Recently 159 members of our church completed a survey to help me prepare for a series of messages on abuse, and one of the themes that came up often was the idea of grace. While our church family recognized the need for repentance, strong boundaries, and real consequences, they didn’t want to act as if grace didn’t apply to abusers.
God would agree. Just one verse after addressing oppression and abuse, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Yes, abuse is a sin that stains us in ways that we can’t wash out. But God can make us clean. Jesus was abused on a cross so that even abusers could be saved. So that you could come to him with all of the consequences and end up with no condemnation (Romans 8:1). So that God himself could look at you and see someone who brings him joy, someone who has been rescued by Jesus.
Two thousand years ago, our Savior chose Simon the Zealot (a man associated with a violent group of Jewish rebels) and Saul of Tarsus (a religious man who hurt many people) to repent and follow him, proof that grace isn’t reserved for good people.
That grace is for you too. Confess your sins to God and others, and believe the good news that grace is for abusers too.