Three years ago our church hosted the presentation of the film ‘All God’s Children’. If you have not viewed this documentary film you need to. It is the real life story of the children of three families who attended the same boarding school in Africa during the fifties, sixties and the seventies. This was a ‘Christian’ boarding school where some of the missionaries were raping, molesting and beating the children. These children would sit in chapel during the day and learn verses and sing the great old hymns of the faith and at night would be raped and molested by some of the very same people who were teaching them God’s word. The saddest moment in the film for me was when one of the survivors of this abuse was sharing her testimony. She said that for years whenever she would try and think of God….she would only see the face of her offender. Had sad and horrific is that? Yet this same dilemma is happening all the time as survivors of abuse are trying to reach out to God for help and answers.
I am very concerned as I read about victims who think that God is not very concerned about abuse. Part of this distorted view of God comes from the fact that many offenders are ‘religious’ and claim His mercy and forgiveness for their evil deeds.
It is my hope that this article will help people understand that God in no way condones this evil and that He has no intention of letting these evil predators go unpunished. In the book of Jude God talks about the sexual predators who are creeping into the church unnoticed.
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[b] and our Lord Jesus Christ.
5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Let’s start with God’s view of children and the best place see that is the gospels when God the Son came to earth as a man.
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
The humility of a child is what makes someone the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The very thing that the offender steals and destroys is what Jesus identifies as what makes someone the greatest in His kingdom. What offenders do is demonic and God is outraged by their evil. Jesus took the little children up in His arms to bless them and held them up as examples to follow.
Jesus rebuked the disciples when they turned the children away. He warned everyone not despise children because their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. He warned offenders not to harm children or the consequences will be severe in deed. In Luke 17:2 and in Matt. 18:6 Jesus tells offenders that it would be better for a millstone to be hung around their neck and that they would be cast into the sea. Jesus is saying that would be easier on them than what He has in store for all those who rape and molest children. The judgement of God will be severe. Hebrews 10:31 says that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Those who have gone through abuse need to understand that God will judge their offenders.
So what about the offenders who so quickly claim God’s grace and forgiveness? They obviously have paid little attention to what the scriptures teach. I John 1:9 is one of the passages that they know by heart. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” They are overlooking the first word ‘if’ and the word ‘confess’. Most if not all offenders lie about their sin. They either deny their sin or lie about the extent of the abuse and about the number of their victims. Anything short of a full confession is also short of being forgiven. Then there is the word ‘confess’ it means more than simply admitting to something. It means to ‘ give assent’ or to agree with. When we use the word in conjunction with sin it means to agree with God about our sin. Offenders do not agree with God about their sin. They make light of their sin and minimize it. Later on in the Matthew 18 passage we read about forgiveness and that when someone sins against us and they repent then we are to forgive them. But offenders forget about the word ‘repent’, it means to turn and go the other way. When an offender ‘ turns and goes the other way’ we are to forgive them. The vast majority of offenders never change. They want forgiveness only so they can be free to go out and rape and molest all over again. If that all sounds to hard and unfair then maybe you had better take a closer look at Matthew 18:8, 9. Immediately after Jesus warns offenders about abusing children He tells them that if a part of their body causes them to sin then they should cut if off. He says they are better off to stop the sin and find forgiveness than to ‘be whole’ and to be cast into hell.
God is nothing like your offender. Offenders are evil, selfish and have no regard for their victims but God is loving and kind. So much so that He died on a cross for you so that you might have eternal life, if you will put your faith and trust in Him and invite Him into your life.
An offender can be saved and find forgiveness but only ‘if’ they confess and repent of their sin and trust Christ as their savior. The requirements for salvation are the same for all but the reality is that most religious offenders are a child of the devil not of God. Jesus said in Matthew 7:20 ” By their fruits you shall know them.” When an offender looks in the mirror what is it that they see? The reflection of God? or the reflection of Satan?
No, God is not like your offender and your offender is not like God.