Secrets from childhood sexual abuse destroy souls
Kathy L. McFarland
It is a sad fact that I am known as one of just a few Christian leaders that have an active ministry to child abuse victims. The reason there are so few of us is because of the wicked nature of the attack upon children in their formative years; the resulting damage is so intensive, so demanding of professional and spiritual attention, that it becomes sometimes a lifelong effort for child abuse victims.
Over the last ten years, however, Becker Bible Studies have sent our counselors to school, and we have developed treatment plans for the souls of those victimized by the devil at the age of innocence. We've gotten pretty good at bringing those that are so filled with the shame of their past closer to the cross of Christ. Even those steps often take several years as seasoned counselors and Bible teachers peel back layer and layer of scars that are often built upon by family members as the abuse comes to light.
Normally, child sexual abuses stay a secret until the adults can no longer hold it in the recesses of their mind. At some point, the shame and pain come forth; usually, almost always, the abused tells someone close to them in their family about the events of abuse. Often, this "telling" is activated when they have their own children and must figure out a way to protect them from vicimization. When the "secret" comes out, the real work of the devil concludes usually with the rejection of the abused, and full support given to the wicked "doers of the deeds" especially in family settings.
We have found that it is the secret that destroys most abused souls. When the actual act of childhood sexual abuse is occurring, children have a way of putting themselves someplace else to the escape the nasty act that is being perpetuated on their bodies. Sometimes, this separation goes so far, that it causes a split into two different people, one that lives safe, and the other that must submit to the abuse, especially when there are threats that accompany the abuse.Regardless, kids survive abuse with these special attributes of the mind; but, one day in every life, those secrets come alive once again, and the real work of the devil begins.
Child sexual abuse is the work of the devil. He tags children that he believes the Lord has chosen to come closer in faith; in order to destroy that possibility, Satan introduces the perverted acts of a child abuser into the innocent children, trusting that as they mature, their souls will be destroyed, or made to feel so unworthy that they are unable to even come to the cross of Christ.
As Bible teachers, we must often get past the victimization before we can effectively teach the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. This requires a great deal of effort, attention to details, compassion, and patience, as often the victims must tell their secrets over and over and over to someone that will hear. They quickly are rejected from their family when the secrets come out, and their descent into a personal hell begins. But, those that are able to tell their secret and be heard, and allowed to tell their secret from a different perspective, and then another, and to resolve each of the instances of that perspective with someone that believes them, then healing begins.
From our experience at Becker Bible Studies, simple Christian compassion goes a long way to begin that healing process. We listen, and listen, and listen. Sometimes we cry with the victims as they recount it over and over and over. It is not a dwelling upon abuse that is happening when the topic is repeated again and again. Rather, it is the process of rebuilding their minds to accept the truth of the abuse; until someone can hear and believe them and not reject them, the process cannot be completed.
Now no one is expected to be a Mental Health expert. Certainly in emotional crisis all victims of abuse must be under treatment of professional mental health workers. However, Bible teachers often account for a great deal of abuse victims because usually the devil was right; God has chosen them to receive more faith than most. Their souls desire God, and though they feel unworthy to receive Him, they are compelled to come close.
So it is Bible teachers that often are faced with the scars of abuse numerous among their students. The Gospel of Christ can only be delivered to a soul that feels worthy to hear the message. Shame forced upon a child prevents the adult victim from coming close.
So, if a Bible teacher is in a safe and private conversation with the adult victim, let them speak. Listen to them often and always, and comfort them with the knowledge that this is an attack by the devil, rather than a shortcoming on their part. As you are listening, you are removing the most potent part of the devil's attack. When the secret is spoken, each time that secret is spoken, the victim is freed a bit more, and the devil's power removed from a controlling position. The victim's repetitive recollection of the secret kept for so many years, frees that secret, and allows the attack to be dealt with. While Bible teachers are not qualified to counsel childhood sexual abuse victims, there is no damage that can come from a compassionate Christian that just listens, and allows the victim to talk. At the conclussion of that discussion, reassure the victim of God's love, your belief in their ability to overcome the devil's attacks, and urge seeking professional help to help guide the victim to a conclusive and victorious healing. But, don't be surprised if it is only you that will be trusted by the victim to speak; sometimes that's just the way God wants it.
At some point, the Bible students will start making connections of the secrets in their minds, as they hear and examine the event over and over. It is at that point that the Bible teachers jobs really begin, as students are guided toward the cross, and made confident in their worth to receive the salvation of Jesus Christ. Once that step is fully understood and embraced, the scars of victimization become more and more healed, and deeper Bible Studies can be taught.
Secrets destroy the souls of children, especially those attached to childhood sexual abuse. It is the direct attack of the devil to prevent adults from coming close to God. But here is the kicker...it is my belief and experience that childhood sexual abuse victims are given an extra measure of faith, an extra bit of healing, than the common Christians receive. Most childhood sexually abused Christians rise above the pain of abuse, and produce some of the greatest works for the Lord. So while it is the most painful of childhoods, it becomes a superior tool in the Holy Spirit's hand, as the things of God are received, and the mind healed from the eventually ineffective work of the devil.