We are at a critical time in the history of the church where we have been given the opportunity to rise up and to truly learn how to love. If the church can awaken in response by being aware and conscious of the suffering victim in the midst of their own congregation, then there is hope. A hope to live an existence of healthy relational bonding rather than feeling imprisoned by managing every relationship out of fear and mistrust. Once the leadership and community of a church are made aware of the victims amongst their own congregation, they can learn to love the victim by establishing boundaries.
In our modern age the church has made a reputation for being an unsafe place. Not only do unbelievers feel unsafe when misjudged or scrutinized by the church, but many believers in Christ have left the church because of the issue of safety. As a survivor of sexual child abuse myself and a believer, I have found it very disheartening and alarming to witness the naivete of the church in response to a victim of abuse. I personally believe that the majority of the church in our nation does not understand how to respond to abuse because there is a lack of knowledge pertaining to the subject of abuse. Being made aware that there are still victims of abuse who may belong in your own ministry is crucial in the equipping of the church to become the safest place that God intended the church to be.
I am personally sharing with you from a place of having experienced the mistreatment of being a victim while growing up in a Christian family with parents who had served the Lord both as missionaries and as pastors. When I was only a child I was abducted on the missions field by my perpetrators. Tragically, my abduction was not a one time event but a recurring imprisonment of sexual manipulation and abuse. In the midst of my on-going abuse, my parents as well as the church community where oblivious to the reality of the systematic ritual abuse that I was trapped in. Nobody found me.
My perpetrators were not naive in the process of my abductions. They were very intentional about appearing harmless to the church community, gaining trust and making sure that there was a very good reason why they needed to spend some special time with me. In those “ special times” I would be introduced to evil that was beyond my comprehension and capability of understanding. The agonizing truth is how absent minded my parents and the church community were while I was being sexually victimized. In God’s great mercy I was saved and preserved to share my story with others today. However, the lack of understanding and knowledge that the church has in regards to responding to a victim is still extremely evident to me.