around the anniversary of 9-11 we keep hearing about good coming out of evil
acts. How can that be? How can good ever come from evil, especially, in
particular, evil sexual acts when they have changed someones life
magine the most
evil act conceivable: humanity kills the only Son
of God. What good comes of it? The redemption
But, from the psychological nuance
of your question, your words cloak a dark personal
conflict that must be brought to light before
you can truly comprehend the meaning of redemption.
trauma, especially childhood
sexual abuse, can leave you with a confused mass of
ordinary human emotions. But this confusion can feel so painful that your primary
recourse to save your life will be to “get away” from all the emotional pain by
hiding it with psychological defenses. It’s a sad
thing for this to happen because you turn your back on divine values such as
forgiveness; but then, how could any child be expected
to know about those divine values? Child sexual abuse is so serve and so damaging.
How would the poor child even know to cry out to God? Still, it fulfills Christ’s
warning that whoever wishes to save his life will lose it (Luke 9:24), for many
children lose their “lives”—their dignity and their hope—in this way.
When those divine values of love, mercy,
and forgiveness are absent from your life, you will find yourself in
a living hell with recourse to nothing but empty human weapons of resentment,
anger, and revenge. Moreover,
the guilt from craving those weapons will linger as an
unconscious secret that you will struggle to hide from
others for the rest of your life. And you will run from it yourself.
If, through the process of
spiritual purgation, you have the courage to
face all those emotions related to the abuse, tease them apart, and understand
how each one affects your behavior, then there is real hope. Otherwise you
will spend the rest of your life reacting automatically and blindly to your
emotions, blaming others and feeling
Curiously enough, some adults who were
abused as children even develop fantasies of being martyred, believing that their
living hell is a form of martyrdom. But, in truth, all that pain results from the lack
of divine values in their lives, and the fantasy of martyrdom is just a form of
self-hatred, a desperate attempt to hide ugly
reality behind a facade of
superstitious devotional practices.
True martyrdom, after all, sacrifices
even life itself in its love for the divine. Therefore, just as countless martyrs
in the church have given courage to countless others through the ages because of
real love, even now, because of real love, good can still come from
Here, then, is the psychological meaning
of redemption. Your original lack of divine values can be
remedied now by your freely turning to the love you did not even know in the first place.
All you need to do now is admit—to yourself, and to God—the emotional pain that you have
been keeping secret all along, and then promise to do anything it takes to remedy your
mistake of hiding that pain. In this humble admission, you redeem your emotional pain by
giving it a meaningful place in your psychological and spiritual growth, and so you bring
good out of evil.
A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information
gathered from my websites (including this webpage) is now available at your fingertips
in book form.
Disasters and Trauma by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
explains how an event is traumatic because it disrupts your previously secure
sense of self. Consider that wild animals live with a constant, sharp awareness
of perpetual danger, yet most people live with a naive—and deceptive—sense of
safety and security to the point of denying their basic vulnerability and
fragmented sense of self. So when something disastrous happens, the psychological
damage from the shattering of your illusions about life and identity may be more
problematic than any physical damage.