Tuesday, July 07, 2009


We need to go back to the beginning to a barn in the mountains of Appalachia. Because it was in that barn, my strongest feelings of being deserted by God were felt. I was not yet old enough to go to school, but I was old enough to be brutally used as a sex toy. It was not a single incident by a stranger. It was many victimizations over a number of years. My grandfather would first do something good and kind and later unexpectedly would come a sexual assault so brutal and painful I simply wished he would kill me.
Where was God?
It has taken me years to understand that He was in the barn with me. Why He did not stop it is a mystery only He knows the answer to. How do I know He was in the barn? Because I am now sixty years old and still alive and at least as sane as most of the folks around me. That means He was there. He helped me even as I denied He existed.
Researchers estimate that, in our country, about 10% of boys and 25% of girls are sexually abused. About 30% of those who sexually abuse children are relatives of the child, such as fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or cousins. The big question is why is it so hard to protect children from sexual abuse? (Note the percentages above are only for sexual abuse not all kinds of child abuse)
There are many answers given to the question I just posed, but the answer I am about to give is from my own personal experience. That does not make it right, but I offer it as a possibility. The main reason is that once we become a victim of childhood sexual abuse we no longer trust adults enough to tell anyone about what is happening.
Faith communities can play a major role in turning this whole thing around. Note I said community. In a community where all the adults are looking after the interest of the children, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor children will have a better chance and if they do become a victim are much more likely to tell.
Jesus was in the barn with me, but are we in the byways, busy streets, and sharing with the bloodied souls of our fellow sojourners the chance for the peace we know in our own hearts. The only evangelism that really works is heart to heart. Did you help mend a broken heart today?

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