In ministering to a dear woman who was raped and robbed and had yet to receive the help she needed and truly enter into the healing process, I was a bit surprised to find myself emphatically telling her she needs to repent. Not so long ago, I would never have even considered doing anything other than offer extreme compassion, comfort, love, and encouragement. But times have changed, and I’ve done a bit of waking up – to say the least. Now before you think I’m totally crazy – and blatantly wrong – please hear me out.

background of photo courtesy of pixabay.om

For starters, let me say I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse that wrecked my life for decades. I was also almost raped as an adult, and at another point in time experienced what many would likely call “acquaintance rape”. So rest assured I am the LAST person in the world who would ever for a moment think to do anything to further harm a survivor of sexual violence. But I also know that what kept me in bondage for YEARS was not only the awful, long-term aftermath of sexual abuse. It was also that I didn’t have a clue how much I desperately needed to REPENT.

Now before you go tearing your hair out over what I’m trying to convey, and consider screaming through the Internet or pick up the phone to yell in my ear, stick with me. A survivor of sexual violence is NEVER to blame for the sexual violence. The survivor should NEVER take responsibility for what the sex offender did. And you can be assured I made it blatantly clear to the rape survivor to whom I ministered that she is NOT to blame for being raped.

But – and this is a big, life-changing but. I spent YEARS justifying the sin in my life by pointing the finger at the people who hurt me. Not just years, but DECADES. See, I refused to repent for MY SIN. I have yet to hear of a single case of sexual violence where the survivor of it does not respond to it in a wide variety of ways – some, if not, many of which are extremely unhealthy, potentially fatal, and also sinful. I also have yet to hear of a single case in which the survivor does not end up doing what I did – excusing other sins that have absolutely nothing to do with the sexual violence that occurred.

Bottom line. We are ALL called to repent of OUR OWN SINS – regardless of what others do. Rest assured, God WILL hold them accountable for their crimes. But we are responsible for OUR OWN SINS. From alcoholism to drug addiction, from violent rage to vengeance, from taking our hurt out on others, from self-mutilation to eating disorders, from stealing to pure unadulterated hatred at the world to bitterness that comes out at our children, and on and on, we humans ALL have OUR OWN SINS that we need to repent of.

The trouble is that for people who have been victims of sex crimes, and other crimes, it can be exceedingly tempting, and easy, and even encouraged by well-meaning others, to point the finger for years upon years at the perpetrator of the crimes and to adamantly refuse to clean up our own lives.

I am NOT going to tell you that repenting of my sins and believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins and becoming a committed follower of His means that all of the horrible aftermath of childhood sexual abuse went away. It did not!!! But I can attest to the fact that when I became a genuine follower of Christ, and commenced the journey of learning how to love and to forgive, to bring my wounds and hurts to the Lord for His healing and comfort, to realize that my identity is in Christ rather than the things that happened to me, to find hope and light and faith and the most phenomenal relationship with the Lord in Him, well. Guess what. The bondage started to fall away, and my life began to change – dramatically. And it still does, day by day as I have learned to daily repent of my sins and to do my very best to study the Bible and apply it to my life. Ever changing according to the will of the Lord.

I no longer live my life to “survive” what happened to me. I am no longer swallowed up by it. I am no longer drowning in the quick sand of it. It no longer torments me non-stop. Why? Because I am learning to focus my heart and eyes on the Lord, and to live the life He has given me for Him!

Why did I emphatically tell this woman she needs to repent? Because she, like all of us, have stuff in our lives that God does not want us to have. We do things God does not want us to do. We hang onto things and people He has told us to let go. We live according to the ways of the world until we commit, and learn, to live according to the ways of the Lord.

No longer is my life one big bondage. See, I was so clogged up not only with the aftereffects of sexual abuse, but with all my endless sin that I absolutely, adamantly, “justified” by convincing myself – and trying to convince others – that I had the right to do anything I wanted because of what I had been through. Not so!

Dear friend, if you are a survivor of a sex crime, whether it be rape as an adult, incest, sexual abuse by a teacher, whatever it may be and no matter how recently or how long ago, I am sorry beyond anything I can possibly express in words. My heart truly goes out to you. But I want to tell you this. You CAN BE FREE. And I believe that just like in my own life, that your freedom will come in repenting of your sins, believing the Gospel that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you, and truly committing your life to following Him. I believe your freedom and healing will come in having a rock solid relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, through studying the Bible and applying it to your life, and by pouring out your heart to the Lord and receiving His leadership, His direction, His love and comfort and mercy and forgiveness, and His peace. I no longer live in what happened to me. I live in the forever love of the Lord God almighty. 

Will you? 

You are very welcome to reach out to me if you are led if you would like help beginning a relationship with God, pressing forward in your relationship with Him, and healing from what you have been through. I would be blessed to offer you the love of God, hope, inspiration, encouragement, and help applying the Bible to your life so you can live the abundant, grace-filled life He has for you. . .

2Co 1:3  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 

2Co 1:4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 

 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15

Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.

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