In Defense of R-Rated Blog Articles
Joshua 7:13-26 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the LORD, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.”
I wanted to address an issue that I believe has been flying under our abuse-detection radar for a long, long time and still is. Most of our readers know very well that people, and one might say “especially” Christian people, do not want to hear the ugly details about abuse. Most victims have seen the blank look when the subject is broached. Well, guess what? When the subject is sexual abuse, the blank look and fidgeting intensifies. All of this is working to the advantage of the abuser, the child molester, and other practitioners of evil. Silence protects the wicked.
At the first part of this month, Barbara Roberts posted an article about sexual abuse as practiced upon victims of domestic abuse. She told her story and quite a number of you did as well. Details were graphic. The ugliness of this evil was clearly portrayed. Those of you who told your story let us in on the horrific things you suffered. One person was so incensed that all of this was wrong that they raised a clamor and broke off all contact with us, accusing us of leading people into sin and destroying marriages. I am still trying to figure that last allegation out. She insists that any godly pastor would never listen to such graphic details of abuse, but only needs the generalities.
These kinds of darts sting. We don’t like to lose any of our blog community and we want to do all we can to help victims. We lose sleep over these kinds of allegations and sometimes we launch into a spiral of introspection that only brings us lower. Most of you know what those darts are like.
But after considering these criticisms, I am writing this article to defend the posting of the details of abuse, including sexual abuse. Could some of our commenters perhaps get a bit “common” in their language sometimes? Yes. But we don’t try to control every syllable that is posted here. And sometimes that kind of language is the only kind that describes the horror of what has happened to these people. Perhaps no one has ever given them the opportunity to tell what their abuser did to them. So it pours out.
Our critic claims that such stories will incite sinful lust in other readers, especially men. Well, I am a man, and I can tell you what these accounts incite in me – ANGER! If any man finds them titillating, then that is a man who has bigger problems than he realizes. Sexual abuse is not about sex! It is about power and control and shaming evil in one of its worst forms. So if anyone’s reaction to these stories is to be offended by the graphic nature of the facts exposed, then here is an illustration for you –
“One time a pastor was so discouraged at the long-standing apathy in his congregation that he opened his sermon up with this line” “You people don’t give a damn about Christ, about the lost, and about the need to take the gospel to them! And I will prove it! Right now, most of you are more shocked and concerned that I used the word ‘damn’ than about the fact that the great commission is not being carried out by us as our Lord has commanded!” (Can you hear the dead silence?)
You see, what these stories from these victims ought to incite from us is ANGER and RAGE over the evil people who have done these terrible things to these poor victims. But when we are more concerned about the “offensiveness” to our sensibilities than we are caught up in compassion for the victims and righteously angry at the perpetrator, then something is gone very wrong in us.
One of the reasons that abuse, including and perhaps especially sexual abuse, is tolerated and enabled in our churches, is because no one wants to hear about it. And they sure don’t want to hear about it in detail. But how is the church, how are Christians and pastors and church elders ever going to see this evil for what it is as long as we refuse to hear about it and as long as we keep telling victims to shut up about it? We are like courtrooms where a rape trial is being heard, but the Judge keeps saying that neither he nor the jury want to hear any graphic details of what the rapist did to the victim. What would happen? Do you think justice would be done? Of course not.
Abuse is not pretty. Sexual abuse can offend our sensibilities and in many ways, it should. But this is all the more reason to lay it right out there in the light where everybody can see just exactly what horrible evil is going on “in the camp” of the church. Achan’s stolen silver needed to be dug up out of his tent, he needed to be found out, and all Israel needed to hear from him exactly what he had done. The holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ demands it.