To Those Who Break The Cycle Of Abuse!


Over the years I have developed tremendous admiration for those who I symbolically label as “The Mighty Bridge Builders.” These are individuals who have the strength of character to break a cycle of violent behavior or abuse that has existed in their family lines, or who have overcome abusive behavior that was inflicted upon them by anyone, in or out of their family. These heroes are often not recognized or even known. Why? Because their battle has been fought out in the privacy of their own souls! This past month another tragic story of abuse came to my attention. The ramifications on the family will be great. The man found guilty of abuse confided that he too had been abused as a child by an acquaintance. In my experience as a church leader, this is not uncommon. Often a “cycle” of abuse has already been in place for generations.

However, while some people have continued in perpetuating a cycle of abuse, there are many more that do not. They are those that have overcome the tragic events in their life and have served as a “bridge” in giving healing to the next generation.  Richard G. Scott  spoke on several occasions about the healing power of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said:

“Recognize that you are a beloved child of your Heavenly Father. He loves you perfectly and can help you as no earthly parent, spouse, or devoted friend can. His Son gave his life so that by faith in him and obedience to his teachings you can be made whole. He is the consummate healer. Gain trust in the love and compassion of your elder brother, Jesus Christ, by pondering the scriptures. As with the Nephites, he tells you, “I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy…I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.” (3 Nephi 17:7-8). Healing best begins with your sincere prayer asking your Father in Heaven for help. That use of your agency allows divine intervention. When you permit it, the love of the Savior will soften your heart; break the cycle of abuse that can transform a victim into an aggressor…Understanding that healing can take considerable time. Recovery generally comes in steps. It is accelerated when gratitude is expressed to the Lord for every degree of improvement noted.” (“Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse,” Ensign, May 1992).

Overcoming an abusive childhood or relationship takes tremendous courage and faith. Abuse comes in many size, shapes and forms. Perhaps, for some, it is simply overcoming character traits and learned habits from their youth that are not in keeping with God’s commandments. Still, others are tackling more serious issues! Whatever the trial, the “cycle” can be broken in time when faith is exercised in the healing power of the Savior. There is no easy answer to many of life’s problems. There is no easy road to overcome some of life’s unwanted trials. But I know that many succeed and become the “mighty bridge” of change that brings healing, not only to themselves, but to all their posterity. On one side of the river are pain, agony and shame. But the courage of those who provide the “bridge” for their posterity to “cross-over” to the other side where peace, serenity and self-worth are found is truly inspiring to witness!

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