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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Saying No to Abuse

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

It takes courage to say ‘No’.  It takes courage to stand up against abuse.  Over the years, I have met many people in abusive situations who have paid a great price to eventually extricate themselves from the vicious cycle of manipulation and recrimination.

Sexual and physical abuse, in particular, scars the victim deeply.  Often the victims falsely blame themselves.  Recovery from abuse involves breaking the conspiracy of silence and deception perpetrated by abusers.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, we are as sick as our secrets.  Only the truth, however painful, can really set us free.  Secrecy keeps us chained to our abusers.

Part of the cycle of abuse is that abusers are very skilled at blaming the victim.  Many abuse victims internalize these false accusations and begin to blame themselves.  Sexual abuse victims often carry a false sense of guilt and shame.  Breaking false shame off victims can be very liberating.  Sometimes scripture can help release people from such self-rejection: ‘You are already clean because of my word spoken to you’ (John 15:3) and ‘Do not call unclean that which God has made clean’ (Acts 10:15).  All of us need to experience the cleansing stream of God’s Holy Spirit.  All of us need to be washed with the water of the Word, removing our stains and blemishes (Ephesians 5:27).  All of us need catharsis in our daily lives.

Abusers exercise ongoing control over their victims through fear and guilt.  The heart of all addiction is the cycle of fear and guilt.  Breaking the cycle of manipulation will release massive breakthrough in a person’s life.  As the Good Book puts it, perfect love casts out all fear.  Breaking the power of fear is critical to putting the abuse victim on a stable footing.  Abusers are always destabilizing the victim’s environment, causing them to ‘walk on eggshells’.  Abusers will often use ‘divide and conquer’ techniques that cuts the victim off from their natural support network.

God’s truth through Scripture can be most helpful here.  It is not by accident that the phrase ‘Do not fear’ is used over 365 times in the Bible, at least once for every day of the year.  As Timothy was once reminded, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) .  God’s gift of ‘a sound mind’ is key to removing ‘stinking thinking’ and giving us instead peace that passes all understanding.  God hasn’t given us a spirit that makes us a slave again to fear but rather has given us the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15).  The key to breaking fear is realizing that in Jesus, we are adopted, we are chosen, we are accepted in the beloved.  Nothing can cast us away from his loving arms.

Abusers specialize in condemning their victims as bad and unworthy of acceptance.  The Good Book in contrast says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  Breaking the power of condemnation releases great joy into the lives of abuse victims.  No longer do they need to falsely accuse themselves and beat themselves up.  Instead they learn to accept themselves in Christ’s love.  When the manipulative power of fear and condemnation is broken, victims can become victors in remarkable unexpected ways.  Creativity becomes released. Healthy boundaries become re-established.  Abusers lose their power to control and entrap others.  Victims stop enabling the very behaviours that keep them enslaved.

It all starts when people stop rewarding abusers and start blowing the whistle on them, when people say no to manipulation, say no to fear and guilt, say no to the ways of death and destruction.  It takes courage to reach out to the support networks around you, whether to your teacher, doctor, social worker, counsellor or pastor, but it is well worth it.  It is not your fault.  You deserve better.  Say no to abuse. Say yes to life.  You are worth it.  You are loved.

Two resources that I would recommend in your recovery from abuse are Dr. James Dobson’s book ‘Love Must Be Tough’ and Dr. Townsend & McCloud’s best-selling ‘Boundaries’ book.  My prayer for each person reading this article is that we and our families will be given the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference, in Jesus’ name.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Breaking the Suicide Addiction

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Did you know that suicide has become the No. 2 killer of teenagers in North America?  Suicide is a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about.  It may frighten us; yet it has to be faced.  In North America the suicide rate for male teens aged 15 to 19 has increased to 3 times the 1967 rate (2 ½ times increase for females).

So what can we do about teen suicide?  How can we get the help to teens who really need it?  Well, first of all, we need to know what the causes of suicide are.  Why do people do it?  Experts say that there are five main causes of suicide:

Severe feelings of guilt and hostility towards others

Punishing others through suicide

Emotional illness (35% of suicides involve severe depression and temporary insanity)

Physical illness such as cancer (40% of men who commit suicide and 20% of women)

Losses such as death of loved ones, or financial ruin

Camus, the famous philosopher, once said that there is but one philosophic problem and that is suicide.  It revolves around life’s apparent meaninglessness, despair, and absurdity.

I think Camus has a point.  You see, life sometimes can feel very unfair, very abusive, and very cruel.  Life can often destroy your dreams, and make you wish that you’d never been born.  For some people, they never feel any suicide temptation.  Some others feel it very infrequently.  There are others who feel these emotions on a regular basis.  They may have never acted on those feelings, but the feelings still haunt them.

Every time those feelings come, it becomes a major struggle to once again choose life and renounce the powers of death.  The suicide temptation is often an addiction.  Anything becomes an addiction when it controls our lives, when no matter how much we dislike the activity, we seem to return to it again and again.  I believe that Jesus Christ, through counseling and prayer, can break the power of any addiction.  But it’s not easy.  There’s no such thing as a quickie cure.

The root of addiction is none other than fear and guilt.  All addictions, whether to suicide or whatever, are fed by bondage to fear and guilt.  The more fearful we become, the guiltier we become, the greater control the addiction to suicide gets over us.

The cycle may go like this.  Say you’ve had a very depressing week, your teacher flunked you, your parents grounded you, your girlfriend dropped you, your baseball coach cut you, and your car died on you.  In the midst of this depression, you may begin to feel; “What’s the use?  I wish I wasn’t alive”.

Suicide addiction can easily set in at this point.  First of all, you feel guilty that you just felt that way.  Secondly, you may feel fear that those feelings will become worse.  So you just try to avoid these suicide feelings and shut them out of your mind.  But it doesn’t work and you just feel more guilty.  Winning over temptation by mental avoidance never works.

Another thing that increases the suicide addiction is that when we feel guilty about these feelings, we’re too embarrassed to have God around.  We feel too unclean, too unspiritual; so without fully realizing it, we ask God to leave the room and wait outside until the temptation is over.

This, of course, makes us feel even more rejected and guilty.  Then we feel abandoned by God just when we need him.  The old saying, “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?” is still true.  But we tend to say to ourselves; If God abandons me when I really need him, why bother to fight it.  I’m not worth it.  Why resist it?”

So then we take the other step of self-abandonment.  We abandon ourselves to the hopelessness of wallowing in our suicide feelings, and to an ever-increasing vicious cycle of fear and guilt.

How then does Jesus break the addiction of suicide?  Jesus breaks the addiction by breaking the power of guilt and fear.  By dying on the cross as the forsaken one, as the abandoned one, He exchanges His cleanness for our uncleanness.  He was abandoned and forsaken so that we need never feel abandoned or forsaken.  You may remember that He died on the cross, saying ” My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus became grieved and distressed, saying “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death”.  In Gethsemane and on the cross, he took our agony, our guilt, our depression, our fear, so that we don’t have to be stuck with that garbage any more.

The Bible says that Jesus has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  That means that Jesus allowed Himself to feel the awful pull to death and suicide, and then he broke its power on the Cross.  In an allegorical sense, you could say that Jesus “committed suicide” on the cross so that we don’t have to.

As a result you don’t need to punish yourself anymore.  Jesus took your punishment.  You don’t need to condemn yourself anymore. “Now there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).  You don’t need to be consumed with fear any more. “Perfect Love casts out all fear.” (I John 4:18)

Some of you reading this may be secretly struggling with suicide feelings.  Some of you feel very guilty and fearful about it.  I challenge you to give these feelings to Jesus and accept his offer of forgiveness.

I challenge you to seek professional counseling and really give Christ a chance to do some long-term personal healing. “Choose life that you may live in the love of the Lord.”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 USD/CDN

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca