Recently, all of us have been talking about a worldwide problem, and that problem is human trafficking(victims of sexual abuse). I’m sorry to say it, but this has been going on much longer than some of us realize. In different parts of the world human trafficking has been talked about before, but now we are in a time in the United States where hidden information is finally being exposed, and it’s been happening right underneath our noses, and well-known people have been involved in the industry. Now that we’ve heard it, and seen it, we can no longer unhear it or unsee it. We want to bring justice for those who are suffering, and we’ll do anything we can do to help, right? Well, this isn’t what I came here to talk about today..
Although it is so important to pray, fight, and be a voice for the voiceless, it’s equally as important to pray for the perpetrators.
I might get bashed for this, and some people may just not want to hear it. You may think “how can you say something like this? These people are evil, sick, and should be persecuted for what they have done!” Well, let me make one thing really clear, I do believe there should be consequences, and the victim deserves healing and justice, but I also believe the perpetrator who just as much as a human-being as us(although they may not act like it)is in pain, and because of that pain they are hurting other people.
This is no excuse for their behavior, but you would be surprised what pain can do to you. Unless you absolutely have the tools to work through your pain, sometimes there really is no saving someone. I know one thing that can save the perpetrator, and that’s Jesus. There is no person too far gone for God to save. Before you start thinking, “oh goodness, another religious post”, I urge you to read on… By the way, the title does say “Forgiveness & Prayer”, so if you’re here you know it’s going to take some self reflection on your end. Also, this isn’t about defending a perpetrator. It’s about taking responsibility of our own actions so we can stop looking through the lense of our own two selfish eyes, and make choices that empower us.
Praying for the perpetrator can be so hard to do, especially when you have experienced sexual abuse yourself, or you know someone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, but let me tell you praying is the best, and most freeing thing you can ever do! The weight falls at the feet of Jesus, and no longer rests on your shoulders. Praying has been the only thing that has truly helped me to not carry the weight of the worlds pain(since I am such a huge empath I feel everyone’s pain around me), and the only thing that has allowed me to forgive my abuser, along with some long-term therapy. You might think praying, or forgiving an abuser makes what they did “ok”, or that somehow it’s bringing injustice to those who have suffered at the hands of abuse. I used to think the same thing, and everytime I felt powerless it brought me right back to my abuse. I wanted so badly to have justice for every thing that had happened to me. I wanted to be heard and have justice for every feeling I felt. The family member who abused me went to prison, and that still wasnt enough justice for me, but the reality is unforgiveness leaves us in bondage. When you are able to forgive you step out of a victim mentality, and redifine who you are as a person, and take control of the future you want for yourself.
Bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness can make it easy for us to see the perpetrator through our own eyes and not God’s eyes. Now, if you’re not religious you might be thinking God’s not even real, or how could God possibly love someone who has involved themselves in such disturbing acts. Well, I’m here to tell you God is for you, me, the victims, and the perpetrators. Yup, I know that probably makes you cringe, but He is for everyone, friends. Of course God is angry and saddened by these awful events, but God sees his children through the lense of unconditional love. Now, you might even be somebody who has never experienced this type of love, or never had the example of what love should look like, so if that’s the case it can be even easier to think I’m crazy for posting this, but I promise you it’s real. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, it’s a journey to make a choice day after day to love even when the other person has wronged you, but we have the best example of all. Our Heavenly Father! You know how many people thought he was a joke? You know how many people wronged him? Yet he still died on the cross for us and our nasty sins!
God wants a heart change, but even if it doesn’t happen He still loves us. Wow! Imagine all the times you messed up, or did something you knew you shouldn’t have been doing, but did it anyways, and God still chose you and loved you, and do you know how painful that must be for God to continue to choose us even when we continue to push him away? Our mistakes, our guilty pleasures, our self-seeking desires might not be as extreme as these perpetrators, but in God’s eyes we are no better, the only difference between us and them is repentance. God gave us free will, and although He will always love and choose us, if we don’t choose him, well there are consequences. More than anything God wants us to need him so we can have eternal life with him.
Good can come from the most heartbreaking and evil situation. I think it’s important we start praying for those who are trafficking people, who are abusing their friends or family members, those who are involved in the porn industry, and those who are simply watching it. Their hearts may not be convicted, but there is a deep battle of pain they are facing, and going through that we may not understand. Spiritual Warfare my friends! It’s real, and it’s happening daily.(Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:11-12)
Pain can make you do things you never imagined you would do. When you are in pain, porn for example can become an outlet, and you can’t recognize the damage it’s doing to yourself, and others around you. Sometimes pain is all someone has ever known, and they will do anything they can to have a temporary fix. They will crush anybody that is in their way just so they can have some relief. Sometimes pain is all they were taught, and they don’t know any other way of life, but to create pain.
Friends, I was sexually abused by a family member for 8 years. It breaks my heart to know there are so many children suffering each day from this torment. Some nights I can’t sleep because the second I lay my head on my pillow I think about how a child could be getting abused in that moment, and when they lay their head down to rest, how uncomfortable and unsafe they must feel. Some days I feel the weight of so many children’s pain it brings me to such deep depression and despair, and I can cry for hours.
If it’s anybody who understand this pain, it’s me! So before you go bashing me, or thinking how awful of a person I can be to post something like this about prayer and forgiveness for those who are hurting people, there may be people reading this right now who are the perpetrators. There may even be a few people reading this who are grooming a family member, or a friend. I know there are plenty of people who watched porn last night, this morning, or this afternoon, and I know everybody, yes everybody who is reading this has sinned in some way.
I specifically talk about pornography because it’s the gateway. One of my earliest memories of being molested was when my family member put me on his lap, and showed me porn. Porn followed me in my life for years after that.
Did you know, that pornography is more addicting than cocaine? When you are watching porn, your brain actually releases a chemical into the brain activating regions involved in drug, nicotine and alcohol cravings. Not to mention the fact that it completely distorts your idea of what a healthy sex life, and intimacy are supposed to be like.
If you know anybody who is addicted to pornography you could be the person to save them from a lifetime of guilt, shame, and heartbreak. Pray that their would be conviction, exposure, and their hearts would be changed. If you are entertaining yourself in pornography, please take a step back to think about the millions of videos where it seems as if women and men are enjoying themselves, but in many of those videos women or men are being forced into sexual acts. A video can be edited to appear a certain way, but I promise there is abuse, fear, and shame behind those videos.
And then… the truly hardest part of all, do a heart check, and think about why you are even allowing yourself to be entertained by these impure acts? Are you lonely? Do you feel like a failure? Do you not feel good enough? Do you feel unsafe in your life? Do you feel rejected? Do you feel angry, or hurt because of the injustice from a circumstance that caused you pain in your own life? Or maybe you’re just avoiding any pain in your life at all costs?
Reach out for help even if you think you will be judged for what you have done. Porn keeps you in shame and darkness. The strongest and bravest thing you can do is fall to your knees, repent, and seek guidance and help. When we pray for those who have persecuted us, or those we care for we are freeing ourselves from a life of misery and pain. Not only that, but our prayers could be the one thing that saves the perpetrators and the victims. Prayer is powerful people, and so is forgiveness. We can forgive not because it gives the perpetrators an out for what they have done, but we forgive for ourselves so that we can let go, so that we no longer stay a victim, but can rise up and take back control of our lives. I can tell you first hand, it is so empowering to choose what I get to do moving forward. I was a victim, but I am no longer a victim because I am choosing to heal each day, I am choosing to forgive and pray for the person who hurt me, I am choosing to not let my past hang over my head anymore. I am empowered because I can take my life back, and I am empowered because through my experience I can minister to others in a way other people may not be able to, and I can educate my children and protect my family.
Speaking of ministering to others, I may be going out on a limb here talking about forgiving the abusers, and praying for their hearts. Most people won’t talk about this, but I wanted to speak out about this because the family member who abused me when I was younger was an ordinary, great person. Many people looked up to him, loved him, and he was a big family man. I thought these things about him as well. I adored him, and he was the closest person to me, and one day he was different. He groomed me for years, and then sexualized our relationship, and because I was decensistized I believed it was normal. I believed it was ok, and I trusted him. I believed he loved me until I got older and realized what was actually happening to me, and that’s when I started to see him as a monster because he took advantage of me. I saw him through the lense of my pain. I look back now and think “what made him flip the switch? What was it that caused him to want to lure me in and sexually violate me for years?” When I really think about it I look at his marriage and how out of touch they were in their relationship. Loveless, misunderstanding, and neglect. I look back, and see someone who lost a job, and was bitter and angry. I look back and see conflict with his family members, and his marriage. I look back and see how lost he was. I look back and see a hurt man who had an opportunity, and took it. His opportunity was ME. He was in pain, and what pain tells us is lies, and those lies can become so prevalent in our lives that we start to believe them, and when we believe them we act upon them. It’s easier for me to forgive when I know that.
Through my own pain I chose to do terrible things in my life. It makes sense after what I went through, but it doesn’t make it right. I chose to hurt people because I was hurting. I allowed myself to get into relationship after relationship where I would feel powerless, unloved and not worthy. I chose to go down a path of worldly toxicity that included drugs, alcohol, sex, self harm because I felt so much pain, but I no longer need to do those things because I can choose a better life for myself, and these predators may not know it, but they have a choice too. We all do, and I think that’s what makes it harder for some of us to forgive is because we know people have a choice, but pain will drive your emotions, your feelings, your actions, and make you believe you have no choice.
I pray as so many things continue to be brought to the light that there would be conviction in those who have harmed children. I pray they would confess their sins, that God would give them strength to CHOOSE better decisions, and CHOOSE to get the help they need to change, and ultimately that it would bring more people to the Lord. I pray each day for the children who are being abused and tortured, that in those moments of quietness when they are consumed with the repeating memory they just were forced into, that God would speak words of truth over their life. That there would be some peace and comfort and strength for them to get through another day. That they would cling onto the hope that this will not be their life forever. I pray for healing and justice for all! And lastly, I pray for you, the person that is reading this right now, that there would be a change in your heart to pray for those who you believe do not deserve it. If someone who was a victim of abuse can do it, so can you.