The Lazarus Project

Resurrecting hope for Christian victims and survivors of family violence.

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God’s Heavenly Checklist and Decision Making

     I often receive questions from victims of abuse, struggling with tough decisions: is it safer to stay? How do I protect our children? How will I support myself if we do stay?  Should I file for separation? Divorce? A restraining order?  How will my abuser respond if I do make these choices? None of these choices are easy, and each of them come with consequences. So how do we know what to do?

      Remember in the Old Testament that when Elijah was exhausted and pressured and ready to quit, that he went out into the wilderness to get alone with God. There was an earthquake--but God was not in the earthquake.  There was furious lightening--but God was not in the lightening.  Afterward, there was a calm that came over the land--and it was only then that Elijah heard the still small voice (I Kings 19:11, 12).

      I encourage you to take some time to get alone with God.  Pour out your heart to Him. Cry if you need to.  Yell and scream and complain if you need to get it all out (He's a big God. He can take it).  It might help if you put on some worship music, or go to a nice quiet place.  For some people, it's good to go for a nice walk on the beach, or a drive in the car, or a workout at the gym.  God often talks to me when I'm working in the garden, or while I'm mopping the floor or taking a shower.  Maybe He'll give you the answer when you're reading the Word.  Sometimes I'll pray about a big decision I need to make just before I go to bed, and I'll ask Him to give me the answer upon awakening.

     In James 1:5 the Word says that when we need wisdom (and you certainly need God's wisdom to make these decisions), that all we have to do is 1) ask God for it, and 2) believe that God will answer us.

    James 3:17 says that "the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."  I call this "God's Heavenly Checklist" for making decisions. 

     When we make a request for God to help us make a wise decision, and we seek His face and wait on His answer, it will meet all of these criteria.  It will be "pure"--not an unrighteous or shady course of action.  It will be "peaceable," but not necessarily easy.  Sometimes God tells us to do very difficult things!  When He told me to leave my abuser, it was the scariest thing I ever did—but I knew that God himself was instructing me to do so.

      His peace will always accompany you while you do the difficult thing, because you know it's God's leading.  It will be "gentle"--not harsh or abusive toward another person.  It will be "easy to be intreated"--not  an action brought about by strife, conflict, pride or vainglory. It will be "full of mercy and good fruits"--an action that is gracious and compassionate, not heartless or vengeful.  The fruit produced by the action will not be one that would bring a bad reputation to the church or toward God.  It will be a course of action that is "without partiality"--not imbalanced, prejudiced or unfair. It will be "without hypocrisy"-- it will not be unjust, or untruthful.  In short, it is a decision that will reflect the character of God in deed as well as in word.

      So I encourage you to ask the Lord to guide you in these decisions, and then when you receive the answer, run it through this verse like a sieve to make sure you heard correctly.  Once you do know for certain, then ask the Father to give you the courage to act on the guidance that He's just given--and then, be faithful to do it.

    You can trust Him.  He will never lead you astray. Numbers 23:19 says that "God is not a man, that He should lie."  (One of my favorite verses!)  He is ever faithful.

     And know that I will walk with you through this, so that you will not be alone.  Be encouraged, my dear sister.

 ---Christine Hagion Rzepka

Posted on 03/22
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