In my prior life in San Diego, I was part of a ministry that saw a fair amount of people who suffered from PTSD due to abuse or sexual trauma of one kind or another, and it surprised me because I had no idea how widespread that kind of ‘thing’ was because outside of that ministry I had heard very few people talk about abuse of any sort, especially men. This is likely for reasons specific to each person, but from what I experienced in my four + years as an intercessor, shame was the chief reason most people kept silent.
To varying degrees, many of the people I prayed with and for felt blame for what they’d been made to endure. The beauty of this ministry was that in most cases, those same people were able to find God’s truth about where the blame lie, and encounter Jesus in such a way they were able to find at least a measure of healing. Also the knowledge that healing was a process, and it was OK if it took some time. It certainly did with me.
I became a frequent intercessor for these types of sessions, and it eventually became clear that God had gifted me in such a way, and used me in such a way that I was often able to help these people by protecting them while those leading the session were able to do their own work.
Sometimes, though, I would need to step away a little bit, because I could feel myself moving away from what needed to be done and start thinking about things like how much dental reconstruction that piece of crap would need if I was able to go back in time and get hold of him.
That’s what rapists and molesters and people like them were to me, and what they remain. I need to remind myself constantly every person has worth to the one who made them. It is not up to me to assign value to them, and judge them for whatever they may have done, as appealing as that option might be to the part of me that hates injustice.
Especially when it is directed toward women or girls. When I hear about that stuff, immediate retribution always sounds like the best option, because screw rapists and other assorted creepers.
It isn’t up to me, though. But the man in me—the husband and brother and friend–wishes it was sometimes. The part of me that loves and respects women as beautiful creations of a loving God wants to choke rapists until they turn blue for making so many women think otherwise. For making them think they are unclean, and ruined, and to blame for what happened to them.
A while back I saw this picture:
And it made me think about that stuff again.
To rapists: while my personal belief is that you are crap on a cracker, I know in my heart that like the women, men, girls or boys your actions do permanent harm to, you are beloved by God. Deep in your sin, where your heart seems so far away from anything loving, you are loved. You know what you’ve done. Seek forgiveness. It can be yours.
To victims: my heart breaks for you as it always has. Know this, and hold it in your heart like the precious truth it is. You are loved. What you feel makes you unworthy is something you had no control over. What you feel makes you dirty is something you did not ask for, no matter what they tell you. This dirt is created by lies, and truth can set you free of them. God’s truth.
You are loved and loved and loved, in spite of what ‘they’ tell you and in spite of what you might think of yourself. Let those words fall away like broken chains. You are precious to the one who made you. He sees no blemish, or stain.
Try to imagine an oyster, fresh from the sea bottom. The oyster is held in a pair of hands–the sure and strong hands of the carpenter. You can hardly see the pads of scar tissue on his wrists. A small knife with a sharp blade appears in one of his hands and he deftly pops open the shell. With the blade he lifts the connecting tissue and extracts a small, slimy ball.
He begins to wipe away the slime, dirt and sediment that has been accumulated by years. Everything falls away at his touch, and he is eventually left with what was there all along; a shining and perfect pearl.
Know this as well: to Jesus, you are that pearl. You are no longer a victim. You are beautiful, and clean, and made righteous.
I want you to know that you are not alone in your pain. The hands that made you wait to hold you.
I want you to know and believe in your heart that you are not to blame.
I want you to know that it’s ok to let out what you feel.
I want you to know that healing is available—and your heart can be made whole again.
My words are failing me now and I will end with what I said before.
You are loved.