Tag Archives: sexual abuse

Pedophile or Molester?

WARNING: GRAPHIC WRITTEN CONTENT

Diagnostic criteria for pedophilia

Pedophilia is a well-known disorder. It’s defined by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV-TR.

To be diagnosed with pedophilia, a person must:

  • be sexually aroused by, have intense, recurring sexual fantasies of, or be involved in sexual behavior with a prepubescent child or children (generally 13 years or younger);
  • be aroused by, have sexual fantasies of, or be involved with a child for at least six months.;
  • be at least 16 years old, and
  • be at least five years older than the child or children he or she is attracted to.

Let’s say a man with sexual addictions toward children was caught multiple times over the last two decades; although investigators in different states who have investigated are certain the history goes back to early teenage years and most likely includes dozens, possibly hundreds, of victims. He likes very young children both boys and girls, with brown hair. Is he a pedophile or a molester?

Is there a difference between being a pedophilic sex offender and being a molester?

Answer: Yes

The media tends to use these terms as synonyms (a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another) though they are not. Although both pedophilic sex offenders and molesters abuse children; statistically pedophilic offenders have a ‘look’ or ‘type’ of child they prey upon plus they victimize more children over time.

Pedophiles and Child Molesters: The Differences

Although virtually all pedophilic sex offenders are child molesters, not all child molesters are pedophilic sex offenders. Pedophiles have a clear sexual attraction for children. The focus of a pedophile is a child or children generally under the age of 13. Pedophiles often report they are attracted to children in a particular age range (DSM-IV), build, look, hair or eye color. Pedophilic sex offenders are those who act on their attraction to children by violating a child.  Child molesters are sexual offenders who have committed either intra-familial sexual offense (incest) against a child victim or extra-familial sexual offenses against a child victim or both.

Pedophilic Sex Offenders:

  • True offenders may abuse family members, but the majority of their offenses is extra-familial and is directed toward vulnerable children whom they court or groom for the purpose of victimization. Their relationships with children are based on exploitation of the children for sexual gratification.
  • Offenders, who seek out children to victimize by placing themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters, can have hundreds of victims over the course of their lifetimes. They are always on the look out for opportunity.
  • Offenders, especially those who molest boys, or both boys and girls, are the sex offenders who have the highest recidivism (relapse) rates after incarceration and/or treatment.
  • Offenders frequently are uncomfortable with adult intimacy and may spend their lives maneuvering to be near children. They may be extremely charming and skilled at manipulating adults, and they may use adult relationships to gain access to children.
  • The pedophilic sex offender may spend years working up to a position of authority and trust within a church, school, or youth organization in order to have access to children. Of course, unlike offenders, most individuals in these types of authoritative positions have no sexual interest in children.

Child Molesters:

  • The non-pedophilic molester is someone whose primary sexual orientation includes adults, but who may molest children in a maladaptive attempt to meet emotional needs.
  • Research has found that many men who molest their own children or related female children have sexual interests that are indistinguishable from those of non-offending males.
  • Data suggest incestuous offenders, regardless of the gender of the victim, have lower numbers of victims and are less likely to be rearrested for new sex crimes after they have been convicted.
  • A child molester may turn to a child for sex out of a perceived inability to be close with an adult partner, out of poor self-esteem, or to escape feelings of powerlessness and loneliness. This type of offender usually has had appropriate (but often dysfunctional) relationships with peers and may be married

—Outcome studies have demonstrated consistently low rates of recidivism (relapse) for incestuous only offenders.

Retired FBI special agent, Nancy Fisher, says pedophiles and molesters don’t change.

“I’ve never had a success with a child pornographer or pedophile, never, not one, ever, ever, ever, ever. They never change,” said Fisher.

Read more: My Fox Austin

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There is no cure for pedophilia. A number of proposed treatment techniques for pedophilia have been developed, though the success rate of these therapies has been very low.[1] Medications are used to lower sex drive in pedophiles by interfering with the activity of testosterone, such as with Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate), Androcur (cyproterone acetate), and Lupron (leuprolide acetate).

The Mayo Clinic reports perpetrators who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia offend more often than non-pedophile perpetrators, and with a greater number of victims. They state that approximately 95% of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by the 88% of child molestation offenders who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia.[2] A behavioral analysis report by the FBI states that a “high percentage of acquaintance child molesters are preferential sex offenders who have a true sexual preference for [prepubescent] children (i.e., true pedophiles)”.[3]

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Please pray this Psalms over innocent children who have been abused. May their day of justice be upon them.

Psalm 3

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

Psalm 54

Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.

Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.

Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.

P R A Y E R acronym



Previous post on prayer for innocent children.

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1.  Crawford, David (1981). “Treatment approaches with pedophiles”. Adult sexual interest in children. 181–217.

2.  Lanning, Kenneth (2001). “Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis (Third Edition)”(PDF). National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. pp. 25, 27, 29.

3.  Hall RC, Hall RC (2007). “A profile of pedophilia: definition, characteristics of offenders, recidivism, treatment outcomes, and forensic issues”. Mayo Clin. Proc. 82 (4): 457–71. doi:10.4065/82.4.457PMID 17418075.

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Protecting Children from Predators: Childhood Sexual Abuse Part 2

First, let us clear up misconceptions I have heard from people regarding how to identify a child predator:

Myth: “You’ll know because the hair will stand up on the back of your neck when you see or hear them.”

Truth: Most predators are someone you know; and most often, someone you trust.

Myth: “They give off vibes; you’ll know!”

Truth: Most predators are someone you know; and most often, someone you trust.

Myth: “I’ve taught my kids about ‘Stranger Danger,’ we are prepared.”

Truth: Most predators are someone the child knows; and most often, someone the child trusts.

Myth: “I know my child and I know my child would tell me if anyone tried to do something to them.”

Truth: Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994; Timnick, 1985) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson et al., 1999).

Boys tend to have a more difficult time with abuse than girls and are less likely to report sexual abuse than girls. Lyon, T.D. (2002). Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation. In J.R. Conte (Ed.), Critical issues in child sexual abuse (pp. 107-138). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Myth: “If they are normal looking, well-educated and/or a well-known leader they do not fit the description of a predator.”

Truth: Predators love the general public’s assumptions. This makes their attack all the easier. Child abusers come from all classes, racial and religious backgrounds and may be homosexual or heterosexual.

 Myth: “I can’t believe he is a molester, after all, he has been alone with my children several times and never touched them or made them uncomfortable.”

Truth: Predators are very careful in their selection so as not to get caught. They do not molest all children they come in contact with; contrary, they select few and the victimization is usually a gradual process, or a moment of oppurtunity.

Here is an admission from a convicted molester: When a person like myself wants to obtain access to a child, you don’t just go up and get the child and sexually molest the child. There’s a process of obtaining the child’s friendship and, in my case, also obtaining the family’s friendship and their trust.  When you get their trust, that’s when the child becomes vulnerable and you can molest the child.” (Salter, 2003, p. 42)

Myth: “Once an abuser is arrested everyone will know their guilt.”

Truth: People are too quick to believe that the accused is innocent, even if there is plenty of supporting evidence. According to Dr. Salter, “Normal, healthy people distort reality to create a kinder, gentler world than actually exists” (p. 177). Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: Pedophiles, rapists and other sex offenders: Who they are, how they operate, and how we can protect ourselves and our children. New York: Basic Books.

Myth: Molesters are usually unmarried men in need of sexual release.

Truth: They are often married; sometimes for the purpose of throwing people off their tracks. Sexual gratification is not necessarily the primary motivation for victimizing children.  Power, control and anger are often the primary motivators. Again, studies show that most predators are married or in consenting relationships.  

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The signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favoring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behavior of an adult or young person if they:

  • Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
  • Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
  • Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
  • Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
  • Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
  • Regularly offer to babysit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
  • Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
  • Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
  • Treat a particular child as a favorite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
  • Pick on a particular child.

Other warning signs:

  • They enjoy watching their children play naked.
  • They bathe with their children of the opposite sex past age two (This is open for debate as a matter of a difference in parenting. If you have a adult who is attracted to same sex children you have to be careful with all young children. Trust your instincts).
  • Play seemingly ‘innocent’ games involving bondage where the children become frightened and have to beg to be released.
  • Takes pictures of children who are not their own; at the park, at parties, in the neighborhood.
  • View child pornography. Child pornography viewing/possession is punishable by law. TURN THEM IN TO THE AUTHORITIES.

Be Alert:

  • Be alert to people, especially men, who work with youth but do not themselves have youth in the activity. If they have a strong desire to be with youth and you notice they seek affection from the youth; there is great reason for concern.
  • Watch who your children hang out with in the neighborhood, park, church or youth club. Get to know the leaders. Offer to assist with the activities.
  • Internet safety is paramount. Consider a ‘No technology’ policy in your home when guests are visiting; or keeping all technology in the kitchen within everyone’s sight. Just like a coat rack, shoe rack or bench; you could have a tech bench where all guests’ electronics are placed.
  • Consider having an ‘Open door’ policy when your children’s friends are visiting. Bedroom, office, family room doors stay open for safety purposes. You should never assume you know what goes on in another person’s home. You never know what has been said or done by a family member, relative or neighbor that a child may unknowingly act out or repeat.

Most Importantly:

Pray for and with your children. Keep avenues of discussion open and let them know how much you love them. We cannot protect them from everything by micromanaging their lives, but we can watch, listen and be proactive.

If your child tells you of abuse inflicted on them…

  • Keep calm.
  • Tell the child you believe them.
  • Show interest, care, and concern. (Don’t become hysterical. It could make the child feel responsible for your response causing them to take responsibility for their victimization).
  • Reassure and support the child.
  • Take action – it could save a child’s life. Report child abuse to your local or state child protective service agency AND to local law enforcement.
  • Seek professional help from a pediatrician and a licensed child psychologist.


This is not a complete list. I will continue to post more on child abuse and child safety during the month of April.

How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims: Part 1

Abusers, Denial, and 10 Tips From Their Playbook

I keep writing about abusers because once you know one, live with one, survive one…you can see patterns of abusive personalities in society.

This is one of the reasons I took on the Lynn Messer case which you can read about here. I thought I was possibly seeing glaring red flags of Lynn being the victim, not survivor, of domestic abuse.

Understanding abuse is like understanding a football playbook. Abusers have a built in playbook and if you know the signs you understand the lurking danger.

Abusers can be found in different settings: domestic, clergy, spiritual leadership, athletics, educational, family court, or anywhere in society. They follow the same playbook/guidelines regardless of where you witness them.

Today I’m comparing what I know to what I saw in
Gayle King’s CBS interview with R.Kelly last night. Singer/songwriter Robert Kelly (R.Kelly) is charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, with children and underage girls, dating back to 1998. He is also accused of holding women against their will in a so called sex-cult. Court documents show three of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the alleged crimes, Kelly was at least five years older than these victims and there are other allegations that include a child.

R. Kelly’s reactions are typical among abusers, regardless of their background.

Play #1: It begins with denial, repeatedly reaffirms denial, and ends with…denial.

R. Kelly was explosive in his denial but denial can look different from abuser to abuser.

Here are some acts of denial I’ve seen:

  • Angry and hurt…becomes silent.
  • Angry and violent…hoping fear and wanting to maintain safety will stop the conversation/confrontation, or achieve agreement.
  • Calm and positive…they believe the victim has problems and they are willing to give said victim time to heal.
  • Befuddled….turns accusations against them into questions while placing the focus on victim/interviewer.
  • Reflectful and prayerful…toward the victim who is obviously emotionally unhealthy.
  • Angry but calm…spins the story.
  • Hang their head, shake their head, roll their eyes…because some people are just too stupid to understand the lies.
  • Condescending with a straight face…while explaining why they were justified to do what they did.
  • Sad and hurt…cries.

These are all forms of denial even though many do it with an air of believability.

Please understand that any emotion mixed with tears IS NOT because the abuser is sorry for what they did. It is from their frustration of their specialness being called into question; their sin or crime being brought into the light of truth. They believe they are above moral code and law and shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. (This is especially true of individuals with narcissistic personality disorder). The tears are not for the victim and not from remorse of doing wrong.

“When we do not understand an abuser’s capacity for deceit we make it is easy for the offender to continue in deception and sadly, often call it ‘grace’.  If it lacks truth then it is not grace.”  ~Diane Langberg

Here is a detailed list of denial from an abusers’ playbook:

  1. Select, groom, and brainwash your perfect victim.
  2. They (abusers) are the real victim.
  3. The person speaking truth is made to be the liar.
  4. The offender is the good, healthy, benevolent person.
  5. The victim is retaliating for vengeance, money, or notoriety.
  6. Believes the heart of their motive has been misunderstood.
  7. Judgement has fallen on them for conduct that was ‘private’ and should never be made public.
  8. They deny all private abuse or explain why it was necessary or beneficial.
  9. There is one way to do anything and everything and it’s their way. To them this is perfectly normal and logical.
  10. They hold power over the victim they claim is victimizing them.

How do we know if an abuser is rehabilitated? Conviction, repentance and change all have to take place. This is the only way you will know if your abuser is sincere.


Don Hennessey, relationship counselor and former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, refers to abusers as psychephiles and lumps them in the same category as pedophiles when it comes to recovery. Statistics agree that abusers stand little to no chance of recovery because they don’t believe they have a problem, and “I’m sorry” isn’t in their vocabulary.

We all know that pedophiles target children for sexualized abuse.” Don Hennessy coined the word psychephile for the man who abuses his intimate female partner. “A psychephile targets the psyche of the woman he has selected as his target for a long term intimate relationship.”

Link to Gayle King interview here… (it has been broken into several shorter segments so you will need to scroll down to watch all of them).

A Case Against Abused Women: Part 1

I’ve wanted to address teachings sometimes heard in the church regarding marital abuse because it is this type of teaching that kept me and countless other Christian sisters in abusive marriages. I didn’t know if I would make it out alive, but did. Some women and children haven’t made it out alive.Be a conqueror

This week John Piper once again made the news for his views on women, and why some men abuse women; doctrinal differences. He addresses reasons for cases of widespread abuse being reported in the news.

Cases that have recently been in the headlines include, but unfortunately are not limited to:

  • Bill Cosby sexual assault and rape law suits include 58 alleged victims, 19 of which will be testifying against him in court. Jury selection for the Cosby trial is set to begin March 29 at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. The trial is scheduled for April 2.
  • Harvey Weinstein is an American film producer and executive who is currently under investigation for multiple sexual assaults of at least 80 women which spanned 30 years. This scandal triggered similar allegations against powerful men around the world. It spurred the #MeToo movement.
  • Sovereign Grace Ministries had multiple recorded cover-ups of sexual assault and rapes committed against children in their care.
  • Saeed Abidni whose wife, Naghmeh Panahi, left him for proven allegations of domestic abuse, and unfaithfulness was recently arrested for violating a no-contact order.
  • Andy Savage who is the teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN sexually assaulted a girl in his youth group when he was a youth pastor 20 years ago. The staff at Highpoint supports and is attempting to save Savage’s ministry.
  • Cases against Bill Gothard (and his board), founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles. This was a ministry where teens left their homes to live at headquarters to help with ministry opportunities. With my background, I still find it disturbing that an unmarried single man ran a ministry where he had constant unsupervised time alone with individual students. This is child safety and ministry safety 101 at any Christian based institution and has been for decades: For the students’ protection they are to NEVER be left alone with one person. There is safety in numbers. (Unfortunately many pastors, staff, and teachers don’t adhere to this safety measure).
  • The Catholic Church has been plagued with child sexual abuse cases for decades.
  • Josh Duggar: Ashley Madison scandal and reports of child sexual molestation.
  • The wife of Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee left him and is living in a shelter for safety and provisions. Although Greg Locke denies any wrong doing on his part I’ve read the hateful, scathing text messages he sent his wife about her weight, her looks, his disdain for her, and in which he used profane language against her. He was having a reported, emotional if not physical, relationship with his wife’s best friend who is also his secretary.
  • Ravi Zacharias sexual grooming relationship with a woman not his wife. This case was settled out of court and neither side can legally speak about it. This is convenient for Ravi because I was sent some of the text messages/emails and there is no way he can conveniently talk his way out of his wrong doing. I won’t ever be able to listen to him teach again knowing what he wrote. Some of it was sinful and some of it was weird, but all of it was an abuse of his ministry position.
  • Doug Wilson: I could write a book on the wrong theology of Doug Wilson and his wrongly placed allegiance to pedophiles who have attended his church. A 13 year old girl congregant was groomed, assaulted, and raped by a man from the church. Doug placed blame on the child because she was tall for her age, well developed for her age, and mature for her age. Doug Wilson preformed a wedding ceremony so a known pedophile at the church could marry a young woman from the church. It didn’t end well.
  • I receive correspondence from pastor’s wives and missionary’s wives around the world who tell of abuse they suffer from their husbands.
  • I minister to around 25 women in my area, the Christian homeschool community, who are living through or leaving severe abuse from their husbands.
  • Rachael Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar (associated with Michigan State University) of sexually abusing her as a teenager, a case that led to more than 250 other victims coming forward for their day in court.

Rachael is a Christian who received her law degree from the Christian Oak Brook College of Law. This makes her the best credentialed child sexual abuse survivor to lead the charge in ridding our churches and institutions of predators, and teaching the public to always: believe the children first, contact the authorities second, and allow the law to sort it out.

 

Let me begin by stating my disagreement with Piper’s recent teaching in his article: Sex abuse allegations and the egalitarian myth. Piper’s argument is that the egalitarian doctrine, which teaches all people are equal in fundamental worth and social status and deserve equal rights and opportunities, has led to men becoming abusers since he doesn’t believe this is the way God intended men and women to function.

I highly disagree with his reasoning. Abuse is not a theological/doctrinal or marriage problem. It is an abuse problem. I find absolutely no scripture to back Piper’s claim. Jesus calls sin; sin.

Dear beloved church,

We must do better.

Marriage is

 

To be continued…

Afer all if we buy into, “Boys will be boys” we are reinforceing “Girls have no humanity; they’re just objects.”

14 points the church needs to hear in the wake of the Andy Savage sexual assault case

In case you haven’t seen the headline I’ll fill you in on yet another spiritual battle takingAnn Voskamp quote place in the church.

I‘m referring to the applause of a crowd that was unfortunately heard around the globe, and no one was listening more intently than abuse survivors and non-Christians.  It was sad, it was wrong, and as an abuse survivor I can tell you; in a way it revictimized many souls.

It involves Andy Savage, the teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN. According to the church website “Andy’s personal mission statement is, ‘Making God make sense, starting at home then everywhere else.’ Whether Andy is teaching, writing, or relationship coaching, Andy strives to live out his life’s passion of creatively communicating God’s truth in a way that connects with people where they are. Andy teaches every Sunday at one of three Highpoint campuses and is the lead visionary for marriage, parenting, and family life ministry. He is also a national speaker, the author of multiple books, and host of the Andy Savage Radio Show and podcast.”

I understand mistakes and the folly of youth. Seriously, I regretfully took many field trips dedicated to the foolishness of youth. This sexual assault case goes beyond a youthful mistake. Even if it were consensual, which it wasn’t according to the victim and the church in Texas. Texas law considered the age difference and the act a felony, and the Bible considers it sin.

What concerns me about the Andy Savage situation is that over the years he has so easily disassociated from his deception. These types of people are the ones who can be the most spiritually, physically, and sexually dangerous.

I can’t imagine how difficult this is for Mr. Savage’s wife. From past experience I can make an educated guess and deduct that if she had heard anything about it; it didn’t begin to resemble the truth.

Here are 14 points the church needs to understand:

1)       Most churches error on this: The church body tends to value the institution (church) above the safety and health of the one who is/was being abused. Most of all, the church is valuing the institution over Jesus.

2)       “She said that a pastor of the church, The Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, urged her to stay quiet when she told him what had happened. Instead of telling her to inform the authorities, he told her that the church would address the episode internally.”  This is typical. The church believes they need to protect the reputation of the church and of Jesus. They often use the scripture from 1 Corinthians 6 about not taking a believer to court. This amounts to incorrectly applying scripture. The church’s responsibility was to call law enforcement and allow them to investigate. It was also the church’s job to remove Andy Savage from ministry and follow-up on any new ministry Andy Savage attempted to gain.

3)       There is a huge difference between forgiveness and restoration of relationship; personally or professionally.

4)       Any church leader or staff, regardless of age, who sexually victimizes another person, should never again be in a position of leadership (I Timothy 3 & Ephesians 5:3).

5)       If you are informed about a past sexual ‘incident’ or abuse by a church leader it is NOT appropriate to give the said church leader a standing ovation. For any reason…ever!

6)      If you are informed about a past sexual ‘incident’ or abuse by a church leader it is ALSO NOT appropriate to justify or make minimizing statements about the victim.

7)      Andy Savage went against scripture and went against church policy yet the church partially blamed her. No! He was her youth leader. He committed a crime.

8)       “When a person tells factually true things to cast an impression that they know to be false, they’re lying even though everything they’ve said is true. And they KNOW they are lying.” Dr. George Simon Jr., PhD. clinical psychologist with decades of experience working w/ abusers.

9)      After Andy finished addressing the congregation, church members stood and applauded him for about 20 seconds. The lead pastor at Highpoint, Chris Conlee, told the congregation that he supported Mr. Savage, who he said was one of the people “hurt by the ripple effect of the consequences of that sin.” I wonder if Pastor Conlee understands the depth of the problem? He should be supporting Andy Savage in resigning from the ministry and directing him and his wife to excellent counseling. For Mrs. Savage, I highly recommend Christ centered counselor Leslie Vernick who is accessible on the internet, and/or Patrick Doyle who can be found on YouTube.

10)   Church, I understand that you may have been replying, “We love you too” when you gave the standing ovation. Andy closed with, “I love you all very much,”  at which point, you, the congregation rose to applaud. I imagine you didn’t mean to applaud a sexual crime. But it still gave painful implications. When is the church going to stop with harsh judgments and quick grace at the wrong time and places? This deeply wounds victims of sexual abuse, marital unfaithfulness, and domestic violence.

11)   If Andy Savage were truly repentant he would stop defending himself. His goal would be to cause no further harm to the victim.

12)  I often see defendants in abuse cases use spiritual language as a powerful weapon of deception.

13)   After watching the church service and comparing it to his radio interview, I don’t think he fully acknowledges his actions, plus he admitted to lying. It sounds like he is grasping to hold on to his position at this mega church and the prestige that comes with the position.

14)   Church, we need to avoid cliché sayings like, ‘it was a long time ago.’ We need to support the victim and hold the defendant responsible. We must be better at handling abuse allegations and admissions.

The below video shows the conversation I’m referring to in minutes 12:00 – 22:45

12:00 – 22:45

The pastor tearfully informs his congregation that what they “witness today will give you incredible confidence in what love is all about. I pray that what you witness today will give you hope that healing is available for every single person.” The pastor then goes on to implore people to listen to everything before they evaluate what they hear because it will touch emotions, feelings, and the heart strongly.

I disagree.

This isn’t about processing emotions or working through phases of the issue. It was wrong. It was unlawful. Andy Savage should not be in the ministry. I highly question the leadership of anyone who handles sexual misconduct by saying we can find ways to agree and work this out. There is room to disagree? Why does anyone need to respect Andy Savage and welcome him on the church staff? I know I’ve walked this road longer than most people, but I’m exhausted from the church not recognizing the sin while making excuses for it. Church, we must do better! I don’t believe in a pastor using their power to encourage the congregation to ignore scripture and gloss over felony law breaking, sin, and abuse of leadership power. Yes, the church wants to facilitate the  healing of brokenness in people’s lives. But…healing and restoration do not equal restored relationship with a person or with their place of employment/ministry. Yes, Pastor Conlee, love does cover a multitude of sins but it is wrongly applied to illegal sexual conduct by church staff against a student. Love does not equal acceptance of the abuser in a continued ministry position, or the acceptance of the abuse.

I could go on for pages about the gross misapplication of scriptures in this case. I could commentate for hours on the discrepancies found by comparing the recorded church service to the interview of Andy Savage conducted by Ben Ferguson. Why? For starters Mr. Savage originally lied to his church staff and lied to the girl’s parents. His story changed as the progression of facts were revealed. His interviews from Sunday and The Ben Ferguson Radio Show don’t add up to truth. We go back to a foundational fact: When we tell the truth we can remember what we said. When we lie…well…we can’t remember what we said and therefore get caught up in deceit, explanations, word spinning, justifying, spiritualizing, and denial.

I love the church. God can truly use the church to encourage us, grow us, and shape us—but I hate it when God’s children are abused by church people. I will never defend a man who has abused his leadership position of power to harm a girl or woman’s heart, soul, mind, or strength.

Our loyalty to church leadership can be good, noble and true. But when loyalty to an institution’s structure allows evil to continue, or hide, it is loyalty wrongly placed—a false loyalty.  netgrace

“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.”

Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman Photo credit to Sarah Faith Hodges

Skin is the outer layer of the soul — and touching someone’s skin is touching someone’s soul.”

  “When someone gropes your body, they grab a bit of your soul, the part of you that speaks, and it can take years, decades, for you to gather up the pieces of your voice and slice the silence with truth.”

From: Dear Predators Who Don’t Know (Or Maybe Do) That They are Predators: (And How to Not Raise Another Generation of Predators), by Ann Voskamp

Lastly, if you want to be better trained in how to handle situations like these I highly recommend Christ centered counselor Leslie Vernick who trains church leaders and counselors to recognize and respond to abusive behaviors. She also helps you minister to those who have been traumatized by abusers. An organization that will come in to churches and train staff and lay leaders is G.R.A.C.E. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.

 

Click here for the full account as told by the victim: Jules Woodson

Click here: Leslie Vernick- Christ-Centered Counseling

Leslie Vernick: Facebook Enriching Relationships that Matter Most

Memphis Pastor Admits ‘Sexual Incident’ With High School Student 20 Years Ago 

Andy Savage Twitter public profile picture
Andy Savage Twitter public profile picture

Memphis pastor Andy Savage sees publisher cancel book, petition calling for resignation over sex assault 

Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 3

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40

Can God’s word be applied to the issue of supporting alleged sexual abusers of children?

Does it take more faith to support an accused sex offender or to allow the law to do its job?

Do you give blind trust to someone just because you knew them in college, or know them through ministry avenues? Or do you think about how your leadership position in the church might influence the faith of a little child?

Do you support a family on the grounds they are long-standing members in your church or do you acknowledge you have no idea what may have taken place in their home, in their family, or in their family member’s life and decide to error on the side of safety for the children’s sake?

These are not easy questions to answer when placed in the position, by a friend or church member, of being asked for representation in a court of law.

I believe church staff and church leadership need to ask these questions and have policy in place before the situation arises.

Evangelical Christians are quickly gaining a status resembling that of Catholic dioceses which have earned reputations for ignoring, denying and hiding allegations of abuse; as well as, defending priests accused of sexually abusing children. If you doubt the seriousness of this statement look no further than Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment’s Facebook page: G.R.A.C.E. They have investigated and reported on numerous cases.

My thoughts on this subject have been all over the place so I will inform you that the rest of this post is a compilation of random thoughts.

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all he is the greatest.” Luke 9:46-48

Children should never be placed in the position of sacrifice for the sake of the church or the accused in the name of protecting Christ’s reputation. Souls are at stake! Jesus came to sacrifice Himself for us so don’t place a child where only Christ can reside. Protect the children; don’t blame them. Over the years I have read that children’s false claims of sexual abuse at the hands of Christian clergy remains between 1.5% and 2 %. It is rare for young children to lie about sexual abuse.

In Matthew 18:15-18 Jesus teaches us how to deal with sin issues among believers.

  1. Go in private to the person and point out the sin/error/offense.
  2. If they do not listen take two witnesses to help confront them.
  3. If still they do not listen take the issue before the church.
  4. If none of these steps work the unrepentant person is no longer allowed fellowship in the church

This is done in love for the purpose of leading the person to repentance and providing reconciliation in the relationship. These verses DO NOT APPLY to sexual offenders or people accused of breaking local, state or federal laws. All allegations must be immediately reported to the local authorities. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Pastors, church leadership, church members, family and friends cannot be objective mediators or investigators in these cases. Sexual abuse of children is criminal in all 50 states and is NOT a private matter. It is a public/civil felony to be professionally investigated. Pastors and church leadership are not professionally trained to handle such issues; no matter how well-intentioned they are.

We find a prime example in scripture of a family member who attempts to keep sexual abuse quiet. Admitting such evil exists in the world has been difficult since the beginning of time.

In 2 Samuel 13, Absalom told Tamar when he realized she had been raped by her brother Amnon, “Keep silent my sister, he is your brother, do not take this matter to heart.”  Not much can make sexual abuse worse than silence from biological family or church family.  It is hurtful and it is dangerous; moreover, it isn’t the end to the consequences of the sexual abuse. Until justice is served there is potential for further disunity, additional sin and destruction. Continue reading 2 Samuel 13-18 to see how silencing the sexually abused for the sake of peace ended.

Romans 13:1-7 teaches us that the civil government is part of God’s design for His people and that we are subject to the authorities.  Since we are commanded to respect the government/authorities placed over us  we also need to respect their investigations of alleged child victimizers. With the aforementioned random thoughts in mind; we need to stay quietly and respectfully in the background until the process if finished.

Background checks are necessary but not always beneficial. Why? Background checks processed through law enforcement computers only catch criminals who have been charged; not molesters or pedophilic offenders who have never been caught or reported or are too smart to get caught.

In a 1992 study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, sex researchers K. Freud and R. I. Watson found that the average pedophile victimizes between 20 and 150 boys before being arrested.[i]

Dr. Anna Salter in her best-selling book, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders, Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children reports the same statistics.

This is an alarming number and it tells us churches may have pedophilic offenders working or volunteering in children’s and/or youth ministries who have not YET been caught. This is one more reason to protect the children by making sure they are never alone in a room, hallway or bathroom with one person. There should always be two adults present; not two teens, and not an adult and a child—two adults.

If you or your church has supported a sexual offender through an investigation or trial have you expressed repentance or regret for declining to protect or believe the children?

Did you ever ask straight forward questions or request names and phone numbers of previous family members and former employers to consider their side of the story compared to the accused? Did you ever, with your own eyes, see medical records/diagnosis’s? Did you seek guidance from specialists in the field of child sexual abuse such as Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment?

If you didn’t seek information; why didn’t you?

Are you teachable in this area that plagues the church? If you are instructable I urge you to contact G.R.A.C.E. for help in training your church to protect the little children from the evil that roams in this world; harmful hurtful perpetrators.

Un-teachable churches are nothing more than shelters for victimizers who have the free reign to abuse children on church property, in their vehicle, during church outings, at summer youth camps, or on overseas mission trips.

Are we moved by past friendship, loyalty, sympathy and fear for the accused or by the distress, pain and heartache of the children? Make certain your compassion is properly placed and driven by love of truth and justice for sweet innocent children.

Current news articles paint the Christian community at large as turning their backs on the victims while supporting the adult standing accused. This is tragic but what I find even more disturbing is the church calling the children liars.

Matthew 19:13-14

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Sexual abusers are found in every walk of life: Every gender although mostly the male gender, every sexual orientation, every religion, every race, every color, every country, every socioeconomic class, any profession, or any size of town.

Sexual offenders have no identifiable markings, speech or body language to alert us to their true character or motives. This is one more reason pastors are not qualified, nor are they legally authorized, to investigate felony crimes.

If you or your church has mishandled past abuse disclosures or erred on the wrong side of a sexual abuse case involving an investigation or trial I strongly recommend you contact Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. They exist to help the body of Christ protect children and minister to abuse survivors. You will find resources for the church and for individuals on their website; Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment @netgrace.org.

 Matthew 18:10

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

Read also:

Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 1

Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 2

[i] K. Freund & R.I. Watson. “The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study.” 18 34, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 34-43 (1992).

21 Things NOT to Say to an Abuse Survivor and Leadership Journal’s Lack of Discernment

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

In light of the recent guilty verdict I witnessed in a court of law against a pastor who was on trial for violating two young boys, the topic of being an abuse survivor is weighing heavily on my mind.

Few people would purposefully say something thoughtless, judgmental, wrong or hurtful to a heart already aching from abuse.  It might be more likely that someone would say something out of ignorance or from not knowing there was an abuse survivor in their midst.

We do not want to add toxic thoughts, attitudes or words to an already hurting heart. We want to participate in their healing; not in reinjuring a deep hurt or scar.

This is likely not a topic or issue you have considered.  I know I have not purposefully thought through how to be kindhearted and sympathetic to victims so when I read Sarah Bessey’s post, 21 Sentences NOT to Say to a Sexual Abuse Survivor by Mary DeMuth I knew I wanted to share these caring thoughts with my readers.

Read: 21 Sentences NOT to Say to a Sexual Abuse Survivor http://sarahbessey.com/21-things-shouldnt-said-sexual-abuse-victims-guest-post-mary-demuth/

Mary DeMuth is a well-known author who last week weighed in on the recent Leadership Journal controversy. Last week LJ posted the story of a former youth pastor who was convicted of statutory rape with a girl, twelve years younger than him, in his youth group. I read the article and it was clear that the youth pastor had no remorse for his actions and considered the relationship consensual. In my opinion he had strong indicators of being a narcissistic/sociopathic type individual and did not own up to the spiritual harm brought to his wife, his children, the victim, the church or the youth group. I considered LJ  lacking in discernment for posting the article. To me this was one more reason sexual predators find the church an easy place to hide for preying upon victims. After many caring and concerned readers made comments asking LJ to remove the post, (many whose comments LJ removed) and many more readers who began a #TakeDownThatPost campaign; LJ decided to remove the post. One of the most compelling letters showing LJ their lapse of judgment for posting the article was submitted by Mary DeMuth.

You may read her letter “Dear Man in Prison,” here:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/june-online-only/dear-man-in-prison.html

Check out Mary DeMuth’s newest book:  Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse.

Toxic Intervention

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Intervention occurs as a means to involve yourself in a person’s life.  Your goal is to alter their life, and your relationship with them, for the better. It will most likely come across as threatening and forceful to them, in a negative way, so great care needs to be taken in order to help them understand it is for their good, short term and long term.

Intervention is greatly enhanced by the help of persons close to them; such as mentors, friends, family members or respected leaders. They need to be people who have noticed throughout their relational history that something is strangely amiss. I do not recommend enlisting the help of a boss or supervisor; unless this is a work place intervention being used for the purpose of helping the toxic person remain employed.

This will be a sensitive issue to deal with because it means positioning yourself to be vulnerable before someone who may say, “No,” or who may sound a warning to your toxic person. Prayer is of the utmost importance. Ask God what His heart and will is for this intervention and petition it in the name of Jesus. After God confirms through scripture, prayer or a godly friend that this is the path He has for you; find safe, sincere and helpful people who have your best interest at heart and your toxic person’s best interest at heart.

I must remind you that I am not a professional. I am simply passing on situations I have lived through and life lessons from which I have learned. Seeking godly professional help or prayer support is a wise choice before beginning an intervention.

The intervention may require paying travel expenses for, and/or providing food and lodging for, your support help. Ideally this will not be provided in your home if the intervention is for your spouse.

Make a list of applicable concerns, grievances, infidelities, hurtful behaviors or possible mental illnesses.  Your goal is to bring the person to repentance, restore the relationship and provide emotional healing. Make a list of behaviors which must stop immediately. Include the requirement of seeking godly professional help immediately. It would be sensible on your part to have already located names and phone numbers for professionals in your area. If you need help locating godly help go the right margin of my blog and locate: Resources. Click on Counseling Service & Referrals: One Time/Complimentary. You may arrange to speak to a licensed Christian Counselor at Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family also keeps a data base of professionals in your area.  In your letter include goals, and dates you expect them to be met by. An intervention cannot be left open ended or it will have been implemented in vain. If the intervention is for your spouse you may also prayerfully consider mentioning a therapeutic legal separation if the conditions in the letter are not met.

The goal is to always be moving forward. Always be growing closer to Christ. If it be up to you; Satan WILL NOT WIN this battle which means every morning when you wake up; you must put on the FULL armor of Christ. Pray it to God and ask Him to arm you with it: I have rewritten Ephesians 6:10-18 a bit to make it personal as you pray: “Finally, I will be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I am putting on the full armor of God, so that I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes. For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore I am putting on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand. I will stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“And I pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, I am alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (NIV)

Prayer and fasting are necessary before undertaking an intervention. Ask your helpers, and a close friend and family member, to commit to fasting one day a week with you for the purpose of a successful intervention.

Intervention can take place at a counselor’s office, in your home (if the intervention is for your spouse), or in the person’s home.

Have with you the people helping you and have a copy of your letter for each person in attendance. This makes it clear that the situation requires accountability.

You may have to be clever in arranging the meeting. Your person should have no previous knowledge as to what is about to take place. Set the day, time and meeting place. This may be easy or this may require calling them home from work for help with an urgent need.

Read the letter. Allow a time for questions and answers if the person desires it.

Have a hand written note assuring them of your good intentions, stubborn love and unwavering concern. Encourage them to do the hard thing and seek help by reminding them of what is at stake.  Lastly remind them that your mind is resolute and the letter is not debatable. Excuse yourself from the meeting and leave the (unread) note with the person.

If your toxic person is your spouse, you will be wise to have sleeping arrangements elsewhere for the next two to three days while they decide their response. In your hand written note; let them know when you will return.

Have your intervention helpers stay behind. It is important to have more than one helper; two is plenty. Remember there is power in numbers. They can ask the person how they are feeling, what they are thinking, and if they understand the letter. They could even lighten it up a bit by offering to go to a restaurant to eat together.

Hopefully your helpers will let you know how your person received the letter. Were they remorseful, repentant, angry, aggravated, or completely in denial? If your helpers report back something like: Your person said you have a lot of problems and you are simply mad at them about ________ or ________ (you fill in the blank) but they are willing to give you the time you need to get over whatever problems you have; then you have a long messy road ahead of you. Toxic people tend to be in complete denial; and even worse, they are good at undermining others, manipulating them and putting on such a grand act that anyone would believe their side of the story. Even if they are in denial they may still be open to professional help for the sake of saving the relationship and they may attempt to meet your requirements and goals. This is good so seek all the help available while you can.

If possible pray out loud, together, with the person you are providing intervention for. I would like to say that Christ will not allow your relationship to deteriorate when the two of you are actively seeking His heart and will together. But since many toxic people are suffering from personality disorders even praying together can yield no change in their attitude, behavior or sin.

The most mind-boggling prayer can be praying with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You can certainly be left feeling like a crazy person. They may be sexually, physically and/or emotionally abusive to you but when you hear them pray they sound like they are sitting at the throne of God. You wonder how these two extreme opposites can come out of the same person/personality. This is crazy making at its finest because upon hearing their prayer you may feel like you are, without doubt, the person in need of serious professional help. This is where journaling will help because you will have a written record of their behavior instead of wondering if you dreamed it or made it up. (For more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and crazy making; read through earlier ‘Toxic Tuesday’ posts.)

If you are interacting in this type of relationship the enemy is undoubtedly trying to destroy your life and the life of those you love. It is essential for you to pray truth (scripture) to God for provision, protection and guidance.

Needless to say, if you have not experienced interacting with an extreme toxic/foolish person you have no idea as to what I am referring. Good for you—praise God—football stadium type cheering and foot stomping. I am happy for you!

For you who are in a seemingly impossible toxic relationship, certain you may lose your sanity; take heart. Study your Bible. Pray. Christ will not leave you alone in your despair. Remember: Your work is prayer. God’s work is what He does on behalf of your prayers. This means when you are in total hopelessness you must call out to God in prayer. He will not leave you there; alone. He will lift your head, put you back together, stand you up, dust you off and give you strength for one more day. He will do this for you. Every—Single—Day. Ask for it.

A toxic person’s behavior can be made worse when they feel helpless or trapped. If your life is in danger or you think these responses could place your life in danger use your good judgment and refrain from possibly making the situation worse. If you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

What Would Jesus Do in a Toxic Relationship?

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

This is my Toxic Tuesday post on Boundaries a day late.  Illness, a migraine, Christmas planning and festivities and appointments left my house and Tuesday to-do lists flat and unchecked on the pages of my daily calendar.

I will be sharing over the next few week steps I took to make right a gone-wrong relationship and I will share the results of my undertaking. I believe God calls us to be the peacemaker, the negotiator—the problem solver. Why do I believe this? It is the theme of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Relationship gone wrong is the reason we need a Savior, Jesus Christ, the reconciler of toxic relationships. Compared to Him we are all toxic. Jesus had justification to leave us behind forever—to move on; to create a new world with sinless people but He didn’t. He remained faithful to His creation when we did not remain faithful to Him. When Christ could have left He instead came closer.

Believe me, the coming closer to my toxic person made me squirm. The what-ifs of my decision took over a portion of my thought life; which in hind sight was essential to keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-3, “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (The Message)

 

As I interacted in my toxic relationship I focused my eyes, mind and heart on Jesus and told my mountain to, MOVE in the name of Jesus. “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20. I knew it was the right thing to do and I wanted to stay the course; in fact, when I knew without a shadow of doubt God was releasing me from the relationship I refused to budge. I knew as a Christian God could and would see me through to the other side as I set my resolve toward Him through prayer, Bible study and wise godly counsel. I had faith my toxic person and I would come out on the other side to healing and reconciliation.  At times I felt as though God held my hand as I skimmed the surface of hell begging and pleading with my person to leave their sin, make things right, do the hard thing, seek help, choose their family and their God; not their messed up life and their vocation.

I knew I would never regret staying close to God and doing everything I could through prayer, fasting, setting boundaries, receiving wise godly counsel and finding detours around obstacles.

That being said; if your life is in danger or you are being physically or sexually abused please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.  God does not expect you to endure abuse or live in danger.

More to come next Tuesday.

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3

These are a few notes taken from Pastor Rick Warren’s lesson regarding abuse:

Hurt people hurt people. Abusers have typically have been abused. We have all learned unhealthy ways in some area of life and we are all broken so nobody is holier than anybody else. If you are abused or know someone being abused you can’t pretend it’s not happening. Christians have to stand up and protect the helpless, the offended, the defenseless, and the victims wherever they are.

Don’t confront an abuser by yourself. This is not wise or safe at home, at your office in the work environment or anywhere. In the Bible, Solomon talks about doing the difficult together. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12. This is to be done in a spirit of love, restoration and gentleness…in truth. You turn on the light of truth in that area of darkness where things have been hidden. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11. Healing takes place in the light. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory.

Begin the healing process. It takes courage to speak out and reveal the abuse; reach out to God…Jesus is your Savior. He came to save you from your sins and from your abuse, in every area of your life.  Put away any evil and wrong in your home: You may have to clean house relationally – emotionally. Get away from the abuse and get help then you have hope. There is no reason to suffer in silence.

Let God settle the score. Don’t get even or try to hurt them back. You have three places you can be in relation to the abuser: Beneath them morally, on the same plane morally or on higher ground morally. Be better than them. Getting even makes you no better than the abuser. You’re just even, but when you forgive them you are better than them. Jesus said, “Forgive.” I Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” Never repay one wrong with another, one abusive word with another. Repay with a blessing. If you want God’s blessing you have to be different.  Maybe you are being abused physically, sexually or verbally. There is one person in this universe who understands abuse. He understands it more than anybody else. His name is Jesus Christ. See Isaiah 53. He was wounded and crushed (that’s abuse) for our sins. He was beaten and bruised so that we could have peace (that’s called abuse). He was mocked and whipped so we could be healed (that’s abuse).

If you’ve never met Jesus, your healing starts here.  Let me introduce you to your healer, His name is Jesus Christ. Nobody has been abused more than Jesus.  He knows the pain because He took the sin of the entire world including the guilt for the abuse that was done to you. That guilt He took on Himself and died for. He took every abuse ever done and took it on Himself and He died for that so that you could be forgiven, so that we could be forgiven, so that we could have peace, that we could be healed. You have to meet the Healer to be healed. There are examples of people who carried the pain all their lives and there are examples of people who let Jesus Christ heal them of that verbal, emotional, sexual or physical abuse. He understands, He knows, He feels the pain. Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted, those who have been crushed.” Nothing crushes your spirit more than abuse.

We have to deal with abuse because it is contagious and gets passed on from generation to generation.

Somebody has to break the chain. It is going to be you, today, now, with the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are the abused or the abuser know there is a way out. There is healing available for both abused and abuser.

No situation is hopeless.  See John 3:16 God sent Jesus to bring you home to Him. Even if no one else had been born on the earth except you, Jesus still would have come to earth so that you could come to know God.

Do you want to learn how to accept this Jesus as your Savior? Please click the Know God tab at rickwarren.org.

Listen to the link below to hear Rick Warren’s lesson on Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3.

Be healed!

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 3

Crazymaking: Part 2 of Breaking Free from Abuse

Crazymaking: Part 2 of Breaking Free from Abuse

Here are notes I took yesterday from Pastor Rick Warren’s  September series You Make Me Crazy. If you know a crazymaker or are a crazymaker God has much to say about abusive circumstances.

No matter how bad your circumstances are you can count on God’s love and God’s power to break free from the abuse.

David describes 92 times in scripture what abusers do and what they use against and over you.

Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 2

1. Aggravation: taunting, picking on, provoking

Jesus: “The truth will set you free.” John 8:32

David: “I said, ‘I will not say anything while evil people are near.’ So I kept quiet, not saying a word… but my suffering only grew worse, and I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled I became; I could not keep from asking: ‘Lord, how long will I live? When will I die? Tell me how soon my life will end.’” Psalm 39:1-4 (TEV)

2. Intimidation: Tells lies about you and threatens you, pressures you into compliance, scares you into compliance

Marks of Emotional Abuse – David’s Descriptions –

“My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me.” Psalm 102:8

“…they tell lies about me and threaten me.” Psalm 109:20

“…they make fun of me and ridicule me.” Psalm 22:7

“I have been insulted, put to shame, and humiliated.” Psalm 69:19

“Using words to kill; they bully their way with words.” Psalm 73:8 (Message)

“They push hard to make me fall.” Psalm 118:13 (GW)

“They spread rumors about me, and conspire against me.”  Psalm 31:13

“They mock me with the worst kind of profanity, and snarl at me.” Psalm 35:16

3. Denigration: Always putting you down, makes fun of you, ridicules you (not good natured teasing)

“Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.” Ephesians 5:6 (NLT)

 4. Humiliation: Insulted, shame is the favorite tool of abusers, they demean, dishonor & disgrace you

“Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them happened to you.” Hebrews 13:3b (Message)

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

5. Manipulation: trying to control you, bullying, jeering, useing words to kill

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you get a third person? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (Message)

“Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds.” Ephesians 5:11-13 (NLT)

6. Domination: They push hard to make you fall; control you in every kind of way, power plays, to show who is in charge

Advice to Job: “Put your heart right. Reach out to God. Put away any evil and wrong from your home. Then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more! Your life will be brighter than sunshine at noon, and life’s darkest hours will shine like the dawn!” Job 11:13-17 (TEV)

7. Defamation: They spread lies and rumors about you, love to use gossip to defame you, embarrass you

“Never repay one wrong with another, or one abusive word with another; instead, repay with a blessing. That is what you are called to do, so that you inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 (NJB)

“Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn’tmake any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly.” 1 Peter 2:23 (GW)

8. Condemnation: They mock you with the worst type of profanity, snarl at you, use cursing for shock value, crude slang/name calling

If any of these words describe the environment you are in – you are being emotionally abused. This is not good nature stuff here. You need to admit it, name it and point it out. It is meant to harm you.

To hear what to do and what not to do if you are living or working in an abusive environment with a: spouse, boyfriend, neighbor, co-worker, relative or friend listen to this broadcast at:  Breaking Free from Abuse: Part 2

Breaking Free From Abuse: Listen, MP3 or Podcast

Breaking Free From Abuse: Listen, MP3 or Podcast

This is for sweet women suffering in abusive relationships who need to know God is on their side; I am too and I am praying for you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse you need to realize, “The damage of abuse is lifetime damage unless you deal with it.” Don’t keep it secret. Name the abuse. “Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.” THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. Share your pain with someone you TRUST.

Pastor Rick Warren has a heart for the Lord and a heart for the Lord’s people.  Listen to Pastor Rick’s heart for women caught in abusive relationships. http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/daily-hope/listen/breaking-free-from-abuse-part-1-362323.html