Abuse Victims Need Christ Too
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Romans 3:23-24, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…
Being a victim of abuse does not make a person right with God. Most of the abuse victims I have contact with are Christians because they find our abuse sermon series on Sermon Audio, a Christian website. But not all victims are Christians. In my years as a police officer, most of them I met were not right with God in Christ. I remember one woman, about 35 years old, at a domestic disturbance call I received. She was drunk, crying – just a mess. She told me as soon as I arrived (and in the presence of her abusive partner) that he was threatening to sodomize her if she didn’t obey him. It was a typical scenario. She looked like the source of the problem. He had it all together, was calm, well-dressed, reasonable. Of course the reason she was a mess was because of him!
This woman was a victim. She was oppressed and suffering. She was not a Christian, but I think that the Lord still takes sides in situations like hers. He hates abusive people no matter who their target is.
Nevertheless, we must remember that if anyone, including a victim, is going to be put into a right relationship with God, they must hear about and believe in His Son. They must confess with their mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in their heart God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). In fact, it turns out that Christ is their true Redeemer and Rescuer. All of us were abused and oppressed by Satan the moment we entered with world, and it is only Christ who destroyed the works of the devil and sets us free (Hebrews 2:14).
So we must not stop short when we help victims. As we show them the love of Christ in action by helping them get free of abuse, we also need to “preach Jesus” to them. Often, abuse victims are a fertile mission field. It has been a sorely neglected mission field, even though “the fields are white for harvest” (John 4). Imagine telling the history of God’s deliverance of Israel from oppressive slavery and abuse in Egypt. We can tell them of the Passover Lamb and how Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Just as they need a temporal exodus from their abuser, so they need an eternal deliverance from sin and Satan. And I think that in some ways, abuse victims may well understand all of these in ways that perhaps other people cannot. A woman who has had to stand firm against her tormentor and be courageous for her children is possibly a person who grasps more clearly what confessing Christ in this fallen world will cost.
So when we give victims “bread,” let’s remember to give them the Bread of Life too.