When Your Pain Comes From Someone Else’s Sin
Editor’s Note: Today’s story had me in tears as I read it aloud. It is bravely written by Kacie Lester, who also authored one of our best posts, She’s Too Beautiful To Be My Friend. Kacie blogs at ColorMeCaptivated.com and tweets at @klynnlest. – Lauren
I didn’t grow up aware of the worth of my body.
When I was 8 I was at a sleepover and my friend’s father, whom I’d never met before, molested me.
I went home the next day and tried to tell my family what had happened but I didn’t have an adequate vocabulary or even a category in my little-girl mind for molestation, and failed miserably to communicate what he’d done.
Out of that inability to share or even understand, a subliminal lie disguised as fact took root in my mind: my body doesn’t matter. What I do with it, what I put in it, what I use it for, whom I give it to – none of matters – to anyone.
Physical intimacy was nothing to me other than a venue for attention, and quickly through my later teens, I learned that it was the fastest way to gain affection. I gave my body away time and time again, actively hunting for approval and validation – to feel known – to feel seen – to feel protected.
And then when I was 19 I was raped, and for the first time in eleven years, I had a striking thought: what he did to my body was wrong.
I’m not sure which “he” was I even thinking about then, but I hated how it felt to acknowledge that I had been wronged.
I quickly squished the strange sad feelings telling me I had something to be angry about – clinging hard to that thing I’d seemingly always known: my body doesn’t matter – but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it might be okay to not be okay.
I fought against being “not okay” for over two years before one day, flipping through radio stations, I caught one sentence from a pastor’s sermon that changed my life:
“The majority of the pain you feel in this life will be a direct result of the sinfulness of someone else.”
In 2 Samuel 16, King David is running away from his adversaries and leaves ten women (servants/escorts – not prostitutes, just women who live in and take care of his home) to keep things in order.
Absolom (David’s son), seeking to shame his father, takes all ten women left in the house to the roof – the very tallest point in the city – and rapes them all, publically.
I’m positive that the sermon I was listening to was actually about David’s life, but all I heard was ten women were raped before most of the psalms were even written.
And I let myself get angry – really angry – for the first time.
Rape is violent. It’s dirty, it’s isolating, and it feels like part of you that can never come back to life is dying. It makes you feel hated and forgotten and unworthy.
And, apparently, it’s not new.
I realized then that I had hidden those aching parts of my heart and my mind behind the lie that it didn’t matter for years – but I was feeling it then in all of it’s raw, pervasive, intolerable heaviness.
Sitting alone I screamed at the Lord, “Where were you? Those women were your daughters! They were obedient and brave! They didn’t do anything wrong, why would you let that happen?”
And I heard this:
“I was laying beside them. I was wrapped around them. I was crying with them.
The results of sin do not only hurt my children – the wages of sin is death! Remember who died?
I have felt the ultimate betrayal. When my daughters experienced how hated sin can make one feel, I was right there with them feeling it, too. I was with them. I was with you, too.”
That was almost two years ago, but the Lord’s gentle words to me are just now clarifying more – “I have felt the ultimate betrayal” – Jesus didn’t just feel betrayed by Judas or by the Jews or by the Romans.
He cried out on the cross, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (Mark 15:34)
My God, My God – My Father – Why have you forsaken me?
Jesus didn’t utter those words because He thought they’d sound good in a book – He had the most authentic relationship with God of all time and was honestly asking why He didn’t feel God with Him.
Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to know the absence of God – but He has experienced what it is to feel like God is absent.
The Truth is, though, that God is never absent from us. His Word says clearly that He is never far from each one of us (Acts 17:20).
Our good God – the Creator – made us in His image and likeness, giving us the ability and desire to create, but He also gave freedom to choose Him or not.
And mankind is a singular noun – we’re connected, one body. Our choices affect others infinitely beyond what we perceive.
When a creative being chooses against God, that choice doesn’t strip said being of his or her creative nature or ability to create – but when we choose against God, we begin to create the opposite of God: we create the opposite of good, the opposite of love.
Jesus has experienced the depth of those things, though, and He’s with us.
And sometimes we just have to know that’s true because God says it is – even if we don’t feel that way – because that’s what faith is: the substance of hope, proof of things not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1) – and faith as small as a mustard seed (which is tiny) can move mountains (Luke 17:6).
You may not even see your mountain anymore. I didn’t. My mountain was “shame, anger, and fear” on one side, “victim, rejected, and worthless” on the other, and I was numb to it – but all it took was a tiny bit of faith that God is who He says He is to move that mountain so that I could see the Truth – and I’m free. I’m not angry, I’m not a victim, and I’m not worthless – I am, in fact, absolutely worthy.
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