It is awfully hard to deny there is a sexual abuse crisis in this country given what is unfolding in both Washington DC and the media. The truth that this is an epidemic being ignored and kept silent is being exposed.
The immediate response to exposure is shame. Remember the garden when God came looking for the couple that had just disobeyed. The first response was to hide themselves because they had been exposed. Shame breeds silence and cover up. Whether it is a child that has been molested by a more powerful adult, or a powerful Congressman that has covered the behavior for years. It is shame that destroys.
In these present cases the responses are quite telling. The first response is to deny; “I don’t recall that at all…the accuser is lying…the facts are being misrepresented.” In the garden the man pointed to the idea that his wife made him do it. We have all been there when the moment of exposure turns our stomach in knots and hiding feels like the best response.
After exposure the Pharisees rush to judgment extolling the necessity to “fix” the problem. Quite the hypocrisy. The loud cries come from those that either haven’t been caught or have some delusion they are without sin.
The leaders in Congress are calling for mandatory Sexual Harassment training for all congressmen and senators. Really? Men thirty-five to eighty years old don’t know what it means to take advantage of others yet? They do not know what is right, honorable, respectful behavior so much so that they need training? Did they have parents? Did they go to school? Have they never heard the ten commandments or the golden rule? And what exactly will the training do? Will it address the matter of the evil, wicked, heart that lies silent in every human being?
As the leader of a ministry that attempts to shed light on the truth of this plague, I have to admit that I am encouraged with this moment of awareness on the public stage. However, this ongoing epidemic begins in childhood and is so pervasive across this country that this recent round of examples only scratches the surface. I hope the exposure continues and real attention is paid to the truth of what is out there. Sexual sin has been with us forever and the shame it generates destroys people and cultures in silence and fear of exposure.
It is one thing to sound the alarm, parade around the perpetrators, and call for training. It is quite another to walk into the issue with hope. Healing is not achieved in training programs. Healing isn’t accomplished in seminars and self help books. Healing can never be achieved in silence and solitude. Exposure causes shame. Deep, deep, deep hurt in the soul. Shining a bright light on it without also offering hope is a futile exercise. Sometimes even hope doesn’t break through.
God has walked with me for fifty years with the shame and hurt of childhood sexual abuse. God has been faithful all those years through my wife, children, and those that sincerely desire to walk with me to keep the light of hope glowing. God’s still small voice speaks to my heart every day about the many that are walking the same roadway and I try every day to shed light on the issue, to be available to listen, and to share the pain with others.
Healing happens when one walks with another. I believe it is the best approach. It takes a lot of time, an army of willing walkers, and it is not accomplished in the media or on a stage. It takes place in coffee shops, on long walks, and in quiet gardens where the Savior of our souls whispers into our hearts, that we are His beloved. I pray for those that are still in silence, and I pray for those that will seek to begin the journey with another broken heart.