*These are 2 viable versions of coping with abuse. This is not a comprehensive list of ways to cope, but these are 2 ways of coping that often don’t get published in blog posts or prescribed to victims of abuse.
There is a long-time member of our church who has suffered more trauma, injustice, and abuse than anyone I have ever known (not including the Boss of our church). This victim wept with his abusers, and invited them to come near, and he said to them, “I am your brother, whom you abused. Now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me into slavery and told my dad that I was dead. There are bigger realities at work. Bigger than your bullying, is the fact that God sent me into to slavery so that I could save your lives. So it was not you who sent me into slavery, but God.”
The abusers were concerned that the victim was feigning kindness, or would perhaps change his mind about showing them mercy; so they forged a letter in the name of their deceased father admonishing the victim to, “Please forgive your abusive brothers. They did evil to you, but now please forgive them.” The victim looked at them and wept, and said, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
There is a long-time member of our church who was abused by his father-n-law. This man’s father-n-law would throw spears at him with the intent to kill, and send him on extremely deadly military campaigns, and deploy soldiers to his house in the middle of the night to murder him, and hunt him for months on-end seeking to destroy him. One time, while his father-n-law was hunting him with 3,000 soldiers, the victim’s closest advocates pressured him to take aggressive defensive measures against his abuser. Instead, the victim boldly confronted his abuser saying, “My lord the king! Why do you listen to lies? Why do you choose to misinterpret reality? Why do you choose to be ruled by fear? My advocates urged me to take aggressive defensive measures against you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ Know for a fact, and see, that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. May God judge between me and you, and may God avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. Why are you hunting me!? Why are you so paranoid!? Why do you waste your life accusing me!? I am not worthy your time! I am like a dead dog! I am like a flea! May God therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
This man’s father-n-law wept and replied, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not take aggressive defensive measures against me. May God reward you with good for the mercy you have shown me. I have sinned. Return home with me and I will no more do you harm. I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.”
The man did not return home with his father-n-law. They parted ways, and the man never saw his father-n-law again.
When the man’s father-n-law died the man lamented with this lamentation over his father-n-law (and brother-n-law), and forced everyone to memorize it:
“Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult.
“You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor fields of offerings!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.
“From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan turned not back,
and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles;
they were stronger than lions.
“You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
“How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!
“Jonathan lies slain on your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
very pleasant have you been to me;
your love to me was extraordinary,
surpassing the love of women.
“How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!”