripping a child of innocence, confidence and identity through sexual abuse.  And, it continues through adolescence, adulthood and marriage warping sexual identity and self-image causing a multitude of shame, guilt, anger and despair.

Justin Holcomb and his wife, Lindsey, put out a book this year called Rid of My Disgrace – Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault.  It is the best book I’ve read concerning issues of sexual abuse because it is gospel-centered.  It dispels self-help and points to identity in Christ.  Victim of sexual assault or not, I wish everyone could read Chapter 5 on Distorted Self-Image.  Justin and Lindsey say, “You need to know God’s statements and images about who you are, not self-produced positive statements or the lies being told to you by your experience of disgrace.  Confronting your distorted self-image and having your identity reconstructed is not a chore you do but is the fruit of having faith in the person and work of Jesus.”  The chapter on shame is also one of freedom for all who deal with shame and speaks of the story of Jesus on the cross as one of victimization and shame.  “The purpose of the cross was to expose, display, and humiliate the condemned.  The passion of Jesus was a ritual of humiliation.  The cross was, and is, the way of shame in the eyes of the world.  On the cross, Jesus felt shame but was innocent.  He suffered the shame of others that was placed on him.”

The most gut-wrenching part of this book, for me, has been reviewing the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel and looking back over her story in detail.  The words keep ringing in my head, “Where could I get rid of my disgrace?”  I think about second grade boys and girls that only God sees.  I think of my friends who were victimized by neighborhood friends.  They’re adults now but once had the face of a child.  I see the kids walking out of school every day and know many of them must be carrying shame and want to be rescued.  Where can they get rid of their disgrace?  The radical grace of God through Jesus Christ is the only way to redemption.  “Not only does God heal your wounds, but he also defends you and avenges the shameful things done to you.”  One day, this too shall be made right.

There is certainly more to this book than I have been able to express, so if interested, please check it out for yourself.  It is very beneficial if you or someone in your family has been sexually assaulted, and it is also beneficial for those in ministry.

1 comment:

  1. hello! loved reading this post-found you via justin holcomb's tweet.
    i am nearly finished reading this precious book. agreed, it is the best written on the subject(pretty sure i have read them all!) and it has blessed me tremendously. life changing, praise jesus!
    thank you for your willingness to help the disgraced.