As a minister, I experience having my words be taken for God’s words (no matter how frail I may be). As a father of three (two boys and a little girl), I cannot fathom the depths of pain and grief any child must endure when their world shatters due to abuse. As someone who has walked with family through recovery from sexual abuse, I know the devastating effects this kind of abuse can carry.
The secret and the shame hold captive the abused. Escape seems impossible and yet a choice glimmers in the distance. It shimmers like a mirage in the desert intangible and unthinkable.
Forgive the person who stole my innocence.
Radical forgiveness sets the person who has been abused free. No longer can their abuser hold over them the unspeakable crimes that occurred.
When this happens, a choice occurs. A choice for life… A choice to not be defined by an event.. a choice to be free.
And yet, the abuser often escapes justice. In the case of the Catholic church, they often escape true repentence. I have watched in horror as priests/ministers have been moved or moved away before society could execute justice or true repentance can occur. They get shuffled off without having to deal with God or with societal justice.
A coverup keeps the abuser in harm’s way. He or she finds themselves in a new place with a new opportunity to commit the unthinkable. The abuser receives a reward and does not face the God who said it would be better for a millstone to be hung around his or her neck (Matthew 18:5-7).
Let me define grace here and now for abused and abuser:
Grace for the abused consists of the supernatural ability to forgive the abuser. Grace for the abuser means that we protect them by not placing them in harm’s way and keeping them from abusing again.
Freedom through giving forgiveness for the abused. Freedom through repentance and accountability for the abuser.
Radical grace does not mean radical opportunity to sin. It means radical freedom from ourselves and the things that would cause us to fall.
Whether it be vengeance or the unthinkable sin….
You have just finished reading, “Never Beyond: When the Unthinkable happens…,” written for ProcessOfBecoming.org. I believe we learn best when we take the time to express our thoughts with each other. Please take a few minutes to comment or to email me with what you are thinking.