Title: Abuse Ninjutsu 1: Your attitude is your source of power (so amplify it)!
Plot: A podcast of hope, encouragement, and empowermen for victims of abuse
Notes: With clear advise on how to proceed with God's help
Listen to "Abuse Ninjutsu 1 (Your attitude is your source of power (so amplify it)!" on Spreaker.
Hey, welcome back!
I am kicking of the series entitled, Abuse Ninjutsu: Turn the power of your attackers on themselves!
In this one you will come to discover your attitude is your source of power and how to amplify it!
Most people severely underestimate abuse. In fact, my concern is that by using this title, the people who need to hear it most, people like me, won’t even click on the link. So would you do me a favor? If you decide you like this message and you know someone who needs to hear it, would you remember them and please send them a link? Because sometimes it’s the small things we do, that have the biggest impact.
Always remember: just because you make it look easy, that doesn’t mean you’re not a big deal! You’re a very big deal! So do not underestimate the power of small kindnesses.
I woke this morning and realized that the reason I’ve been down in the dumps lately is because I’ve been a victim of abuse since I was a little boy and into my forties. But until this morning, I didn’t see it. Yesterday if someone had asked me: “Tom, are you a victim of abuse?” I would have said no! But this morning my eyes were opened and I could see it. And so I got on Amazon and looked for books about abuse and I was offended that most of the titles emphasized healing and recovery. I wanted a lashing out book! Where are the books on payback? I wanted a book that would teach me abuse Ninjutsu. So that the next time some sorry attacker came into my life, I’d have my foot on his neck rejoicing at the sound of his pleas for mercy.
Maybe that doesn’t sound very Christian of me… But the revelation I had this morning made me angry.
After looking through all the books on Amazon, I reminded myself that some of my best Sunday School lessons were an act of faith. Where I knew nothing on a topic, I prayed to God, and he opened the floodgates. And my students said, wow, I needed to hear that! And I thought wow, I made all that stuff up yesterday! Which is my way of giving God all the credit.
I’m going to approach this subject differently than most and I’ll bounce around somewhat, because when I bring all of this together I want it to blow your mind. The way God blew mine. So fear not, I do know what I’m doing!
There’s a negative stigma associated with abuse victims, and so we refrain from admitting that we are one because of the shame associated with it. As if being abused suggests that the problem, is that we’re not very smart. And so I will encourage you by saying that is not true! Quite the opposite! Prime candidates for abuse are people who are very smart, very kind, and very Christian. They are not weak, they are meek, their power is under control. And while that sounds wonderful to say, it lacks comfort when we’re reeling from the misery of feeling trapped and obligated to shut down an attack, one that we know we didn’t deserve.
I have come to realize that the source of abuse is the principalities and powers that Paul warned us about. They are behind the scenes sending abusers into our lives so that after we defeat one we are confronted with another (sometimes of a completely different variety). Abuse is as custommade as people are different. And when we review our lives we might realize, wow, I went from one abusive relationship to another! It's as if I learned nothing!
Another stunner is that it is often the second abuser who actually comforted me from the first. That's how they worm their way into my life. That's how they do it! They start by comforting me or supplying something they can see that I need and demonizing someone else, and eventually, I'm on the receiving end of a new and unique and special form of torture. Go me! But no more!
Abuse victims are people who were singled out by beings that are thousands of years old, incredibly crafty, who have unusual amounts of access and insight into our behaviors, and a bucket of abusers to choose from, beings who know our weaknesses, who hate us, and who bring forces together for the purpose of destroying us. The devil is here to steal, kill and destroy as the Bible says.
But this is the key: they view us as a threat. Otherwise, they’d leave us alone.
Meaning if you are a victim of abuse, that means that you are a highly intelligent, good, decent human being, who now understands why Jesus warned us that our mere association with him, would cause the world to hate us. Made clear by the way they treat us. Therefore, the greater unfairness and abuse you’ve endured, maybe even the more you're hated, and the less popular you are, the stronger the indication that you were targeted because the enemy sees you as powerful. And so I ask you: do you see yourself that way? Because if a being that’s thousands of years old views as powerful, maybe you should, too.
The truth is I don’t need to turn to Amazon for books on abuse. The Bible tells me everything I need to know to defeat abusers. But this is the key: the key is in how you see yourself.
If you think: gosh the Bible is the whole reason I’m being abused in the first place. All that love your enemy, submit to authority stuff is the reason I’m in this mess! Then I confess you do have a point. And so let’s hold that thought for a minute.
If I were to tell you a story about a man who claimed to be God, who was rejected by his own people, who was beaten and whipped and scourged and put on trial and crucified by an angry crowd of haters. Would that sound like success to you? For those of you who immediately thought of Jesus you would say, yes. But objectively speaking what I just described sounds like the definition of losing.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into a sermon on suffering! Quite the opposite. I hate suffering. And I wonder about those who are so eager to embrace it.
Instead, I want to encourage you. Because if you’re looking back over your life and you’re upset that you were abused, then can I suggest to you: that you should not be assessing your success based on how things look. Your enemies might see you as losing. You might see yourself as losing. Everyone may be in unanimous agreement that your situation looks bad. But by all appearances Jesus lost, but we know that in truth he won. So divorce any ideas you might have about how things look. I don’t think any of us is qualified to assess how well we’ve done. I leave that to God. Only he knows and I shouldn't waste my time worrying about that. I know he loves me and that’s all I need to know. And I also know that if he sees me suffering and abused, well he’s got a special place in his heart for that. He can relate to that! How do you think he feels about the people in your life who are doing that on you? Can I tell you that he burns with anger over it? A holy and righteous indignation! If there is anything that Jesus was known for: it’s that he hates those who mistreat his kids! He hated the Pharisees! He viewed them as abusive and he called them snakes and sons of the devil to their face. Have you ever said that to anyone face to face? And can you imagine what kind of anger it would take to drive you to such an expression?
Some people struggle with the scene when Jesus whipped the money changers and threw them out of his father’s temple. But that’s the guy we need when we're being abused! I want that guy! And that's who we'll get, provided we cry out to him. If we trust him and don't take matters into our own hands, then he will burn with anger for us until he unleashes vengeance on our persecutors. It may take time, but the day will come. And they will be made to pay in ways that strike terror into their hearts without remedy. They'll have no comfort. Because comfort comes from God. In the morning they will beg for the night to come and at night they will want the morning.
This is where our churches fall down. You know about the Jesus Christ who loves and forgives, who is merciful and patient and long suffering. And when we think of that guy, we don't really feel like he can help us in this situation. But victims of abuse need to meet the other guy. The one who goes before us and defeats our enemies, who fights our battles, who says vengeance is mine and I will repay. Let me tell you about him for a second:
There was an Amorite king who cut off the thumbs and the big toes of the kings he had defeated in war and he treated them like dogs. They begged for food from under his table and they ate the scraps that fell to the ground. Let me quote him, this comes from the Septuagint version of the Bible,
Judges 1:7 says
7 And Adonibezek said, Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their food under my table: as I therefore have done, so God has recompensed me: and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
The verse prior to that explains that after capturing him, Israel cut off his thumbs and big toes.
What if all those Scriptures that say eye for eye and tooth for tooth are a warning about God's intention to repay men for their evils? And what if the only reason we don't see that coming to pass is because people are taking matters into their own hands? Because Scripture says God won't judge our enemies when we do that. It also warns that he'll stop if we cheer at the misfortune of others. He's not trying to manufacture ruthless evil men, he wants to produce Christians.
Consider another example: You know that Pharao and his army were drowned in the Red Sea, but do you recall that it was Pharao who commanded that all the male infants were to be cast into the Nile? If you look for this in Scripture, you will find it. One man harming another and God's vengeance being eerily reminiscent of the evil that was done. Some people call it charma, but it's God repaying debts.
We know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He paid our debts. But the implication of that is there are debts owed to me also. Do you think he won't repay them? Of course he will! But we get so wound up about what other people owe us, that we fail to trigger the thing that results in repayment, which is forgiveness. When you forgive other people their debt to you don't be surprised when God repays you what they owed. But after receiving repayment, don't then go chasing them down for the original debt, because that's just greedy.
And then there's all those things that happened that aren't in Scripture. You know that the promised land was desolate for 1900 years, but do you know how and why it got that way? Eusebius the father of church history recorded that forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus and the martyrdom of the apostles, God sent armies into Israel to destroy it. The stories are horrifying. Cities besieged by armies, famine, women eating their own children to survive. And afterwards they were taken back to Egypt to be sold as slaves. But in many cases, the Egyptians wouldn't buy. Can you imagine that? Of course we know why, they remembered what happened the last time. But imagine being wiped out by armies, put in chains and taken to market to be sold as a slave, where the people refused to buy you. Is it possible to feel more worthless than that?
That's the God we need when we are on the receiving end of abuse!
Now you might thing I'm sounding harsh and unchristian like, but look at David's Psalms. David's psalms epitomize everything I'm describing right here right now. All of them.
I'll only read one:
Psalm 94:1-5 says
94 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. 2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. 3 Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? 5 They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage.
The dead in heaven are crying out for God to judge the earth. And that's because of abuse!
It's not wrong to want God to repay your enemies, it's just wrong to exact payment yourself.
Some people can't reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New, but it's easy. You do this in your own life; how do you treat those you love and how do you treat those you hate? Are there two you's? No, but there are at least two different ways you treat people, depending on who you're dealing with.
I'm not suggesting God hated the Jews, far from it. He loves the Jews he fought for them in the Old Testament. But it was there that we learned that God has standards. Just like you and I do. There are people we let into our lives and people we drive out. If they meet our standards, we let them into our lives and they become our friends and enjoy all the benefits of friendship. So long as we insist on dwelling in the midst of our enemies they will be a thorn in our side. Trying to entice us to sin and whore after other gods. Torturing us just by being themselves.
Like Israel, for a time we are persecuted by our enemies, for a time we dwell among them and serve them, but when the time comes where we get away from our enemies, we should never look back. And we shouldn't go to a place where the land is full of new ones. The key is separation. We need good soil and no weeds if we want to become oaks or Redwoods. If we dwell among our enemies, then like weeds they will drag us down. It is better to live in caves like David did then to live in a palace with those who hate you.
The first stronghold we need to destroy is our definition of what we think victory looks like. Remember, just because you've suffered that doesn't mean you lost. Appearances give no indication of status.
Winston Churchill once said, "If ever you find that you're going through hell, keep going."
And really the key to victory over abuse is an attitude adjustment. If we believed that vengeance is God's and he will repay, if we really believed, that when people do us harm, God will settle their debts with, then we would smile because we know, God loves us and he has a special place in his heart for the victims of abuse. He will lift us up exalting us before our enemies. He will prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies. That literally happend for me! The judgement that comes for our enemies will be severe! Severe!
They laugh while the plot our ruin and imagine defeating us because they live in the moment and lack the intelligence to think about tomorrow. But God will not only settle their debts, he'll settle the score. And when he requires repayment from, them they'll swallow their hearts and literally crap themselves for fear.
You know what's like to be on the receiving end of God's correction. If God is willing to afflict his own children to transform them into someone better, then how much more will God correct someone who has it coming?
So let bygones be bygones and move on and don't repeat your mistakes.
The story of David's victory over Goliath exalts David. But do you remember the first time you heard that story? I believe I said, "Wait! So David through a rock at him and knocked him unconcious and then chopped his head off? I know Goliath was a giant, but that doesn't even really sound like a fair fight. And why do I like this story again?" I don't mean to minimized David, he's a hero of the faith, and he was the only one in all of Israel who put his trust in God, who delivered his enemy up on a silver platter.
But do you know how Israel defeated the giants in the land of Canaan? It's actually almost comical.
When you assemble all the stories and ask yourself, what did God mean when he said he would go ahead of Israel and fight their battles? The answer to that question is that in some cases he reigned down hailstones mixed with flames and fire, crushing the opposition. In other cases he caused the entire army to be drown in the Red Sea; in still others, he filled them with fear and panic likely causing them to be cowering in fear, definitely causing them to run and kill each other. He caused their horses to stumble and their chariots appeared to be mired in mud. They often turned on each other cutting each other down. And angel went before Israel literally fighting and killing their enemies. And do you know why God did all of this?
Because after giving Israel the promised land he wanted them to be able to keep it. He wanted it to be an uncontested gift. And imagine you walked through a battleground and saw all that blood and all those dead giants, and you discovered this runt of a nation that wasn't even large enough to fill the land they were taking, did this. Imagine the great fear that would overwhelm you. The last thing you'd do is pick a fight with them because you see all the death and destruction and it fills with respect and fear for that nation. What you didn't see is that God sent bees and locusts in and diseases like leprosy so that the inhabitants of the land would have every reason to leave and they'd wonder what they were fighting for.
Do you have have a giant in your life? We think we're supposed to carry our crosses and face our giants. But really we're supposed to trust God and believe. God fights our battles! Maybe the problem you're having is that you've been fighting your own battles. Really I'm talking to myself right now, I'm preaching to the choir.
What we're supposed to do is manage our attitudes. I know my tone has sounded angry, but I was doing that to make you laugh and hopefully it worked. So if you have been laughing, if you're realizing that facing your giants might not actually be be so hard. If you understand that you control your attitude and that God wants you to forgive, and trust and believe and then do what he says. Then maybe you're experiencing a spark of hope. And by the end of this series you should have a furnace.
You probably imagined I was going to tell you to march up to your abuser and rebuke him and confront him and stand up for yourself. But instead I'm going to tell you to ask God how to defeat your enemy and to do what he says and trust him. If he says lead your family into a dead end at a river of water and then hold a stick up in the air and pass through the on dry land, then do that. If he says march around the city seven times quitely. Meaning don't complain, shut your mouth, don't ask questions, just do what he says. And then sing praises and shout for joy before you see any sings of success, then do that. Do whatever he says.
Abusers get their power from being unpredictable. And victims are predictable. And that's the problem. The righteous will walk by faith not by sight. In other words, don't do the thing that looks obvious. Do the thing that God tells you to do even if it looks stupid. Because that's the last thing your enemy will see coming.
In this podcast I told you a bunch of stories to designed to communicate two things only:
#1 Get control of your attitude. Believe God, trust him, he is faithful and strong.
#2 Expect God to fight your battles for you, but he will involve you, so do what he says.
As often as you inhale and exhale you will be responsible for the condition of your attitude. It is not: do it today and forget. But rather it is do it now and keep doing it and keep doing it after that.
If all you do in life is master your attitude, your mouth, and your trust for God asking him what to do and doing what he says. If that's all you do, and you use these things for good and not evil, you can and will defeat your enemies with ease, even if it's a country full of giants!
And the aftermath of what you have accomplished will strike fear into the hearts of your enemies as they look upon what happens to those who mess with you and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series where I explain what is causing abusers to pick you, and how you can shut them down.
And that's all folks!
As always -- thank you for listening!
And y'all come back now! Ya hear?