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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tamar: Living in a Dysfunctional Family

“‘Don't, my brother!’ she said to him. ‘Don't force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.’ But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.”
-2 Samuel 13:12-14

Christians live in an imperfect world where sometimes dreadful things happen to good folks. While God didn’t promise us an easy and simple life, He did say that He would never leave us or forsake us. When tragedy hits, He wants us to turn to Him for strength and guidance. Some individual’s eating disorders are sometimes developed after a person experiences a crisis such as rape or incest. God gives us an illustration of how a person can internalize their pain after a disaster occurs, especially if the individual does not trust in God to gain strength.

In 2 Samuel Chapter 13 we learn about the heartache that King David’s daughter Princess Tamar sustained. Princess Tamar was a knock-out of a girl who lived in quite the dysfunctional family. Tamar’s half-brother Amnon had yearned sexually for his sister for quite some time. He had conspired with a close friend to lure her into his room so he could take advantage of the naïve princess. Amnon had told King David that he was feeling ill and wanted to go to his bed chamber and have his sister mend him back to good health. King David was concerned and ordered Tamar to take care of Amnon, and because she was an obedient daughter and subject, she obliged.

Soon after Tamar arrived, Amnon begged her to go to bed with him. Shocked and trying to escape, Tamar tried to reason with him stating that having sex with him would disgrace her and make him a fool. However, Amnon still forced himself upon her, taking her virginity and any real chance for a bright future for her.

After the rape, Tamar needed her family the most, but they turned their back on her. Amnon kicked Tamar out the household, and her brother Absalom told her not to take it personally, but he housed and fed her. Even King David who became angry when he heard about the rape did nothing.

With time, Absalom developed a fierce hatred for Amnon. Absalom invited Tamar to live in his houses because she was unprotected in King David’s palace. Two years after the rape, Absalom murdered Amnon in revenge for his sister’s rape. Tamar grew to become a desolate woman.

There is much to be learned from Princess Tamar. While Tamar went through a horrific event, she let it overcome her and ruin the rest of her life. Consider whether or not you are letting your eating disorder was ruin your life like Tamar’s rape did to her. Tamar internalized the rape, and she never found peace she was looking for. Reflect on whether or not if your grief and sadness is hanging on to you, and how you plan on turning it over to God.

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