When sexual abuse happens it is only natural that victims are overwhelmed with questions. What happened? Why did this happen? What did I do wrong?
Sadly, one of the most common feelings a victim faces when they have been abused is a deep abiding shame. Shame is often a feeling of deep humiliation, to the point where it can feel unbearable.
It is natural to feel shame if you have been abused. Someone has done something shameful to you, it is okay to feel that way. The feeling of shame is your body affirming that something evil and shameful was indeed done to you.
What we must be aware of is that shame can disguise itself as guilt very easily. Shame and guilt can feel similar in our hearts, which leads many victims to take the natural and right feeling of shame and understand it as guilt which leads to the false assumption: my abuse was my fault.
It doesn’t take long for guilt to distort a victim’s self-image and feel as though something is wrong with them. It is possible for the voice of the abuser to ring louder in the victim’s life than the voice of God. Actions always speak loudest, and the dark and shameful acts of an abuser shout lies to victims.
So what do my abuser’s actions say about me?
Throughout scripture we are taught that actions are always an overflow of our hearts.
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, not again does a bad tree bear good fruit…The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:43 & 45
Jesus makes the claim that our actions are always connected to our hearts. What is external reflects what is internal.
The actions of our hands reveal the intentions of our hearts.
This idea is further reinforced in James 4:1-3
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
Actions, sins, and wicked deeds, are always connected to the heart of the person doing them. We must become more equipped to biblically hold perpetrator’s accountable to their actions.
The actions of an abuser reveal the state of their own heart, never the victims.
Let me say this again, when we are tempted to believe what our abuser has said about us either with their words our their actions let us remember: The actions of an abuser always reflect their heart, and never reflect the heart of the victim.
What do the actions of my abuser say about me? Nothing. But they sure say a lot about the abuser.
If you are a victim of abuse, the actions done against you say nothing about the kind of person you are or the state of your own heart. There is not a biblical leg to stand on to say that an abusers actions reflect anything about their victim.
You are not responsible for the sins done against you.
The sins of an abuser reflect their own hearts, never the victims.