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.

9 thoughts on “Guilty of Murder?

  1. And I would go so far as to say that the law needs to be involved. Those in conservative circles are not above the law of the land. Yes, may revival come and hearts be made right and whole in Jesus! But I find it disturbing that Anabaptist deal with these issues on their own and they are not brought to justice. And maybe that is one reason why it continues on – no fear of God or the laws of the land. They are in a ‘safe’ religious circle. Everywhere in America churches desperately need revival and an awakening to the fear of God and that He is coming soon!

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    1. Thank you for commenting. One of the big reasons the law is not involved in most cases, is because “we” are afraid of ruining our image. It is sickening just thinking about it. You and I both know what kind of warning Jesus gave to hypocrites. Another reason is because the church and the state have too different goals; the church wants to see repentance and reconcilation, and the state wants justice. But (and this is a generalized statement) the church isn’t doing too well on the repentance and reconcilation part, and most offenders are not even repenting. I don’t think it’s the church’s responsibility to bring justice. That is the state’s responsiblity. It is law to report such things. Therefore, we should, in my opinion. I think we need to be more open about these things and cooperate in the investigation process. I think we need more awareness too. But we utlimately need Jesus. An offender can be brought to justice but might not ever repent and be reconciled to God. I echo your last sentence!

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  2. Hello,
    I am curious where you got the information for your 30-50% abuse rate? Is there a particular poll or information source where you able to get this information? Tim Stoltzfus recently took a confidential poll of Conservative Mennonite youth with 650 replies and received a rate of 11% of women that reported sexual abuse. While this is far too high it is substantially below 30-50%. Appreciate your reply and thanks for reposting this article.

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    1. Sheldon,
      Thank you for your comment. I got that percentage from talking with Anabaptist counselors from different ministries. In fact, I actually went on the low side-some say that it’s as high as 90%. Keep in mind that these numbers include people who are all ages, not just youth. It also includes Amish, and abuse is quite normalized in many of their communities. Was abuse explained in depth on the questionnaire? Conservative people are sometimes naive to what abuse is. It is much more than rape. Another thing that I think might have played into the numbers you gave is the fact that sometimes a person doesn’t remember the abuse until they are married or in their 30s and 40s due to repression and disassociation during the abuse.
      I’d love to hear more about this survey. I’m very surprised the numbers were that low. In fact, I’ve never heard any figures that even come close to 11%.
      Like you said, even 11% is too much, and you are right. I continue to pray that God would open our eyes and hearts to hear the silent screams of people who need someone to lead them to Jesus.

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    2. Sheldon, I too would be interested in this survey. Is it the one that was put up at mennosurvey.com? That site is now unavailable, and I was curious what the results would show. Could you share a link to Tim’s survey results?

      Thanks!

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