By Sophia Christiaan | March 23, 2021
As someone who has lived in a marriage of 8 years of phycological abuse, I can say that I know what abuse is! I have lived through it, escaped it, healed from it. I wrote a book about my life, detailing (some of!) it, yet far from all (https://amzn.to/2WWZK91). I know what it is to live with a narcissistic, cold-hearted spouse, who took advantage of my goodness to enslave me for his pleasure.
HOWEVER, I want to address this culture we are having in our society today, where every little challenge we get is labeled “narcissistic” or “abusive.” Let’s be crystal clear: Not everything that challenges you is abuse. Sometimes, we just need to hear the truth about something we do that is totally wrong!
Does it feel wrong to you? Maybe not! Does it offend you to be told something you disagree with? Perhaps! But, I would say, the narcissism we are facing today is not in how we are being challenged or treated, but rather in our blanket refusal to hear it!
We have become so entitled that we cannot hear a challenging plain truth anymore! If someone calls you out for being selfish, that’s abuse! “They called me selfish!” If someone says you are prideful or stubborn, that’s abuse, because you don’t like to hear that! Forget about the truth! That’s irrelevant, right? As long as you are given the silk-glove treatment at all times. That’s the narcissism we are dealing with! There is no humility to be found anymore.
Jesus told a parable of a sower who sowed seeds into four different soils (Mark 4:3-20). Only one of the four soils bore crops. The other three were sabotaged somehow. He says about the soil that bore fruit that the seed fell into “good ground” and “accepted” the seed (Mark 4:20). The word “accepted” is the key word! The Gospel is of such a nature that only a few chosen ones truly “accept” the word of God. These people have the grace to accept the difficult life of being a sacrificial Jesus follower in this dark world, who forsakes all things to follow Him. Believe me, many who say they are Christians, have not even a clue what true Christianity is. And sadly, but not surprisingly if you understand the Parable of the Sower, the minute they find out what it truly means to follow Christ, they fall away as quickly as they came.
The same goes for hearing the truth about yourself. It takes the understanding of grace to accept hearing things that hurt or challenge you. It takes the knowledge that all things work for the good for you, even the times you are treated harshly or unjustly. It’s all part of living humbly for Christ. We have strayed so far from what it means to be a true Christian, that we cannot even accept the slightest offenses anymore. These offenses are supposed to be an expected part of life, yet we think we are being abused every time. This is not true. This is narcissism and victimhood.
Christ wanted us to know that we will encounter severe hardships in many forms, but that He is glorified through it all when we “accept” it for the sake of Christ.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.”
1. Peter 4:1-2
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.”
1. Peter 4:12-16a
(Note for the sake of clarity: This article is not talking about staying with a physically abusive and violent spouse. Your physical safety is your top priority. Leave any abusive relationship!)