One cold dark early morning, ten years into my abusive marriage, I sat at the kitchen table reading my Bible before anyone was awake. It had been another rough few days, and I felt frazzled and not enough. I sought the living words of Jesus, and I came across Matthew 22:37-40.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
Christ Reveals the Equality of Love
For twenty years, I’d read this verse numerous times, but this time the Holy Spirit revealed something new to me. For the first time, I saw the words “love others as you love yourself” as the second whole commandment. I reread the verses, and I realized loving others meant I must love myself equally. God’s truth opened my eyes to see I didn’t believe I was equal to others in any way. I realized the devil had used the devaluing messages and abandonment from my past and my current mistreatment, along with my desire to please God, to place the value of others over myself.
I let the enemy corrupt me by listening to other people tell me it pleased God when I suffered for this meant I was humble. I didn’t test their words against God’s truth. I believed placing other people before me, no matter how they treated me, pleased God.
However, God knows our imperfectness as He created us. When I’d devalue myself, the Holy Spirit would make my heart uneasy during my abusive thirteen-year marriage. Deep inside I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t understand how to find the truth until now. I began to look at all the scriptures on love in the New Testament. Over the next three years, I studied God’s word revealed by Jesus, his disciples, and the apostle Paul.
Christ’s Love is Our Picture of How God’s Love Looks on This Earth
In my studies, I began to see the love of God as a combination of a person’s mind, attitude, heart, and actions. Living in Christ’s love involves all the aspects of our imperfect human condition filtered and transformed through the pure love of Jesus in us. Loving our enemies or people who profess to love us, doesn’t mean we need to volunteer to let them hurt us. In fact, if they truly love us, they would love us as Christ did with selfless love.
Look Truthfully at How Others Treat You
God designed you in His love, and He sent Jesus so you could see a picture of what it looks like to live in pure love on this broken earth. To help you see the love I have included 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 out of the Message Bible. As a victim, read this Chapter and ask yourself if the one who professes to love you is meeting up to the standards in these verses. Are you being loved like this outline?
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies.
Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 MSG
No matter how much a person says, they love you, if their attitude, heart, and actions consistently hurt you and blame you, it’s time to realize this isn’t Christ’s love. If you feel like you just woke up or someone punched you in the stomach; call a friend, find a professional counselor, or call your local woman’s shelter for help. It’s not God’s will or design for you to live being hurt and abused, especially when you are married to a Christian.
To understand if you are being abused and the complexities of these manipulations, download my FREE Handout: Overcome Your Anxiety, Fear, and Powerlessness in Your Hurtful Relationship! Are You Being Abused?
Discover ways to empower yourself and keep you growing and living in Christ’s love with my blogs: Darla’s Blog