If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’ Zech 13 v 6

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I hate the mentality that says, "By demonizing a pedophile, we risk forgetting how flawed we all are." When I hear that, what I think the person really means is, "Because we are all sinners, we need to give the pedophile a break for their crime, because otherwise we would need to be held accountable for our sins."

Are all sins the same? This is debatable. Some sin can be addressed and not hold long term consequences, while other sin can hold life long consequences. Some sin involves other innocent people and carries long-term consequences for them as well.

I don't correct my children the same every time they sin or disobey. Some situations require as little as a verbal correction, while other offenses need much more than just a verbal correction. Teasing a sibling isn't the same as hitting a sibling.

Taking the car without permission isn't the same as sexually violating a child. Nor is the sin of pride the same as sexually violating a child. Nor is the sin of adultery the same as sexually molesting a child. I could go on and on. Is it all sin? Yes!

We should not try to divorce ourselves from judgment. We can exercise good judgment without being judgmental. When did we as Christians start believing that holding people accountable equals sitting in judgment over someone.

NOTHING excuses preying on vulnerable families and molesting their children. There's a difference between being sinful, which we all are, and being a predator.


freddyeddy said...

I've been cogitating (for years honestly) on the difference between "spiritual" and "civil" law. It is a conversation, debate, and reality that, like many, has not been addressed well by the institutional church. That is why, in large measure, you get the frustrating responses mentioned in your blog.

I am planning to make an attempt to blog on the differnces between and the importance of both spiritual and civil law. America is a very unique experiment in world history with regard to the foundations and structure of its government. Unfortunately, as several of the founders mentioned, the decline of our form of government will rapidly follow the abandoning of a theocentric worldview.

I bailed on FB. Just not good for me at this time. It has been positive/helpful for me to read many of your posts. The details are different, but the feelings very similar. I will continue to follow your blog.

I'm so sorry for the pain and destruction you have had to endure. Be encouraged and reassured in knowing that you have already done the single most important thing you can in these situations; you believed your child and did something about it.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to come across this post quoting me. I make no excuses for the predators who commit these acts. My question for you is this. Is there any hope for the broken, fallen, evil person? If so, what exactly is that hope and how do I claim it for myself. How do I find hope and healing in this life? This, again, is not a philosophical question. I am relentlessly looking for the answer to this dilemma.

freddyeddy said...

It really is a philosophical question.
(I guess if you post on a blog, you get unsolicited information).

Recognizing that our only hope is in what Jesus accomplished is the answer. We are forced however to live in the paradoxical world of the already not yet. This will only change at death or the 2nd coming if we're around.

As for mercy for the sinner, that comes to all the repentant. Unless I'm confused, Jesus death was for the whole world. It is God's express desire that all be saved. It is not happening that way if you take a glance around. (The actual sorting out of the masses will be God's job, I would guess that will be a day with some unexpected surprises).

In the mean time, we live in societies. We pass laws and hopefully enforce them. We use our heads where the scripture is not clear. (Brushed your teeth lately?)

One enormous problem with the box system is you have to be kind to everyone, or they might not come around anymore. There are some people who need the loving-kindness of confrontation. Something like intervening with an alcoholic who doesn't see his problem. That is a merciful, demanding difficult and loving thing to plan, prepare for and do. No condemnation, just reality check.

When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. Ecclesiates 8:11 NIV
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." Matthew 23:22-24

Anonymous said...

thanks for your response freddyeddy. again I ask the question, what does the path to healing look like, exactly, for the the abused and the abuser?WHat does it look like for me, chief of sinners.

I believe in loving confrontation where appropriate, but the Christian church so often engages in the confrontation and then doesn't follow through with those effected.

We don't journey with those effected as they walk on the path to healing. And what is that path? Has anyone taken the time to say, here are the markers along the path, here is what the Bible says, here is the path, let's walk it together. And then follows through to see their brother or sister in Christ find the healing they so desperately need? The abuser is just as broken as the abused. Both need healing. In this particular case it sounds like the abuser and his accomplices aren't interested in healing. that's sad. I suspect that the path of healing leads through a point of forgiveness even of the unrepentant abuser. I can't imagine what that would be like.

It reminds me of the Corrie Ten Boom story. When she met the Nazi guard who likely abused and killed her family. The moment she chose to forgive him was one of her pivotal points in life.

I'm certainly not saying it's easy but that I want to be the kind of person who can forgive and be forgiven.

Thank you again for continuing the dialog. It helps me grow as a believer.

freddyeddy said...

We have had to confront abusers twice in our married lives. Two completely different and unrelated situations, generations, and victims. In both cases, we spent time preparing. We were careful to express our desire for honesty and untimately healing for the abusers. In both cases-this is almost too hard to believe-but I swear it is true! In both cases, the responses were almost identical. These were both adult males with families. The first words out of their mouths were "Are you going to press charges?"

With the first situation, we weren't prepared for that response and so were taken aback somewhat. As we struggled to express that we were most concerned about confession, healing, and restoration, he launched into a long monolog about how ____ must have misinterpreted his actions. He was so sorry she had been wrong in her evaluation of his actions et cetera ad nauseum. That was over 20 years ago. This person is still very churchy, has worked as a youth leader, camp leader and I don't know what else. We are still the ones who misinterpreted. Total denial. Total blame shifting. Total separation.

Case 2, as I said, was again almost identical. He started off with, "Are you going to press charges?" Then he quickly regained his composure and ultimately preprared charts and graphs etc. in his defense. In this situation, however, we had other "support" (so we thought) people involved. They never did a thing to really help anyone, abused or abuser.

Without boring you with the rest of our story, I'll tell you that these people virtually never repent and confess. We have a contact who worked in the prison system and had multiple convicted abusers who maintained their denial and innocence through arrest, trial and conviction. Then maintained same thoughout their entire sentence served. This person mentioned one man, who after 5 years in prison and in regular (mandated) counseling was just beginning to see the possibility that he had done something wrong.

Back to your topic. If any abuser ever did change and seek help, that person should be "walking with" a couple of single adults or possibly empty nesters. They should also be in regular counseling and they should, as a matter of course, exclude themselves from settings and relationships where intimate contact with children is possible.

Some of our brothers and sisters in Christ have multiple personalities. Some of them, and I say this having thought about it a great deal, need a life sentence or the death penalty. Not too churchy. There's a worthwhile debate about whether it is even a "Christian" thing to say. It's my thought, and I'll have to answer for it.

Do I believe in miracles? Yes. Grace for the sinner? YES. Hope for an abuser? Absolutely.
Confession and repentance and where appropriate, apologies to victims would the minimum requisite starting place.

Not all sins are equal in the time space continuum. If you don't believe me, ask a survivor of child sexual abuse. Ask the living spouse and children of the guy who gets killed by a drunk driver.

I know Christ died for sinners. I have absolutely no doubt that I'm desperate for his forgiveness and grace.
I'll "walk the path" with whoever God puts on the path with me, but I'll do it with caution, wisdom, discretion and hopefully a lot of divine guidance.

freddyeddy said...

One other thought.
I'll grant you that the abuser is also broken. He was most likely victimized as well.
You're right, you can't imagine what forgiving the unrepentant abusuer woiuld be like. I pray you never get the opprtunity to find out.

Danielle said...

Anonymous I am not sure what answer you are looking for....unless it is the one answer I am not willing to give which is that the pedophile should be viewed the same as the victim. I do not believe all pedophiles are victims (a lot are but some people are just evil)....the pedophile in particular is an adult who has the ability to control their selves (they could get help/pray/)but instead victimizes an innocent child...causing them to be "broken"....most often without any lasting regard for the victim.

As far as the "healing" path for the abuser...I believe for Gods' grace there must first be true repentance, I believe this is required. Then in a pedophiles case (would be different with a rapist) I agree that only adults can walk the "healing" path with this individual and that any attempt to live a traditional family life would be the beginning of the abuser on a down word spiral to re-offend! Also I believe the abuser would need to be in therapy for life (would you pay for treatment if they couldn't afford it) Accountability by the "christian" walking along side this individual would need to be relentless!

The problem as I think about it with the "church" and christians is that it seems if someone with a problem mentions you have prayed about something and trusting God for the healing then the matter is all taken care of. I call it "pulling the God card." That is naive for someone with this type of problem!

I know this to be true in other cases and in our case the abuser (Patrick) went 2yrs without pedophilia behavior (during that time he had other sexual deviant behavior, incest with adult sister) then resumed pedophilia behavior.

I do not believe the repentant abuser will be "truly healed" this side of heaven! This individual will always have that thorn in their side to daily lift up to God and have life style limitations because of it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you both.

I am sad for the person who is unwilling to face their own brokenness and strive for the wholeness that only comes through God. whether its is the pedophile or any other. it is a tragic place to be. I am beoken and so often frustrated that God doesn't just "fix" me. It seems like a long frustrating trudge up hill. but I suppose that is the nature of this life. I want to find the strength and tenacity to overcome my fallen tendencies.

I think you're right about the process being long and arduous. And the Christian community in general is not persistent enough to walk through this with those who are hurt.

I know, Danielle, that I am guilty of just praying once or twice and then just hoping it will go away. Although I'm not guilty in your specific instance, I hope you will accept my apology for being callous and having a short attention span for things of this importance.

thank you for continuing in conversation with me and I will continue to pray for healing. My intention is to be consistent in praying for you and the healing process.

thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous...Thanks for the chat today. I too really wonder how walking with someone who has issues (not sure what to call them) would look like. I guess I wonder because I haven't really seen it before so I have no reference. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I would "want" to help someone walk through it. I don't know if I would want to pay for counseling for someone trying to get to the other side. And I don't think that is what Jesus would do. It is embarassing to admit it. Maybe I would be more inclined to help if I didn't know the person..lol..and how does that really help? I also agree that the church does a poor job following through...and since the church is me, I am guilty. Good conversation on a terribly hard topic. DEB

freddyeddy said...

I just heard about a situation with a man who lost his family because of an addiction to pornography. He has been in a support group and has been a leader in this ministry for healing of addictions. He was about to remarry when it came out that he had been looking at porn again. The wedding was called off but the other male leaders in this ministry group were planning to allow him to just keep teaching. When confronted by a woman in the group they wanted to shorten his suspension time from 6 months to 3 months. This is why I don't trust "leaders"! One of these men is a pastor and one is teaching adult Sunday School every week. It makes me sick and it certainly will not do anything except entrench this person futher in his sin.
Posted by ms. freddyeddy

Rebecca said...

The church is way too willing to heal and forgive pedophiles and far more concerned about their "brokenness" than the brokenness they have inflicted on others. Danielle's story is, unfortunately, not unusual.

Just two cases, out of many where I know the offenders personally:

1. A serial pedophile was forced into counseling and convinced his Christian psychologist that he was completely healed. When he proposed to a woman with young daughters, his psychologist assured him not to worry her with his past, since it was forgiven and overcome. His courageous step daughters finally ignored his threats and turned him in. He did jail time. It was all through the papers because he was head of a prominent local ministry. His wife was encouraged not to divorce him, but welcome him back with open arms when his jail term was up. Surely his step-daughter now knew enough to lock their doors at night!!

2. A church leader adopted an abused orphan, who he then went on to torture and abuse in sadistic and horrifying ways. He served jail time. It was another case that made headlines because it was so shocking. But now, not that many years later, he is back in church leadership and brags about his new prison ministry that came out of his own experience behind bars.

And the victims? Ignored by the church...after being told to get over it and reconcile with their abusers.

We are called to protect the innocent and helpless, not to be sympathetic towards their abusers.