Conservative Anabaptists know where they stand on the abortion issue. We are not afraid to stand up for those innocent little babies who’ve never seen the light of day.
But what we fail to realize is this: In a sense, we are taking part in the murder of the innocent when we sweep sexual abuse “under the rug”.
We have a problem. A big problem.
Go to any counseling center in our circles and they will tell you that Childhood Sexual Abuse is rampant in conservative communities across the world. The numbers of sexually abused children in our churches are no different than that of the world. Somewhere between 30-50% of girls will be abused by age eighteen, and 1 in 10 boys are being abused.
Brothers and Sisters, we are killing the spirits of our children. They are being crushed. Their innocence stolen. In their eyes, they are worthless.
In God’s eyes, they are worth fighting for.
Will we keep trying to cover up? Will we continue to treat this epidemic as if it isn’t there? Or will we begin taking necessary steps to protect and guard our children’s purity?
Matthew 18:6 has some sobering words for us: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Sexual abuse effects a person on every level of their being: body, soul, and spirit. The implications are huge; it’s like putting on a pair of sunglasses and seeing the world in a completely new way. The child’s view of God is severely damaged, especially if the abuser was someone they trusted. Sexual abuse is a really good way to offend a child.
We wonder why our young people are leaving. May I suggest that it might be related to this? They see the inconsistencies. They see their abuser in church every Sunday. He is sitting piously on the front pew, “drinking” in the message. Or maybe he’s the Superintendent or the Sunday School teacher.
What would happen if the people of God actually loved God enough to hate what God hates? What would happen if the secrets that have been hidden for decades would be brought to the Cross? What would happen if the many little boys and girls were believed and understood and cared for? What would happen if both the victims and the perpetrators would meet Jesus?
Maybe our light for Jesus would shine brighter. Maybe we’d actually have people knocking on our doors, wanting Jesus too. Maybe, just maybe, our children would want what we have.
We have become good at putting on an “holy” front. But Brothers and Sisters, it’s time for the darkness to meet the Light.
It’s time to expose our sin.
It’s time to get rid of our guilt and shame.
It’s time to meet Jesus.