The view out our window constantly changes and is always beautiful. I always feel as if the windows frame a living painting. Yesterday morning there was a wisp of morning fog circling the hills. It was awesome.
The chickens always lay their eggs in a nesting box. Our nesting box is actually an enclosed kitty litter box. The ducks sometimes lay their eggs in a nest-like swirl of straw, but many times they lay their eggs wherever. Sometimes I find their eggs in the middle of the coop floor and sometimes just outside in the open, as if they paused to drop the egg and then continued on their way. This morning I looked out the bedroom window and saw an egg next to their little pool. I went outside to retrieve it so it wouldn’t attract any predators.
I do a lot of reading about abuse. I’ve read that most abuse victims begin to do research in order to learn what is happening to them. Then they do research to help them recover from abuse, and to enable them to recognize abusers so they avoid them in the future. While many victims don’t tell people about their abuse–for many reasons, including having to deal with the misunderstanding, misconceptions, shame, and blame they encounter–some go on to become advocates about abuse. I’m not really as skilled as many advocates are, but I do try to speak out about abuse in order to support victims and educate others. I know that I’ve written about these things several times before, but it’s important to understand this.
Because of the abuse that I have personally experienced, I have a special interest in abuse that occurs within the family and the church. In both groups abusers are often defended and protected while their victims are vilified. I find abuse by those within the church to be particularly heinous because such people distort God’s truth, misrepresent Him, and oppress people in His Name. Many people who speak out about abuse are labeled “bitter, judgmental, or negative” but I believe that rather than deny or cover it up, we must recognize it, acknowledge it, expose it, and confront it (Eph 5:11). To do otherwise allows evil to grow.
The more I research abuse, the more it feels like we are offered the same choice offered to Neo in the movie The Matrix. Many of us start out ignorant about abuse, but eventually we will either experience abuse or encounter those who have been abused. At that point we have a choice:
Once I began to research abuse, I began to see how very terrible it is, and how common it is even in the church, how many pastors and leaders are abusive, and how often family members and Christians support abusers. The rabbit hole is indeed very deep.
Through my research I have learned that predators will always go where they can find their prey. So, for example, a child molester will go where he can find children–in the church, schools, children’s ministries, camps and clubs, and so on. Molesters often know their victims and can be relatives, trusted family friends, or church leaders. EJ says that he has read that molesters have the the highest rate of recividism (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend) of any other crime. I’ve learned that 93% of molesters claim to be religious, which means they are very much in the church. In fact, churches/religious organizations are a favorite “hunting ground” for abusers of all sorts because they find there people who are willing to “not judge” and give them unconditional love and forgiveness without any need for repentance. The Bible warns that “wolves in sheep’s clothing” will infiltrate the church, appearing to be “workers of righteousness” who are very charming with words “smoother than butter” (Matt. 7:15, 2 Cor 11:13-15; Ps 55:21).
One of my favorite abuse sites is A Cry for Justice. The senior admin of the site has been a pastor for about 30 years. Before that he was a police officer, which I think gave him practical knowledge about abusers and abuse. He and his fellow admins are very supportive of victims and attempt to educate the evangelical church about various forms of abuse in its midst. I say “attempt” because most churches refuse to hear.
ACFJ sometimes shares links to other abuse sites. Through them, I recently learned of Church Protect, which is an organization which tries to educate churches on how to protect themselves from sexual predators who target children. They do “walk-throughs” in churches to show them how easy it is for a predator to find places to abuse children in the church, and they try to help churches increase security. One of the co-founders is a pastor who discovered that his dad, also a pastor, had been molesting many children for several decades. He and his mother turned the dad in to authorities to prevent more victims. The dad was convicted and sentenced to 30-60 years in prison.
Church Protect posted that there is a strong link between pornography and child sexual predators. In response to a question I asked, Church Protect said that:
…Given the addictive nature of porn, it is clear that some people who view porn will inevitably progress into harder and darker stuff. The path can vary, as will the “interest,” but the one thing that is undeniable for anyone knowledgeable and experienced in the forensic treatment field working with sex offenders is that it will progress. For those men who have perpetrated, 100% are into some degree of hard core porn. This is beyond dispute, and anyone who does try to dispute that is either ignorant, in denial, or into porn himself… and wants to try to justify his own use of porn.
It is important to add that the child predator is always involved in pornography. It progressed from a wide range of material that will permit him to objectify women, then progresses (degenerates) to “barely legal,” then to more vile material involving S&M/bondage (which is why all sex offenders love that 50 Shade of Grey has become a best seller, for it makes their task much easier, in terms of women believing that is acceptable, and will end in “love” instead of degradation and worse). Then, they will begin frequenting online “fantasy role playing” and character role playing, where they can develop the taste for deviant arousal (e.g. Portraying himself as an animal as his character, and “interacting” with other animal characters). Then, he will begin developing a taste for heinous porn, where he is able to watch children being raped by single individuals, then gang raped. This is who these monsters are behind the scenes! The Super Predator [those who target young children] takes this even further by mastering the art of looking, appearing, and sounding religious, for the express purpose of targeting churches. That is the Super Predator, who always has many victims to his “credit”… often in the hundreds by the time he is ever found out. So, it is not that every person viewing porn will descend lower, but EVERY person who has descended lower has become immersed in and saturated his mind with porn… yet, they will never voluntarily admit it. And, now with IPhones and other devices, there is complete access to all the most horrific material. That should make any parent think twice before allowing unfettered access to the internet on their kids’ phones. And, the days of slumber parties I believe are past, for there is simply too much danger lurking in those situations.
In other posts, Church Protect wrote:
…Having clinically treated well over 3000 sex offenders in prison during my 11+ years as part of the PA prison system, I can tell you that WITHOUT EXCEPTION, every incarcerated sex offender has fed his deviance and perversion with pornography. Those who want to debate that fact are either dangerously ill-informed, or are trying to defend current dark activities and secrets in their own lives.
…Child pornographers never just “happen upon” graphic images and videos of children. I’ve beat this drum before but somehow we find ourselves still trying to convince churches that the “brother” who got caught with child porn was actively seeking it, was interacting with other pedophiles online, and almost certainly has victims.
I told Church Protect that the reason I asked questions was because the month that EJ’s relative lived with us–when JJ was about 9 years old–he watched porn on our computer. EJ used to come home from work and find porn websites left open on the computer. We also received emails with porn pictures in them. I remember seeing one photo of a young woman (I believe she was a teen) which has haunted me all these years. She looked very uncomfortable and her eyes were very sad. This was the family computer which we–including JJ–used every day. (I will never again allow anyone to use my computer.)
I said to Church Protect: “At the time a relative had an encounter with our then 9-year-old son that, while our son said the relative didn’t touch him, abuse experts told us was typical victim-grooming behavior of molesters. Afterwards, we had no contact with him but the family was upset and defended him while calling us unloving, unforgiving, and unChristlike because, he was, after all, family. I know this is a common response. We refuse to allow an unsafe person into our lives no matter who he is.” Church Protect replied:
TJ, good for you for putting the safety of your son above “family unity.” Yep, your relative was indeed grooming your son. If anyone doubts that, think about the temerity of looking at porn on some other family member’s computer! That is not an accident. He was starting the process of targeting your son. It is all too typical that family members will rally to his support, as opposed to supporting you and going after him. The predator knows how to play such dysfunctional and warped family dynamics to help provide him with all the cover he needs in the event he is caught.
This is the third expert who has told us that EJ’s relative was definitely victim grooming JJ. I have talked with two of them–A Cry for Justice and Church Protect. EJ discussed his relative’s behavior with his doctor who is also an abuse victim. She said that according to the Center for Exploited and Missing Children, EJ’s relative had definitely been victim grooming JJ. She was so upset by what EJ told her that she was prepared to report his relative to the authorities. EJ told her that this had happened years ago and that JJ had told us that the relative had not touched him (although he was so close that it alarmed me). We really don’t have enough evidence to go to the authorities but we have warned the family and if ever EJ’s relative is arrested for molestation, we will volunteer to testify against him.
It makes me angry–justifiably angry because I think we should be angry about things like this–that EJ’s siblings tried to pressure us into allowing unlimited contact with their relative when we have several strong reasons for believing him to be unsafe. In their defense of their relative, they cared nothing for JJ’s safety or the damage that could have been done to him. I know that it is extremely typical that family members and Christians support the abuser and vilify the victims. Even when a predator confesses to sexual abuse, family members and churches support them. Many Christians seem to think that they are very godly in supporting/defending/protecting the unrepentant abuser, describing their support as giving grace and unconditional love and forgiveness. This is not of God in any way. As Church Protect wrote when they posted the following meme:
“WARNING… this is a complete distortion of truth; and, comes from a VERY DANGEROUS type of lie, cloaked in sentimental sloppy pop-religious psychological garb, which is as bad as it gets in terms of a belief that will only result in keeping anyone, especially survivors of sexual abuse, emotionally stuck and forever in chains! This is NOT what forgiveness looks like, and you CANNOT ‘accept an apology that was never given’! The only thing this does is ensure that oppressors can continue to hurt people, and that wolves will continue to have their way with sheep. The Podcast about ‘Do survivors need to forgive their abuser’ can be found at www.ChurchProtect.org, under the Podcast tab.”
The Bible is filled with verses describing wicked people, how God views them, how He responds to them, and how He tells us to respond to them. The Bible also always ties forgiveness in with repentance. Repentance means to change your behavior and involves restitution. I would urge everyone to study what the Bible says about these things. Here are a few verses:
God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back,
He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready.
He also prepares for Himself instruments of death;
He makes His arrows into fiery shafts. (Ps 7:11-13)
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)
He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. (Prov. 17:15)
To show partiality to the wicked is not good, Nor to thrust aside the righteous in judgment. (Prov. 18:5)
Then [Jesus] said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” (Luke 17:1-4)
Notice that the Luke 17 says we are to forgive IF A PERSON REPENTS. I just read yesterday that a millstone is extremely heavy and it would break the neck of a person if hung around his neck. Jesus was saying it would be better if a person’s neck was broken and then he drown. This is double dead. It’s pretty brutal.
Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong; and don’t allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect will be to pervert justice. (Ex 23:2)
Justice is perverted when the wicked are supported and the innocent are accused.
What I wrote you was not to associate with anyone who is supposedly a brother but who also engages in sexual immorality, is greedy, worships idols, is abusive, gets drunk or steals. With such a person you shouldn’t even eat! For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Isn’t it those who are part of the community that you should be judging? God will judge those who are outside. Just expel the evildoer from among yourselves. (1 Cor. 5:11-13)
How long will you go on judging unfairly,
favoring the wicked? (Selah)
Give justice to the weak and fatherless!
Uphold the rights of the wretched and poor!
Rescue the destitute and needy;
deliver them from the power of the wicked!” (Ps. 82:2-4)
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:17)
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Prov. 24:11-12)
I believe that those who support an abusive person shares in his guilt. EJ, JJ, and I will not “join hands” with a wicked person or with those who support him. Neither will we be pressured into doing so.