Recovering from sexual abuse for Christian spiritual restoration
Kathy L. McFarland
March 15, 2013
When the first healing for victims of sexual abuse takes place, they understand that it was the devil that created the situation that moved the pervert to harm them, to prevent them from feeling worthy to come toward the Lord. But, there is much more healing that must be done if spiritual restoration and growth are to be accomplished. The first step gives reason to the victim. The next steps must be faced by the Christian with a real acknowledgement of the truth of the matter.
How do mature Christian adults deal with the tremendous burdens brought upon them as a direct result of childhood sexual abuse and the common lies that swirl against them when the secret is revealed? How can the attacks upon their soul be lessoned through the teachings of Christ? How can scarred Christians apply forgiveness to the perpetrators (pedophiles) and their protectors (mothers, church leadership), when attacks upon their integrity, faith, and lives are pummeled with wicked lies and hateful doings? What responses can adult Christians make when active persecution continues, to protect the monster that is guilty of horrific crimes that ultimately separate victims from mothers or siblings or congregational worship of God? What actions should be taken when the rapists are separated from their protectors (usually from the death of one or the other)? Should revenge attacks be visited upon the guilty pedophiles who have cowered behind their protectors to shield their guilt? Should the protectors be given new chances to see the truth once the control of the devil is removed if they outlive the perverted? And, after the pedophiles’ death, should the truth of their actions be told forevermore, guaranteeing tainted memories that at the least causes pause among those that might have praised the dead in their mourning?
1. The devil of lies has removed any hope of the truth being understood without the movement of God
When the past abused see small openings where truth might seep into the nest of lies that the abuser and his protectors create, it is natural to have hope. However, unless the movement of God chooses a defining moment, as He did with the recent Roman Catholic Church scandals of revealed sexual abuse, chances are slim that the truth will ever be heard. Remember, thousands of youth have been abused by the church leadership; only a few that live today and are mentally able to withstand scrutiny are judged not-guilty with their truth heard; the rest of the victims remained silent, hidden, damaged, and unknown.
The truths of the victims that have been attacked by the devil in the spreading of lies against them to shield the abusers are likely to never receive favorable judgment in this lifetime from family or church leadership. It is the experience of Becker Bible counselors that even when the pedophile dies first with the protector left alone and finally out of his wicked control, seldom is progress made in understanding the wrongs that have been visited upon the victim. The devil’s attacks have been too focused, too virulent, too condemning; if family and church members are unable to identify the wickedness in their midst when the pedophiles are standing next to them, then after their death they will honor the memory and reject the victim with even more intense hatred and false accusations.
The protectors of the sexual abusers, beloved mothers that should love back and church leaders that should reflect the love of God, are most likely to be reached if the pedophile dies before them. But, if the protector was too weak with the presence of the abuser, then the protector will likely be too weak after he dies to face the reality of the situation. There seems little hope for the situation to be resolved, and Christian adults that are scarred from this persecution must recognize this probability. The devil did his job well by placing the abuser into a marriage or into a church setting where there were inherent weaknesses in the natures of partners. Abusing men were paired with fearful and weak women who did not want to lose their husbands, or scared and weak priests who did not want to lose their status. Regardless, after the abusers die, there still remain fearful protectors that do not have the nature, wisdom, or heart to seek truth and reconcile with the victims.
Quite frankly, the citizens of the world are not as prone to facing these soul issues, especially with regards for truth-seeking, forgiveness or reconciliation. These ideas belong to Christian folk with regards to this matter; regular worldly attitudes are much different in separating from anything that brings distress with blame against others unquestioned. It is the Christian faith that leads the falsely accused victims to think upon these things that elevate choices beyond simple revenge-taking measures that are often available to the carnal unsaved.
By the very nature of secretive child abuse, it is highly unlikely that it occurs in a household that is filled with Christian believers that walk the way of Christ or in a dedicated Church that reflects His light continuously. Therein lies the glimmer of hope that Christian abused sometimes hold onto, and that gives them a possible reconciliation. If the pedophile or protector accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and if the Holy Spirit guides the newly born to the place of understanding, then there is a small chance of reconciliation with the Christian victim; however, in our experience, that has never happened. But, we have heard of a few cases where it might have happened. Remember, all things are possible with God; but, it will take God to make that reconciliation happen. Reconciliation will not happen, however, through the falsely accused victims efforts, but rather through the pedophiles or the protectors when they have bent a knee to Christ, confessed their sins and vowed to sin no more. Until that happens, reconciliation with a Christian will not come.
2. The Lord does not heal child abuse victims with strength to seek revenge upon abusers or protectors
Quite the opposite actually; the Lord offers Christian victims the chance to heal so they can come closer to Him. It is that relationship that the devil was trying to stop in the first place. The Lord claims His own, and Christians come toward Him, without restraint of the devil. That is the most real victory over the devil, and it is evident of the Lord’s love for His followers. The Lord does not want you wasting that righteous healing on scum that matters nothing in the Kingdom of God.
When Christian victims begin the healing process at some point healthy anger takes over. For years, the victims might have blamed themselves for the abuse that was forced upon them, so the time when anger comes is always hopeful times for the counselors. But, great care must be taken that the anger is not directed to revenge against the abuser or the protector. In the big picture, once spiritual restoration begins, the abuser and the protector needs to be placed further and further in the background of the victims mind; in reality, they no longer matter.
Violence and revenge can never be the solution to spiritual and physical recovery. BUT, these thoughts are going to creep into every survivor that has faced such tremendous wickedness; remove shame for thinking them, but gain strength in rejecting those thoughts through confidence that the Lord will take care of those things. Thankfully, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His example, taught His followers how to endure to the end, to walk in faith with hope and expectation that one day all wickedness will be punished for the persecution brought against His people.
Persecuted Christians must remove themselves from persecution if they are able, and never walk back into the mess. Christ gives most victims the ability to move away from the wickedness and rejection. Going toward it once again after safety has been given by Christ is sure to create both spiritual and physical loss in those not heeding this warning.
3. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation
Christians must forgive those that do injustice against them. It is non-negotiable. When victims become strong enough to deal with these issues, AND NOT A MOMENT BEFORE, they must also contemplate how to forgive such horrible acts, especially when persecution through false witness against them continues. It is not easy. Every time another hurt comes as a result of false witness, human nature and even instinct wishes to respond with a hurt right back.
But, let’s face it; Christians can never do the wickedness that their attackers do to them. At the most, retaliation is so diluted that it makes the enemies mock, and come back stronger against them. Yet, somehow, the soul, the mind of the Christian, must figure out a way to forgive them, but keep them far, far, far, away in order that wickedness does not come close to the righteous.
It will not be done with the Christian victims talking face-to-face with the monsters or their protectors. They no longer matter; they have done all the damage that can be done and the devil has rewards or punishments for them depending on how well they followed his plan.
Now the Christians must recognize that if they hold hatred in their heart, they will suffer loss when their works are measured by Christ. Christians must realize that forgiveness comes to them in the same manner as they are able to forgive others. The heaping of coals upon the wicked heads takes place when forgiveness is given in the heart and mind of the believer and the abuser is thought of no more.
That step in the recovery process elevates the Christian above the problems associated with these horrible attacks. The minute that forgiveness comes inside the Christian, the abusers lose all power, the devil loses his grip completely, and the Christians become empowered with the capability of receiving more Holy Spirit. This is because the clutch of the enemy is released from the folds of the mind, making more real estate available for the righteousness of God to dwell within.
What a victory it is for Jesus when the Christian victims are able to forgive and move on with their spiritual restoration!
BIBLE TEACHERS: I have written this as one of several pieces that I try to write every year on the week of March 15. Some of my writings contain Bible Lessons to help guide Christian victims back to spiritual restoration and healing. But in this piece there are no Scriptures referenced for a very important reason:
There are many, many, many Scriptural references that can guide the Christian victims back to spiritual restoration and connect intimately with their spirits. But, healing cannot be done unless the Holy Spirit is moving through that healing. I encourage Bible Teachers to read this paper to understand the likely emotions and problems that Christian victims start to have as their healing begins. It all matters. And once Bible Teachers understand, I pray they pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit so He might guide Scripture references perfectly, depending upon the needs of the victim. It is in that controlled and comfortable situation, where trusted teacher and broken student, guided by God, as they search Scripture together, that full healing can begin.
As always, Christian victims of child sexual abuse should be referred to professional counselors to deal with the myriad of problems associated with these things. That’s the legal way to say it.
But the spiritual reality is this: One day, or many days, in an innocent child’s life, the devil moved perverse attacks to come against them, in order that as they grow up, they feel so dirty that they would be unworthy of accepting Christ. Counselors can partially heal the mind, but it takes the Holy Spirit to bring full restoration to the person; in most cases, it is the presence of a righteous Bible Teacher that shares His movement as that healing process begins.
Together, you and the recovering victim, with the Holy Spirit’s movement and Scripture referenced liberally, can begin that healing process perfectly. But, know it is the most difficult tasks that you will ever encounter, as you help victims stand and walk with Christ that is sufficient enough to cast their hopes upon for their healing. My prayers are constantly raised to the Lord for those Bible teachers and Christian leaders appointed by God for such important and critical restorative work upon the broken spirit of a Christian soon to be healed.