Psalm 27 and Domestic Abuse
Recently I had the opportunity to converse with a woman, Cathy, who lives with an abusive man. She didn't know exactly where to start her story, but I noticed that "psalm27" was part of her email address.
I am familiar with the prayer because it gave me comfort during my days of living with an abusive man. Initially, Psalm 27 seemed to tell me to stay on track, that God sent trials my way for a reason. I came to understand it differently, and I'd like to share with you the email I sent to Cathy (with her permission of course, and with a few edits for clarity).
I don't usually delve into religion or my lack of religion on this blog. I do not pretend to be a biblical scholar. However, God (by whatever name) and I are tight. I listen to The Voice - but sometimes my human mind doesn't want to hear the real message at first.
Domestic Abuse Breathes Out Violence
Dear Cathy, The last part of Psalm 27 (depending on which version of the bible you look at) says, "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" and "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." The last phrase, "in the land of the living" has special meaning for me, and maybe for you, too. But for a minute, let's back up to the lines before it.
Right before the "land of the living" statement, the psalm says, "Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence." If you believe that God will see you through hardships (such as the breathing of violence inherent in abuse), then you also believe that God can teach you to walk a "smooth path" right through your partner's malicious abuse.
So, does your path feel smooth? If it does NOT feel smooth, then perhaps communion with God in prayer can teach you a better way.
Domestic Abuse Kills the Soul
Back to "in the land of the living"... Abuse kills the soul. I'm sure you feel it. Abuse creates a living death, far removed from "the land of the living". I know that God appears in your life even though you're abused. Glimpses here and there to let you know He's with you.
However, the Abuse Demon has hold of your life and until you face that demon and exorcise it from your life in one way or another, you cannot enter the "land of the living" to see the entire "goodness of the Lord."
This was very apparent in my life. I lived with abuse and I knew God was with me. But why didn't He help me? Why didn't he enable my love to teach my husband a better way? Why couldn't He end the oppression and abuse? I stayed on the rocky path believing that my marriage vows demanded it and that God was trying me as he tried Job. But when my ex hit me across the throat and shook me until I thought my head would jerk off my body, I couldn't stay anymore. God couldn't want me dead; nothing good could come of my death for my children or my spouse. I left my husband after that event.
Live With The Living
After leaving and suddenly finding myself free of abuse, I realized I now lived with the living! The living souls who popped out of nowhere to help me. The living God who smoothed my path when I couldn't see how to proceed. Life was effortless for a while, as if I somehow woke up in a fairytale world.
In time, the hardship of my new life became apparent and I've had many trials to overcome. However, here in the land of the living, there is nothing to fear. In the land of my dying soul, I was always afraid. You chose an excellent psalm to associate with your email, Cathy. It holds the key to your ability to live in God's grace again.
"Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
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Jo, K. (2013, September 29). Psalm 27 and Domestic Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2013/09/psalm27
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
Thank you for writing and sharing this. As a baby Christian engaged to an abusive man who will not change (I have just come to realize this), this blog is meaningful to me today. I am in my second abusive relationship. I was married to a physically abusive, sexually exploitative man, and I thought my fiancé was different 7.5 years later I realize he is but he has verbal abuse and has gotten physical with me too. Tho he always says it’s because I made him do it. I have been in therapy, church, and psychiatrist for counseling depression and anxiety. And I am angry and done.
Beautiful and true. Bless you. your articles are so helpful along the journey of recovery from abuse. Thank you.
I don't know about palm . Wat can I do
I feel really sorry for people living with a partner who treats violent. And i would agree that it kills soul as it is terrible to suffer constantly. I wrote an article in my blog on this topic, you can read it here: http://writing-help.com/blog/sample-essay-domestic-relationships/
Thank you Kellie Jo for a GREAT article. I am a Christian and a therapist and it is often very difficult for me to help clients with scripture when it comes to abuse.
I am so glad I received the contact from Healthy Place today. It is a rich and interesting site with a vitally important mission. I'll be linking for sure!