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The first thing I want to say to anyone who has suffered abuse is that you are not alone! No matter what type of abuse you have been through - verbal, mental, physical or sexual - there are others who have been through it too or who are going through it now.

Abuse does not happen to just certain types of people in certain types of situations in life. It happens to many, many people. Abuse is not just a problem among non-Christians, it's a problem of the Church also. In fact, abuse can happen in religious families.

Why am I telling you this? Because you need to know that you are not alone so you won't feel guilty. You must not feel that this is a big problem that you caused. Many people are innocent victims, as you are. You must realize this fact before you can rid yourself of the emotional scar the abuse has left in your life.

You may be thinking, "Oh, but Cheryl, you don't know what I have done; I deserved the abuse I received." Before you can go any further in your healing from abuse, you must realize that this is a lie from the devil.

It is never right for you or anyone else to be abused. Even if you did something or said something that you feel brought on the abuse, you still did not deserve to be abused.

You were a victim. Abuse is an action against you...a violation against you. You must recognize it for what it is - abuse is destruction. It tears down. And the only way it can be counteracted is through victorious living in Jesus...and that takes practice. But you must practice the right kind of victorious living!

Unfortunately, too many people practice and rehearse negative thoughts. Those thoughts come out of their mouth, go into their ears, then filter down into their heart, and the whole cycle starts over. The Word of God says that whatever is in your heart is what is going to come out of your mouth (Matt. 12:34-35).

The Bible also says that faith comes from hearing the Word (Rom. 10:17). Well, if faith can come from hearing the positive, then the opposite of faith (fear, depression, disappointment and discouragement) can come from hearing the negative.

In other words, instead of hearing God's Word, you can listen to Satan's word - the negative. You may not think you are listening to his words, but if you are thinking negative thoughts, feeling guilty and worthless, those are the devil's thoughts - not God's.

God never condemns anyone, nor does He cause His creation, made in His likeness (Gen. 1:26), to feel unworthy. He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, so that we ALL can believe Him and become sons and daughters and joint heirs with Him (Rom. 8:17). You are somebody - you are worthy. You are a child of God.

I simply want to give you the right steps to practice to get completely free of abuse and totally healed of its scar.

I could discuss many wonderful stories of how people have come through abuse, conquered it and been healed of it. A story is a wonderful thing, but when your life is in danger, when your very spirit and your very soul and your very physical body are in jeopardy, a nice story is not what you need.

You must learn how to fight. You have to learn how to stand firm and strong against the devil. You have to learn who your enemy is and that you fight in the spiritual realm, not the physical. You don't fight with flesh words, you fight with spirit words.

It's great when you know you can stand strong against the devil (and make him shiver in his boots) by speaking the Word of God, the truth, out loud. It's not enough to just read it to yourself. You must speak it out loud as well. What do you say when you look in the mirror? What do you say when you are alone? What do you say when everything is going wrong?

We need to learn to listen to ourselves and quit saying bad things but instead say good things. We must speak out the Word of God. We must say good things out loud. Remember: Don't tell God about your Big Problem; tell your problem about your Big God!

As harsh as it may sound, I believe that if you really want to get healed, you'll get serious about this issue of speaking forth the Word of God. If you don't want to do that, you'll stay sick. That's the bottom line.

No matter what the symptoms in your life may be, until you are healed of the emotional scar that was caused by abuse, you cannot be healed permanently.

There are many "symptoms" of abuse (but, of course, not all the people who have these symptoms have been abused). The ones I'm going to discuss just happen to be some of the more evident symptoms of abuse.

Abuse victims often have a tendency to suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or obesity. Subconsciously they are saying to those who have abused them: "You may have abused my body, you may have abused me sexually, you may have abused me verbally, but you cannot control what I eat; so I will either eat myself into oblivion or starve myself to death."

Their eating disorder is simply a reaction, a subconscious attempt to control something in their lives, even if it is just their weight or eating habits.

If you have any of these eating disorders, or any other symptoms of abnormal behavior, you must recognize that they can be caused by spirits that have gotten into your life because of the scars of the abuse you have suffered. The devil wants to use these disorders to cause you to have a suicidal spirit.

You may not be killing yourself by putting a gun to your head, but you're committing suicide slowly by either overeating or starving yourself to death. These and many other symptoms of less destructive behavior all come from the emotional scars of abuse.

It takes practice of God's Word to be healed and to keep your healing. As I mentioned earlier, I want to give you those things to practice, alone with scriptures to read out loud.

I've kept the list I will share with you as short as possible for one very important reason - I want you to be able to pick it up and read it quickly, then pick it up again the next day and reread it. Then perhaps read it once a week. As you do so, you will begin to recognize that you are getting healed more and more.

Yes, your healing is possible. But once you receive it, you must continually be aware that Satan will try to steal it. In the second part of this teaching, I will share with you ten steps, along with specific scriptures, so you can stand against the devil and be free of any bondage he tries to place on you. Stay tuned.

Salem Family Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Cheryl Salem
Web site: Salem Family Ministries
Cheryl Salem walked the runway to become Miss America 1980, despite what appeared to be all odds stacked against her. Poverty, sexual abuse, a horrific car crash that resulted in a physical handicap and over 100 stitches in her face were no match for what God had planned for her life. Through simple, childlike faith in Him, she overcame these insurmountable obstacles and eventually took the crown in Atlantic City! She has used this distinction as a springboard to launch the Gospel of Jesus Christ into churches, schools, women's retreats, television appearances, etc. Prison ministries, women's shelters, inner-city outreaches, and disaster relief programs have made use of Cheryl's books and CDs to offer hope and help to those in need. According to Cheryl, "None of these things would be possible, if not for my Jesus."

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