If you are reading this, you have been sinned against. I recently finished reading Robert Cheong's Restoration Story: Why Jesus Matters in a Broken World and it is filled with painful stories from actual counselees of his. These stories were hard for me to read. One in particular that was difficult for me to get through was the story of a broken marriage. The story was of a married couple who was having trouble conceiving children. This led to a breakdown in their communication little by little. After a while, the husband began to develop a relationship with another coworker and had an affair. When he was caught he initially denied it but, seeing no way for him to lie out of the situation, admitted it, yelled, and packed his bags to go to this coworker's house. The wife speaks of her experience in that moment feeling as though she had a ringing in her ear such as one might hear after a grenade detonation.
I was walking around my apartment complex reading this and had to physically stop, reflect on what I had just read, and call my wife to tell her I love her. This was painful to read. This was intense sin and I was feeling the wake of it even just reading it on the Kindle app of my phone. Another story then came of a woman who suffered from random anxiety attacks stemming from her experience of being sexually assaulted at a younger age. What hope is there for these women? As I was discussing my experience of reading this, a friend of mine turned my attention to Revelation 21:5. I want to dwell on this balm with you. The text reads, "And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also, he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" Amen!
Something that all of us who have experienced intense sin that has been committed against us tend to do is to claim that sin as our identity. We might say to ourselves in our head, "This is who I am now". The intensity of this stems largely from the intensity of the sin that has been committed against us. And thus, the undoing of this lie is that much more difficult. Now, I want to be clear that I myself am far from an expert on the psychological condition of a survivor of intense trauma such as rape or assault. Please do not hear my words and think that I aim to present myself as a credible source on that subject. I will defer to qualified individuals for that. I also do not want my placing everyone in the company of survivors of intense trauma to minimize the uniqueness of intense trauma. Rather, I want to focus on a more general subject related to those who have been sinned against, namely, this lie that the sin that has been committed against us is, as Dr. Nate Brooks would phrase, "the truest thing about us". That is a lie that needs to be combatted. As those who have found life in the finished work of Jesus Christ, the truest thing about us is that we are beloved children of the Most High God.
As people who have been sinned against, we are inclined to buy into this lie. However, Jesus is telling us to turn our eyes to Him. He is welcoming us to behold His restoration work accomplished by His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. What I love about this text is the promise that follows His glorious "making all things new" declaration. He follows this by saying, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” almost as if to anticipate that a weary and beaten down sufferer might be inclined to disbelieve it. Friends, Jesus is the one who invites us to drink from the restoration waters without payment. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, is the one who is able to redeem and bring about true healing (Rev 21:6).Though we may be inclined to believe this lie that the sin that has been done against us is what makes us who we are, we must cling to Christ the real restoration-maker.