A Call To Help The Wounded

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When I heard the speaker begin to read the Parable of the Good Samaritan, I’ll be honest – part of me thought, “I know this story.  I’ve heard it all before.”

However, that’s one of the things I love about God – the way he can take a familiar Bible passage – one we’ve heard or read many times – and speak to us through it in a totally fresh way.

As the speaker finished reading the passage and asked us to consider which of the characters we identified with, I didn’t need a moment to think.  I knew immediately who I identified with and what God was saying.

It’s something that has been building in me for a while.

As I thought of the man lying on the road – battered, wounded, robbed, left there half-dead – it brought to mind the many millions of people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse.  Robbed of their innocence and their childhood, many are left half-dead spiritually and emotionally.  The scars don’t always show on the surface, but they are there.

As I heard of the priest and the Levite walking by, it disturbed me.  These are the church people -surely these are the ones who are meant to help?  But for whatever reason – busyness, discomfort, fear, or something else -they ignore the problem and look the other way.

It has been bothering me lately that, too often, the church’s reaction to those who have experienced sexual abuse is the same.  It’s a topic we don’t want to talk about because it’s uncomfortable or we’re not sure how to help, or we just don’t think about it, and, as a result, the wounded are left feeling unwelcome, or deficient, or lacking in faith, or that no-one cares.

We need to change this.

As I heard of the Samaritan approaching the man and taking care of him, it confirmed that this is who I want to be.  This is who God is calling me to be:

Someone who doesn’t turn away out of fear or shame or discomfort, but someone who shows compassion and empathy, and who actually does something to help – who is willing to sacrifice and experience personal inconvenience to help the wounded on the journey toward becoming whole.

Long before Jesus’ story reached its punchline: “Go and do likewise,” the message was received loud and clear.

And I don’t believe it’s just a message for me personally either.  It can’t be, because there’s no way I can do this by myself.  I believe it’s a message for the church in general to step up and take action on this.

How do we do this?

Honestly, I don’t know.  There’s no easy answer.  It is a topic I am reflecting on just now and will return to, but for now let me share a couple of starting points.

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We can begin the conversation.

Journey to Heal Ministries has a campaign during April to raise awareness on this issue.

Did you know that:

“Statistically 1 in 10 children in America will be sexually abused before they turn 18. 1 in 3 women already have. The unfortunate reality is, every 98 seconds someone has been sexually assaulted and every 10 minutes that someone is a child. “

It’s frightening, but facing up to it is the first step to changing it.  We need to educate ourselves about the facts, and you can do that here.

You can share the link and the video below to let others know too.

(You may notice that this, and most of the other information I am sharing here, relates to the US, while I am in the UK.  I share this because I know many readers are in the US and also because I have found it incredibly difficult to find information relating to the UK.  This study provides some statistics for England and Wales, finding that 7% of people, and 11% of women surveyed experienced some form of sexual abuse during childhood.  I haven’t found any information at all for Scotland yet.  Because so many cases go unreported, finding accurate figures is almost impossible anyway, but one thing is for certain — this is an issue that affects huge numbers of people.)

We can take the steps necessary to protect the children around us – in our families, in our churches, in our communities.

The Mama Bear Effect has lots of helpful resources about how to have the important conversations to help with this, as well as practical steps we can all take to ensure that protecting children is a priority.

We can work towards making the church a safe place where the wounded can find hope and healing.

Too often when the church is mentioned in connection with the topic of childhood sexual abuse, it is for all the wrong reasons.  What if, instead, we could be known for being part of the solution?

That is the church I want to be part of!

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One book release I am eagerly anticipating is Mary DeMuth’s book “We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis,” which I think will provide valuable insights and practical help in doing this.

The book releases on August 13th but I am privileged to have been accepted as part of a team helping with the launch of the book, and I’m sure I will be sharing more about it in the coming months.

You can find out more about the book here, and if you have a spare twenty minutes, I’d highly recommend this video in which Mary DeMuth shares part of her story and encourages the church in being a safe place for the wounded.

I’ll finish there for now, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and any suggestions you have on how we can help in making the church a place of hope and healing for the wounded.

In the meantime, if this is an issue that affects you or someone you love, I would strongly recommend checking out Journey To Heal by Crystal Sutherland.  You can find it on Amazon at these links :UK, US, and you can find out more about Journey To Heal Ministries here.


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53 thoughts on “A Call To Help The Wounded

  1. Lesley,
    Sadly, there are a lot of issues that the church just know how to handle or what to do. Mental illness, abuse within marriage, and certainly child sexual abuse are three that readily come to mind. It takes effort to educate one’s self and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. The statistics you listed are terrible…one’s the church can’t ignore. Thank you for raising our awareness toward this important issue that the church tends to sweep under the rug.
    Blessings in your work and sharing so that others may know,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bev, it’s so true that sadly it is the same for a lot of other issues too. We really need to put in the effort to face up to these things and look at what we can do to help. Blessings to you too!

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  2. I am a “me too” as well as about 16 years working with victims of abuse. This post was so beautiful, the way you described so many who look the other way. It takes bravery not to look the other way, brave love. May our times change.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this information, Lesley. Too often we want to look away because it is so painful; we’d rather not think about it. But we need to shine a light in the dark corners because we find hurting people there. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning, Lesley, I think sexual abuse is a “secret sin” that has grieved God’s heart from the beginning of time, for rape is documented in the Old Testament. And if His church is not exposing, teaching, comforting, and leading all involved to the Cross, then He is beyond grieved. I have written about sexual abuse some. Though it never happened to me, my spirit senses the burden of those I love who have suffered. Thank you for this post. May God bless you and your heart that breaks as His does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Theresa! Yes, the numbers are frightening and I think many of those church members have never spoken about it but carry these wounds inside them. I would love the church to be a place where these things can be brought into the light and people can find healing.

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  5. Thank you for this innovative twist on the Good Samaritan story. Sexual abuse, especially when it is child sexual abuse is something the church needs to grapple with. God’s love and grace should be directed at the survivors. Even one time is too many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it was God’s innovative twist on the story rather than mine! 🙂 But it is a great reminder of our call to help those in need, and yes, even one time is too many so we need to act.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve read Mary’s story. I am so glad she’s writing this book. As you say, we want to help, but we don’t know where to start, and she has the authority to speak on the topic. I think one of the first things must be to remove the shame of being a victim and create a safe place and have listening ears so that people can share their stories without fear of a negative reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Barbara! I agree, dealing with the issue of shame and creating a place where people are listened to, where they know it is safe to open up, are such important steps to take

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  7. We all have probably been the person on the road that the religious pass by and sadly the one who passes them by, perhaps thinking we don’t know what to do. I pray that His love and peace begins to overtake the fear and confusion in the church.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is so important. And I appreciate your willingness to talk about it, write about it, and encourage others to get involved. Too often the church is quiet on the things they need to speak up about and loud about the things they need to be quiet about.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lesley! Thank you for your heart in wanting to reach out. I’ve been a sounding board to a friend who experienced sexual abuse almost 3 decades ago. It’s just so sad that she has had this locked up in her soul all these years. It’s hard to hear it sometimes, but it is so helpful to have someone who will listen. May we all be willing to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting, Jerralea, and for being willing to listen to your friend. I’m glad she has a safe place to share and I’m sure you’re an encouragement to her.

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  10. Lesley, thank you for your honesty regarding the topic of sexual abuse. Your heart to come alongside others to help them is beautiful. I have known friends who have walked through sexual abuse. I haven’t known how to help beyond listening and praying for them. I appreciate the resources you share here today. Thank you for being a voice for those who can’t always speak out for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If the Church would live up to her calling to be salt and light, maybe the help and healing that many seek would not be so hard to find. Thank you for this post, Lesley. Many blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such a necessary topic – to address, to talk about, and to ask God not only what our response should be but how we can be part of the answer. Like others have said, it is not the only “difficult” topic or painful reality where Christians need to get involved. Sadly, there are many. It is hard to know where to start. But we have to start. Thanks for the encouragement to search our hearts – and for starting the discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I agree, it is hard to know where to start on any of these issues because they seem so big, but we have to start trying to do something, even if the first step is just to get people talking about them.

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  13. Yes, Lesley, yes.

    Jesus weeps for his beloved daughters.

    May we do the same, laden with compassion, kindness, and mercy. Fewer words and pat answers and more offering of safe, tender relationships.

    Preach it, girl …

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I appreciate your vulnerability but mostly that it does not stop there. Thank you for the call to get involved and to be the Good Samaritan that steps up just because it is the right thing to do. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tammy! I’m sorry you’ve experienced this too but I love your desire for others to find hope. We can all play our part in sharing that and providing a safe place for people to heal.

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  15. How to help is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. As a teacher, one of the most difficult aspects of my job was the absolutely helpless feeling I had when I discovered a child in my room was being abused. I admire your commitment to finding solutions! May God bless your efforts!

    Liked by 1 person

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