“I will never, under any circumstances, desert you, nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless, nor will I forsake or let you down or relax my hold on you, assuredly not!” (Hebrews 13:5)
Webster’s Dictionary defines abandonment as to give up to the control or influence of another person or agent; to give up with the intent of never again claiming right or interest in; to withdraw from often in the face of danger or encroachment, to withdraw protection, support or help from, to give over unrestrainedly, and to cease from maintaining, practicing, or using.
There are one hundred and forty-one verses regarding some form of “abandon” in the Amplified Bible. Most of these verses deal with the abandonment of God’s people from His laws and commandments, but several encompass abandoning people. I have to be clear. The Bible does not say God abandoned people, but individuals abandoned God. The Lord’s chosen suffered the consequences of choosing to follow other idols and cultures, not because God abandoned them. It was chosen.
When God wrote the Ten Commandments, He also wrote stipulations for successful living conditions in the small Jewish communities. Everything from deliberate sins, to sins un-willfully committed, to adultery, and physical aliments, God demonstrated His love for His people through written regulations guarding their safety.
Physical aliments such as skin rashes, diseases, drainage, discolorations, leprosy, boils, and bodily fluids, to name a few, were considered “uncleanliness”. These individuals were cast out of camp for a time of prayer and healing. If the wound or disease began to heal, the infected person would show himself to the priest who would then offer sacrifices for him/her reinstating them to the community.
In the New Testament, there were many considered outcasts or invalids. I like to call them the “in-valids” because no one seemed to care they even existed! Leper colonies existed for those who were unclean and could contaminate those around society. There was the woman who bled for twelve years; uncleanliness would have kept her from worshiping the Lord in the Temple. The Samaritan woman, who walked alone during the day to avoid the vicious talk of the “righteous” women, would have been considered unclean for her extra curricular activities along with the sinful that washed Christ’s feet.
The Syropheonician woman, who begged Christ to heal her daughter from a demonic presence, compared herself to a dog for just a “crumb” of His mercy. The crippled woman, who was bent over eighteen years, went unnoticed or uncared for until Jesus recognized her in the Temple. The invalids or in-valids were abandoned, with no hope, and no one to care. They were considered unclean.
I want to press home how important this is to remember. If you were considered unclean in Christ’s day, you would wear your hair and clothes disheveled, cover your mouth with a cloth and cry out loudly in the streets, “Unclean! Unclean!” It was a humiliating and degrading existence. I would imagine it to be a hopeless reality. Many were abandoned to fend for themselves the best they could as beggars or as the man whom lay thirty-eight years by the pool of Bethesda, would pray for an angel of the Lord to heal them.
Abandoned. No hope. No joy. No happiness. No laughter. Nothing. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, the Messiah, because He has anointed me to preach the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to announce release, pardon, and forgiveness to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, downtrodden, bruised, and crushed by tragedy.” (Luke 4:18)
Christ came to free us from captivity: disease, illness, un-forgiveness, hopelessness, luke-warmness, strife, sexual sins, anger, sorrow, covetousness, jealousy, cheating, stealing, lying, and the like. He came so we might have life and live it to the fullest, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows.” (John 10:10)
There are many reasons individuals may feel abandoned today. Family, the church, friends, groups, jobs, and social media may have rejected people leaving a scar or hardened heart for those around them. The hardened heart is actually a defense mechanism to prevent feeling emotions such as: sadness, depression, inferiority, inadequacy, self-pity, self-loathing, or dependency. These are the feelings many of us have experienced, at times traumatic and devastating. Some never recover from feeling abandoned, while some fall to the opposite extreme professing to “never allow someone to hurt them again!”
I recently read a book called Shadowboxing by Henry Malone. His book encourages believers to reject, rebuke, and pray against lies the enemy has injected into our hearts and mind. Our feelings of abandonment are probably well founded, but if the emotion and feelings are left unchecked, the healing process will be difficult to overcome.
If you are experiencing these emotions of abandonment, I would encourage you to pray and ask the Lord how to forgive the offender, but also if there is any other area of your life where a seed has been planted from abandonment. In his book, Malone lists many seeds and emotions filling a hardened heart from a Spirit of Fear: fright, torment, nightmares, fear of death, faithlessness, timidity, shyness, inferiority, inadequacy, rejection, worry, anxiety, critical spirit, tensions, stress, fear of failure, performance, fear of man, fear of poverty, headaches, lack of trust, phobias, fear/sense of abandonment to name a few.
I found this list extremely interesting because if anyone has felt abandoned, a Spirit of Fear may develop in the heart. At just a hint of rejection, a person can fall back into any one of these emotions for fear of being abandoned or rejected again. Physical coping mechanisms may develop outwardly when a person begins to feel excluded. Heavy breathing to calm down, wringing hands to wipe the sweat off, nail biting, panic attacks, biting cuticles, over eating, drugs, alcohol, cutting, video games, or pornography, anything to escape the memory or feeling you are being left behind or rejected.
Malone encourages his readers to forgive and pray. Strongholds may have developed from long ago leaving a believer entangled and trapped from rejection. The strongholds may keep you from serving in Church, making new friendships, leading small groups, or worshiping the Lord. The healing process will take time, but as Malone suggested, you will have to give every situation, every circumstance, every setting to which you may have felt as an in-valid to the Lord.
When I began to pray over my own life from the feelings and emotions from abandonment or feeling as an in-valid, I filled pages of situations I had to forgive or let go of. The Apostle Paul says we are new creations in Christ; the old is gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). If we truly believe this, then the past has to be left in the past. How are we to move forward with forgiveness, receive all that God has for our lives, but still hold onto these negative, self-depressing thoughts and emotions?
Woman, you will have to make a decision. Your in-valid, abandonment, and rejection issues may be genuine, but to move forward in your faith, forgiveness and recognizing emotions from your circumstances have to be left at Christ’s feet. You are in bondage; chained, scarred, and in pain. This is the exact reason Christ came, to set the captives free! Let Him set you free!
After forgiveness, I would encourage to confess the Word of God over your life. Finding Scriptures to profess and claim over your heart and mind can be life changing.
- I am more than a conqueror – Romans 8:37
- God loves me – John 3:16
- I am chosen – Ephesians 1:4
- I am forgiven – Hebrews 10:17
- I have a plan and purpose – Jeremiah 1:5
- I have God’s wisdom – Colossians 2:3
- I have hope – Hebrews 6:19
There are so many beautiful Scriptures to pray over your life and your family’s life. You do not have to live in your mind has an in-valid anymore. That is not how God sees you and that is not why Christ died on the Christ for you.
As you move through forgiveness and confessing what God says, your mind will need to be renewed. Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed and progressively changed as you mature spiritually by the renewing of you mind, focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Such a beautiful verse!
You will have to analyze your thoughts and what you are thinking about, “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ, being ready to punish every act of disobedience, when your own obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:5-6) The Bible says we have the mind of Christ, “But we have the mind of Christ to be guided by His thoughts and purposes.” (2 Corinthians 2:16) Your mind-set is where your behavior will stem from. Confess the Word and your behavior will follow the Word. Repeat what Christ’s says about you, and your behavior will act in obedience to Christ.
I would encourage you to read Mary Magdalene; Healing of the Mind again if this is an area you struggle with; most of us do. As we close today, please pray and open your heart to the Lord and the purpose He has for you. Release your chains, let go of the strongholds that hold you back. Focus on your mind-set and what you are thinking about. The Christian life is an amazing journey. I do not what you to miss one minute of it holding on to the past.