Knowing basic suggestions for handling abuse is wise. The problem is so widespread that even if you are not personally affected, someone closer than you realize probably is. Had I received this counsel early enough, perhaps I could have responded better to my stepfather’s abuse.
Seek God’s guidance. There is no standard answer for how to handle abusive situations, because they are all different. They range from irritating classroom bullying to life-threatening domestic violence, and are motivated by different reasons and emotions. Solutions also vary; severe conditions may warrant leaving the situation. Don’t simply do what others say they would do. Instead, ask, “Lord, what would You have me do?” Always check with God’s Word. He will never encourage doing anything that violates Scripture.
Pray for the abuser. As difficult as it seems, we are called to pray, even for our enemies. Ask that God’s love will make a difference in your oppressor’s life—that he or she will see the evil of the abuse and be set free from such harmful behavior. Pray that the Lord gives you understanding about the abuser’s motivation, which can be helpful as you deal with the situation.
This advice isn’t easy to follow; praying for the abuser goes against both our human nature and the popular message of our culture. However, there are former victims of abuse who testify that the Lord didn’t “waste” their suffering—and that some positive outcomes resulted from their experience (Romans 8:28).
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