By Shawn R. Jones
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
We don’t know the hearts, minds, or histories of others. People often feel the way they feel, think the way they think, and do what they do for reasons we cannot fully understand because we don’t know the details of their past or present situations. We are not even sure how we would respond under similar circumstances. For instance, my childhood friend grew up to be shamelessly promiscuous. People called her despicable names. For years, I also wondered why she had multiple partners. I grew up with her, and from what I could see, she had a decent childhood. Well, one day when we were in our early twenties, she confided in me. She told me she had been sexually abused by a babysitter when she was three years old, and the abuse lasted a couple of years. She told her story as if the abuse was a minor bicycle accident.
As I sat there, feeling and looking uncomfortable, she said, “I’m all right, though. It doesn’t bother me.”
After our conversation, we just went on about our day, doing what twenty-year-olds do, laughing at everything and nothing, like neither of us knew pain.
Today, twenty plus years later, I would handle that situation much differently. I would help her find a good therapist who specializes in the treatment of sexual abuse and suggest a number of helpful books she could read by Christian authors who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Sadly, I cannot help my friend now because her promiscuity led to her death. Unfortunately, while she was alive, no one realized she spent most of her life trying to forget the torment of her childhood. I certainly didn’t realize it until it was too late. I never mentioned it again because I didn’t want her to regret sharing her secret with me, so I went on with our friendship pretending the abuse didn’t matter. Even if that was what she wanted, it was the wrong thing to do.
After I realized the magnitude of my mistake and the weight of my regret, I decided to help others by writing about it. I figured it was the best way for me to reach people without being intrusive. Some issues are uncomfortable and painful to discuss, like sexual abuse, but God still wants us to talk about it so the healing process can begin. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, please get help. Go online and research agencies today. May God’s grace help you through the restoration process.
Dear Lord, please help victims of sexual abuse and rehabilitate perpetrators who have robbed others of their innocence. Lord, it is so hard for me to pray for the latter, but I know they are Your children too. Please teach me to be sensitive to everyone who needs restoration, and renew my strength in areas that have been weakened by life’s circumstances. Amen.
Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames
(Ambassador International, 2011)
Available at this link: http://t.co/BxiNwWRG,