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the Hope of Survivors

Facts vs. Lies

Lie 1: Sexual abuse (in this form) is rare and almost unheard of in the U.S.

Fact 1: Sexual abuse and abuse of power in these types of situations is all too common, even epidemic in our country and around the world. Unfortunately, most of the men who violate the appropriate boundaries are “repeat” offenders who continually exploit woman after woman.

Lie 2: It must be my fault. If only I hadn’t been so nice, if only I’d said “no” more firmly (or at all), if only…etc.

Fact 2: It is not your fault. The pastor bears the responsibility for maintaining proper boundaries and for protecting those under his care. According to the Bible, we are each responsible for our own actions and choices and, therefore, you do need to confess (to God) and repent for the willful sins you may have committed during the abuse (lying, adultery, and so on).

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”—1 Cor. 6:9-11

The person with the power (pastor, therapist, teacher, etc.) is the one who has the responsibility to help you maintain and keep proper boundaries. You are entrusted to his care and he is under obligation to protect you, not to harm you. Pastors and other clergy have a much more solemn obligation to keep this trust as they represent God to their congregants.

Lie 3: The pastor said this is God’s will for us to be happy. Shouldn’t I believe him?

Fact 3: It is never God’s will that we should break any of His Commandments. You cannot, and should not, trust a pastor who is violating God’s Word.

How Does This Happen?

Lie 4: God called David a “man after His own heart” and God forgave David after his sin with Bathsheba. Therefore, this must be OK in God’s sight since it is in the Bible.

Fact 4: This is one of the greatest lies a pastor uses to abuse women! Trying to make the correlation that because God called David a “man after His own heart” after David’s sin, that the pastor can willfully perform the same sin and still be a man of God. The pastor is trying to sanctify the sin and this is a perversion of truth.

In the story of David and Bathsheba, many make the correlation that this was somehow a consenting relationship and that there was a mutual attraction between them that allowed this to happen. However, this is not what Scripture reveals.

In 2 Samuel 12:4-9 it states, “And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.” “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife...”

Here we clearly see that in God’s view the rich man “took” the poor man’s lamb. It’s important to notice that a lamb in the Bible represents someone as helpless, unable to defend itself. “…he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter…” Isaiah 53:7.

Again, in a more direct manner, God told David that he had “taken” Uriah’s wife to be his. He did not say chose, requested or pledged but, rather, “taken” which is not mutual consent.

David, the leader of God’s chosen people, held the position of responsibility and authority.

 

“The abusive pastor or spiritual leader has allowed himself to go a long way down the track before he ever commits the crime of abuse. But until the crime is committed, he likely doesn’t realize just how far he has already strayed. When once the deed is done or the pattern begins to unfold, the huge distance from the Lord becomes readily apparent. And it can seem like too enormous a gulf to bridge to ever get back. So the abuser doesn’t try, at least not very hard. Rather he continues to medicate his spiritual pain with fleshly anesthetic which is addictive. And the Evil One laughs obscenely at his success over human weakness.

When the victim is trapped by this crime, she is often on her way, or trying to be on her way, back to wholeness from brokeness. Of course wholeness, including spiritual growth, is the last thing the devil wants. So he sets her up for abuse by the human she is seeking a path to wholeness from, sending her back into the abyss out of which she has started to climb. And again his laughter is loud and ugly.”—Tom Lemon, Mid-America Union Conference President




Sadly, many pastors use this story to convince the women they are abusing that all will be forgiven and God will bless their new relationship. This is just not according to God’s will. Although David and Bathsheba were blessed at some point, their son being King Solomon, they also suffered greatly, David most of all, for their sins.

Lie 5: “No one knows me like you.” “I’ve never felt loved like this before.” “You’re so special to me, I can’t live without you.”

Fact 5: These are lies the pastor tells you to play on your emotions in order to control and manipulate you, and to make you feel guilty for trying to do what is right. Get away from his abuse. Don’t fall for these lies, no matter how much you may long to hear those words from someone. Coming from him, those words can NEVER be right.

Please read an excerpt from the AACC Christian Counseling Code of Ethics.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18