Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won Others to sin, and made my sin their door?Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun A year or two, but wallowed in a score? When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done, For I have more. - John Donne, "Hymn to God the Father," stanza II.
(NOTE: I hope church officers, Titus 2 women, fathers, and mothers read this.)
Back in the fifties when Dad was eastern regional director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and edited "His," we lived in Philly and Dad led a men's Bible study at Tenth Presbyterian. Years later he told me that one day he'd asked the twelve men who attended how many of them had been sexually molested as boys? Six of them indicated they had and for several it was a man in church leadership (two their church choir director). This was back in the fifties. Since then pornography and sexual perversion have exploded across the Western world.
Brother and sister in Christ, you need to protect your precious children!
The Clearnote churches in Bloomington and Indianapolis have a three-year men's curriculum... called "David's Mighty Men" which meets each week during the school year. Every year or two, we take a session to warn the men of the dangers of incest and child molestation. We're explicit, telling the brothers that there are many men and women in our congregation who were molested when they were young boys and girls, and that for many of them, this is the beginning of a life of sexual suffering; and often, perversion.
Particularly with the boys who have been molested by older men, as adult men they themselves sometimes turn to molesting younger children. And often their victims are boys because their molestation as a boy was by an older man and this caused them to fixate on their own sex as an object of their lust. It's so sad how very often the victim is corrupted by the older man such that he himself grows up to become a corrupter of children and gives himself to sexual perversions that are an abomination before God.
There are graceful and faithful ways of helping such men. Remember that 1Corinthians promises our churches will always have any number of men and women like us who have committed the most awful sins. Think of the Apostle Paul who persecuted our Lord Jesus. Think of the rest listed by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church of Corinth:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
What a wonderful promise--"of such were some of you"!
If you're a pastor or elder or Titus 2 woman giving yourself to building up the Church, you can count on being surrounded by souls who need your ministry because, until they were washed by the precious blood of our Lord, they were gay men getting their flame on and child murderers and dykes and child molesters and embezzlers.
You say you don't have those people in your church; and if you do, you don't know about it and you want to keep it that way?
For shame on you! This is our world and it is no spiritual maturity or wisdom or godliness to cultivate naivete concerning the particular crimes and sins and weaknesses of our sheep. The Apostle Paul knew the past crimes and wickedness of every one of the flocks he ministered to. That's why he spoke of how he never stopped warning each of them from house to house, day and night with tears. If you're an officer of Christ's Church and you think the Apostle Paul's night visits and tears were simply because of the infant mortality rate in the Ancient World, you're culpably naive. Ephesus and Corinth with all their hatred for male authority and despising of the angels and lasciviousness and perversion are Wheaton and Grand Rapids and London and Carlisle and Sydney and Madison and San Diego and Indianapolis and Bloomington and Spencer and Louisville and Bristol today. In other words, this is your church. These men and women are your sheep.
So wake up, sleeper; you have hard work to do and the souls of your flock depend on your faithfulness in that work.
There are no sins beyond the grace of God, and of course this includes the corruption of minors. Look at the list above--it's the whole nine yards. The only man beyond the blood of Christ is the good or righteous man. What a wonderful privilege we have to hold out the blood of Christ to men and women (yes, women commit these sins, also) who have corrupted children.
What does it mean to say they have "corrupted children?"
A molested child is a corrupted child. This doesn't mean the child is damned. It means he has been soiled, and not just sexually--he's been soiled spiritually. Having been soiled, he does not need well-meaning pastors and elders and fathers and mothers assuring him that he's no different than the little boy that he had been prior to the time of being molested. If he's normal, he now has carnal knowledge he should never have had at his age, and with that knowledge comes moral or spiritual vulnerability and temptation that's awful and must be recognized and guarded against.
It is impossible to be a shepherd without getting dirty with sheep dung and blood, and knowing the methods and fruit of child molestation is the smell of sheep dung and the bloodstains that mark men as faithful shepherds.
Sadly, one aspect of the corruption of his victims caused by the rapist and child molester is the propensity for his victims to come to the point that they enjoy the sin they have been seduced into. Have you ever read Augustine's City of God (Kindle)? Remember how he works with the Christian women who were persecuted and raped to bring them to self-examination concerning their own sin in taking pleasure in the crime?
This is not blaming the victim. It is simply living wide awake and aware as a shepherd of God's precious sheep and realizing someone somewhere has to be willing to risk the vulnerability of being excoriated for political incorrectness in making every effort to heal the wounded and bind up the brokenhearted. We ought not to add to the alienation and fear of victims of sexual crimes by refusing to hear their cries for the healing of their own consciences. Yes, we must deal frankly with their victimhood. It is real and no one who loves the sheep will fail to explain to a former or present child-victim of abuse or sexual molestation why he or she is not responsible for the crime and didn't cause it and must not feel guilty for its inception. But this is not to say that young girls being raped by their fathers should be banned from ever discussing their own guilt which is the result of their own corruption by their fathers. Can we not see the truth of God's economy, that our sin become's others' door to their own sin? Is this not something we see all the time in our raising of our children?
So do listen carefully to the victims of rape and molestation and incest for indications of their own guilt in the sin. You think that's blaming the victim, but it's not. If you're willing to believe in and trust God's grace, you will be sensitive to the ways we have won others to sin, and made our sin their door.
And if you want to protect your children, you would do well to read the accounts of Penn State coverup being documented in and around the Sandusky trial. Or better, this lengthy piece on the child molestation and corruption of young men that prevailed for years on the campus of New York City's elite Horace Mann School. It's the same perversion and corruption of children that has permeated church camps and boarding schools (both prep and missionary), and orphanages (secular and Christian) yesterday, and often still today. Why?
Well, this paragraph from the article on the Horace Man School is precisely our experience in working through cases of incest and child molestation over many years and many cases, now. The criminals who corrupt children, but also their wives and the mothers of their victims and the elders and Titus 2 women and pastors of their churches will do anything to keep anyone from knowing anything about the crime:
When students and faculty returned to campus after the 1978-79 winter break, some told me, Wright was gone. One teacher remembers being told he resigned; others say they got no explanation, as do the students I spoke to.
Wright’s victims might have appreciated the invitation to talk about their experiences — if not with school officials, then with counselors or psychotherapists. Students in general might have welcomed an explanation, however limited, of why a teacher that so many looked up to simply disappeared from their lives. And the entire school might have benefited from a more open discussion of student-teacher boundaries, of the danger of abuse and the right to resist it, of how to report it and how the school would respond. But several faculty members of that era said that, to their knowledge, the school said nothing — not to the students, not to their families and not to the police.
When the principal concern of those with responsibility for the souls of a school or church's little ones is keeping things quiet and hidden, the victim continues to suffer alone with no one knowing what's wrong or how to help. And maybe when he or she goes off to college and is finally able to unburden himself to a shepherde who cares enough to let light shine in, he may begin to be comforted and healed. But it will require going back and opening the wound by confronting the man or woman who committed the wickedness.
What our flocks need from their shepherds is men and women of faith who work to bring to justice those who corrupted the smoking wicks and bruised reeds of their congregations. This is to be a shepherd after God's Own heart.
A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. - Isaiah 42:3