What a dreadful story this is, telling us of the deception, rape and rejection by Tamar’s half-brother Amnon, fulfilling his wrongful desires at the expense of this innocent young woman. Sexual abuse by celebrities and even church leaders is all too common a news item these days. It seems that there are not necessarily more of such crimes happening today, but more are coming to light through the courage of victims willing to make known what has happened to them, sometimes after many years.
The story of Amnon, Tamar and Absalom reminds us that there has, throughout history, frequently been an added problem to the devastating pain of abuse, and that is the pressure from others to cover it up. In the wrongful interests of maintaining appearances, not causing a fuss or showing loyalty to the family or to an organisation, many victims of abuse have been coerced into keeping quiet. And so it was for Tamar. She was pressured into saying nothing of what had happened and was therefore denied any opportunity for the gross injustice to be dealt with in the right way. I wonder, for Tamar, which caused the greater feeling of desolation, the sexual violence or the imposed inability to find a place of justice.
Absalom took wrongful control of the situation and had Amnon murdered some two years later. How viciously the ruler of the world takes advantage of the wrongful covering up of sinful acts. Many people today, just like Tamar, have never had the opportunity to be heard, in regard to deeply damaging incidents from the past, and have had no way for justice to be found through those in a rightful position of authority.
The one who carries out abuse may, or may not, have to face justice in a human court, but, without doubt, they will eventually have to face divine justice. For those abused, Jesus offers a way to begin to resolve the hugely painful experiences of both the wounding and the absence of timely justice. He encourages us to bring everything into the light, to choose the pathway of forgiveness and to let Him resolve every need for justice and comfort. For those struggling with such issues, it will require much courage and often much patience but, in the end, there can be true peace.
Prayer: Father, nothing is hidden from You and Your justice will be met in all that has happened in the lives of men and women. Thank You that, through Jesus, each one of us, who has been deeply hurt by the wounding of the past, can find a place of peace as we put ourselves into Your hands, facing the whole truth and experiencing Your incomparable comfort. Amen.
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