Only 16% of abused boys and girls ever tell anyone about the sexual abuse they go through. This leaves 84% who do not tell.
I can only begin to imagine the pain and shame these children go through…. and I’ve seen the guilt their parents carry as well once they find out.
What I can say is that Straight 2 the Heart’s ministry offers healing and freedom because of the way Jesus Christ fulfilled very specific prophecies, including being beaten so badly that you couldn’t recognize Him as a human being (Isaiah 52:14). Jesus chose to identify with and connect His story of suffering with these children so He could heal them and set them free, (Malachi 4:2; Luke 4:18). To earn this right, Jesus fulfilled prophecy as He was:
This is a “rubber-meets-the-road-Jesus” who took all this abuse on Himself, so He could defeat Satan, the source of all abuse… so He could heal these broken hearts in this fallen world…. I see the pain of sexual abuse all the time in my ministry. And I see the power of Jesus to heal hearts, increase trust in Him and rebuild lives so the past loses its negative power in their lives. I see it replaced by His peace that is supernatural, not natural… moving many of these women and men to help others who have been abused…turning the tide toward healing instead of abuse.
In addition to sharing how Jesus’ chose to be violated and abused, I have used resources like Steve Siler’s musical, “I Can’t Talk About It.” Steve’s musical is a simple, gentle, yet profound play sharing about a young girl being abused by her father – and how she finds the words to talk about it. I’ve worked with many who couldn’t get past the pain of the abuse because they’ve trained themselves not to feel and/or because of other reasons. This musical reaches their heart time and again, (see www.musicforthesoul.org for this resource and many others).
I wish this kind of abuse wasn’t happening, and I’m thankful we can offer them hope and healing similar to what Tim shares about in the following testimony.
My brother Joe lives in Costa Rica, directing the Straight 2 the Heart’s Spanish ministry. Here is a testimony from a ministry to a man who had been sexually abused by his uncle. This testimony helps us to begin understanding how we can move from presenting information about Jesus, our Suffering Messiah, to applying this information so we can experience transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“I can never tell,” he said through the tears streaming down his face. “I’ve only told one other person in my whole life”.
He was struggling to put into words an event that had altered his childhood, taking away his security, joy and innocence in one moment and replacing those positive emotions with hate, vengeance, guilt and a resoluteness to hide the dark, painful secret.
When Tim was a child, an uncle had sexually molested him. Because this uncle was his father’s favorite brother, Tim thought that his father would not believe him if he told him. He also thought about how this bombshell could destroy the family. So he kept silent about it, biding his time, waiting for the day when justice would prevail.
We prayed, thanking Jesus for choosing to be stripped naked and physically violated to identify with Tim in this very personal way, and to take away all his pain, all his anger, hate, vengeance and inability to tell anyone. And as we continued praying to “Christ the Wonderful Counselor,” who rose again to “heal him and set him free,” Tim experienced peace for the first time in years. This peace would be tested sooner than we anticipated.
A few days after the first prayer time, Tim received visitors. He was expecting his mother and younger brothers and was looking forward to the opportunity to visit with them. When he opened the door, there was his father, with the uncle who had molested him, standing in front of him.
When I visited him the following week, he told me what had happened. I was so surprised that I wasn’t sure what to say, so I asked him how he felt. He said that when he saw his uncle, he felt sadness for him, and wanted to tell him that he forgave him. He couldn’t tell him right at that moment, as this would have revealed to his father what had happened. Somehow, God had replaced the hate for pity, vengeance for forgiveness with a simple – yet supernatural story.
This story is just one example of an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus connecting His story with our story, through His suffering, death and resurrection with anyone who has ever been abused or violated. What a Savior! What a gospel bringing good news – great news!
(This story has been altered to protect the identity of “Tim”, including the name)
“Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for knowing my story of being physically and sexually violated – choosing to fulfill prophecy so You could embrace all my anger, shame and pain from being violated. Thank You for rising again to heal my wounded heart, setting me free to receive Your purity and my truest, deepest identity as Your son or daughter.
In Your name, Jesus, Amen.
Next Week: How could a sinless Savior identify with our choice of addictions, whether it is food, pornography, alcohol, drugs, work, anger, trying harder to do more, being better than others etc.? And how does He offer practical help to us when we are struggling with negative patterns with our thoughts, feelings and behaviors?