Friday, October 9, 2015

From the Editor: Pain to Purpose

Have you ever been in pain? I mean real pain. Maybe it was physical pain. A constant ache that will not go away and nothing will alleviate. Maybe it is an emotional pain. Have you ever felt a stab in your heart that although no one has touched you physically you feel it in your chest and you understand why they call it a broken heart?

The pain of divorce or an unfaithful spouse. The pain of a wayward child. The pain of disappointment, rejection or depression. The deep pain of longing for a child and month after month the pregnancy test showing no pink line. The pain of longing for a spouse, someone to share your life with and to come home to instead of emptiness and loneliness. The pain of the death of a loved one.
Pain is a part of life. Pain is a part of the process.
We’re all in process. A process is a series of actions, changes or functions bringing about a result. Process is also defined as progress. God  has a purpose for the process. He is perfecting you. He has begun a good work in you and He’s going to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
But  the process is painful. It doesn’t feel good. It hurts. But there’s a purpose for your pain. Just like the pains of childbirth produce the promise of a long awaited baby, your pain is giving birth to something God has placed in you. Your pain is going to produce his purpose, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sexual Healing

A prominent Chicago area pastor has been accused of sexually molesting a young lady who came to him for counseling. He has been charged and will have his day in court to deny or confess to the allegations. Published reports say that a confession was recorded by the victim and her mother. Published reports also say that the pastor made a "positive disclosure" to a detective that was consistent with the girl's story. We shall see. Innocent until proven guilty.

Unfortunately, I do not find it hard to believe that it is possible.

I know so many victims and stories of victims of those molested and raped--some right in the house of God-- by ministers, deacons, Sunday School teachers, fathers, stepfathers, stepmothers, and mothers who were supposed to be watching over their souls and instead violated them. Not just Catholic priests, but Baptist, Pentecostal and evangelical pastors who were representative of God to children who instead molested and raped them.

It’s an ugly thing to deal with and so often we don’t. We are dismayed at the downfall of a leader instead of tending to the sheep who have been mutilated.

I pray for the victims. For their healing. For their recovery from the egregious damage done, especially when someone in spiritual authority abuses that authority.

Too often, we show more care and concern for the perpetrator than the victim. The victim of the crime is left to the side and given the side eye, questioned and doubted, even as a child.

Do false accusations happen? No doubt. But there are also cases where by confession or other means, we know that a crime has been committed. And there are so many cases that are never reported.

Does the perpetrator of the crime need prayer, forgiveness, healing and restoration? Yes. But let’s focus on the victim first. They are the ones who have been harmed and wounded. Some have suffered and never recovered. Their view of God forever skewed by the evil trespass done against them.

The Enemy operates in darkness. I pray that God pulls the cover off and reveals those who are hurting his children so that others will not fall victim and those who have suffered will be able to start to heal. I also pray that the Church would help those who have been abused to heal.

In the Spring 2013 issue of the Well Magazine, an article dealing with healing from sexual abuse and the church was published entitled Sexual Healing.

One in four women and one in six men are or will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. Someone in the pew at church sitting next to you may have been a victim of rape. Maybe you suffered sexual violence or violation.

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