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How Do You Begin To Forgive The Unforgiveable?
by Dr. Chas Brothers
3/26/2010 / Family
Please let me offer a word of warning here before you read this article. This article will deal with child abuse issues; particularly the crime of sexual abuse which most people feel very strongly about and with good reason as it's a seriously heinous crime and how the Christian should deal with it.
What I will relate to you in this article are my own personal experiences based on being a victim of all the forms of abuse including having been sexually abused and my interaction with current sexual predators that are both in and out of prison and what I believe is God's plan for them and their victims.
Let us begin by defining the various forms of child abuse and then focus our attention to the sexual abuser, their differences, types, and who they may be.
The four major types of child abuse are:
Emotional / Psychological abuse
Sexual abuse of a child is any sexual act between an adult and a child, including penetration, intercourse, incest, rape, oral sex, and sodomy. Other examples include:
Fondling - Touching or kissing a child's genitals, making a child fondle an adult's genitals.
Violations of bodily privacy - Forcing a child to undress, spying on a child in the bathroom or bedroom.
Exposing children to adult sexuality - Performing sexual acts in front of a child, exposing genitals, telling "dirty" stories, showing pornography to a child.
Commercial exploitation - Sexual exploitation through child prostitution or child pornography.
Regardless of the child's behavior or reactions, it is the responsibility of the adult not to engage in sexual acts with children. Sexual abuse is never the child's fault. Sexual child abusers can be:
Fathers, mothers, siblings, or other relatives.
Childcare professionals or babysitters.
Clergy, teachers, or athletic coaches.
Foster parents or host families of foreign-exchange students.
Neighbors or friends.
Some signs of sexual child abuse:
Inappropriate interest in or knowledge of sexual acts.
Avoidance of things related to sexuality, or rejection of own genitals or body.
Either over-compliance or excessive aggression.
Fear of a particular person or family member.
In my own particular case, I was molested by my three step-sisters and a two family friends over a period of 8 years. I told my mother about the abuse but she didn't want to tell my stepfather particularly because the girls were both of theirs, and we were staying in the home of the family friend while in the process of moving and she was afraid of losing a place to stay and her meal ticket.
I had feelings, adult feelings I couldn't even put words to because I was too young to know those kinds of words, like mortified, depraved, etc.. I didn't know what I had done to make people do this to me so I felt like this was all my fault and I had no one I could trust or turn to for help to protect me as a child.
As you can imagine, I grew up socially awkward, suspicious of everyone and their intentions and had a particular fear of girls and women in general because the bulk of my sexual abuse was at the hands of my three stepsisters.
Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (Eph. 4:19)
Sexual predators aren't just born they are made by others perpetuating the sickness that they themselves were afflicted with years before and this cycle, once started, is hard to control, manage or otherwise cure. It was only by the Grace of God that I was so repulsed by these acts perpetrated against me that I NEVER EVER participated in them as an adult.
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. (Ps. 27:10)
They have perverted their ways and have forgotten the Lord their God. (Jer. 3:21)
It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother (*or sister), or take advantage of him. (I Thess. 4:3-5) (*added for emphasis)
This subject isn't easy for anyone to talk about let alone live through but our Heavenly Father wants us to turn to Him during these times of trouble and affliction. It's an unfortunate fact of life that bad things will happen to good children or people.
A crime such as this is particularly hard for the Christian who has lived with this form of abuse on either side of the issue as a perpetrator or innocent victim to come to grips with. As for me, in my early twenties I turned to a life of drugs, alcohol and prostitution exclusively with women as they were my main abusers as I was growing up.
Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (Rom. 6:13)
It's been a part of my past that while I'm certainly not proud of, I have asked God to put from Him as far as the East if from the West and He has faithfully done so. I no longer cry over my lost childhood but rather embrace the little boy inside of me and give him the room he needs to grow up well adjusted and loved.
During my youth, I grew up Catholic not knowing Christ but I did know about God and trusted Him to keep me safe. Time and time again I would be abused, used and spit out with nothing but bruises, broken bones, guilt and shame.
I would ask God why He was allowing these sorts of things to happen to me and wasn't getting any answers. It wasn't until some time had gone by after I had accepted Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life that He revealed to me my purpose in His great plan!
God wanted me to reach out to those who have felt the sting of child sexual abuse or for that matter, abuse of any kind as we've discussed, and to share my feelings and experience with you and what God had planned for my life.
I won't tell you that I never blamed God for what was happening to me or that I didn't hate Him for what I felt He allowed to happen to me God forgive me I did. But in revealing His plan for my life, God had to teach me the most important lesson of my life and that was forgiveness which when it came to this issue, I failed miserably at.
When I was first married, my then wife and I co-chaired an organization called Parents Anonymous whose main function was to help those who were abusing their children or others they were involved with or sometimes people who were just abusing themselves.
Because I had been the victim of every form of child abuse, I felt I had an added advantage to help these people deal with their issues of abuse. The only form of abuse I could not deal with was child molestation. I didn't understand it as a child and I certainly didn't understand it as an adult nor did I want to!
Later in my adult years, I would come to eventually realize that they (abusers) are people regardless and were God's creation and as such needed to be treated accordingly. Was this easy? No! But God hadn't finished teaching me.
Forgive and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matt. 6:14-15)
They are still people and have needs the same as you and I and one of those needs is to experience forgiveness and pardon for their sins. While my first wife had custody of our four children, (2 boys and 2 girls), she knowingly allowed her boyfriend to sexually molest each and every one of them several times over.
In court, the vicious natures of his assaults were evidenced by the door he had gone through to get to my children to molest them. The door was kicked in; the locks permanently damaged and marked up on the other side by my children trying to keep him out.
Like my mother, my ex-wife was concerned more about losing her home, her only source of income besides child support, welfare and her meal ticket. When I found out I cried for my children and died a little inside for them as I thought the cycle of abuse had ended with me but I was wrong. It was perpetuated upon my children by their mother and her boyfriend.
It would be years before I could forgive my children's abuser and my ex-wife. Needless to say, she lost custody of them and my current wife and I were given full custody with both the mother and her family not being allowed to contact, visit, write or otherwise have anything to do whatsoever with my children.
Through circumstances I'll condense just here, he was sentenced to 30 years and ended up serving 17 years as our state has a one day is equal to two policy for inmates along with court ordered counseling and permanent registration as a sexual predator.
Did the cycle of child abuse end with him? Unfortunately for my children no. My two girls have unhealthy sexual relationships with multiple partners, both my boys sexually abused their one sister and both were incarcerated for it.
The one son was placed in a facility that specializes in this type of abuse and while he got the help he needed, he has unhealthy sexual relationships with women because of what his mother allowed to have happen to him and hates God for what was done to him.
The other son turned so violent he had to be sent to a lock down facility and was kept there until he was 18 years of age. Our prayer for him especially is that he will not re-offend with anyone else's child or his own children should he have any. And the cycle of abuse continues.
I finally forgave my children's molester for what he did. My children never have forgiven either their biological mother or him and I feel that while I completely understand what they've gone through I feel it will hinder their walk with God at least those of my children that believe in God.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. (2 Cor. 5:19)
Recently I was preaching at a low income section 8 HUD housing unit and giving my testimony which in and of itself is pretty rare. One of the guests from my home church was there and was known to me as a child molester. After the service he introduced himself and confessed to me his situation. My reaction to his revelation was that if God had forgiven him who was I to judge so I forgave him as a victim.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be freed indeed. (Jn. 8:36)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
Because of my contributions through my home church to our local jail, (reading materials, bibles, etc.), I was recently asked by a friend of a family that doesn't attend our church, to talk to their son who was in county lock up. The person at my church had no idea what he was incarcerated for so I looked him up on the jail's website and found that he was a sexual predator that had been re-arrested for what I did not know but was hoping against all hope that it wasn't for a re-offense which it wasn't.
I spoke with the man and led him to the Lord. He had never been given the Gospel before and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. He made a full confession to me and I felt his conversion was genuine.
As a side note to this article having or having not been given the Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn't mean one will not commit a sin against anyone - particularly children as we're seeing everyday in the news with the Catholic church.
He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. (Ps. 38:18)
As I said this would not be an easy article for anyone to read let alone for me to write but, we must be clear as Christians as to our responsibility to God and to His Only Begotten Son Christ Jesus. This type of reconciliation comes with pain for while you may forgive, no one ever expects you to forget.
As victims and children of God we must find it in our hearts to forgive just as He has forgiven us. As a sexual abuser, you must find Jesus, confess your sins, repent and serve your time that society decrees but you mustn't stop there. You have a long road ahead of you and God will only accept true, heartfelt conviction of your sin.
Anybody can cop religion when in a tough spot but God knows the hearts of all men regardless of their circumstances. Repentance, confession and a contrite heart God will not refuse. We serve an amazing God, a God of second chances won't you make the most of your second chance?
If you don't know forgiveness, you'll never understand or be ready for salvation. So ask yourself this, "What must I do to be saved?"
1.)Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This is not a promise of a perfect life quite the opposite! Jesus said "Take up your cross and follow me!" You may be ridiculed, lose friends, lose jobs and be persecuted for your beliefs. If this happens, and more times than not it will, praise God for this tells you without a doubt that you are His child and when the day is over and everything is said and done, that's all that matters.
2.)Confess your sins. Bring all your sins to the cross of Jesus. Christ's blood has the power to cleanse all sins don't hold anything back! God knows everything but He wants you to come to Him freely and make your confession.
3.)Repent of Your Sins. What does it mean to repent? To repent is to completely turn away from old habits that cause you to stumble or sin in the first place.
4.)Live a Godly life. Christ said in John, Chapter 11 that "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even if he dies" In John 14 he reiterates this statement and adds that "no one comes to the Father but by me" There is no name under heaven other than Jesus that will unlock the gates of heaven to you when you die.
None of us know when our time may come. You and I may die today, only the Father knows the appointed time. Wouldn't it be nice to know that you've laid up for yourself treasures in heaven?
If you do not know where you'll go when you die, I would encourage you to examine your heart, listen and wait upon God and the Holy Spirit to work in your life. There is no decision you and I will ever make that's more important than this one.
If you've accepted Christ as your Savior, please pray this prayer with me;
Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and that I deserve hell, but You sent Jesus to die for my sins.
I believe that He died and rose again and ask You now to forgive my sins, once and for all.
I now receive Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Please come into my heart and save me. Help me to know that I am saved and help me live for You the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray Amen
God patiently waits on those who seek Him. If you're unsure of your relationship with our Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, contact me. Together, we'll seek guidance from the Father to eliminate those things which are interfering with your walk with God.
Copyright 2010 Rev. Chas Brothers is an Independent Christian Minister with Honorary Doctorates in Biblical Studies and Divinity. He is also a motivational speaker and writer and may be reached at; email@example.comAll Scriptures taken from the Zondervan 1984 NIV and used with permission
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