How can past sexual abuses be dealt with today?




Thank you ever so much for taking the time to reply. I am most grateful. For me personally this has been a very sad experience. I perhaps haven’t made myself very clear as I didn’t want to burden any person with my problems.

I’ll be brief: I exposed the sin of sexual abuse on me personally as I had read that the sin of chain of sexual sin and abuse should be broken. I was born to a 15-year-old rape victim, taken by the state, and placed in an orphanage. While there I was raped by elders of the church until I was 16 years. I dared not tell any person as that would have been the end and who in my position would believe me?

I had been married for ten years when everything went wrong. My wife and I believed that we had a duty to protect our children from any generational sin and I exposed the rapes on me as a child. I was aware that it was going to be hard to get justice and for people to believe me. Also, if you know anything of this church, they all intermarry.

The members of this denomination wouldn’t speak to me, and in fact said, "You will never win any case against the brethren." I had made attempts to speak to the elders as per scripture, but all efforts failed. I sought legal assistance and I won, with one of the elders receiving a seven year jail sentence. Furthermore the state had many claims of child sexual abuse. I would take it that you have heard of the abuse in many religious organizations in your own area.

The denomination controlled institution by now was under media seize with twenty-seven more children coming forward. The denomination then sought its own legal assistance and fought. They won in some cases because of the limitation period and that they were no longer the owners of the institution. It had since been incorporated and had it’s own legal status though still controlled by the denomination.

There was a woman who said in court, “I was called by God to look after these poor children….”  Claims were made by a man that as a child of twelve she forced him to have sex with her, which he and others did on a number occasions. She had the best in legal representation and won on the ground that the man taking her to court was presently an alcoholic and drug user; thus discrediting his story. She won her case on a legal technicality, and the case was lost.

The woman involved is the sister-in-law to one of the most senior elders in this denomination. Much has been spoken of regarding this case. I am certain that many in the denomination now believe the woman is guilty. I have written to her and presently am trying to help the young man. I have been informed the bother -in-law now knows of the sin. This is my question: What is his and the denomination's responsibility before the Lord? What is his personal responsibility? What is my responsibility as I hold the full court documents and there is reason to believe that members of the denomination lied regarding her case to get the judgment they wanted?

When we know a person has sinned and still remains within the church should they be exposed? I know of an elder in his late 80’s who raped a young girl from the institution. She gave birth to a little girl. The elders of the church who controlled the institution arranged for the baby girl to be adopted by the legal father. All who knew of the adoption believed the girl was just one from the institution.

The facts are certain for I have documents to prove my story. Should that person be exposed? Where will he spend eternity?

The Scriptures are clear for those who harm children.

I hope this will clarify my first letter.

I found on the Internet a government report on the abuses discovered in orphanages in your area of the world. It appears that your government had a wide spread problem that spanned both publicly and privately owned orphanages. I weep that so many children faced such cruel treatment and I'm deeply sorry to hear that you were among them. In the posting of this question and reply, I have edited out indications of the region of the world and the denomination involved in this particular person's life.

I also took time to research the denomination involved. It appears to be organized in a biblical manner and is very similar to the churches of Christ that I know. About the only readily apparent difference is a premillennial belief and a unitarian view of other denominations. Thus, I'm going to assume that the organization is the same as presented in the Scriptures and that dispute resolutions would be handled in a scriptural manner.

As in the Bible, each congregation is autonomous. The only central board that a congregation acknowledges or responses to is the Lord Jesus Christ. Problems therefore are resolved on a local level.

Those charged with the guidance and stability of a congregation are the elders of the group. These men must meet the qualifications set out in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The qualifications are worded in such a manner that these men must not only meet the qualifications to become elders, but they must also maintain the same quality of life while serving as elders. Each congregation must have multiple elders because the Scriptures consistently refers to them in a plurality. Because these men are in a position of leadership, they are often the target of smear campaigns, thus the Scriptures states that extra care should be given when charges are placed against them. "Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses" (I Timothy 5:19).

Elders are men and like all men they are not immune to sin. Paul warned that the early churches would suffer serious damage from wicked men who would arise from the ranks of the elders. "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves" (Acts 20:28-30). This is why Paul gave Timothy, and the preachers that follow, the instructions to handle the problems with elders. When an elder is found to be in sin, it is the preacher's job to rebuke the man. "Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality" (I Timothy 5:20-21). When an elder refuses to acknowledge and repent of his sins, he must be removed from his office.

It appears you are in a congregation much like Thyatira: "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-- 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' --as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 2:18-29).

First and foremost, understand that no matter what happens with these people on earth, they will face God in Judgment. God knows not only what they did, but also why they did it. "For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:30-31). We should strive for purity within the church, but ultimately the task is in the hands of God. "A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation" (Psalms 68:5). God will not treat lightly those who prey on the defenseless. "Thus says the LORD: 'Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place'" (Jeremiah 22:3).

Second, since you were personally harmed by these miserable excuses for people, you need to look carefully at your own motivations. It is very easy to slip over the edge of wanting to take vengeance while justifying to yourself that you are only defending others. I don't want you, in your eagerness for justice, to trip and follow these very people. "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). As Paul warned, "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord" (Romans 12:17-19). Put your full faith in God. He will ultimately handle the problem in no uncertain terms.

Third, you stated that you presented your case to the elders and I'm going to assume that you also involved the preacher, but they rejected your claim and evidence. If you have done all that you could and the leadership of the church is turning a blind eye to the sins in its midst, then you must assume that if the candlestick hasn't been removed by the Lord already, it soon will be. The church is unfaithful and it appears obvious that your remaining in it will not be an influence for good. Rather, the danger is that further association will draw you and your loved ones into sin. "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits"" (I Corinthians 15:33). As the head of your household, it is your responsibility before God to protect your family and see that they remain pure. As hard as this seems, you need to find a faithful congregation -- one that actually follows the entire teaching of God. One that follows, not just in words, but in what they do day to day (James 1:21-27).

Fourth, be careful in your diligence to bring evil to justice that you don't ruin the lives of the innocent. The children who were raped or were the product of rape are innocent. They have lives to live and probably don't want to relive the shame of their past. If people freely chose to join the battle, that is fine. But don't involve those who have dealt with the pain by moving on and forgetting the past. It is a proper way to deal with personal harm: "Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!" (I Corinthians 6:7-8). This in no way justifies the wrong-doer. Remember that God will handle the problem. But it is an applications of Jesus' statement to turn the other cheek. Some fully understand, "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6).

Crimes were committed that violated man's laws as well as God's laws. Give your evidence to governing officials and let them do their job. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil" (Romans 13:3-4). But understand that it is not your responsibility to see that people are punished. Your duty is to sound the alarm and to warn people of the danger. The response belongs to those so warned. Ezekiel was told to warn his people "whether they hear, or whether they refuse" (Ezekiel 3:11). "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul" (Ezekiel 3:17-21). It is a hard lesson, but you can't make people do the right thing. You can only tell them what they need to do. The response is up to them. Do your duty and then stand back and let God handle the problem as He sees best.

Finally, for your sake, I would like you to leave the past. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). Grave evil was done to you, but it never made you evil. Many people excuse their behavior on events of the past. Events of the past are just that -- past. You can let them consume you and ruin your life or you can move on despite the past. You mention wanting to protect your children from generational sin. What better gift can you leave them than burying that past and giving them an untainted future? You won't forget what happened. Our memories don't have an erase button. But you can overcome with the Lord's guidance and help. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20). Please, stop carrying the burden of other people's sins. Don't let their sins be a part of your life.

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls" (Hebrews 12:1-3).