TO SET AT LIBERTY THEM THAT WHO ARE BRUISED
Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (we learn here of the absolute necessity of the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit within our lives), because He has anointed Me (Jesus is the ultimate Anointed One; consequently, the Anointing of the Holy Spirit actually belongs to Christ, and the Anointing we have actually comes by His Authority [Jn. 16:14]) to preach the Gospel to the poor (the poor in spirit); He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted (sin breaks the heart, or else is responsible for it being broken; only Jesus can heal this malady), to preach Deliverance to the captives (if it is to be noticed, He didn’t say to deliver the captives, but rather ‘preach Deliverance,’ which refers to the Cross [Jn. 8:32]), and recovering of sight to the blind (the Gospel opens the eyes of those who are Spiritually blind), to set at liberty them who are bruised (the vicissitudes of life at times place a person in a mental or Spiritual prison; the Lord Alone, and through what He did at the Cross, can open this prison door)
This particular verse is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Every time I read it, I can’t help but weep as I sense the Presence of the Lord.
Dad, in the Luke Commentary, says of this verse, “This is at least one of the most powerful Passages in the entirety of the Word of God. It not only gives the prospective Ministry of Jesus, but it is meant to serve as an example for all preachers of the Gospel. This, as given here, outlines the functions of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only in His earthly Ministry, but, as well, for all time. These things, He Alone can do!”
This statement, “To set at liberty them who are bruised,” sounds strange Bruised means to be “crushed” and it speaks to the terrible, even horrible, scars upon one’s heart. Circumstances that have crushed someone; a heart that is bruised to the degree that there is no pill or medicine that can bring healing.
This term “bruised” or “crushed” is aperfect description of those who were sexually molested, or physically abused,or both as children. I believe I can say that presently sexual molestation and physical abuse of children is an epidemic not only here in America but abroad as well. The physical, mental and emotional scarring of a child that is abused can become a living Hell for those victims as they become adults.
THE LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
The consequences of child sexual abuse often follow those violated well into their adult lives. Here are some statistics to consider:
Substance abuse problems are a common consequence for adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
Female adult survivors of child sexual abuse are nearly three times more likely to report substance use problems (40.5% versus 14% in the general population).
Male adult CSA victims are 2.6 times more likely to report substance use problems (65% versus 25% in the general population). (Widom, Marmorstein & White, 2006)
Mental health problems are a common long-term consequence of child sexual abuse.
Adult women who were sexually abused as a child are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression as women who were not sexually abused. (Rohde, et al., 2008)
Adults with a history of child sexual abuse are more than twice as likely to report a suicide attempt. (Dube, et al., 2007)
Girls who are sexually abused are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders than girls who are not sexually abused. (Day, et al., 2003; Kendler, et al., 2000; Voeltaaz, et al., 1999)
Among male survivors, more than 70% seek psychological treatment for issues such as substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide. (Walrath, et al., 2003)
Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to become involved in crime, both as a perpetrator and as a victim. This is likely a product of high risk for substance abuse problems and associated lifestyle factors.
As adults, child sexual abuse victims are almost twice as likely to be arrested for a violent offense (20.4% verses 10.7%). (Siegel & Williams, 2003)
Males who have been sexually abused are more likely to violently victimize others. (Walrath, et al., 2003)
Other statistics to be aware of:
One third of abused children will eventually victimize their own children.
80% of abused children meet the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21 (including, but not limited to, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders).
Abused children are 20% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
14.4% of all men imprisoned in the United States were abused as children.
36.7% of all women in prison were abused as children.
Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse.
Children who have been sexually abused are 3.8 times more likely to develop drug addictions. (The information listed is from “Darkness to Light,” www.d21.org, and “What Are The Long Term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse?” (Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, www.aswllp.com)
As stated, these victims of physical and sexual abuse are “bruised,” their heart and their spirit “crushed.” They literally are imprisoned by their past – but take heart – there is a remedy, and that remedy is Jesus Christ.
The text says, “To set at liberty.” The word “liberty” means to “pardon, which means that whatever has happened to the person has brought about a prison within their life. The individual who has suffered abuse or molestation lives the life of a prisoner, a prisoner scarred and broken. But Jesus Christ is the key that can unlock the prison of the past. John 8:36 says,“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” No matter what vile things have been done to a person, if they will take their “bruised” and “crushed” heart to Calvary’s Cross they will find liberty. There is no hope outside of the Cross.
THE BITTER WATER OF MARAH
In Exodus 15:22-26, we are told of the story of the bitter waters of “Marah.” This story gives us a beautiful picture of what Christ can do.
The Children of Israel, after their deliverance from bondage, find themselves in the wilderness at a place called “Marah,” which means “bitter.” They were thirsty, but the waters of “Marah” were “bitter”, totally unfit to drink.
The “wilderness” is a type of this world made so by sin and rebellion against God.
The “bitter waters” is a picture of one who has been “bruised” causing “bitterness of the soul.”
Moses cried unto the Lord, and that’s what we are to do – cry unto the Lord.
The Lord showed him a tree, the tree being a Type of Calvary.
The Lord told Moses to cut the tree down and cast it into the bitter waters and “the waters were made sweet.”
Only Jesus Christ can turn bitterness of the soul into sweetness and joy.
After you bring your bruised heart to the Lord, you have to forgive the person who abused you. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Forgiveness doesn’t mean fellowship or relationship, but it does mean that the person who hurt you no longer has control over you. I have no way of knowing if anyone reading this has suffered the horror of abuse or molestation. If there is one, my heart goes out to you. No matter the sorrow, the pain, the hurt. No matter how “bruised” and “crushed” your heart may be, Jesus Christ came “to set at liberty them who are bruised.”
Calvary is where liberty was granted. Christ took your suffering, your “bruised”