You’re reading the series If You Only Knew: Awareness, Healing, Hope. We began with my personal story of childhood sexual abuse and my path to healing. We then moved on to ways to keep your children safer, why it doesn’t work to handle abuse situations “in house,” and my message to survivors. If you missed any, you can find previous posts here.
Trigger warning: sexual abuse
Navigating the aftermath of sexual abuse can be terribly disorienting.
Survivors often have few allies. Most family involved shies away, or runs, from the sheer weight of the burden.
Survivors live in silence and pain. If they aren’t outright blamed, vilified, and disbelieved.
Christians may push victims to reconcile with abusers. Or survivors who haven’t rejected their faith altogether may live feeling as though their life-struggles resulting from abuse are personal moral failures.
Granted, abuse is a difficult, painful situation for anyone involved. It’s hard to know what to do…how to handle it.
But why not default to this:
Loving the victim well.
It often takes individuals nearly or completely removed from a survivor’s personal situation–someone whose loyalty is not divided between the victim and abuser–to do this.
I have been shocked and humbled…awash in Gospel love by the stance and work of one particular organization on this issue.
As their name suggests, GRACE deals mostly with abuse in places like churches and mission fields, but their wisdom can be applied to most kinds of abuse situations.
GRACE recently released a statement concerning abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ. I was struck, amazed by their compassionate and humble strength. I urge you to read the statement in its entirety here, but this is the concluding paragraph:
To all who have been abused, broken, deceived and ignored, we have failed you and our God. We repent for looking nothing like our Lord when we have silenced you, ignored you or moved away from you and then acted as if you were the problem. You are not the problem; you are the voice of our God calling his church to repentance and humility. Thank you for having the courage to speak truth. May God have mercy on us all and oh may the day come when his church reflects the indescribable love and compassion of Jesus, even to the point of laying down our lives for his precious sheep.
Thank you, GRACE. You’ve chosen the perfect name; you exude it.
And thank you to each one of you who has reached out to me with the kind of love described in GRACE’s public statement.
Why do you think it is so difficult to name sexual abuse as an evil
and deal with it head-on?
How do you think Jesus would treat an abuse survivor?
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