The Lazarus Project

Resurrecting hope for Christian victims and survivors of family violence.

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On Fears and the Holy Spirit

     (e-mail response to a victim's question about fear)

     I know that sometimes, we as Christians get hard on ourselves (or others get hard on us) with regard to fears. Sometimes our fears are really just the lies of the devil, trying to make us doubt God's promises. But sometimes, our "fears" are really the promptings of the Holy Spirit to watch and be alert. Sometimes they are like a flashing "danger" sign from the Father above. I have known many people (myself included) who have become so deluded in the mindset that we as Christians are never to be fearful or apprehensive, that we have drowned out the voice of God, who was really trying to protect us.

      Now I'm not saying God wants us to live in fear--no, of course not--but sometimes, we genuinely are in a dangerous situation, and if we don't listen to the voice of truth, we end up in disaster.

      Since so many battered women have had to live in denial for so long (a survival mechanism to help us cope during the abusive relationship), it's possible for survivors to have become inured to possible danger, and to be chronically unaware of it. It's almost as if our internal Geiger counters are on the blink. The only way to turn them back on is to become sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to instruct us when our fears are lies of the adversary (my favorite acronym: FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real), or whether they are indeed based in reality.

      The reality is that this man is abusive, manipulative, and controlling. He's been manipulating the kids to think that you were somehow wrong because you filed for divorce. And, until now, the kids had no reason to believe him. I think that it is wise that you finally told the kids what was going on. Beforehand, the only thing they knew about the situation was tainted information. And, I suspect from that it may have sparked some resentment on their part towards you (fueled by him, of course). By being honest with them now about the circumstances surrounding the divorce, that frees them to view it from a different angle--reality--and it also gives them permission to have an open and honest relationship with you.

      When there are secrets in families, it breaks down trust.  While I'm sure your unwillingness to tell them the truth was intended to protect them from the harsh reality, it laid the groundwork for the adversary to sow in their hearts seeds of resentment, bitterness, distrust. Then, with it being fertilized by the tainted water from their father, there is a good chance that they would have grown up to have a very negative view towards you, and potentially to other women as well.  By telling them the truth now, it's like you've sprayed spiritual Round-up or Weed-B-Gone on the situation. I would not at all be surprised if your relationship with them improves and gets much more personal. I'm not trying to upset your apple cart, but why wait until AFTER he's done something that can potentially scar them for life before taking action? As I believe I mentioned to you once before, it is the nature of the snake to bite. If we are around a snake, then is it not reasonable and prudent to conclude that at some point, a snake would attack?  And, therefore, to try to either get ourselves away from the snake pit or to lure the snake away from us?

      Again, this goes back to being able to reasonably assess the danger. I don't know what's in his heart or head. Scripture says that "the heart is evil and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9) Perhaps you can get a sense of what he's thinking, but sometimes you just really can't tell. But scripture also tells us that "God searches the hearts, and knows what the mind of the spirit is." (Rom. 8:27) God knows what is in his heart, and whether he's calculating evil against you. Tune in your spiritual rabbit ears to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to alert you on pending danger.

      It will also give you guidance on how best to deal with the situation--what actions to take. Listen, trust, and obey, even though it may be counter to what others tell you or it might be scary. The Word says that if we "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding," and if we will acknowledge Him in all our ways, that He will "direct your paths." (Prov. 3:5, 6). He will never guide you astray or lead you wrongly.

--Christien Hagion Rzepka


Posted on 08/31
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