Lachelle told me that she never loved a man as much as she loved Joe. I knew Joe before she met him. He is a handsome guy, but not overly so, and I found him to be kinda’ quiet. No one would accuse him of being too friendly, but he seemed nice enough. I had always heard that he has a bit of a mean streak, but was conscious of it and tried to hide it. My sister says that you have to watch out for the quiet ones because they always have something to hide, and you wouldn’t want to be the one to find out what it is. In my view, that’s a pretty accurate description of Joe.
I was also struck by how little affection I saw them display as a couple. Normally, this is no big deal. There are plenty of compassionate and kind people that aren’t that keen on public displays of affection, but Lachelle is a notorious hugger and is one of the most affectionate persons I know. At first, I didn’t understand the changes I noticed in her, but one day it all made sense. Joe had no doubt touched something in her soul that she responded to deeply, but he was also physically abusive. She excused it away as him loving her passionately, and not being able to control it sometimes.
Like a lot of abuse victims, Lachelle tried covering the bruises with too much make-up or refusing to meet up with us because her body (and soul) was too sore from the fight the night before. After around ten times or so of witnessing the aftermath of his anger, I stopped counting the times I suspected they had been fighting. They weren’t married, and sometimes she would swear to us that she would leave the relationship for sure, but time after time Lachelle went back to Joe. It wasn’t my first time seeing this kind of obsession play out in a relationship. You want so desperately to help, but the people involved have to want help.
Sometimes, we teach ourselves to have wrong beliefs about love. Too many romantic fairytales, movies, and myths cloud our heads, and we start to believe that we’re missing something that only a prince on a white horse can give us. We wait and wait for him to come to our rescue. And even though our discernment isn’t as sharp as it should be, and we can’t tell when a real toad is just playing the role of a prince, some of us latch on Mr. Toad anyway. We do so because the proverbial toad has been playing the role long enough to spot a particular yearning in the princess, and he knows exactly how to jump on it.
In John 8:32, Jesus Christ said that the truth will set us free. This is a razor-sharp piece of yumminess that will keep God’s children on the path of their destinies, but one thing is required, and it is that we understand what it means to be free. God created us out of His love. He created us to be children of light! 1Thessalonians 5:5(NLT) says, “For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.” In this verse, we can clearly see that God has made a distinct separation between light and darkness. From light, we get qualities synonymous with intelligence, liberty, confidence, love, joy, and peace. From darkness, we get the exact opposite; we get qualities that represent ignorance, bondage, fear, hate, sadness, and chaos. So, there can be no question that God’s Will for His children is that we be free, and not weighted down by bondage in any area of our lives. God’s standard for right living is one of liberty. That’s good news indeed!
1Corinthians 13:5(NLT) tells us that love “does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” If we are going to live with authenticity, with the conviction of purpose and gratitude, we can’t do it by gobbling up myths and lies about what life is and how it’s supposed to be lived. Nor do we have time to label something ‘LOVE’ when it’s not love at all, but a plot sent from hell to manipulate us out of our destinies. Those unable to acknowledge that they are being used for darkness, and not light, will operate in darkness through the wickedness of the abuse they inflict, but ultimately, they will be exposed. When they are, those that have suffered their wrath must have the courage to see them for what they are.
A prince is a gallant individual that helps you shine, and will never do anything to hinder or cause you to hide your light. This is the kind of person you deserve. An abuser is often a toad that will never transform into a prince. He can’t even rescue himself from darkness, so it would be a mistake to assume that he can help rescue you. Be rescued by the light of Christ, and be willing to wait for the prince God will bring across your path. He may not have a white horse, but he knows the light and will help to preserve it in you. ■
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
“The Toad Doesn’t Always Turn into a Prince” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!