I recently heard news from a friend that broke my heart.
The details we hear again and again. A child is sexually abused. At some point in her life, she finally tells the truth about what happened to her. She’s torn up. She relives the horror. She gives the details. She is finally believed by someone.
She wonders if the pain will ever go away. Wasn’t it better before? Wasn’t it better when I didn’t have to talk about it? When it was just my secret?
Then comes the trial. She may be an adult now and have to testify against the one who has tried everything he could to destroy her.
And then those who profess the name of Christ step in to “help”.
He’s repentant now. He’s a new man now. You must forgive. He needs our support, not our condemnation. Let it go. Whatever it is, just let it go. It’s the only way to heal.
And so she goes to the judge. He didn’t mean it. He was always so good to me. He’s really changed. He doesn’t deserve this.
And a man who is capable of doing monstrous things to a child is free to continue as he has always done. He’s better now, so he doesn’t have to answer for his crimes.
Dear child of God, hear me closely. They are wrong. They are so very, very wrong.
Pretending that there are no consequences to wickedness can never be the way to healing.
Pretending that the one who has so wickedly used you is “better now” so he shouldn’t have to pay for his crimes can never make your pain go away.
There is only one way to heal from the grievous, hard and terrible wounds that you have: the hard way. Only with the truth – always, steadfastly, painfully. Tell the truth. Acknowledge what has happened. Acknowledge the hurt and the grief and the pain and the anger. Acknowledge and confess that this happened and it HURTS and you didn’t deserve to be treated this way.
Acknowledge that you were a child and should have been protected and honored and nourished.
It won’t go away if you bury it. It won’t be healed if it never sees the light of day.
Certainly pray that God will forgive the one who hurt you.
Certainly let go of bitterness and wrath and anger and malice.
But you can’t do any of those good things by pretending that horrible wickedness wasn’t so horrible after all.
That you somehow deserved it;
That he was misguided, made mistakes, is really a good person who just has some flaws.
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
He isn’t a good person with flaws. He is a child of the devil. Perhaps the truth of that will someday set him free – but he won’t ever get there by pretending something that isn’t true.
It wasn’t your fault in any way. Yes, I know that you also are a sinner. But what happened wasn’t your fault.
And you can’t ever let go of your anger and be a peace until you acknowledge the truth.
HE did this. It was wicked and evil, deserving civil punishment AND eternal punishment.
Perhaps God will use civil punishment to wake this man up and drive him to Christ for forgiveness. But that isn’t your job.
Your job is only to tell the truth – tell it to yourself; tell it to God; tell it to the judge; tell it to the jury. It will be the hardest thing that you have ever had to do. But if you think that this is hard, the alternative is so much harder: you can carry it with you your whole life. You can hide it from time to time, but it will always be there. It’s a burden you were never intended to carry.
I am so sorry that you were given this advice. I am so sorry that those who profess to know the love of Christ have conveniently forgotten that it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
I am so sorry that people who were uncomfortable talking about this forgot that you were the one who had to live through it.
I am so sorry that the church, once again, buried it’s head in the sand and tried to pretend that everyone was just nice, and good and kind and loving.
I am so sorry that we confess total depravity but have no idea what it means, except that it must apply to “other people”, not one of ours, of course.
And I am sorry that you listened to them. This is a hard road and my heart goes out to you. How can you ever “let this go” when it was so monstrous and evil and ugly?
The only way is to acknowledge and confess what it was, like David did:
Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
2 Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
4 The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked. (Psa 129:1-4 KJV)
The wicked who afflict the helpless have them tied up with cords that only the Lord can break. And the Lord breaks those cords because He is righteous.
But first we must acknowledge the truth.It happened. It happened many times; It was affliction. It hurt. I was helpless. But they didn’t prevail against me!
It is not an easy road to healing, but it is the only one that there is.There is no easier path. It won’t come by pretending something that isn’t true.
Whatever road God calls you to take, remember that the day will come when all tears will be wiped away. But part of this wiping away of tears is when the wicked are cast into the lake of fire.
Perhaps those who afflicted you will be saved by the blood of Christ. Pray for that. It is truly terrible to fall into the hands of the living God. But they will never come to repentance if they are never called to account for the crimes they have committed.
When Christ comes again, those who were so powerful and so haughty and so rich and untouchable will be crying out to the hills to fall on them, to hide them from the wrath of the lamb.How can a wicked man ever understand the love of the lamb, when he refuses to acknowledge the wrath of the lamb?
How can the church be faithful in its witness of the gospel if it refuses to be faithful to the hard doctrines of hell and wrath and judgment?
What did Jesus come to save us from if even the rapist of a child is just a “nice person who made some mistakes? – or whatever tripe we spin to pretend that sin is something that it isn’t?
Ideas have consequences. We say that Jesus loves the sinner but hates the sin, ignoring all of the scripture that teaches that Jesus HATES the wicked. And now we have the results.
Jesus just loves this child rapist to pieces, doesn’t he? Shouldn’t you just let it go, like Jesus did?
And we have no justice, and ultimately, no gospel.
I think it is time we stopped, don’t you?