During lunch, the other day, I struck up a conversation with another patron in the restaurant. We got on the subject of problems in the Church. Then he opened up and shared some personal things that got me thinking.
Back when his daughter was thirteen, then belonged to a very close Church where all the members felt like family and everyone was close. But there was a problem; his daughter was being molested by one of the guys in the youth group. This went on without his knowledge for two years. Other kids in the group knew about it and so did his other kids. But no one told him.
He approached the pastor about the problem and asked him what he should do. This was a problem his pastor was not accustomed to. They did not teach “Youth Group Molestation 101” in college. So the Pastor talked to other Pastors (who also never took the course), but got no help. The pastor called the young man into his office to confront him about the incident. The young man confessed to the sin, repented and promised not to do it again. He was allowed to continue in the youth and praise & worship groups. The pastor then told the father that there was nothing he could do because the young man “Repented”. The pastor also told the father that his daughter would “get over it in time”. The father of the daughter confronted the father of the young man and was told that his daughter “asked for it.”
The father of the daughter then thought to involve the police and asked his daughter about this option. She felt she had loved the guy and did not want to press charges. Now the problem I would like to address is the fact that some pastors are ignorant in dealing with this issue. To better handle these incidents they need to know:
1. Molestation is against the law.
2. Sex with a minor is considered rape, even if the it is in mutual agreement
3. These incidents are to be reported by law
4. Anyone covering it up is guilty
The pastor should have instructed the father of the daughter to report it to the police, even if the young man’s father is the main giver in the Church. The young man should have been removed from the youth and praise & worship groups. It is a false teaching that a person can repent and not be responsible for the consequences of their sin. The Lord truly forgives and the relationship with Him is healed, but the person still needs to reconcile the relationship with the person wronged. Is it justice for the young man to get married, have a family and go on with his life, while the daughter spends her life in therapy and confusion? Shouldn’t the young man at least have repented to the girl and offered to pay for any expenses accrued from the incident, such as therapy, etc…
The need is for pastors to get some kind of training in dealing with these problems. Seek help and information from child advocacy professionals, law enforcement and lawyers. A bible college or seminary would be smart to offer continuing credit course in this subject on campus or online. If your church has had this situation happen, it would be just like the “Body of Christ” to offer continual help to victims and not hide it under the proverbial rug. Here is my close challenge: If you have been involved in, meaning doing the deed, covering up, or just ignoring, find the victim and repent for your part in the affair. Do whatever the Lord reveals for you to do to help the victim heal. And don’t just tell her to “Give it to Jesus”, because when she does, the Lord may not be as forgiving to you as she would be. That milestone can be heavy.