You deserve respect, compassion, and genuine love. Why? Because you were made by God with worth and value that no one can take away from you.
Your value isn’t based on your background, past choices, current challenges, or what anyone says or does to you. Instead, your worth comes from the God who created you and loves you.
Sometimes we can believe lies about ourselves that cause us to believe we’re not worthy of the good things God wants for us. So this article is designed to help you find confidence in how God desires for you to be treated—and how Jesus asks us to treat others.
Some of us don’t get to experience respect, compassion, and love from the people around us. Maybe you’ve been emotionally or physically abused by someone in your life. If so, know that there’s hope. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911. If you think you may be experiencing abuse, you can confidentially talk, text, or chat with someone today to get help.
If you’ve experienced pain, abuse, and trauma in the past and want to talk to someone, let us know and one of our pastors will contact you.
How Does God Want You to Be Treated?
As people created by God, we were made to be treated in a certain way. While everyone makes mistakes and may even make an intentionally hurtful choice, no one deserves to be treated poorly.
Here are a few reasons rooted in the Bible that reveal how we were made to be treated.
1. God wants you to be loved
Genesis 1:26-27 is the foundation of our identity. Why? Because this verse tells us that we’re more than just really smart animals. Instead, it makes the bold claim that we’re (in some ways) like God. No one can take this identity away from us, and we can’t lose it through our choices. We have value, worth, and are loved by God, no matter what.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9
As a person made in God’s image, you were made to be loved. Not because of anything you’ve done, but because of who you are—a person made in His image. There’s nothing that can separate you from God’s compassionate care. And if we’re worthy of God’s love, then we should be treated with love by others.
2. God wants you to feel safe
One way real love shows itself is though consistent kindness and gentleness. 1 John 4:18 tells us that there’s no fear in love. So if someone makes you feel unsafe, then they likely aren’t displaying love.
As a person made in God’s image, you were made to be treated with kindness. If you consistently feel anxiety about doing or saying the wrong thing out of fear that a person may somehow mistreat you, then it may be a sign you need to talk to someone.
3. God wants you to be loved as Jesus loved
Ephesians 2:4-7 tells us that God loved us, even at our worst. Jesus expressed His love through coming to earth and surrendering Himself for us. Jesus didn’t come to earth demanding honor and respect. And He didn’t hurt people who failed Him. Instead, Jesus came as a humble servant, and He invites us to love and be loved the same way.
As a child of God, you were made to be sacrificially and humbly loved as you sacrificially and humbly love others. It’s a privilege to give our time and energy for the people we care about. But, in healthy relationships, humility and service goes both ways.
4. God wants His best for you
God made each of us with a purpose to pursue—to live a whole life filled with healthy relationships as we follow Jesus. But harmful cycles of neglect and abuse can limit our opportunities to live the life God created us to live.
Maybe someone close to you has made a habit of using coercion and fear to manipulate you. As a result, you’ve seen these same tendencies in yourself, or others. It’s common to feel stuck in a cycle of abuse, wondering if a whole, healthy life is even possible.
Maybe you or someone in your childhood home was treated poorly by someone, and now, the cycle has started to repeat itself. These wounds can lead to a pattern of seeking feelings of control or power.
Maybe you’re in an environment where you’re consistently exposed to pain, violence, or hateful views online or at work. As a result, the constant mental stress has lead you to express your pain in hurtful ways to yourself or others.
To be clear, nothing in our past gives others permission to abuse us. And nothing we’ve experienced gives us an excuse to abuse ourselves or others. So let’s take a step toward breaking any cycle of abuse we might be experiencing.
We can end these cycles by creating boundaries, seeking safety, telling trustworthy people, and pursuing God’s best. Allowing ourselves to continue to be mistreated or to mistreat others is not God’s best.
True justice leads to healing
If you’re being treated poorly by someone, find a way to seek justice. Justice is anything we do that allows people to pursue God’s best. If you are in a safe relationship, seeking justice could simply look like a conversation with that person, expressing how you feel and inviting them to change for the better. You might also choose to bring others into the conversation if you have concerns about where the conversation might lead.
If you feel unsafe around someone, seeking justice could require talking to a professional who will listen, care, and create an opportunity for you to find safety. If you have been abusive to others, seeking justice means telling the truth to people who will hold you accountable, seeking healing, and making it possible for anyone involved to pursue the safety and healing they need.
When we seek true justice, everyone has the opportunity to get better.
People Can Change, but They Often Need Help
In the book of Acts, we meet a violent man named Saul. He had a flawed faith in God that led him to believe that God wanted him to hurt people to teach them a lesson. But Jesus met him in a vision and gave him a new purpose. But just because he had a new purpose didn’t make him a new person overnight.
Saul (also known as the Apostle Paul) was on his way to hurt more people when Jesus met him. Jesus took away his ability to hurt others by taking away his sight for a few days. And for those three days, Paul sat in silence and chose to go without food or water. We don’t know what he thought about in that time, but we do know that Jesus put him in the ideal place to process, pray, and reflect on his actions.
Once those three days had passed, God called a follower of Jesus to speak with Paul and pray for him. Paul’s sight was restored. For the next week, Paul spent his time surrounded by other followers of Jesus, no doubt asking questions, learning, and continuing to reflect on his past. In other words, he surrounded himself with healthy people.
Only after those steps did Paul begin to show signs of healing. Those signs of healing became a pattern of healthy behavior. For Paul, this was a period of rehabilitation into the person God had created him to be.
Accountability leads to healing
Paul transformed from an abuser to a spiritual leader who taught others how to reflect Jesus’ gentle love. Paul’s story shows us that people who treat others in a way they don’t deserve can change—but they need help.
Paul needed five things before he could change:
- He needed to face accountability.
- He needed to be removed from situations where he could hurt people.
- He needed to reflect on his actions.
- He needed consistent support from healthy people.
- He needed to show consistent repentance.
Paul’s experience was painful—but it was exactly what he needed. His pain helped him become the person God made him to be. Of course, not everyone experiences a vision from Jesus. Most of the time, a courageous person needs to speak up and seek justice. The courageous person might be a person experiencing abuse, or they could be a close friend or family member.
This can happen on a smaller scale, like if a coworker makes a comment out of ignorance that you find hurtful. When you provide accountability by telling them how their words made you feel, then they have the opportunity to grow as a person.
For many of us though, it can feel more complicated. Maybe you want to seek help, but worry how an abusive person will react. You might be worried that no one will believe you, or you’re concerned about how it will impact other loved ones in your life.
While speaking up might seem impossible, it is what’s best for you, for them, and for anyone they might hurt in the future. If that’s you, then we’d encourage you to reach out to an organization who will listen to your unique situation and can help you make a plan.
God Wants You to Be Loved and Respected
God made you worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of kindness, and worthy of respect. No one deserves abuse. You might have made mistakes and choices you regret, but those failures don’t give anyone permission to abuse or take advantage of you. Seek God’s best for everyone by seeking justice.
No matter what you’ve experienced in the past, or what you’re currently going through, you’re not alone. If you’re experiencing abuse, you can confidentially talk, text, or chat to let someone know. Remember—you’re not helping someone by keeping abuse private, so tell someone today. And if you’d like encouragement and support as you heal, let us know how we can connect with you.
Organizations in your community to help you find freedom from abuse.
A helpful perspective on processing trauma.
Positive affirmations to remind you of your worth and purpose.
How to set healthy boundaries in relationships.