Psalm 109: Response
A woman speaking about her abusive ex-boyfriend
3. They encircle me with words of hate;
they attack me without cause.
I did nothing to him. I could have been cleaning the kitchen, going out with friends, or watching tv, and he would have found a reason to insult me. To degrade me… to make me feel hated… I’m not good enough; I’m not pretty enough; I’m worthless; I’m disgusting… There wasn’t any rhyme or reason to it!! He filled my life with hatred and he attacked me unceasingly… As hard as the venomous words were to swallow, I could not bear the slaps and the punches. I did nothing to deserve his abuse!
4. They answer my love with accusation
and I must stand judgment.
Lord, I honestly don’t know why I loved him. Sometimes I don’t know whom I feel more contempt for: him for abusing me or me for letting him. He answered my love with pernicious accusations… He accused me of being a terrible person… I’m no better than a dog. I’m garbage… He accused me of being damaged goods, broken…Why would anyone want to love someone as inferior as myself?... And I always faced it! I faced him everyday, listened to the same abuses and the same accusations! Sometimes he “showed his love” with his fists too. I stood judgment to him too many times!!
5. They repay me with evil for good,
with hatred for love.
He was such a horrible man… I’m beginning to even consider that he’s evil… Even when I was the nicest person I could possibly be, he still cut me down to the core. He still wanted to hurt me… When I was kind to him, he crushed me! When I showed him love, he dismissed me with hateful words and painful blows! He gave me nothing but sorrow. Nothing but hatred… I gave him everything, and now I have nothing left to give to anyone. I have nothing left for him to steal.
It was difficult to imagine myself in such a horrible situation. This made it difficult to write with force, contempt, and anger. I have never thought of someone that was intimately connected to me with so much hatred. It helped to put it in the past tense. Originally, I had put it in present tense. But, personally, I could not understand why someone would stay with an abusive partner. Thus, for my own ease of mind, I made it past tense.
11. May his creditor seize all his possessions;
may strangers plunder his wealth.
He deserves nothing that life has to offer. He is vermin that pollutes this world with his filth… Everything he has should be seized and plundered. Strangers, family, friends, anyone who wants what he has should take it as theirs! I hope he is bankrupt!! I hope he is destitute… I hope he begs for mercy at the loss of his fortunes and livelihood as I did every time he hurt me… God, make this happen!! Make him feel as I felt and permit others to take away his worth!
14. May God be ever mindful of his father’s iniquity,
and may the sin of his mother not be blotted out.
He must have been raised by a pack of wolves. How else could someone turn out to be so cruel and wretched? His parents are sinful, horrible people… They created him… They have to be monsters then too… God, never forget what he has done and where he has come from! He deserves no redemption or mercy. Smite him and his name!! Never forget his family’s sins. Never forget their unworthiness… Exact Your judgment on his family’s name… They all deserve to be punished!!
23. I fade away like a lengthening shadow;
I am shaken off like locusts.
I don’t even know how to appreciate myself anymore. I am a shell of human being… His insults and abuses became my identity… I don’t have them anymore, and I am grateful. But when I lost him and his hatred, I had nothing left but hatred for myself… I am a shadow of a person, no better than an animal. People can see right through me, and they want nothing to do with someone as pathetic as myself… I don’t even want anything to do with myself...
26. Help me, O Lord, my God;
save me in accord with Your faithfulness,
27. that men may know that it is Your hand,
that You, O Lord, have done it.
God, help me! Make me into a person again!... I am desperate to feel some sort of self-worth… I am faithful to You, Lord!! Save me in accordance with my faith!!... Hurt him like he hurt me! Make him feel nothing but sorrow!... His punishment doesn’t only have to start after he dies: it can be here on Earth too… I want the world to know that You cursed him Lord. That You are powerful and generous. That you punish the enemies of those who are faithful. Help me, and I will forever tell the world of Your everlasting glory!
This was also a difficult response for me to write. It was hard to try to write with so much hatred, and I felt uncomfortable doing so at times. It felt very extreme, for I have never been in such a horrible situation. It also was strange to write about asking God to punish someone. This psalm is very dark and heavy, and it was intimidating for me to respond to it.