Unbiblical, Part 6 – Forgiveness v. Victims’ Rights

“ ‘And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us’ ” (Luke 11: 4).

As I have said elsewhere on this website, forgiveness is a personal matter between abuse victims and their God. Urging forgiveness on victims prematurely ignores the gravity of their trauma, and the depravity of the sins committed against them.

This amounts to a further violation. Victims will necessarily feel that Christians are siding with the predator…even condoning the abuse. Shockingly, in some cases Christians have been guilty of this.

Witness the Catholic Church sex scandal. This was, at best, a product of poor judgment, and a distorted view of Scripture. At worst, it was a cold and calculated attempt to avoid corporate responsibility, while facilitating the most heinous of crimes.

Either way, church hierarchy applied precisely the same rationale to young abuse victims, as the high priest, Caiaphas, did to Christ:  “ ‘…[I]t is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish’ ” (John 11: 50).

To be clear, forgiveness is not a “warm and cozy” feeling, on the part of victims. It is a deliberate decision by victims to leave the harm inflicted on them behind, and instead move on with their lives.

Significantly, genuine forgiveness can provide victims a release from their past which nothing else can. The link to the predator is severed. The hold the predator has had over victims is broken. More than that, through God’s grace, victims are set free to heal.

Forgiveness is not inconsistent with victims’ rights. A victim may decide no longer to expend emotional energy focusing on his/her loss. This does not preclude criminal prosecution of the predator for the crimes s/he committed.

Criminal liability and lifelong monitoring, when imposed, are consequences of the predator’s own actions. This is entirely in accord with Scripture. Society must take necessary steps to protect its most vulnerable members.

Conclusion

A few final words:

Christians genuinely interested in being supportive to abuse victims should better educate themselves, both on Scripture and abuse, and should pray fervently for compassion, which – sad to say – many lack.

God is waiting with open arms for abuse victims. They are more precious to Him than diamonds or gold. In fact, His Son Jesus died for them. It is this truth which Christians should strive to convey.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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14 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

14 responses to “Unbiblical, Part 6 – Forgiveness v. Victims’ Rights

  1. Very good, dear Anna. ⭐ And so true!!

    Forgiveness is never easy, yet it is indeed the only way to be set free ourselves. Forcing forgiveness on abuse victims is not only ignorant, it is torment for the poor victims that already might feel guilty for something that had been forced on them as well, i.e., when they were abused.

    May God open the eyes of those who call themselves Christians, but have no heart that loves as God loves.

  2. jacqui

    I pray Anna that there will be a real change in attitudes especially in the church and abuse victims ….. Both sides hold the key and this is that the world is more aware of the help that abuse victims need but not knowing the healing of God whereas the church hold the truth often withheld of Jesus’ healing but ignorant of abuse. I do believe something is shifting from all that I am hearing on line particularly on WordPress…… I was going to do my blog on my abuse privately but the LORD spoke yesterday He wanted me to be open with it thus nullifying the shame and yes from the church. My wonderful counsellor now ex but respected friend had all the compassion and kindness and knowledge of abuse fully trained but not knowing Jesus [but is this true?] God has kept this door open which I thought shut Anna so some new turning will happen I am sure.

    I wrote today about this very issue with the church I faced many years and was utterly devastating ……

    https://julygirl1962.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/lets-talk-about-suicide-taboo/

    It’s such a big issue and only God can reach through our testimonies and I pray He does and reaches those abused who need God’s healing.

    Many many blessings Anna ….. love jacqui xx

    • This is a very perceptive remark, Jacqui. I pray along with you for changes in the church. May God extend His hope and healing to abuse victims everywhere. With love, Anna ❤

  3. Powerful!! I love this, “God is waiting with open arms for abuse victims. They are more precious to Him than diamonds or gold. In fact, His Son Jesus died for them. It is this truth which Christians should strive to convey.” Anna, as a new “Christian”, trying to “forgive” my abuser was one of the hardest things to do. I would hear, “if you were truly a Christian, you would forgive and reconcile” or “if you truly forgive me then we should be able to stay friends.” I remember crying out for God to help me to forgive him and let go of all the pain he had caused me. I thought that I was being punished for unforgiveness because I was so broken… until God sent me a message. God let me know that I had forgiven him enough. I realized that day that forgiveness comes in layers, like the healing of wounds. It is only as we heal that we can reach those levels of forgiveness… and somethings it is only with divine intervention because of the severity of our wounds. Forgiveness is personal between each of us and God. He knows the depth of our wounds and the extent of our forgiveness. No one can judge us but He…. and it’s only in His timing that total forgiveness with healing will come about. God bless you, my sister!

    • Your are absolutely right. Healing does come “in layers”. Often God is more patient with us than we are with ourselves. Remarks by Christians like “if you were truly a Christian, you would forgive and reconcile” can be enormously hurtful, further alienating and isolating victims. Women in abusive relationships are NOT required to place themselves at further risk, to demonstrate they have forgiven their abuser. God bless you, too!

      • Amen… Yes, we are too impatient with our own healing process. Also, too many confuse forgiveness with friendship. The two are not connected. We can forgive those who abuse us… but still have no contact for our own safety and healing process.

  4. Too many Christians confuse forgiveness with trust. Just because we forgive someone with Christ’s help, does not mean we have to trust them again. I learned this lesson by being victimized by two crooked real estate agents who were working together against me on a deal and one of them was supposed to be representing MY interests, but was actually a good church buddy of the the agent/seller. I should have got a hint, I guess, for the agent/seller’s last name was “Sinner.” 🙂 Really!

    Anyway, they kept working on me to close on the sale of this piece of land I needed to put a mobile home on for my family while the property had a big lien on it and I refused to sign. So they started telling everyone what a bad Christian I was because I would not come through with the down payment which Mr. Sinner needed to send his daughter off to Bible school. But I held my ground. Finally I prayed, “Father, aren’t I supposed to love these two guys?” To this he answered, “Sure, go ahead and love them, BUT JUST DON’T TRUST THEM!” You see, love and trust are often two different issues. Take a look at this passage [John 2:23-25]…The agape love of God is unconditional, but trust has to be earned.

    • That is a wonderful way of putting it, Michael. “The agape love of God is unconditional, but trust has to be earned.” People can be victimized in many ways. Financial schemes have destroyed the hard earned savings of many people innocent of any wrongdoing, themselves. Mischele Lewis is an illustration. If you remember, she was conned by a man who had married multiple times solely to scam women. Sadly, those victimized as children may be victimized again as adults. You were wise to resist this fraud (and slander). How ironic that the one agent planned to send his daughter to Bible school. Little wonder that Christians have gained a bad reputation when some of those claiming to be Christian act in this way.

  5. Lord Acton of England in about 1904 said to an Anglican bishop, “The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern: every class is unfit to govern… Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    I have found this corrupting influence of power in the hands of men to be true all across the board, it is true among Republicans, Independents and Democrats — Capitalist or Socialist, in governments or the church or even in a marriage relationship. When one person or a clique of people seize power, corruption is not far away and so is tyranny and abuse of that power. It is THIS fact that is behind Jesus’ warning to the disciples of what REAL church leadership was supposed to be,

    “You know that the ones recognized to be ruling the nations domineer over them, and their great [ones] tyrannize them. But it will not be so among you, But whoever shall be desiring to become great among you, he will be your servant. “And whoever of you is desiring to become first, he will be slave of all. For even the Son of Humanity did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life [as] a ransom for many.”
    (Mark 10:42-45 ALT)

    • The church of all institutions should have been able to recognize that corruption, especially in the face of such devastating harm.

      • Yes, Anna, the “church” should, but yet it has been one of the most abusive of institutions in my life. I have learned that what calls it self “the church” is not always THE church. All that glitters is not gold. As a result I have quit putting my eyes on men and their institutions and seek God alone as my hope. I have avoided a lot of abuse this way. But when I DO find a member of Christ’s called-out body such as yourself, it is a real joy for me and the fellowship is sweet.

        “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalms 118:8-9 KJ2000)
        Bless you, my sister.

      • You give me way too much credit, Michael. But thank you. I can always use the encouragement. As you say, the organized church (of whatever denomination), and the devout men and women actually making up what the Gospel terms the body of Christ are not necessarily one and the same. We can only hope and pray that the Lord will find other ways to reach out to those like you harmed by individuals falsely claiming the title “Christian”.

        With love,

        A.

      • Dear Anna, the Lord has led me to a few very loving and REAL saints of God after many years of missing them when they came along because I was still looking for them inside institutions with a “larger than life” profile. Yet, the love of God does not vaunt itself up, but is found in the most lowly of places, like Mary washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and drying them with her hair and kissing them. Of her Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the better place” when Martha, who was busy with her works, had no time to enjoy his loving presence. To a great extent I was another Martha and fit right in with those who labored to build their “houses of worship” at the expense of a life giving relationship with Jesus. Thank God that He has restored me to my first love!
        Blessings, my dear sister!

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