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Spiritual Support for the CSA Survivor

- Where God Stands
- Where God Stands with the Sexually Immoral
- Where God Stands with CSA Survivors

When I told my husband I had been sexually abused by the pastor of my church, the first thing he did was to inform the elders of our church. I thought the elders would take my statement, confront the pastor, and offer help, not just for me, but for all the victims of the pastor perpetrator. But that isn’t what happened. The elders took the side of the pastor, covered up what the pastor did, and blamed the victims for splitting the church. We worked with the elders for several months trying to reason with them, and get them to take responsibility. Our effort was to no avail. They implemented their cover up plan which included inviting us back to church—on the condition that we accept their cover up lies! How could that happen? I thought the elders were wise and godly men. Didn’t God ordain them to their positions? Isn’t that why they were elders in the church?

Not only did I have to deal with the fact that the pastor was a sex offender, but that the elders were behaving in a way that did not represent the God of the Bible, and, in fact, was evil. Even when seeking answers from Christian leaders in the Christian community, I was told I needed to understand that pastors and elders are “only human”; they are sinners just like everyone else. That miserable explanation was supposed to give me peace. “Everyone else” included my husband, my dad, my brothers. The men in my family weren’t sex offenders. The men in my family took God and their Christian walk seriously. How could the Christian leaders of my church be so evil? I was spiritually devastated!

A godly woman agreed to meet with me to talk about my spiritual questions. I had lost my faith—or rather it felt as if my faith was “blown up” by a bomb. I needed answers to my questions before I could start to trust God again. One question was how the elders could be so bad. Another question was why God didn’t just rain down justice for all the evil. The woman’s answers to my questions began the process of putting my faith back together and find spiritual healing.

My first question was why the elders could be so bad. The Christian lady asked me, “Don’t you know?”

I shook my head.

She calmly said, “They are guilty of the same thing.”

I was shocked. Weren’t they elders of the church? How could they be guilty of what the offending pastor had done?

Several months later, a church member informed me that several of the elders had had an affair, and their current wife was their second wife. The church kept all of that a secret! Having men who are guilty of adultery to serve as elders is in direct violation of the qualifications for elders found in the Bible. Each year, when the congregation voted for a new slate of elders, only the elders were allowed to count the votes. Only those men that the evil elders approved of were “voted” in. It certainly answered my question, but filled my heart and soul with dismay that these men would so mock God.

But then I had the question of why God didn’t just step in and do something about it. Wasn’t it his church? Wasn’t God supposed to be in charge? Didn’t God care about the victims? Again, this wonderful godly woman patiently explained that if God were to step in, then Jesus would have to come back to earth—now. Doing so would forbid the right number of lost people on earth to find salvation. She was right, of course, but it didn’t make my pain any less.

She did explain, however, that God was not on the side of these evil men. She encouraged me to continue my journey, asking God for answers. Since I believe the Bible to be God’s word, I decided to start there. I didn’t use any “study” bibles or commentaries. I just wanted to see plainly where God stands on the issue of clergy sexual abuse.

Where God Stands

God does NOT condone clergy sexual abuse! God does NOT condone sexual abuse—period. Throughout the Bible—Old Testament and New—there are warnings against sexual immorality and bearing false witness. Here are just a few passages to consider:

Where God Stands with the Sexually Immoral
(Note: Unless otherwise noted, biblical texts here are quoted from The Holy Bible, New King James Version [Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson] 1979, 1980, 1982.)

Exodus 22:16-17 – “And if a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins.”

Exodus 23:1,2 – “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.”

Leviticus 18:4-20 – “You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD. None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD. The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover. She is your mother; you shall not uncover her nakedness. The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s nakedness. The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or the daughter of your mother, whether born at home or elsewhere, their nakedness you shall not uncover. The nakedness of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for theirs is your own nakedness. The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, begotten by your father—she is your sister—you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is near of kin to your father. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is near of kin to your mother. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother. You shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law—she is your son’s wife—you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness. They are near of kin to her. It is wickedness. Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive. Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity [menstrual cycle]. Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her.”

(Note: The NIV translates the term “uncover the nakedness” as “to have sexual relations.”)

In other words, the only woman a man can “have sexual relations” with is his own wife!

Leviticus 18:24-30 – “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who sojourns among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 19:20 – “Whoever lies carnally [has intercourse with] a woman who is betrothed as a concubine to another man, and who has not at all been redeemed nor given her freedom, for this there shall be scourging; but they shall not be put to death, because she was not free” (insertion mine).

Note: The one who is to be scourged in Leviticus 19:20 is the man, not the concubine. Also, the NIV translates the word “concubine” as “slave girl.”

Deuteronomy 22:23-29 – “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil person from among you. But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin worthy of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter; for he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her. If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, then the man who lay wither her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.”

[Note the differences in the above accounts: (1) The city girl had help available, but she didn’t try to get help. She didn’t “scream.” It was not rape; she consented to the adulterous affair; (2) The country girl did not have help. It didn’t matter if she “screamed” or not because “there was no one to save her.” It was rape; she did not consent to the sexual encounter.

In cases of sexual abuse at church or in the workplace, the sex offender brainwashes the victim so that she is unable to “scream,” or brainwashes others who might help her, so they don’t help. If a woman is raped, she is not guilty of committing a sexual sin with the rapist.]

The entire books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations – These offer incredible insight into how God is angered by and laments over sexual immorality.

Ezekiel 8 – 9 – [Highlights, emphases mine:]
8:6-11 – “Furthermore, He said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations.’ So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall. Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, dig into the wall’; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door. And He said to me, ‘Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.’ So I went in and saw, and there—every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls. And there stood before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel . . .” (italics mine). (Note: the “elders of the house of Israel” refers to priests, as well as civic leaders.)

8:12-13 – “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark . . . .’ For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’ . . . ‘You will see greater abominations that they are doing’” (italics mine).

8:14-16 – “So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house, and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz [ancient Akkadian deity, husband of Babylonian goddess of procreation, Ishtar; Greek counterpart is Adonis, Egypt counterpart is Osiris. Tammuz worship involved licentious festivals, cf. Unger’s Bible Dictionary]. Then He said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O Son of Man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.’ So He brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun in the east” (insertion mine).

Note: the “women sitting here” were involved in the licentious festival of Tammuz worship! The “twenty-five men” were worshipping the sun! Ezekiel 9 tells of the judgment and punishment: death. But also note that in 9:4, “and the LORD said to him [man clothed in linen], ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’” God spared the righteous.

Matthew 15:19, 20 – “For out of the heart proceed [come forth] evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications [sexual immorality], theft, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man . . . . “

John 8:42-47 – “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father, the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.’”

Romans 13:13-14 – “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

The NIV translates Romans 13:13-14 as, “Let us behave decently . . . not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery . . . . Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

I Corinthians 5:1-2 – “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles [pagan unbelievers] . . . . And you are puffed up [proud], and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you” (insertion mine).

I Corinthians 6:13b – “Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.”

I Corinthians 6:18-20 – “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

I Corinthians 10:1-14 – “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’ Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry (bold emphasis mine).

II Corinthians 12:21 – “I [Paul] am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged (NIV).”

Ephesians 4:17-19 – “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles [pagan unbelievers] walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who being past feeling [having no conscience] have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (insertion mine).

Ephesians 5:3-7 – “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.”

I Thessalonians 4:3-8 – “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles [pagan unbelievers] who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”

I Timothy 1:8-11– “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

Revelation 2:12-16 – “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.’”

Revelation 22:14,15 – “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

Where God Stands with CSA Survivors

Numbers 14:17-18 – “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (NIV).

Note to CSA survivors: Clergy sex offenders (including church leaders who aid and protect them) and their future generations will be punished for what they and erring church leaders have done to CSA survivors. Praise God.

Genesis 38 – Story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar: “She [Tamar] is more righteous than I [Judah]”

II Samuel 13 – Story of Amnon and Tamar, half brother and sister; both children of King David.

Psalm 31 – “In you, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me . . .”

Psalm 34 – “I will bless the Lord at all times . . . The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit . . . Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned . . . . none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”

Psalm 35:26 – “Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who rejoice at my hurt; Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor Who magnify themselves against me.”

Psalm 37 – “Do not fret because of evildoers . . .”

Psalm 43 – “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! . . .”

Psalm 56 – “Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; . . . You number my wanderings [the NIV translates this word “lament”]; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? . . . For you have delivered my soul from death. Have You not delivered my feet from falling, That I may walk before God in the light of the living?”

Isaiah 30:18 – “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who trust in Him.”

John 4:4-42 – Samaritan woman at the well. Note Jesus does not condemn the woman; he speaks to her with respect, gives her water, and defends her to the disciples.

John 8:3-11 – Jesus pardoned the woman caught in adultery: “. . . ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first’ . . . . ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ . . . . ‘Neither do I condemn you’. . .”

Note: The woman had been set up by the Pharisees. Jesus saw through their evil scheme.

Revelation 21:1-4 – “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’”

Revelation 21:7,8 – “’He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part [place] in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death’” (insertion mine).

Note: There will be no sexually immoral clergy sex offenders in heaven! Praise God. Heaven will be a safe place for survivors of sexual abuse.

The journey to healing is just that: a journey. Stay on the path. Stay on track. The journey leads to a land called healing where hopefully there is peace and acceptance. Dee Ann Miller calls it “thriving” instead of “surviving.” That should be the goal.

In the meantime, the words of the apostle Paul are meant for us:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. - Eph. 6:10-18 (NIV, bold emphases, mine)