In the Afrikaans language there’s an idiom that says, “ek is niemand se vloerlap nie”. The word, vloerlap, literally translated is floor cloth. I remember as a child growing up on a farm that my mother would relegate dishcloths and old clothes and any fabric that had become worn, to become a vloerlap. A cloth to clean the floor. And the idiom means, “I am nobody’s floor cloth,” or “I won’t allow anyone to abuse me.”
How often do people allow others to dominate them and control them and make them a vloerlap. They become that one who has clean up all the spills and who, out of fear apologises for the behaviour of the abuser. They allow people to emotionally abuse them so that they virtually become their slaves. They pander to their every whim and put their own wants and needs, their dreams and their desires, on the back burner and eventually forget that they ever had them. So many women marry men who decide that they can own someone and expect the woman to do everything they say because if they don’t they will accuse them of upsetting them and of not being a good wife. They tell them that they are a bad person and so on. I expect that these accusations would be more subtle than I have listed them. It works the other way around too and some women dominate the men they marry. Parents dominate and control adult children and there are children who abuse their parents. Obviously it is not just emotional abuse but physical abuse as well. People all over the world, regardless of race, colour or religion allow themselves to be made into a vloerlap. Their worth and their dignity is stripped away and they are only good to clean the spills on the floor.
If you are in this situation you need to get out of it as quickly as possible. Yes, I know that your abuser is going to be upset. Aren’t you upset as being used in this way? Why don’t you have the right to be upset?
Let’s start with a verse everyone knows.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We know that God has a plan for each of us and it is a good plan. If you are in an abusive relationship you are not living in God’s plan. Why are you in that relationship? Maybe you were born into an abusive family? As soon as you are old enough you can leave and make a living for yourself. If you are in an abusive marriage you probably made a bad decision when you chose a spouse. You need to leave that marriage because when your spouse started abusing you he broke every rule that God made concerning marriage.
Ephesians 5:25, Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
1 Peter 3:7, Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:1, Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over by the behaviour of their wives.
Just note that submission does not mean you are to be a vloerlap.
But even worse than being dominated by someone, is believing the enemy when he tells you that you need to be a vloerlap. That you are no good and have no abilities beyond the mediocre and that you will have to stay in this position for ever. If you are a child of God you owe it to yourself to do something about the situation you are in.
If you read Deuteronomy 28:1-14 you will see all the blessings that God promises for being obedient. God wants you to rise up and embrace the plans He has for you. He wants you to walk in His ways so that He can bless you. While you are living in fear you are not pleasing God.
2 Timothy 1:7, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
If you are living in an abusive relationship you are living in fear and you have no power.
Child of God, make a move and start taking the future God has for you because you are not a vloerlap!