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.

Detail from “Christ before the High Priest” by Gerar van Honthorst (1617), National Gallery (Accession No. NG3679), London, Source Web Gallery of Art (PD-Art, PD-Old-100)

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.


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.

Originally posted 4/12/15

Wishing You All A Merry Christmas!



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

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

  1. absolutely Anna – somehow the healing of the victim is being ignored – and it is possible to forgive but never give that perpetrator the chance to harm again…

  2. Very true about forgiveness it something the victim has to decide if they can do this as many of the abusive people their acts are heinous. It came to light this year with an apology from the Australian Government to 8,000 + sexual abuse victims who were in religious institutions, religious environments and government institutions. From the article below it took “a long time to analyse.”
    As the investigations were taking place the Pope was inviting misfits such as Katie Perry to the vatican to evade the dire situation that was being taken to court to prosecute the Catholic Church.

    Forgiving those who allowed these heinous people to abuse anyone, forgiving the self for being put in unwillingly in this situation without being able to control it.

    The scars, trauma, pain are so deep which were cut into the victim by evil people.

    Anna Bless you Forgiveness is a deep and difficult subject which can only be done when the person has reached a point of acceptence within themselves and to cleanse and release the horrors. The Church as always does not handle it well nor do the following.

  3. Pingback: Unbiblical, Part 6 – Forgiveness v. Victims’ Rights✔️💯 – GreatCosmicMothersUnite

  4. “…Forgiveness is not a “warm and cozy” feeling, on the part of victims. It is a deliberate decision by victims… ”
    This is so true, Anna. I’ve never had to forgive someone for abuse, but the things I have had to forgive others for was a deliberate decision.
    Great post.

  5. Great definition of forgiveness–
    It is a deliberate decision by victims to leave the harm inflicted on them behind, and instead move on with their lives.

  6. This is a great post. One area that most people struggle with is how forgiveness can be consistent with the legal rights of the victim. I like the way you explained that forgiveness is a determination to no longer expend emotional energy on the suffering that the victim had previously experienced. It does not exonerate the perpetrator from going unpunished.

    I totally agree with this concept. It is logical to reasoning.
    Can we say that it seems as though forgiveness is an emotional release for the victim without any legal release for the offender? Thank you Anna, for your wonderful insight.

    • You are always so kind to me, Gbolabo. Forgiveness does not, in my view, exonerate the perpetrator. It allows victims to go on w/ their lives without investing further energy in a tortured past.

  7. Hi dearest Anna 💟💝,I have nominated to you for Mystery blogger award. Please check my website.

  8. Very well written as usual, Anna.
    I’d just like to wish you and your family a very warm happy new year. Hope it brings more joy than 2018 did.
    Keep up your great work ❤❤.

  9. Pingback: Child Abuse, Forgiveness AND… – lovehappinessandpeace

  10. Pingback: Unbiblical, Part 6 – Forgiveness v. Victims’ Rights – NarrowPathMinistries

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