You Don't Deserve to be Abused

turn the other cheek cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward


Christianity and the Church know a lot about suffering. Unfortunately, this has been used against us rather than for us.

I grew up feeling worthless, like I didn’t have value. Then Christianity taught me that suffering was our lot in life. I was taught to take up my cross and die daily. I always found myself in churches that enforced the idea that I was supposed to suffer and be happy about it. 

So, the more I suffered, the better I felt. The happier I was, the worse I felt. Something was wrong if I wasn’t suffering. I wasn’t spiritual enough if suffering wasn’t a part of the equation. Not suffering meant that I wasn’t like Jesus. 

As a result, this idea that I should suffer compelled me to submit to disrespect, hurt, and even abuse. I was more spiritual by letting other people walk all over me. I became an expert at turning the other cheek to abuse. There was dignity in undignifying myself and, by extension, allowing others to undignify me. 

Because here’s what happens: abusers gravitate to people like me. Where I assumed the role of turning the other cheek, abusers saw that as permission to make me more like Jesus and assume the victim’s role. 

The verses that describe suffering, abusers use to prescribe it. To turn the other cheek was survival technique for an occupied people. Abusers use it as permission to slap you and so you can be more like Jesus.

I stopped putting up with it after I realized I didn’t deserve it and it didn’t make me more spiritual.

You don’t deserve to be abused.
You don’t have to submit to harm.
You deserve to be who you are! 
You deserve to be happy!

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