It brings me peace to know that I don't have to concern myself with my abuser's attitude of repentance or his position with God. The greatest vengeance would be to hope that God would reject him. But I don't want to be that person. I don't want the responsibility of determining his eternal fate. That's too much weight, too much responsibility.
I'm not perfect or holy, so it's just not my place. I'm at peace with that. Scripture (Jesus's own words) show that He alone is the author of salvation. He's the Great Discerner. He's the Judge re: eternity. Matthew 7: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"
No matter how smooth talking & charming they are, if they've led others to Him with those smooth words, Jesus knows who the false prophets are and He will judge accordingly. I can hope for justice on this earth. I can "judge" in terms of warning others and speaking truth, but I don't have to concern myself with my abuser's final judgement. What if he is a believer? What if he does go to heaven? Hard questions, but in my heart, I want him to have a repentant heart, so if he steps into eternity, that's fine with me. My eyes will be on Jesus. I won't be concerned w/ my abuser.
All this to say that I refuse to give any power whatsoever to my abuser. My healing and moving forward is not in any way tied to a single thing that man does. If forgiveness means leaving his fate in God's capable hands so I don't have to think about him, then I've forgiven.
I want true, absolute freedom. I sought justice and failed. I'm proud of the way I've fought this battle. My priority was to seek justice and bring honor to God. To do it His way as best as I could understand. That was for me, my journey.
I don't judge any victim's journey or pursuit for justice. I stand with them. But our journeys may look different. We do what we need to do to find freedom, to survive, to seek justice, to find peace, to heal, to move on. There is no one way to get through this, no one way to fight. We must give each other room to be ourselves, deal with our trauma, and find our way to wholeness.
Just the perspective of one survivor of clergy abuse. Feel free to disagree, but be kind.
God, when will You stop these wolves?
When will people in church open their eyes and see?
When will they care more about truth and safety than losing their social community or needing the validation of wolves?
When will they truly worship You instead of these criminal predators calling themselves pastors?
How much longer do we have to watch more victims be destroyed by the place they went to find and serve You? Be led to hell by one they had the right to trust to always, always point to You?
How much longer do we have to fight pastors and elders for our safety? For care? For truth? For justice? For dignity?
When will we be safe at church and not preyed upon by pastors? How much longer will church be the safest playground for predators?
How much longer, God?
Church victims are so tired. Why, after our abuse by pastors are we on the front lines of the fight for truth and justice?
God, please stop this madness. Clean Your house. Show us Your real church.
Give us care and rest. We’re tired, Lord.
We’re broken, abandoned, spit on, and tired.
Father, I pray for clergy abuse survivors. I thank You that You love each one with an unfailing love.
Father, I ask You to make Yourself known to survivors in a way that leaves no doubt in our heart that You are here. Remind us that You know us by name. That Your thoughts for us outnumber the grains of sand on earth. (Psalm 139)
Father, we don't know why You, in Your sovereignty, allow some terrible things to happen. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Help us to trust You. Show us that you take what Satan and our abusers mean for evil and use it for Your good (Genesis 50:20).
God, thank You for listening when we cry out in grief, anger, and pain to You (Psalm 56). Please surround these precious survivors with people who will also listen and support without judgement. Please surround survivors with love.
Father, please keep us safe. I ask that you will give each of us the courage to do what we need to do to be safe. Again, Father, that You will surround each of us with people who will help keep us safe (Psalm 91).
And, Father, we plead for justice (Proverbs 21:15). We ask that truth will be known. That the truth will set all survivors free (John 8:32).
And Father, we ask You, beg You, to help free our churches from all types of abuse. Church should be safe. And, Father, we plead for justice (Proverbs 21:15). We ask that truth will be known. That the truth will set all survivors free (John 8:32).
And Father, we ask You, beg You, to help free our churches from all types of abuse. Church should be safe. tempted to cover up sin to "protect the church."
And Father, where our leaders lack courage, we ask that you give the congregation the courage to stand up to the leadership. We, the people, are your church.
Again, Father, I ask you to embrace each survivor and hold us close to Your heart throughout our journey to healing and wholeness.
Thank you that in Jesus, we are truly free (John 8:36)! In Jesus's Name. Amen