Much like a real war, the battle against abuse is fought on many fronts. The enemies are those who rape and molest children and those who defend these sexual predators. I know that there will be some Christians who have a problem with calling sex offenders the enemy and yet that is the truth. Paul had no problem calling Elymas an ‘enemy’ when he tried to interfere with Paul’s witness. Acts 13:10
Paul confronted him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? God clearly states that those who are friends with the world have made themselves the enemies of God. James 4:4
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Offenders have made themselves the enemy of God and Righteousness. They are not the enemy because we ‘call’ them an enemy but rather they are an enemy because they have chosen to make themselves an enemy by virtue of their evil deeds. So offenders must be dealt with in a Biblical manner. They must be reported to the law and punished for their crimes (Romans 13). We are told to ‘love’ our enemies, so how do we love offenders? The worst thing we can do for an offender is to ‘protect’ them from the consequences of their sin. If there is any hope of true repentance it will likely come when they are alone in a prison cell. Pray for them; share the gospel with them; do everything you can to keep them from harming other children and do everything you can to make sure they face the consequences of their crimes. Jesus gives a very grim warning in Matthew 18:1-14 to those who abuse children. “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. 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. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Jesus warns those who would harm children to cut off their hand or foot or pluck out their eye rather than spend eternity in hell. Those are His words not mine. Those who protect offenders will be the ones pushing them into hell not those who are holding them accountable.
A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit; Let no one help him. Loving and forgiving an offender does not mean keeping them out of prison, nor does it mean that they can have access to more children! When we care for an offender we want them to confess, repent and work at making restitution.
So one of the fronts in this battle is dealing with sexual predators. Another front is exposing the sin. Ephesians 5:11
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. God has told us that He wants us to be ‘salt and light’. Light illuminates the darkness and reveals what is hidden. Offenders and enablers want to hide in the shadows so that they can continue to do their evil deeds but God wants us to expose the works of darkness. Many Christians are uncomfortable with talking about sin but it must be done.
Helping victims to find healing and God’s love is another ‘front’ in this battle. Like the ‘Mash’ units that would patch up the wounded as best as they could, there are many advocates and survivors who are trying to do what they can to help those who have been wounded at the hands of evil people. Isaiah 58:10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
Indifference and apathy are also a ‘front’ in this battle. It is exhausting to try and convince someone who is in denial that a crisis is at hand. Many are sounding the alarm of the impending danger but few are listening. Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
There are many fronts in this war and each of us has a place of responsibility. We all have our niche. Together, with God’s help and grace, we can make a difference. Let us join hand in hand to pray for God’s power to more an indifferent Church to a place of mourning and then action.