Posted by loswhit in Deep Stuff

SexOffender2009-05-22-1243031455

I was in a van with a man.
He was driving me to Target.
It hit me that it was 2 pmish on a weekday and he was probably in his early 50′s in a beat up minivan that he apologized for having when I got in.
“Sorry. It’s no tour bus”, he said.
“Dude. This is the most amazing 1987 Chrysler minivan I’ve ever been in. I play Christian music. I roll in a Hyundai”. I replied.
I actually LOVE getting run around by local church volunteers when we stop on tour.
Seeing that it is mostly early afternoon during sound checks they have interesting jobs.
This last week I’ve met a “asphalt chemist” who mixes different types of asphalt for different types of roads and parking lots, a phone book data entry girl who hates her job but loves calling people with her last name to see if they are related, and this dude.
The dude with the 1987 minivan.
“I’m currently unemployed”.
“Ah. I hear you man. Along with 50% of the country. What kind of work do you do?”
“Well, anything really. I just moved here a few months back and am looking for anything”
“How did you get here?” I asked.
Silence.
Deep breath from my new friend.
“You want the truth?”
“Sure”
“2 years ago I molested my 10 year old step daughter and had to get out of town to start over”
Silence.
“But man. God has healed me and when my ex wife asked me if it was true, I felt God telling me that it was time to break free from any sexual addiction. I could have covered up any sort of evidence. I could have gotten away with it. But I’m now free. I’m broke. But I’m free. Healed by the blood of Jesus and free from itI” The joy in his voice was unmistakable.
I was intrigued…”So if you don’t mind me asking, how has the church responded to you?”
“I was kicked out of my last church. They asked me not to come back. But I found a church here in town that is full of sick people just like me. And with the type of sin I committed, it’s sort of a one and done deal. Christians have a hard time believing that I can be healed or forgiven COMPLETELY by God for this. So I’ll be labeled by my sin for the rest of my life while most others get a second chance. I’m pretty much done. No one is going to let a convicted child molester do anything in their church. That is the hardest part. I’m thinking in 20 years I’ll still be outcasted for what I did. Which was a disgusting and repulsive thing. I used to think I deserved death and harm until I met Jesus. Now I’m confused because He says I deserve grace and a second chance. But from what I see. I’m not getting one”
We chatted for another 30 minutes and I told him to come find me before my set.

I went back to the bus and thought all sorts of things.
1. I would not want my little kids around this dude.
2. Who am I to judge “healed” or not.
3. He’s right. He’s done. But the dude who is sleeping with 4 girls at one time and breaking hearts all over can teach my girls Sunday morning class and it’s ok.
4. He was molested when he was 6 by his older brother. I have no idea what being molested does to the psyche. When I look at him I don’t see a 6 year old. I see a 56 year old.
5. At what age is the cutoff for our “sick meter”. A 14 year old and a 12 year old? 16? 18? 21?
6. How long should my friend be kept away from our children?
7. Will we ever believe COMPLETE healing happens?
8. He said it went from porn to prostitutes to molestation in 2 years. I wonder how close many church staffers are to crossing this line.
9. Could I forgive this dude if it was my daughter?

I’ll stop at 9. I hate lists of 10.
So as I was walking on stage he was standing next to it.
“The 4th song is for you man” I said.

Played the set.
Walked off stage.
He was standing there in tears.

I looked at him square in the eye…
“I’d let you have dinner with my family man. My wife would cook you a meal to remember and my kids would make you feel forgiveness unlike any you know. He IS a God of second chances and if you are clean in His eyes, you are clean in mine. Live well my friend”

At the moment I said that, I believed every word I spoke.
I’ve shuffled in my head since then.
But at that moment I believed it. And I think that was the moment Christ was speaking through me and I was not clouded by, well, me.

I know there are consequences of sin. Like the little girl he molested being wounded for life. We all scar others with our sins in varying levels. This is one of the worst levels of wounding imaginable. So yea. He’s got major consequences.
But yes…I always end with a question…or 2.
Can my buddy be completely healed and free of this and if so, can we as humans ever trust true healing can happen?

Ragamuffins, talk…
Los

  • gunnard

    wikkid story… thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      yw

  • http://christiangirl3712.posterous.com Heather EV

    Yes, he can be healed. Is it wise to let him around children alone since we, as humans, cannot see into his heart? No.
    Could he be an assistant in a classroom and always have another person in the room with him? I thin I would be okay with that if he was truly healed, went to tons of counseling, etc…
    But then again, I don’t have children, so who am I to say?

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      “Could he be an assistant in a classroom and always have another person in the room with him? I thin I would be okay with that if he was truly healed, went to tons of counseling, etc…”
      But you say in your first statement we cannot see into his heart?
      So maybe not?

      • http://christiangirl3712.posterous.com Heather EV

        Maybe…maybe not…like I said, I am not a parent. It would have to be up to the parents. And I do think they should know.

        Maybe it would be too much work for everyone else to allow him to work with kids.

        • http://www.jeffroberts.org Jeff

          Talking about not letting him work with kids alone because kids (were or could be) his weakness, you think Jesus didn’t know the heart of Judas? Yet Judas ran the money, he was in charge of that area. Jesus could have easily said “look man, I know you’ve been stealing and your ultimately gonna deny me, let’s give your job to Peter, he’s not as smart but at least he’s honest.” But, for whatever reason, Jesus let Judas work in the area where he was most tempted. I’m not saying that should be the case in this situation at all, but, I do find that interesting.

          • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

            The difference though is that Judas could be struggling with the money but he wouldn’t scar it for life. Jesus had some pretty strong things to say about harming children. I’ve spent a bunch of time working with abuse victims and abusers. I think there is a place for abusers in the church, but I do think that’s not with the children. Part of us caring for former abusers is helping them stay away from temptaion and making other places where they can participate in the life of the body.

            • http://wordpress.com/lannamichelle Lanna

              Absolutely agree 100%!!

            • Lucy

              Not a parent, but do believe in grace. I have to agree with this comment. If we’re about welcoming all and doing God’s work, we have to find a place for another forgiven sinner in our church. But let’s not tempt him. Nor should we tempt putting our future church leaders in harm’s way.

          • diana

            When Jesus was praying to his Father before his torture and execution he prayed, “Father I have lost none that you have given me,except judas, and that was pre-ordained. I think that means that Judas will not be in heaven. Then Jesus says if anyone hurt a child it would be better if a millstone were wrapped around his neck and thrown into the sea. I have seen countless shows where they say(child molesting) that is the 1 thing that they can never fix, in the flesh. I haven’t seen a show about God and and healing and forgiveness though.I saw a show where a man said he would willingly be castrated because he still had his tongue and hands. Scared me really badly. One released child molester that was released early from prison because of overcrowding, now lives on my(old)road, with small children 2 houses down, and he has a van with dark tinted windows. I moved. The Bible doesn’t hide the fact that it is bad, really bad. And according to a show about child molesters, the experts say not one person has been healed of it so far, by human means anyway. So I am really freaked out by this question. I do not think they should be allowed to have vans period. Let them drive cars without tinted windows.God can do anything tho, and I am glad I am not the judge because I fail daily in the judging department. Did you let him have dinner with your family? I couldn’t tell. This is the hardest question I have heard you ask since I found your music and ministry site about a month ago.Since my answer is so different I would love to hear what you have to say. thank you

            • http://ashleysue.com Ashley Sue @AshleySue

              I gathered he did not have dinner with the family and the guy, because he was touring out of town / state. But Los told him he WOULD have invited the guy for dinner with his family.

              On a tangent, a van is not the problem. People do unspeakably terrible things in cars with no tinted windows, as easily as in vans. Or in bathrooms. Or closets.

              Los, I think you are amazing for posing the question. For making us think. For having us check our hearts. I think he can be healed. I think Jesus loves him and has grace and love upon this man, and indeed, I think Christ used you to help that man know that second chances exist, even though he will spend his life under the cloud of what he did. I think, too, that while I would hesitate to send my child to his house for the day, I would have no problem (I’d like to think) having him over for lunch with our family. And while I think giving him a job as a teen chaperone or in the nursery would be silly, I think having him work in other ministries within the church, even ones that come in contact with children, can be OK. I know a lot of people won’t agree. That’s OK. But, exactly as you said… how many people within the church are toeing the line of this very same disgraceful act? How many of them have already crossed it? How many of them are sleeping with multiple people, or having an affair, and we do not know, and assume their hearts are clean and allow our children around them… but we’re going to assume this guy’s heart is NOT clean? His honesty is HUGE. HUGE. I think people who OWN what they’ve done and are willing to put it out there exemplify that they perhaps ARE free, and I think it is a sign of them perhaps being far far less sick than the majority of us “normal” and “healthy” people we interact with every single day. :/

  • http://deepwaterwalk.com Wayne

    This topic is deep, and polarizing. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we truly forgive anyone. And it’s situations like this that beg the question… do we ever really forgive anyone? It would take true, spirit-filled forgiveness to operate around an individual such as this without constantly thinking of his past.

    Very thought-provoking post. Thanks for writing it.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      Thnaks for reading…

  • http://finallyhuman.com Ian

    It’s theologically inconsistent to think that pretty much everyone who comes to the church is ‘fine’. I thought we believed all people are fallen? Broken?

    If we assume all our people are broken, what steps would we then take with EVERYONE to ensure their brokenness doesn’t worsen or break others.

    It’s not just the convicts who are unworthy to minister in our churches. No one is.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      A freaking Men

    • http://twitter.com/matias72 matias72

      WOW!! We are all one sin away from being in the same boat as this guy.

      • http://finallyhuman.com Ian

        ‘There but for the grace of God go I’?

        • Jes

          I completely agree with your point. But I think it adds another element when we’re talking about children. Children need to be protected from… I’m not even sure how to word this, things they can’t stop/control. Having him be in ministry with other adults is completely different than working with kids. I’m not sure I’m expressing myself well; but I feel like as an adult if a man were attempting to molest me, I could clearly identify it as wrong, or at least not what I wanted to happen. As a child, I know there is more of a feeling of helplessness to what is happening.

          • Jina Hinson

            Amen.

          • Heather

            Agree with you Jes.

            Also, I believe that God can ultimately heal you from a sin. And when He does- I don’t think you need to be around the things that may cause you to stumble or to have the desire…well, as much as you can stay away from those things. [ie-a recovering alcoholic doesn't need to be bartending.]

    • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

      I think part of it is how we see each other when we come together. We are all broken and in need of healing, grace and mercy. Which means we all need different kinds of help. For example… if you have a gifted worship leader who has fallen into sin with women from his worship team, and he goes through the restoration process, he still shouldn’t be alone with women other than his wife, not as punishment but to help keep him safe. I think God’s heart is for restoration, not retribution, but we are all capable of any kind of sin. I saw that firsthand working on staff of several churches. It was heartbreaking to see the depravity of sin that happened with the “leaders” of the churches even. Just like parents lovingly set boundries for their kids… sometimes there needs to be those boundries set with people who do life together in community.

    • Elgin

      I agree with you – but from a cultural & lawful standpoint, it would be derelict of duty to allow a registered sex offender work with kids. The church would be liable and could be sued. That’s the truth. Unfortunately, it’s ‘better’ for someone who committed that sin to not have been “found out” and registered as a sex offender.

      (No, it’s not really better, but our insurance company would say so.)

      Does this make sense?

    • http://ashleysue.com Ashley Sue @AshleySue

      Amen, and praise God!

  • @LaureeAshcom

    so often the church wants–i want–proof of change. this is not grace but i don’t know what the answer is. we put sin on a sliding scale of not-so-bad to oh.my.god instead of seeing sin as sin…. i don’t know what the answer is about extending grace vs protecting our children. i do think God wants us to struggle with the answer not just accept the way we are

    • http://brendasbrainchild.blogspot.com/ Brenda

      Even though I don’t think putting sin on a sliding scale is right, I still do it, and I think we all tend to do it because the consequences tend to be on a sliding scale. Covet something? Maybe no physical consequence at all. Get caught drunk driving? Go to court. Our law system in America is based on a sliding scale of punishment, so I think that’s often why we tend to see sin in the same way.

      • Jessica(nu2htown)

        Two big rules in my house: Don’t harm yourself and don’t harm others. Consenquences from me are definitely greater when harming others.

    • http://www.chaseandjulie.blogspot.com Julie Russell

      I actually just wrote a comment defending the acceptability of the sliding scale and the necessary consequences of sin, but the Lord brought Paul to mind and I had to delete it. Paul killed Christians. God changed his heart and then used him in ministry to Christians. He didn’t say “This is what Paul struggled with, so he should not be any where close to Christians from here on out.” Grace is a powerful thing – I often forget just how powerful.

      • Kelsey

        I think it’s fair to say that Paul’s sin, in killing Christains, was one of religious pride. He thought he was a perfect specimin of Judiasm. And God gave him a thorn in his side to keep him humble, and weak, and relying on Christ’s strength and grace. Also, Paul was chosen by God to serve the gentiles, despte his inital fear that they were unworthy of the gospel… So again, God protected him from pride. It’s impossible to make deciples and not work with Christains, so of course God didn’t do that. I don’t believe in a sliding scale when we look at sin and forgiveness and redeption, but as far as avoiding damaging the world, this man deserves to be an active part of the church, but there is no reason to believe God would have him be a youth pastor.

  • http://verymuchlater.com Jake

    When it comes to sin, it’s all the same. We create our own hierarchy of evil based on the consequences we see and even though we preach love, even Christians can justify hating people who committed particularly offensive acts because even though we get it, practicing is a completely different story.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      thank you man!

    • Marni

      You are so right. Sin is all the same in God’s eyes, therefore it should be in our eyes too. BUT, I just can’t reconcile how I show the same grace to a child predator as I would to a liar or a thief. I struggle to be Christ-like to people who I consider to have dangerous behavior…

      • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

        Having been a victim of child abuse and also being involved in ministry for child abusers I can tell you I’ve learned so much about the nature of our common need for mercy and forgiveness. For men and women who have abused, and really repented, there is a sense of deep remorse. And when they really wrap their hearts and minds around Christ’s forgiveness they are so incredibly thankful. They also have the realization that regardless of the healing that’s taken place in their lives, they are still capable of sinning again. Most of the ones I’ve dealt with realize that one of the reprecussions for their sins, is that they need to not be involved with children, for their own protection and out of respect and concern for the parents who might struggle with their presence. One of the gifts the abusers I know have given me is the awareness of the potential for my own sin given the wrong circumstances, people and temptations. It makes me so much more thankful for God’s grace and much more sober about the choices I make and the need to stay away from temptation. It’s a sobering reminder to me. I am so thankful that together we can come to Him and find the strength we need.

    • http://thefallencleric.com David Flowers

      I both agree and disagree that “sin is all the same.” If you have a huge oak tree and a tiny oak tree, which one is oakier? Of course they are equally oaky. On the other hand, there is a very clear difference between the two, and it would be foolish to deny that difference.

      Scripture says that sin, “when it is full-grown” gives birth to death. Clearly sin is a degenerative disease. We die gradually in spiritual terms, just as we also awaken gradually to life, in most cases.

      But based on this, I don’t see why so many Christians feel the need to maintain that a white lie is the same to God as rape, or assaulting a child. Of course it’s not the same. The “sin disease” has clearly progressed much further in a person capable of rape or child assault than in the person who simply tells a white lie.

      • Mary

        Thank you Mr. David Flowers.

        Somehow “All sin is the same” has gotten a universal foothold in the church. It’s like the verse about money that is so often misquoted. People will say “money is the root of all evil”. That’s not what the verse says. It says “the LOVE of money is the root of evil”.
        That’s a significant difference.

        “The result of all sin is the same”, as it relates to our relationship with God, and our need for Christ, is more accurate than “all sin is the same”. We already know consequences are different.

        In the Bible, Jesus reacted to different sins with different levels of intensity/animosity. His words for money changers in the temple and those whom hurt children were much harsher than those for, say, the woman whom committed adultery. His anger, his reactions, varied toward the sin and sinner. I think one has to look at all of that, not just one example, when deciding how we are to behave.

        I think about standing before Jesus and saying that I let an abuser around an innocent child bcz I wanted to show forgiveness. I see Jesus hitting me upside the head (figuratively, of course). I see myself getting a talking to about brains, wisdom and knowledge…that He gave them to me to use…not to let turn to mush. I hear about pearls before swine. I get reminded we are all guilty of self-delusion, but He gave us discernment to help protect us from becoming victims of it. I see a comparison with the head of the Catholic Church who allowed priests to repeatedly offend. I think some Pharisee comparisons may come up too.

        I also see Him being royally ticked off that I said I was doing it because I was following His example. I envision a lot of things…and none of them are “well done, my dear child”.

        We must be careful to define forgiveness correctly. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean “trust again”. Jesus forgives me for my sins, and He died for my sin…it does not mean He has deemed me ready to take over the keys to the kingdom.

        Children need protection. An adult who has abused children and is truly remorseful will understand that and put the child first. Even “healed” he will not take the chance. An alcoholic will tell you he is ALWAYS an alcoholic whether he drinks or not, and is one drink away from falling off the wagon.

        That this man admitted what he did was incredibly brave; the author’s reaction to the revelation commendable. To accept him into the church in spite of what he did, to not turn away bcz we are repulsed by it and fear he could repeat (bcz statistics show it likely) is the love and acceptance that Jesus speaks of (IMHO).

        To have him around children is unwise. It is dangerous for him and for the child. And for the church. The Catholic Church examples anybody? And these were priests. It is a cautionary tale we’d be wise to heed.

        The author asks if complete healing is possible. Is being perfect and not sinning possible? Has anyone done it except Jesus? Jesus suffered all the temptations of life, and as far as I know is the only one who didn’t succumb.

        So what does that mean, then, about your friend? Here are some questions for you to think about: Are you defining complete healing the way the bible speaks to it? Sometimes healing is instantaneous, sometimes it takes a lifetime. Sometimes we are healed layers at a time as we work out our salvation. Sometimes we are healed in ways that do not remove our temptations to sin again. Sometimes there is a spiritual healing but not a physical one.

        One does not put chocolate cake in front of a diabetic who struggles with weight just because he tells us that he’s healed and has it under control. Anyone who has struggled with weight knows that even if true 99% of the time, there is always the 1% where it is not true and we will cave.

        We ask friends to help us and join groups and share our failures and successes. We obey the bible and flee temptation. We pray “lead us not into temptation…” But see, that is an “acceptable” sin/weakness, in the church and society…struggles with exercising and weight.

        Would a child abuser be able to admit to himself, or another person, that he still struggles with molestation ideas? Can we only accept him if he says he is completely free of the urges? Do we make it impossible for the abuser to be in fellowship any other way than confessing complete healing?

        We accept the sinner not because he is now healed and perfect, that’d be easy. We accept him even though he may not be. Christ tells us to be a community and care for each other…to be shrewd and gentle. Tough combo. So, we walk with our fellower sinner and acknowledge realities. We don’t put him in situations to test whether he would commit such a heinous act again, especially with a defenseless child. Or turn our back and leave him alone, because that isolation will surely drive him to repeat.

        We work with him to make sure he doesn’t offend. Get him into a group or counseling. Set up boundaries. Recognize our own limitations. I can help someone with what I struggle with…but I’m way out of my league with the heavy stuff…like abuse or addiction.

        I can point them in the direction to get the proper support and help thru those who struggle with the same. I can care by holding them accountable, by not expecting they will ever be miraculously healed, and implementing boundaries where I know they may be weak. If a drug abuser tells me he’s healed, I don’t assume that means I should put him in a room with his drug of choice. We would say that is cruel and stupid. Let’s apply that same logic to the child abuser, for everyone’s sake. And so Jesus does not hit us upside the head and say “What were you thinking?! I did not teach you that!” (Just trying to throw some humor into the mix…sorry if it is done poorly).

        Oh, and sorry this post is sooo very long. I will step down off my soapbox now. Blessings.

        • http://ayearinthespirituallife.blogspot.com Dayna Bickham

          Wow, best answer so far. Love this. Really wise and loving. Thanks Mary!

        • Larry

          “Children need protection. An adult who has abused children and is truly remorseful will understand that and put the child first. Even “healed” he will not take the chance. An alcoholic will tell you he is ALWAYS an alcoholic whether he drinks or not, and is one drink away from falling off the wagon.”

          This ideology is exactly why ‘modern’ counseling never works! ALWAYS an alcoholic is nonsense. I quit smoking 10 years ago and quit meant quit! I’m not a cigarette away from the addiction again.
          The same goes for redemption; the RSO is either capable of being redeemed or not. Redemption is not something the Lord consults man regarding.
          As far as redemption: 99% of the men reading or pontificating on a soapbox has committed adultery on their wife. Regardless of the weak handed argument most men in church have given the ‘good ole boy’ network; it demonstrates that you canNOT be trusted with another mans’ woman. Is this true?
          The same answer you have conveniently reserved for yourself applies to a person who has molested a child.
          How this topic ended up with the RSO as a youth pastor is interesting. I know of 3 youth pastors currently serving prison terms for child molesting and sexual misconduct.
          I have always found it interesting how quickly folks judge another man’s weakness all the while excusing their own.
          Drunk drivers should NEVER be allowed to drive again. Adulterers should NEVER be allowed to be among women again; after all you have demonstrated that you cannot keep it zipped up or honor a commitment.
          Personally,crack whores should simply be killed. Especially since we are about too deny their children any hope of food or shelter by mandating drug testing on the whore. AND spare me the sanctimony; every state that has proposed drug testing for welfare consideration exempts the drugs being abuse; ehem, the prescription drugs.
          I see the real solution coming about when we simply brand into the forehead of every living being ‘their’ sin.
          That way, we will all know.
          Just remember that Matt 22, Christ gave a parable and sent the servant to collect both ‘the good and the bad’. I am so sorry to inform all you ‘good’ that you may well have to share Heaven with the ‘rest’ of us…..

  • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

    “i do think God wants us to struggle with the answer not just accept the way we are”
    Love this

  • http://www.ricianne.com patricia

    amazing story of forgiveness.

    i was molested and abused by my step dad when i was young. i was physically abused by my real dad. i have learned to forgive the both of them and i actually have a beautiful relationship with them both. though it took years of healing, i know God is able to heal me and heal them and give them a second chance as well.

    God has taught me to not look at them with a “scarlet letter”. instead He commands me to look at them as if they were a new creation. im not saying that we go around allowing our kids to come close to sexual offenders coz that would be stupid. but what i am saying is we should be able to give people a chance to change and prove that they have changed.

    i look at my relationship with step dad and i dont see a molester and its victim. i look at us and i see the story of forgiveness and redemption.

    • http://www.ricianne.com patricia

      an example of giving grace but being wise: i allow my son to be around his step grandfather but i dont allow them to sleep in one bed.

      • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

        That is a great example. And I would probably make sure they weren’t alone together to protect them both.

        • http://www.ricianne.com patricia

          thanks linda. =]

  • http://www.pearmama.com Pearmama

    I believe that God can heal the sex offender. I believe He can break the bondage of sexual sin. I do. Just like I believe He can heal the drug addict and the alcoholic.

    I often wonder how many people I allow in my home that struggle with issues such as this and I have no idea.

    That thought scares me.

    Would I allow my children around this man? Yes, in a group setting, with my husband and I present. Would I leave my children alone with him? No. Would I allow any physical contact? No. Would I allow any one-on-one interaction? Sigh. NO.

    My children and their safety are my number one safety. I can’t knowingly take the chance. I just can’t.

    I believe a sex offender can still experience God’s grace and love in the church by it’s members, absolutely. But not with children present.

    I believe in God’s infallibility. I don’t believe in the infallibility of a reformed sex offender.

    • Honey

      I agree with you. You have a duty to protect your children and there are consequences to our actions.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      Good words.
      Or ourselves I assume.
      So take it another level.
      Husband cheating…
      infallibility?

      • http://www.jennyrain.com Jenny

        hypothetically, if we follow the same reasoning as above… if the husband cheats – then he should not be “allowed in the same room” as another woman either.

        Or, we could be radical and follow a different type of …. of… of… what is that called?

        oh yes, Grace.

        • Cat

          I’m not sure that’s an entirely fair comparison, though – apples and oranges. Yes, adultery and child molestation are both equally sinful. But adultery does not have a defenseless victim the way child molestation does. I think most of the people who would keep this man away from children would do so not to punish the man, but to protect the children.

          Perhaps a more (if still not perfectly) accurate comparison would be if you replaced “cheating husband” with “rapist.”

          • Lolly

            But really it still does b/c we don’t always do that with someone that has raped another. I’m not saying we should just let the kids go off by themselves with these, but as long as they have us around or an adult there we can trust, I think it speaks more volume of forgiveness than anything else. Of course, I would hope the individual has been thru counseling or deliverance. Our children’s grandfather molested their aunt for years. I let them go see him and we spend the night at their house. He’s been thru all kinds of counseling. I trust him now, but am cautious of not leaving my children alone with him. There’s always another adult around.

            • Melody

              And yet… Who can they trust? I mean really trust? We can never know what people are truly struggling with!
              I work with children, and I believe we need to prepare them to be cautious. Talk to them (as openly as possible within reason) about what to do if someone acts inapropriately, and what are the warning signs, not just “beware of strangers”, but also that their bodies are private and other people shouldn’t ask to see/touch them naked or … you get the drift.
              And we need to teach children about the importance of telling the truth and then LISTEN when they recount experiences, and respect them when they feel uncomfortable about someone.
              And of course, if they are too young to run for it or scratch eyes, leaving them unnatended… not such a great idea.
              Do sex offenders heal? I don’t know. When I was forgiven from XYZ does it mean I am free from temptation forever? NO. Can I resist it for the rest of my life? Tough, hopefully I will try with all my heart, asking God to give me the strenth. But on the off chance that I stumble… I will try to protect every child I come across. Because when I was young, people I trusted said I should trust someone who had been molested too. And the cycle continued. I was old enough to run, but his children weren’t, and people didn’t believe me. I will always wonder about the others.

          • http://kirstenrebecca.wordpress.com Kir

            Okay, so adultery does not have a defenseless victim. But what if someone has a background of rape? Then there is a victim… should we seek out all the rapists in the church building and ensure that they never have one-to-one interaction with the opposite sex (or same sex, if that was the problem)?

            I ask this mostly to stir things up, because I have trouble knowing what I would do in this situation as well. It just has to be considered.

            • Mimi

              Um, yah. You do make sure that person doesn’t have one-on-one with the opposite sex ever. We can forgive the offender, but we must always protect the innocent.

          • http://melindaguerra.myadventures.org melinda

            …Is it possible, perhaps, that the defenseless victim in the case of adultery is the spouse?
            Under-age? no.
            But defenseless… if we understand defenseless to be lacking the chance to stop another from hurting him/her… defenseless, yes.

            Perhaps?

          • http://www.facebook.com/billscoot Bill Scott

            I really don’t want to cause much of an argument, but I have to disagree with your statement that “adultery does not have a defenseless victim.” I didn’t have a reason to have my defenses up when my wife cheated on me. I was very much a defenseless victim. the defenses went up after the fact.

            Back to the original story… it’s stories like this and what that man will go through with the church for the rest of his life that I hate the complexity humans have poured into what Christ established.

            • Cat

              I understand your (and the others’) point about the spouse being a victim, and I agree that they are – but not *in the same way* that a child is the victim when an adult molests a child (maybe my wording was unclear on that?) I think that those are two very different kinds of victimizations, especially when we’re discussing restrictions that should or shouldn’t exist in the church.

              A child molester, if left alone with children at the church, could victimize them in this way. But permitting an adulterer to be alone with a woman does not put that woman at risk in the same way. Does that make sense? Of course, you might see this as putting the adulterer’s *spouse* at risk, if they are still married, which I can see as a reasonable argument there.

              Anyway, to summarize my opinion – I think that child molesters should be allowed in the church, but not allowed around children unsupervised, for the sake of the children. And I think that rapists should be allowed in the church, but should not be in potentially compromising situations with the opposite sex – for example, serving as a counselor alone in a room with someone of the opposite sex. Adultery I think is a bit trickier, because (non-rape) adultery requires two willing parties.

              And I appreciate all your feedback, lots of good points :)

        • Larry

          I used harsh sarcasm to make this point. Men tend to excuse adultery so easily since most have committed it in an active sense. Strange how that argument will scarcely be applied to the adulterer and the child molester equally. AND did ya notice I used a ‘present’ tense for a ‘past’ action.

      • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

        I would say I would approach it the same way… if the husband has cheated on his wife, then he shouldn’t be alone with another woman. When I worked at churches, all of them had that as a general rule of employment anyway. Of course it should be noted that several of the guys still had affairs and molested their children. There’s always the potential for that… but out of love for the offender and the ones he’s wounded, there should be some things put into place that will make it at least easier to not re-offend.

    • Erin S.

      I absolutely agree. Christ forgives and this man is washed clean of his sins. However, we as humans would be foolish to tempt him further. Healed or not. There are many an alcoholic who has been cleansed and sober for years and years…but they will not place the temptation on themselves by having just one sip of wine or beer or anything. Even a mouthwash with alcoholic content of any kind can be risky.

      We have to protect our children. It would be difficult for myself to allow this person around my kids. I have to be honest about that. I would absolutely not allow them to be with this person without me being there. And I would watch like a hawk. I am glad this man knows he did wrong and has come clean. There are consequences for every action. Unfortunately for him he will pay for the rest of his life in human civilization…and I feel that is appropriate.

  • sunnieM

    wow, think i am crying for the 10yr old & him. This is why i am glad God is God!

  • http://thesloanblog.wordpress.com Sloan

    I am not even going to pretend that I have any idea what to say.

  • http://toyeen4loveandmusic.blogspot.com Toyin

    wow LOS. This one blew me. First seeing the title i was like OH NO WHAT PREACHER NOW?! But this is just as creepy…I personally believe in complete healing…esp when the evidence supports it :) u know results show no more cancer, et al. But emotional healing is non tangible…i believe God heals but people LIE. people sound spiritual. But then again u said this guy’s joy was unmistakable…i believe thats God’s discernment, so cool. But if its just a fellow christian traveller that I have no relationship with…I will listen, encourage them w/ the word but I wont immediately bring my daughter around them ALONE. I will be open to open us as a family, the love of God. and i’ll let time tell the rest. To prevent this response from becoming a blog post in itself i’ll stop :) But thanks for sharing..thats food for thot forreal.

  • Alex

    Great story Carlos, thanks for sharing.

    Even in the south, molestation and even child prostitution is imminent, makes me sick to think about it. I’d have a very hard time forgiving the dude, would take a lot of prayer. I’ve read lately that Atlanta is one of the number one cities for child prostitution (off-topic, sorry).

  • Sharon

    I was molested at age 9 by my neighbor. The man that molested me isn’t on a list I never told anyone until I was in my 20′s and I know of others he molested but they never told either. When I got married my husband and I bought the house my parents lived in so I raised my children across the street from the man who molested me. I made sure he was never near them but recently I have forgiven him and talked to him and invited him to church because I think if anything can make a difference in a child molester’s life it is Jesus. I don’t think a molester should be able to work with children but they should be able to do somethings. Plus the lists need to be divided by class because if a man is arrested for relieving himself in public that can also get him on “The LIST”. You never know what the person did to get there.

    • @LaureeAshcom

      your name is grace and wise woman

    • Boethius

      Your story is amazing and powerful.

    • sally

      my husband is on ‘the list’ for that reason. he certainly chose an unwise place to go pee (a public parking lot after a late night of goofing around with his buddies) but it hardly makes him a dangerous person, and yet the sex offender registry program has labeled him as just that, because a 14 year old walked by with her dad and just the wrong time. people hear “sex offender” and they automatically jump to “crazy perv” and “child molester” or “rapist” and my sweet husband does not deserve to be called any of these things.

      i realize this comment doesn’t really contribute to the discussion in any meaningful way, but having this experience has certainly colored the way that i look at these types of situations.

    • http://ayearinthespirituallife.blogspot.com Dayna Bickham

      That is the love of Jesus right there! I am in awe of the grace and love you have shown. Awesome!

  • http://www.pearmama.com Pearmama

    *Number one priority. Duh.

  • Dana Lohrer

    Great story! I do believe that we can be healed and freed by Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t mean that Satan will still not try to tempt us with what we have been healed and freed from. It’s sad that we as Christians push him away instead of coming along side of him. I don’t think this should be done in a naive manner. He needs an accountability partner and he needs perimeters set up for him. Could he ever teach a Sunday School class yes but he will need a helper with him. Every single one of us needs this in our life. Most importantly he needs to be in the word of God everyday. Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide him. Will everyone accept him probably not, but Jesus accepts him and loves him.

    • Plano Mom

      I like the term accountability partner. It implies that continuing to avoid sin is a dynamic, active process on the behalf of the sinner.

  • Ben

    It’s a heart thing man… I have an uncle who molested my cousin (his daughter) a few years back. My mom put it best back then” Humanistically I want to isolate him from the rest of the world forever and never let my children see him, Christ minded I must forgive just as Christ does, and pray that he is healed.” Now there is no doubt in my mind that my uncle is forgiven, has a changed of heart, and his kingdom minded. He shares his story with people as a witness, he doesn’t have guilt because he is forgiven. Sure, he’s got some consequences to live with for the rest of his life, he is now a plumber. But the point is he is forgiven, by Christ, and should be by us. After all, sin is equal in God’s eyes.

  • http://amandamaea.tumblr.com Amanda Mae

    My grandfather molested my mom and my aunt and other young women and girls in their lives. And, he was a prominent Methodist minister for a long time before he got caught. And, I was never, ever allowed to be alone in a room with him. When he died, he was basically alone, and we didn’t even have a funeral for him.

    But, unfortunately, he never ever apologized for his actions. He never repented, never sought forgiveness or reconciliation from those he hurt. And, while I remember him being a stellar grandfather who always had magic tricks and gifts up his sleeve, I also remember being afraid of him.

    I feel like it’s very difficult for me (or perhaps for anyone) to be subjective when it comes to this subject. I will never deny that any person is redeemable from any and all actions. We are all broken, we’ve all been hurt, we’ve all hurt others, and hopefully, in the best cases we grow and change and become better. My grandfather never had showed any interest in changing who he was, and so I lived with fear and aversion toward him until he died. But, if he had been able to say, “I hurt innocent children, and I am sorry, and I hope and pray for forgiveness,” I hope that I would be able to respond in kind.

    To me, years after he died, his story is sad. No one should have to die alone. No one should have to live without love. And I think that in particular the guy that you met should absolutely not be exiled from the church, but folded into it. He screwed up majorly, but at least he has admitted it and asked to be forgiven, and sought rehabilitation. I don’t know that he should be put in charge of a class of 10 year olds, but allowed to come to church, come to Sunday school, participate in a small group, and worship God in services? Absolutely.

    Ultimately, we are all broken, but we are all usable.

  • http://www.yourmtolive.com sarah morton

    He, and the many who struggle with sex, sexuality, porn, incest, etc, are our lepers. What will we, the lovers of Jesus, do to create a safe, loving, Jesus place for them? This questions stirs in my soul over and over. Great book by Terry Weir called ‘Holy Sex.’ Totally amazing.

  • http://carolesmithturner.com Carole Turner

    I recently blogged about the same sex molestation charges against Bishop Eddie Long,

    http://www.carolesmithturner.com/2010/10/we-have-problem.html

    and I think this is all way out of control. There are so many layers now, porn is easily accessible on the internet and almost inescapable to men. The sex industry has exploded, men are buying boys and girls for sex at an alarming rate, over 100,000 US children are sold every year for sex. We live in Sodom and Gomorah. The church has got to explore ways to reach all the victims of this new over sexed and under loved world we live in.

  • Honey

    I don’t know how to articulate this beautifully the way most of you guys do. =D All I know is, He can and will heal ANYTHING. As a victim of rape years ago and a mother of a daughter now, I have looked through many different points of view. Until more recent years, none started with me asking the Father to lead me and heal me, but I wanted control and vengeance. I knew I was really healed and had forgiven when reading through Acts and Ananias was told to lay hands on Saul. I thought, “Well Saul was a pretty awful dude, could I do that if God wanted me to?” And my heart didn’t hesitate. We have to know that God CAN and WILL do these things. He blows my mind every time I open my fists from being “in control” We do have a duty to protect out children, and there are consequences to our actions. If you hurt a child, you lose your rights to be around them.

  • Anonymous

    I was molested as a child. I never told my mom or even acknowledged what my stepfather did. When I had children I never allowed them alone with him. But we still went to family functions. When my children were old enough to know I told them and my husband. It took a lot of years for me to forgive my stepfather (I forgave even though the memories stayed with me). By the time he died I saw him as a lost man who did not have a relationship with Christ. Looking back now I wonder if someone had really introduced him to Christ would it have been different. He died a bitter old man, and for that I am sad. Would I have left him alone with my kids or grandkids, probably not. But when he was in my home, or I in his I was respectful. Not out of fear but because God changed my life for the better. I feel for the man you met, and wish my stepfather had made the steps this man seem to have taken. Our relationship might have ended differently if I had seen a real change in him. I will never know that now.

  • http://www.outstretched-arms.com/ Albert

    Firstly, Los, you set a great example of what I want to say and believe when I forgive others who have fallen.

    Just to let you know, I’m coming from a conservative church background who doesn’t see this stuff often. So it’s easy for me to say that the Sunday School answer of yes and dismiss it. But I’m learning to open my eyes to how sin really wrecks life on earth.

    I do believe it is true though — God does give healing as He wills it and your buddy can be completely free of this. But it will need to be with people who can help him along the way. It will take time and struggle with this world we live in.

    The one question I keep coming back to is how do us Christians help and maybe even protect those who find their forgiveness in Christ…? It’s a tough one for sure, and maybe God wants us to figure it out too…

    • Maureen

      You said, “Just to let you know, I’m coming from a conservative church background who doesn’t see this stuff often. ”

      Please know, it is there, conservative church people are just good at hiding it and then acting horrified!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/flirtingwithfaith Joan Ball

    I am an addict in recovery for more than 15 years. I did things then that I don’t do now. I am one drink, one joint, one line, one whatever away from doing all of it again every single day because I have free will. Yes, God’s grace provides the transforming power to heal. That said, I am acutely aware that I am free to deny that transforming power any time my sinful nature supersedes my better judgement to listen, follow and obey. Hence Paul’s lament that he knew what to do but was not always able to do it. All of this to say, while I have not had or even really wanted to have a drink or drug in many years, I pray I will never be so arrogant as to assume that I could not fall again. In my experience, it is the addicts who remain humble and recognize that they are one bad decision away from their old life and worse that tend to stay sober for the long haul. In contrast, many of the folks who brag about miraculous cures and complete recovery in relatively short periods of time tend to find their way back out sooner or later. Second chances (and third, fourth and fifth chances) are great. We are blessed to have a patient and merciful God that is willing to work with us for a lifetime. That said, most alcoholics are best to quit their bartending jobs, prescription drug abusers best to leave their jobs at CVS and, in my humble opinion, pedophiles are wise to stay away from children, porn and other temptations – for their and everyone’s sake.

    Peace

    • Jon

      “That said, most alcoholics are best to quit their bartending jobs, prescription drug abusers best to leave their jobs at CVS and, in my humble opinion, pedophiles are wise to stay away from children, porn and other temptations – for their and everyone’s sake.”

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Cat

      Wise words.

    • http://brendasbrainchild.blogspot.com/ Brenda

      I think you expressed this more eloquently than I could. I need the reminder in my own life to be humble about where I am. Thank you.

    • http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com Kristen

      What Joan said.

    • http://carolesmithturner.com Carole Turner

      Amen sister! Amen.

    • Claygirlsings

      Wow, Joan, these words are powerful, not just for this situation, but for any sin we are struggling to overcome.

    • Jessica(nu2htown)

      Awesome words.

      • http://www.ricianne.com patricia

        great comment joan

    • Anna

      Thank you, Joan…For saying what I hadn’t the patience to articulate. I have my own experience with a family/religious pedophile and I’ve read blogs of victims of priest/pastor pedophiles -And believe strongly that ‘forgiveness’ (along with the ‘miracle deliverances’) is too often confused with naivete -and worse. It’s apparently often Easier, more warm and fuzzy, more convenient, less awkward, or whatever… to offer “greasy grace” than the Truth in Love (with wise counsel, accountability, etc). And believe me, this fact is not lost on the hundreds..thousands of insincere or nonrepentant pedophiles who find the church to be a Safehaven.

    • Larry

      ” I pray I will never be so arrogant as to assume that I could not fall again. In my experience, it is the addicts who remain humble and recognize that they are one bad decision away from their old life and worse that tend to stay sober for the long haul. ”

      This is what healing is all about. The scar reminds you of the injury. Healing is never about a miracle cure; it’s about the discovery that the word ‘never’ is not good crow to eat.

  • Sarah

    What a powerful story. Very thought-provoking! Thank you for sharing. It is sad to think that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins; His Father giving up His only Son for our salvation – yet we all sit here, each of us flawed, many of us broken to one degree or another, continuing to pass judgment on those who have paid consequences for their actions. What he did most certainly was not acceptable. Our humanness often doesn’t allow us to see past the person’s actions. We become consumed by the action and fail to see how the person came out on the other side once the consequences were paid. I know I’m guilty of this, as most people probably are. God has forgiven this person. It is sad that most people aren’t more Christ-like, seeing beyond the deed and looking to what the person has become on the other side. I can only pray that I can become more like this.

  • Ronni

    I could hide under anonymous but I won’t. I was molested very young… and as hard as my flesh wants to say no… YES. It IS possible. Why?

    Because my God said He will complete every work He begins. That and He doesn’t count molestation any worse than theft or porn. Sin is sin and it all separates us.

    A dear friend of mine who I led worship with in the past sits in prison for the next 20 years because of what he did to 4 little girls. The price is high for his family as well… I know because I am close to them… thing is…

    God is HEALER.

    Not kinda sort a healer. He healed me from the pain and scars of molestation, and instead of us pointing at the molester, let’s focus on the healer. Let’s not give Satan any limelight for the scum he is and what he is doing to people. The man who molested isn’t the enemy. The enemy is the enemy, and he destroyed this man, as well as the little girl. Now focus on the healer who can and will completely heal.

    As a Christ follower who has been molested… tell him I am sorry. I’m sorry we treated him worse than he deserves. We only hold back our forgiveness because we don’t believe God can do what He says He can.

    • Allison

      “The man who molested isn’t the enemy. The enemy is the enemy, and he destroyed this man, as well as the little girl. Now focus on the healer who can and will completely heal.”

      Well put. Thanks for sharing this :)

    • Luke

      “We only hold back our forgiveness because we don’t believe God can do what He says He can.”

      Dude, you hit the nail on the head! Thanks so much for being vulnerable and sharing. I was blessed by your honesty and truth bearing words. We as Christians who are following hard after Christ must make that tangible decision to let God be God.

      There is nothing that we can do as Christians to make God minister better…we can only help others see Him better. We also cannot be Christ without Him…”I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 19-20)

      We cannot hold back the forgiveness that Christ maybe trying to show through us to someone else. Think of the consequences of us not doing that…we aren’t being the body of Christ.

      There is healing in the blood of Jesus Christ and if I’m not mistaken…we were all covered in it when Christ died for us.

  • Ronni

    OH and I don’t judge those who do post anonymously… I totally understand, and I pray for your healing…

  • http://redheadmama.com Wendy

    Wow.
    Just, wow.

    First, how many of us in the church have been molested? I’d venture to say at least 75%. Possibly more.

    Why?

    Because good Christian boys and girls don’t talk about that kind of thing.

    Which is why it keeps happening.

    I believe that God can do a big thing in people’s lives, but to be honest, I’m more concerned with the victim then the perpetrator.

    • http://www.tanyaloca.com Tanya

      The perpetrators could have been victims too when they were young.

      Just another thought.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for saying that you are more concerned with the victim than the perpetrator. Something seems wrong to me that with all of these comments, you are the only one to mention that. Unfortunately it seems like today’s church is sooo focused on redemption and the cool story of how someone’s life changed, or wanting to be a part of that process, that victim’s are getting left by the side of the road, or victimized more under the pressure to offer the offender “grace” and give them a second chance.

      There is no grace without also justice. They are not mutually exclusive.

      • Anonymous

        Unfortunately it seems like today’s church is sooo focused on redemption and the cool story of how someone’s life changed, or wanting to be a part of that process, that victim’s are getting left by the side of the road, or victimized more under the pressure to offer the offender “grace” and give them a second chance.

        Wow, thank you for just saying that. As a non-direct victim in a recent scenario at our church, who has felt pressure to move towards forgivenemss and grace much quicker than I seem to be able to do…..I really needed to hear what you just said. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

        • Kris

          As a victim, I do not feel that I have been left by the side of the road. I was broken. I am healed. It took a long time, but I am healed.

          As a victim, I pray for the person who hurt me. I pray that just as he is broken, he will be healed. That too took a long time.

          I want him to be healed and whole, because it is amazing to be free… to be wrapped in love… covered in grace.. and loved deliriously by my God. Everyone should have that… EVERYONE.

          So as a victim, I understand the grace; I understand the forgivenesss; and I understand the never forgetting and the never letting my guard down. I won’t be a victim again.

      • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

        I agree. That’s why I think it’s important to make sure the victim has a safe place in church too. Healing and restoration for a victim takes time and it’s a process. It breaks my heart when I see victims revictimized by the church when the attitdue is “you just need to forgive them and move on.” If I was to kill someone, God would forgive me, but it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have to pay the concequences for my behavior. I am glad that with Jesus we have a tender companion who knows first hand what it’s like to be betrayed by the people he was closest to. The church should be a place of healing for those who have been wounded.

    • Anna

      Amen…So is Jesus, really. Unfortunately, I think that ‘Christianity’ with its doctrines and cultures have added too much to (and thus diminished) the teachings and nature of Jesus himself. What did Jesus say about those who caused “these little ones” to stumble? What did Jesus say about being wise as serpents?

  • http://www.tanyaloca.com Tanya

    We all need the help of Jesus to forgive someone who has done such a thing. I know I did. We really must choose to forgive and see them the way Jesus sees them.

    Sometimes I catch myself on how I see others and it’s really my flesh wanting to judge so bad. I have to turn away and remember to keep praying for a renewed mind and heart. It takes a lot of grace and obedience.

    Great post and very thought provoking. Makes me want to write my story.

  • http://blog.stevelowe.org Steve

    “Can my buddy be completely healed and free of this and if so, can we as humans ever trust true healing can happen?”
    Yes and yes – otherwise Jesus was a liar and all of Christianity is a scam.

    We (the greater we) have huge trust issues, especially with God.

    • Ronni

      agreed. I’d say our number one issue is trusting God. We believe IN God (heck the demons believe IN God…) but do we BELIEVE God? If we truly did… we’d live like it.

  • http://www.cameronsmithblog.com Cameron Smith

    I’ll echo Sloan’s comment from above. I’m not going to pretend like I know what to say, this is a pretty rough subject to talk about. But, obviously it needs to be talked about. There’s some fantastic discussion and transparency going on here, it’s inspiring.

    The one thing I will say about this, when it comes to convicted molesters working with children: Would you want an alcoholic to be working the liquor booth at the local baseball stadium? Or a porn addict working the graveyard shift for the IT department? It’s the “if you’re right hand causes you to sin, cut it off” concept.

    • Anna

      Yep. Again…the words of Jesus himself shed the real light.

  • http://manders314.blogspot.com Amanda

    I read this with tears in my eyes, humbled and challenged by the grace and love you showed to that man. Wow. Wow.

  • Tor

    Knowing someone who is in a similar position but about 30 years younger, but I feel sick when I see him picking up people’s (usually pastors’) kids. He’s never repented, never admitted it. He said something like “they never convicted me”. (How I know is a long – and probably not entirely legal – story) To top it off, he’s dating a beautiful young woman I know. If I were her, I’d want this information. But I’m not and it’s not my place. So I’m not saying anything to her and hoping that it’s the right choice…

    • Kat

      So you will just let him continue to molest children and do nothing to stop him?

    • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn

      Tor, I think you need to pray about this and ask the Lord for very clear direction. You should also get a couple of people who you know are close to Jesus and ask them to pray – no specifics, just ask them to pray that the Lord will give you clear direction. This is too serious to just hope you are doing the right thing, you need to know. And the Lord will tell you. He will also tell you how and what to say if it that is the way He tells you to go.

    • Kendra

      We are called to be light. We can’t choose to allow darkness to creep in on our watch. We are in a war. There is one enemy. We cannot give him ground because we refused to fight.

    • A

      Just a word of caution that most people don’t think about….

      in some states, if you suspect a person of abusing or molesting a child, you have 24 hours to report it to authorities, either police or CPS. Yes, even if it is just a suspicion; you do not have to have proof. If you do not report it in that 24 hour time frame (or whatever the time frame for your state), you can be held liable and brought up on charges as well.

    • http://shelaughsatthedays.blogspot.com carrien (she laughs at the days)

      Tor, if you are a pastor, teacher or doctor and you know someone has molested a child you are under a legal obligation to report it to the proper authority. If you are none of those things you still ought to. Forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing him to be in situations where he can do it again.

    • Christy

      I am praying (literally) for you to have the strength to come forward with this information. I’m begging you to make the hard choice. Please don’t allow children to be brutalized. If you do not protect these children then it is the same as if you did these things yourself. We are called to forgive not to allow people to perpetrate sin onto children. It is your Christian obligation to bring this into the light of day. Don’t let Satan keep this hidden. You can save a child. Talk to your Pastor or call the police right now. I have never ever posted a reply on a blog but I really am praying (literally) God gets through to you or that you are making this up.

    • Jonathan A.

      Praying God gives you the strength and wisdom to do what is best for His Glory!

    • Anonymous

      It most certainly is your place. No question about it. Talk to her. It may not change anything, but it is absolutely your obligation to make sure she is aware.

    • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

      If you know about his background it would be good for you to talk to the right people and let them know… especially the pastor. He’s responsible for the saftey of his flock. The fact that he’s still doing stuff with kids is probably indicative of his approach to the kids. Better for you to experience some uncomfortable interpersonal encounters now and perhaps save others a lifetime of suffering than to do nothing. There’s always the chance that others will not do what they need to do either… but at least your conscious will be clear. We have a responsibility to protect the children as much as possible.

    • Mary

      Tor, you are in a difficult position. Then I look at #8 in the original blog post and think, well, here we are then, aren’t we? Someone about to cross the line. This is where we find out if we just talk the talk, or actually walk the walk.

      And I think of all the posts I’ve read here wondering how to help people in the church struggling with this, and protect the innocent. There are tons of posts about this. And all the brave women who stepped forward with their stories. And here you are…with this quandry…and a chance to make a HUGE difference.

      If you feel sick when you see this guy with children, I think you know he is a ticking time bomb. If you are sure of your facts, and I mean really sure…because it’s a major accusation…I think you are going to have to step up. Yea, it sucks, but that’s life.

      Not knowing the facts, and the legality thing you touched upon, I don’t quite know how. Maybe it can be done through a 3rd party. Maybe it has to be done anonymously. I hate the anonymity thing, but sometimes it’s the best of a bunch of bad choices.

      The young woman, and the pastor, deserve at least a warning. The guy is going to deny it, no question, but that’s not the issue.

      Is there someone you can go to for advice…tell the whole story to? Use the lawyer’s trick…make it a hypothetical and don’t use the name. Or use the old “a friend of a friend is in this situation and wonders…” That way you are protected too.

      The guy may just move on somewhere else if his secret is revealed. Do everyone a favor, find a church with a group for offenders and send him the info. AND the name of an on-line group. All that info you can send him anonymously. I think you could find these places thru McCloud & Townsend, and even Saddleback church has a nationwide program I believe (Rick Warren’s place). Just go to their websites.

      This guy may know at some level he has a problem, but is afraid to reach out or tell anyone. Shame, denial, pride…whatever. Provide him options… places he can go, a church, an on-line group. Then all he has to do is take the step. During some dark night of the soul, he may be able to reach out to someone for help. Provide him an option other than on-line porn.

      And maybe, just maybe, him knowing someone cares enough to do the legwork and not just condemn him, will be enough to make the difference in the direction his life takes.

      By intervening indirectly, you may end up saving a number of lives, including this guy’s, from being destroyed. “He who saves one, saves the world eternal.”

      Mother Teresa taught me something that has allowed me to witness miracles. She said God only asks us to be obedient, He will take care of the outcome.

      Once I stopped worrying about how things would turn out and just did the “right” thing, God moved mountains. He took my little efforts of obedience to Him and released miracles…tetonic shifts in lives. I just stood back with my mouth gaping open, thinking…OMGosh…it really happens like the bible says! This after 20 years of studying it. Yea, easy to learn, hard to do.

      It takes prayer, courage and effort and you gotta use your smarts and gifts…don’t fly blind, but the outcome of seeing God work is extraordinary and so humbling. To know He uses my little efforts of obedience, that I do kicking and screaming by the way, dragging my feet the whole way, feeling a fool, has transformed my life. Luckily, He only asks these things of me a few times a year. And this may be one of them.

      I’ve never been to this site before. I’ve no idea how I ended up here. I made a post, and left. Then for some odd reason, found myself back here and focused on your situation. And decided to write something short and sweet (it’s 2 AM here!), and then suddenly ideas were sparking through my mind and my fingers were flying and an urgency overtook my need for sleep.

      So this post feels like one of those times God is saying buck up and get those words out there. I feel totally idiotic writing all this…who am I to give this advice. And I’ve droned on and on and I don’t even know you. But the Holy Spirit is saying to suck it up, get over my pride and embarrassment and write it anyway. That’s my part, God will handle the rest. So I’m passing the hot potato on to you Tor.

      Be brave.

      Godspeed.

  • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn

    Your friend can be as healed as any of us in this life, which is pretty good and freed – but not completely. None of is completely free of our sin in this life. We need to recognize that all of us – even those with titles – are still just forgiven sinners. He is the God of second chances (more like the God of googleplex chances though that doesn’t sing as well) because we all need those chances.
    The solution is twofold. First is for us to be honest about our weaknesses and build our structures around the root concept that forgiven sinners will be doing all the work of the church. One way to do this is for no adult to ever be alone with a child or children. The second part of the solution is more important (though less popular). Paul describes a gift of spiritual discernment in 1 Cor. 12. Churches need people operating in this gift (not one person and not the pastor pretending) who can help answer these heart questions. Not to judge or condemn the person, but to help them be honest with themselves and understand the next steps the Lord has for them in their walk. We do so much work in the church solely in our own power, when all the while the Spirit yearns to help us. We would do better if not only our preaching and worship leading were Spirit-anointed, but also our administration, serving, etc. There is no part of the life of the church the Spirit is not interested in anointing and filling.

  • http://www.melsquietthoughts.com Mel

    No words….just tears at the end of this one. I hope he’s healed, I certainly believe in a Jesus that can free anybody from any sin. ALL sin is repulsive to God…his sin, your sin, my sin. Thankful for grace.

  • Jenni

    As the wife of someone who was abused I come from a completely different perspective. My husband has forgiven his abuser, it was a family friend, but he has not verbalized it to him. The truth of what happened is only known (to our knowledge) amongst our immediate family. I will say he gets very aggravated when he hears of other people who have been abused and have then abused. Each person makes their own choices and his path is a testimony that healing can come without repeating the sin. He also works in a correction facility and daily interacts with people who are incarcerated for choosing to abuse. He is the most compassionate person I know. It infuriates him when the other people he works with treat these people less than themselves. He does his bet to be the example of Christ in one of the darkest places imaginable. The stories that follow him home are heart wrenching and yet he is faithful to the see the men and women beyond the sin. His example gives me hope to love my brother or sister as myself.

  • RegisteredSexOffender

    I am a “registered sex offender”.
    I am unfortunately an expert on this subject.
    I am full of regret for what I did 20+ years ago.
    I am forgiven by God and by the victim of my sin.
    I am free.
    I am NOT a sex offender. I was once though.
    I am a sinner still and glad that Jesus paid the price. I sin often. I wish I didn’t.
    I am convinced that nobody deserves a second chance. Jesus disagrees.
    I am blessed to be in a job that my employer knows about my past and accepts me.
    I am blessed to be in a church where leadership knows and accepts me.
    I am blessed to be able to serve God with my gifts in spite of what I have done in the past.
    I am blessed to attend the same church as the victim and see the redeeming power of God working in our lives.
    I am richer now because I obeyed God and self reported the sin to authorities. No one knew. I could have gotten away with it. God would not let me rest though – I was already a Christian.
    I am an outcast but God works all things together for good for those that love him.
    I am blessed with a great wife and wonderful kids.
    I am still feeling shame even though I know I am forgiven. I have good days and bad days in this area.
    I am a frequent reader of this blog and an occasional poster under my real name.
    I am careful to not put myself in situations where I am around children alone or in leadership over them – not because of temptation – I want to always avoid the appearance of evil.
    I am careful to rarely touch the opposite sex unless they are family or very close friends – I never want someone to wonder what that touch meant.
    I am blessed to have never served time in prison.
    I am blessed to have served 10 years on probation with lots of counseling.
    I am depressed by all the misinformation out there about people that sin in the areas of sex. Only a small portion of convicted sex offenders are actually pedophiles. With the exception of pedophiles the vast majority of convicted sex offenders will never offend again after counseling.
    I am tired of being a political punching bag. But I deserve worse. Praise be to God.
    I am too ashamed to post under my real name here. Some of you would recognize me immediately and while I do share this with good friends I pretty much operate under a “don’t ask – don’t tell” policy.

    I deserve nothing. Thank you God for all that I have.

    Carlos thank you for the post. Sorry to have hijacked your blog with such a long reply.

    • Makeda

      It took a great deal of courage for you to write these words even if you didn’t use your real name. Thank you for sharing so openly and so honestly. Thank you for your courage, even if it seems small to you, your words have more impact than you may realize.

    • Jessica(nu2htown)

      “I am careful to rarely touch the opposite sex unless they are family or very close friends – I never want someone to wonder what that touch meant.”

      This could really apply to a lot of situations.

      “I am tired of being a political punching bag. But I deserve worse.”

      Wow.

      Thanks for sharing. Seems to be a lot of victims on this topic, unfortunately. I don’t ever think about the ones who did the crime and have actually asked God for forgiveness.

      • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

        That is the wonderful power of the GOOD news. That we can stand together as brothers and sisters forgiven. Thanks for sharing. What a powerful story of redemption.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

      Hero…

      • http://www.arcadechurch.com Brennan

        Wishing we were all as honest as you. As Los said…..Hero

      • http://theseminarywife.wordpress.com Mama Goot

        Yes…a hero on too many levels to comprehend.

    • http://mandythompson.com mandythompson

      Thank you for sharing, even if under anonymity. Gives me hope — as we always hear that there’s no hope for sex offenders/addicts.

    • http://www.macholaraphotography.com Macho Lara

      I wish the ‘Church’ was a much safer place. Thanks for sharing.

    • Charmaine

      beautiful.
      grace.

    • http://considerjesus.wordpress.com Michelle

      You could be my son…

      Thank you for sharing so openly.

      God bless you.

  • http://www.dannyjbixby.com Danny Bixby

    I think that what you said after your set was just as you assumed. It was the part where you got out of the way.

    If Jesus were telling a parable with that man in it, what role do you think he would play? The villain? The person who others watched after and never trusted? The target of grace? The hero you never saw coming?

    Jesus told stories with people in roles they didn’t “belong” in. With the heroes doing things that did not seem safe…that did not seem wise. Stories that offended his audiece because of their incredible grace and healing. Where the audience would gasp and recoil at what happened. Grace that is scandalous, and makes us uncomfortable.

    I believe the right level of grace for that man would make us quite uncomfortable as well.

  • http://www.craigburden@blogspot.com cBURDEN

    Incredible story! The scarlet letter! Jesus has no bounds on who He heals and WHAT He heals. Whoever goes to Him will be HEALED. I would love and forgive this man, though I would have a hard time having him as a babysitter, not because I dont believe he is healed by Jesus, but because I would put my life in front of any harm for my daughter. I will pray for this man to be blessed beyond belief and used beyond imagination, which has already begun.

    Thanks for posting Carlos!

  • http://anotheryouthguy.wordpress.com ryan

    If we, the Church can not practice grace we better not even think about preaching about it!

  • Art

    At the last church I pastored, we had a registered sex offender that attended. He was not aloud around children – ever. He was expected to regularly attend the weekly men’s prayer group. He did a good job of keeping boundaries, and the church loved him.

    I think when someone molests a child they give up some rights – both in society and in the church. They need to accept that. Just because they can’t teach kids Sunday School, or attend a public worship service, doesn’t make them any less a Christian (if they have repented). The sex offender that demands their right to attend a church and do as they please is not showing the fruits of repentance, IMHO.

  • Allison

    Complete healing is possible and real.

    When I was 6, my uncle taught his 16 year old son how to rape me.

    I didn’t really understand it at the time. I felt bad. And gross. And confused. It wasn’t until I was ten and still haunted by what he had done that I became angry.

    I spent a lot of time being angry but it wasn’t until I was 18 (I’m in my mid 20′s now) and came to know the Lord that the hurt was gone. What he had done was over and he wasn’t still doing it to me. And I’m not mad at him.

    I never got up the nerve to tell any one in my family about it. But I’m glad I didn’t, because it gave me the opportunity to share Christ with him.

    He lives hundreds of miles away so I rarely see him, but the last time we visited his family we wound up in a room alone together.

    Not knowing if he ever still thought of what happened, I got up the nerve to say it.

    After a short awkward silence I said “ya know… *long pause*…. I forgive you.”

    He broke down. He cried. I hugged him. (it was a little like something you’d see in a movie) I told him that I’m really okay. Not just okay on some days, or when something good happens. I’m really okay all the time. Because Jesus takes away hurt. He takes away pain and shame. It’s gone.

    We talked for a while and I prayed with him.

    See, we take these things and as people, and we don’t let them go. Girls are holding onto the hurt, men are holding onto the shame. And he had been haunted by what he did most of his life. He was so afraid that he had ruined me forever that it was ruining his life.

    A couple of months ago, he sent me a message on Facebook. He has given his life over to Christ. He said that the forgiveness he saw in me convinced him for the first time that God was real.

    And I think we as God’s people need to be doing this. Believing the things we say and giving it over to God. Because God can’t use us when we hold onto these things. We need to love the unloveable and forgive the unforgivable. Because that’s what Christ does for us.

    • http://www.dannyjbixby.com Danny Bixby

      Allison, that’s an incredible story. Thanks for posting.

    • @LaureeAshcom

      wow…. just wow

    • http://www.wherehegoes.wordpress.com Jenn

      This story is as incredible as the original blog post, thanks for sharing.

    • Christina

      WOW what an amazing story Alison.. Thanks for sharing.. You truly showed God’s grace and mercy..

    • http://www.winatlife.org/kidz Jason Martin

      That made me cry.

    • http://www.lorisreflections.com Lori

      Ok I was tear free until I read this. Wow.

    • Wendy Delfosse

      Oh, Allison…
      This is one of the most powerful blog comments I’ve ever seen. Freedom from our hurts, freedom from our sin. The grace of God is powerful – none of us deserve it.

      I have a feeling this will stay with me a long while.

  • http://ericjphotography.com/blog Kawter

    Wow I’ve not been this stirred up in a long time!
    So.. you can see the genesis of the entire problem in the guy’s quote below

    “But man. God has healed me and when my ex wife asked me if it was true, I felt God telling me that it was time to break free from any sexual addiction. I could have covered up any sort of evidence.”

    THE GUY MOLESTED HIS 10YR OLD DAUGHTER AND STILL ONLY THINKS OF HIMSELF!!!! Are you kidding me? How about here guy? You’ve probably screwed up her entire future and you are still just focused on yourself

    • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn

      If he had been thinking only of himself, he would not have confessed. Try and imagine how incredibly hard it was for him to admit what he did. Covering it up would have been still more damaging to the girl (and to him). By confessing, he has created an opportunity for her to experience healing and himself. It began with the selfless act of confession.

      • http://ericjphotography.com/blog Kawter

        You must not have daughters?

        • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

          I have daughters.

      • Anonymous

        I disagree… 1) we can’t know if he was or wasn’t thinking of himself here…. only God knows that, but 2) I think it’s entirely possible for someone to “confess” and play the part of repentance but not be repentant… again I have no idea if this person is or isn’t, and that’s not my point.

        My point is that today’s church offers such grace and consoling to those who have sinned, sometimes I think people just want the attention. We put those who have a cool story of redemption on a pedastle, so why not confess… the attention fills their need to be validated, just like their sin did, as opposed to getting that need met through Christ.

    • Kat

      Kawter,

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. I read this whole thing wanting to scream WHAT ABOUT YOUR VICTIM, YOU A-HOLE!

      • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn

        Assholes for Jesus.

        • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn
          • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn

            The link got cut off: http://www.jesuslovesassholes.com

            • http://ericjphotography.com/blog Kawter

              Ok let me clarify, maybe restate

              1: There is a place for this guy in heaven by the grace of Jesus.

              2: In the eyes of God, my lust, greed, sloth, envy, and hatreted is just as damning as his acts.

              3: There needs to be a place in the “church” that this guy can recover, reinvent, grow, and live

              THE BUMMER
              4: after all these years of therapy, recovery, restoration, etc etc etc the guy is still so myopically self focused. This self focused mentality strikes fear in my heat that he is not recovered and will ruin yet another young girl’s life..

              • http://theologyforreallife.com Michael Raburn

                How can you possibly make all those judgments about this person from reading an account of one short conversation he had? He was telling Los about himself because Los was asking about him. You can’t possibly know enough to judge him. You know, the Sermon on the Mount notwithstanding and all.

                Btw, I have 4 daughters and I do not take this issue lightly. But it is possible to find a place for everyone who is a forgiven sinner to serve. You know, if we put down our rocks and start really following Jesus.

                • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn

                  The thing is, following Jesus is a dangerous business. Throughout the history of the church people have risked their lives and their families’ lives to follow Jesus. Entire families have been martyred together for being Christian. Am I saying this is great? No. In light of this discussion, am I saying I want to risk this happening to my four beautiful daughters? Of course not. But there will always be risk. We need to be very open and very honest and work as hard as we can to minimize the risk. We need to lean heavily on the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and guidance in how to live together in a community of forgiven sinners prone to hurt each other in a myriad of ways. Even so, there will always be risk. If you want to build a church free of all danger, you can do that, but it will not be the body of Christ.

  • Naomi

    I can tell you being a victim of the same crime by my grandfather and then experiancing my now ex-husband having molested my son, that this is sincerely difficult.

    I can remember my grandfather being sorry for what he did and remember not being angry about it because there was no room for that in my heart. I believe the Lord heals both the victim and the assalant; maybe just not in the same time.

    I believe in universal truths. One sin is not worse than another. Only it’s effect on the world and the people on it. But I think Jesus would have died for our sins regardless if the worst sin was my son lying to me about eating all his fruit in his lunchbox. Because the Lord is not a utilitarian.

    I once heard a sermon about forgiveness. The pastor said, just because someone steals from you and you forgive them, doesn’t mean you should ask him to carry your wallet. This had a great impact on me because forgiveness is something far more important to giver than the reciever. It’s not something you do so they can have a get out jail free card. It’s so you don’t have to live with pain and hurt in your life.

    Recently someone spoke to me about a friend of theirs who commited suicide. She said, “I’m worried he’ll go to hell.” I told her, as people we judge on a ONE time situation. Someone lied to you and now you’re not friends. A partner cheated on you and so you break up. But if the Lord treated us that way, no one would be in heaven.

    That’s my schpeal. I hope when you think of what you would do, you would consider if it was you. Sometimes the right answer is, “I don’t know what I’d do because it’s never happened to me.” Thanks for listening.

    • Melody

      Thank you for this post. I was once a victim of sexual abuse as well (I was once because I no longer define myself by that experience when I have had so many other significant experiences in my life) .

      At any rate… I truly believe an abuser can be reformed, can be washed clean erc… But like you, I wouldn’t ask a thief to carry my wallet.

      In my life, I will always have to be mindful of things that lace me on the fence of my abuse …. A relationship in which I am asked to keep secrets…and other more intimate activities that will always run the risk of sending me back in time, if even for a moment.

      The victimizer at the same time, while being forgiven, washed clean… Allof that, has consequences (just as the victims do)….

      If I met the man Carlos spoke of, I would hope the church would find a place for him, I would believe he was forgiven and healed but he made a choice that changed the course of his life forever. The vitim’s life is also changed forever. Both are consequences or outcomes….. But they are real. If I had children, he would never be alone with them.

  • Jeff

    I kind of feel like it is the same way with adultery. Churches react VERY quickly, and most don’t want you back.

    • http://theologyforreallife.com/ mike raburn

      I agree Jeff, but churches don’t react – outspoken people within churches react and the rest of the people just sit and listen. Sometimes those outspoken people are on staff. Most all the time those outspoken people are speaking out so loud to help hide their own junk.

  • http://www.dirtygirlsministries.com Crystal Renaud

    If true healing doesn’t exist, then what am I doing here?

    • http://www.dirtygirlsministries.com Crystal Renaud

      meaning – we all preach on being healed. especially those of us doing ministries to the addicted, broken, more preserve sinners. if we don’t believe this unimaginable sin can be healed from, but we believe the others can?

    • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

      I believe in healing and restoration. But I also know that with most of us it is a process. I love my friends who have been involved in various sexual sins. I don’t look down on them any more than I look down on my friends who were addicts, or self righteous or angry… but just like I wouldn’t take one of my recovering alcholic frends to a bar, I would be careful to help my friends in recovery from various forms of sexual addiction in up in an environment that would cause them to stumble. I’m with you though… we are all in the same boat needing the same grace and mercy… which is one of the reasons I love what you do ministry wise. :)

    • Larry

      Agreed!

  • http://www.marviaspanamajournal.com Marvia

    This is such an amazing story…and you kept it real! It’s not an easy issue and we are left with more questions than answers. We ‘the church’ are still several layers of denial about sexuality in general that we cannot even begin to address the issue in a wholesome manner.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.jennyrain.com Jenny

    We the church will “accept” you for as long as you have a sin we can’t see.

    the minute we can see it – we have to manage it.

    you become our little sin-management problem.

    if you cooperate, we like you.

    Cooperation means – keep your mouth shut. Bury everything.

    because if we can still see your sin. smell it. sense it. feel it… if your sin affects us in some negative way… like you know… causes us to look at our own internal ugliness and judgmentalness…

    then YOU have to go.

    because its all about us.

    the church.

    and this is how we roll.

    • http://www.dirtygirlsministries.com Crystal Renaud

      fewer sadder yet truer words have been written.

    • http://www.dannyjbixby.com Danny Bixby

      You are so right. And that sucks so hard.

    • http://brendasbrainchild.blogspot.com/ Brenda

      Last night in therapy I said that if I hadn’t gotten outed for drinking that I might have been able to hide my problems long enough to graduate. Maybe not, but I know lots of people who hide their problems at that school until they’re gone. My therapist immediately replied with, the church is like that too. He apologized for blurting that out, but I know that a lot of people have experienced that. I did in the church I grew up in. My church now is a place where I have been able to be honest about many of my problems and still felt safe and loved.

    • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ Linda B.

      That’s unfortunately true with the mainline church in America. That’s why sometimes we need to be the church for each other… in small groups or one on one. When I worked at a church most people were rightly afraid to go to the church office to get help because they knew their business would be all over the church and it wouldn’t help them. I ended up creating a great referral system for them to get the specific help they needed and made sure there were some of us that could be a safe place for them. I also learned that one of the best things I could do with someone struggling with different kinds of temptations was to invite them into my family’s life and give them an alternative place to go when the temptation was becomming unbearable.

  • http://www.reflectionofgrace.wordpress.com Brandi

    1. I love that they put this guy with you.
    2. I seriously ridiculously freaking LOVE that they put this guy with you.
    3. I seriously ridiculously freaking love you & your family because I know without a doubt that you meant & would do exactly what you said to him.

    I love it because it’s what we would all do if we weren’t so freaking insecure. Magnify someone elses sin in hopes that it will diminish our own. So easy to do, so so so very wrong.

    • http://jennyrain.com Jenny

      “Magnify someone elses sin in hopes that it will diminish our own”

      Brandi – well explained. That wraps words around what I see happen a lot. Truth be told… I am prob guilty of it too. Thanks for your words…

    • Mimi

      I’m guessing you were never molested, and can’t really understand this.

  • http://krcarson.blogspot.com Krissi

    I think it’s a perfectly wise action to both entirely believe this man (he obviously believes it) and to set up a boundary that means at least one trusted adult is always with him when he’s around a child. If a former drug addict actively believes he or she has been healed of addiction and then stumbles into it three years later, it’s awful and destructive and sad, but the primary one being offended is the one offending. If one who has molested a child in the past truly believes he or she has been healed and then finds themselves in a situation suddenly where the former impulses take over, even ten years later, the primary one being offended is not the offender but a child. It is clear in the Bible that God gave us special responsibility to care for and protect children. Keeping strict boundaries on how that man is around children (and he can be around children–he just needs to be monitored and not left alone) is not telling him you don’t trust him. It’s simply recognizing that our humanity limits us in a way that bars is from the ability to see the future. We can trust with our eyes closed or we can trust with our eyes open. Trust the man, but be responsible with that trust. Invite him over for dinner. But don’t let him play with your children alone in their room. Or if you’re unsure, have your family take him out for dinner.

  • Anonymous

    Ok so… I don’t want to share my identity, but i was molested when i was 12 & again when i was 13 by my older sister’s bf (the 2nd time, they were broken up but he was still always around because he was still pretty much part of the family). He was/is 10 years older than me. I trusted him completely because he was like a brother to me. The only reason I ever told any1 & realized it was wrong was because my mom asked me if he had ever been inappropriate w/me. We ended up going through a whole court trial & everything, & he got off “not guilty”… He denied it & still probably does to this day. I know that I would never trust him around my children, & especially since he lied about it, I would never want him in student ministries at a church. I don’t really know where I’m going w/this.

    I think the man that you were hanging out with… I think since he owned up to it & has sought forgiveness, I think that is awesome. I honestly wish that would happen w/the guy who molested me… I truly know & believe in my heart that he (the guy you met) is forgiven & being healed & in God’s eyes, He is perfect & righteous, not because of himself but because of God’s grace & Jesus in him. I would not mind having him around & in fellowship w/people of the church, just definitely NOT alone w/children… EVER. That’s how I feel. As long as the parents of the children are present at the least, that would be ok. I just wouldn’t want him to be in a tempting situation & would never want another child/person to have to go through such a horrible experience… He deserves to have relationships & be loved though. I mean ultimately Jesus loves him sooo much…

    I don’t think this post makes any sense haha but I just wanted to get my thoughts out.

    • http://melindaguerra.myadventures.org melinda

      It makes sense. and you are heard.

  • Eric

    thank you.

    i dream of a world, free from fear and pain and confusion and loneliness.

    thank you for helping your friend see a glimpse of that world i dream of.

    may our redeemer continue to speak thru you despite the clouds we all shuffle in.

    praying for ATL

  • http://twitter.com/matias72 matias72

    This is an amazing post… It is awesome to be able to see people through Christ’s eyes and to love them with the forgiveness and compassion He does regardless of what they’ve done. It is also just as horribly sad to see how quickly our flesh and this world jades how Christ wants us to see those around us.
    I am all for securing my children and protecting them at all costs, but I also know that there is no way I can protect them from everything.

    Trust the maker of this world and the one who made who made a way for you to stand before Him as His child.

  • http://www.mommara.blogspot.com MommaRa

    This one is so tough, do I believe in true healing. YES. Would I forgive him adult to adult. Yes but, honestly ever trust him to be around my son. Probably not. I am human, I am flesh, I am forgiven. He is human, he is flesh, he is forgiven. BUT, for me as a parent it would be super hard to just be ok and turn the other cheek when it came to the life of my child. That’s just me being honest. I wish I was a big enough person to say that I trust a huMAN as much as I do Jesus. I know he can truly heal people but, even the healed make mistakes. Lord knows I do.

  • Allison

    I would also like to add (if it hasn’t been said already) that when we fail to forgive, we are setting people up for more failure.

    Women are characterized as lagging in Math and Science, not because they are any less capable, but because they have been socialized to think they can’t do it.

    Children whose parents degrade them usually grow up to believe they themselves are worthless.

    We are sinful people and we all too often fall back into old sins, but when we label people or shut them out for one reason or another, we are only perpetuating the issue. Only making it easier for them to fall back into it. By telling them we don’t believe they are forgiven or changed just places them in a position to fall back into old sins and habits.

    I am not saying to throw all caution to the wind in every situation, but we should consider the outcome of all of our actions, including the times when we may feel uncomfortable. I think when we choose to forgive and put things in God’s hands is when we will really see the glorious work of Christ in people’s lives.

    • http://fundanon.wordpress.com/ Ricardo

      Nelson Mandela said: “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping your enemies die.”

  • http://www.keithelgin.com Keith Elgin

    Either you believe all things are possible, or you don’t.

  • Sandi M

    What a great story. Can he be healed? Well doesn’t it say in the bible, with God, all things are possible? I truly believe that God can change people.

    Thankfully I go to a church that will stick their neck out there, and have a service that is specialized for men or women just getting out of prison, that may have restrictions. We got a lot of flack from the community about it, but it is going, and going strong.
    What doesn’t make sense to me is, why keep these men and women out of a church service?? They need God more than ever now, if they are going to make it!

    We can blame these problems all on a society that believes in freedom of speech. Billboard ads, commercials on TV anymore, are nothing but soft porn. It makes me sad for the man that is struggling to stay pure.

    Can God change him? Absolutely! He deserves a second chance, because God gives us all second, third, fourth….chances. Thanks Carlos!

  • http://brendasbrainchild.blogspot.com/ Brenda

    I used to help out in a children’s ministry when I was in college because I love kids. I was scared that if the leaders found out that I struggled with pornography that I would be asked to leave. I was afraid that when my friends knew I was struggling with alcohol and depression that they wouldn’t want me around their kids.

    I believe that forgiveness and healing happen. But I also think that there’s no reason to put yourself in an area that has caused serious temptation and failure before. A recovered alcoholic, no matter how healed they are, should be ministering to other alcoholics in a bar. I think accountability, ministering in groups, and being wise about where you’re going to best thrive are all important.

    • http://brendasbrainchild.blogspot.com/ Brenda

      *recovered alcoholics should NOT minister in a bar, I meant to say.

      I also wanted to point out that just because we are forgiven does not mean that there are not consequences to our sin. I don’t think it’s correct or even fair to assume that just because there is healing and forgiveness that past sins will or should not affect the future.

  • http://www.the4brewers.blogspot.com Jen

    completely healed? yes. Just as an alcoholic can be completely healed, but you don’t send a former alcoholic back to the bar to work or hang out. It’s not wise or fair to put him/her in that environment or the others around him/her. The object is to see how close we can get to Christ not how far we can get without falling off the cliff. There are more opportunities to serve in God’s kingdom than just ones with children.

  • Tony

    forgiveness is all fine and good, and if he really is healed and converted, thats great too. but the issue is that the danger isnt to YOU its to your CHILDREN if this guy were to revert to his old ways. and that is a chance never worth taking. you dont EVER put yours or anyone elses children in harms way like that. believe hes healed, talk to the guy, w/e thats all fine but cautiousness is key. forgiveness and naiveté, theres a fine line.

  • Children’s Pastor

    I am a children’s pastor. A registered sex offender attends our church every week. I discovered that he was on “the list” very soon after he started attending. We sat down together, and I asked him to tell me his story. I have no idea if he told me the whole truth, if he is healed, if he will never do it again or if he is actively trying to do it again. He appears to be doing everything he can to follow Christ with his life and to live above reproach.

    For everyone’s protection, we agreed on a process that would allow him to serve and worship freely while protecting our children from harm. Any time this man is on our church campus when there are children present, he has an escort with him–one of the men from his small group. These men provide weekly accountability for him, so they are well aware of his past and whatever is going on in his present. This is a safe, but comfortable solution. This man doesn’t feel like he is being “guarded” while he is at church. He’s just hanging out with his friends. His friends see it as a way to protect their friend–from being tempted to make that mistake again and from being falsely accused–and to protect our kids from harm.

    I believe that the right thing to do is to try to find a way to extend grace to a sex offender while keeping everyone safe. This situation works. If another sex offender starts attending our church, we will work to try to find the right solution for that person–to provide safety and extend grace.

    • http://www.mindycantrell.blogspot.com Mindy

      Good plan! As I was reading through the responses, I kept thinking that alcoholics have accountability as part of their recovery – sex offenders should too! Jesus heals completely, but Satan knows our downfalls. Child molesters shouldn’t be alone with kids. Period. Even if they are never tempted again, it just makes sense to stay away from the temptation.

      There are things the church can do for molesters. Meeting with a men’s group is a good idea. There are many ministries former molesters can be a part of – children’s ministry is only a part of church ministry.

      I was molested at the age of 4 by a babysitter’s son. He couldn’t have been older than 10 years old at the time. I never told because I was scared. I don’t tell now because my mom would blame herself. She was a single mom and didn’t have many options. I told my husband after we were married and I’m open with women I know need counsel in that area (we live in a different town than my family).

      After working at a counseling center, I realized that the same thing must have happened to him. I can’t imagine a 10 year old doing those things otherwise. I forgave him a long time ago, but have been VERY cautious about who is alone with my kids.

  • Neal MD

    I feel like I just got punched in the stomach…

    …in a good way.

  • Jan

    What amazing timing God has! My church is mourning the death of a former member who moved away after her husband went to prison for molesting their daughters. Those four girls had been through so much, and now are motherless. We grieve for them and what they must be going through.

    The death freshened issues for me that I thought at last I had finally conquered. I struggled for years to forgive my older brother, who abused my sister and I physically, mentally and sexually throughout our childhood .. which means I also struggled to forgive my parents for not protecting us. They don’t understand why we don’t want to be around him any more than necessary. It’s an unspoken barrier .. we’re all in our 50s and this is unresolved — and always will be — because trust is gone and trust, in his case, is unmerited. I’ve purposed in my heart to forgive, and it’s a mental battle almost daily. We’ve all lived in the same small town until recently. I had to work to ensure my children were never alone with him. At the same time, I tried to befriend his children so they’d have a shelter from his inevitable storms.

    Growing up knowing that my home wasn’t safe means I crave stability and safety. It means I don’t take chances. It means I fight being cynical. It means I need God’s amazing grace to get through a day with family. It means I dress for protection .. almost never wearing dresses or skirts because they left me vulnerable. Until recently I couldn’t shower unless the house was locked up tight, or my husband was home .. all hearkening back to childhood. Daily I fight those feelings, and I will, with God’s grace overcome. I’ve come so far, and I will triumph.

  • M

    I believe God can heal and restore, but the fact is some sins are more difficult to overcome (e.g., heroin addiction) and have higher rates of re-offense, even after prison or treatment.

    As the body of Christ, we want to be people and places of love, acceptance and welcome, but that doesn’t mean we’re unwise. Part of love is having healthy (wise) boundaries that protect our most vulnerable members and also help support and safeguard our brothers/sisters in Christ trying to overcome sin.

    A person who has committed a crime against a child should never be allowed to be alone with children again, ever, in a position of authority–even as an assistant. The danger and cost is just too high.

    Churches, however, can and should find ways for recovering offenders to get involved in ministry. What “Children’s Pastor” said above is is also our church’s policy–communication (sit down with an ex-offender to offer grace and guidelines), accountability (oversight), involvement in adult ministries, etc.

    But shepherds over the flock must watch closely (not full of suspicion, just with loving caution). We did have a case where an ex-offender was volunteering in media ministry after quite a long period of normal church involvement. It was supposedly a safe place, up in the tech booth with computers. Tragically, it was discovered he had started asking young boys (who assisted from time to time with PowerPoint) for their private email addresses–so he could “contact them about the media ministries.” This was strictly forbidden in the initial agreements he had with church leaders, so he had to leave the church.

    Anyone who has read or seen cases of child molestation will recognize that this was the first stage of grooming. There was a little more involved…it was the first steps towards something not good.

    Anyway, my point is, always love and receive, but remember that wisdom and discernment are Biblical qualities too. Protect kids and also protect those who struggle with sin by setting up safe boundaries. A person who cannot volunteer in nursery might be disappointed, but one child who is sexually abused will have lifelong damage.

    • Mimi

      THANK YOU!!!! You get it.
      Thanks for sharing this example. Allowing an offender to be near children has risks, even when they are not alone. They start to build relationship with kids, and as you said, this is part of building their trust and part of the “grooming”. NOT OKAY. Protecting the innocent should far outweigh protecting the feelings of an abuser.
      This also goes for people who have not been convicted *yet*. Even if you or someone else gets a funny feeling about someone, we need to act on it. I have prayed for God to give me discernment to protect my kids in this area (and follow-those gut instincts), and feel like children’s ministers/staff should be praying for that same discernment.

  • http://stephenstonestreet.com Stephen Stonestreet

    I believe there is a beautiful thing that can happen in the midst of these kinds of issues.

    When I think of this topic, I think of the Amish. I was in the Amish country two years ago, and only one thing (other than their amazing homemade bread) that I remember was something they said.

    They took us into a big room that was filled with cookies, pastries, and a plethora of other baked goods, and told us they were leaving. They then said this, “Since we are leaving, all of you will be by yourselves, and will have the choice to pay for the baked goods yourself without us or not. We want to let you know that we trust you, and everyone around us. We don’t lock our doors ever, and even though we don’t know you, we trust that you will do the right thing.”

    That was a very empowering thing to say, and to be and act out. It wasn’t that they trusted us to pay for what we got, because they don’t know us, or our past, or what we were planning to do. But because they said they trusted us and left us alone to make our choice, everyone in the room got in a line to pay for what they got, and as I watched each person leave, there was not one person that didn’t pay, and the honest amount due. And everyone left with a new idea of trust in their mind that you could even see on their face.

    I think this has a lot to do with the same thing. I mean, theft and child molestation are equally sinful, not greater than the other, right? (In God’s eyes, and hopefully, as a result, OURS…). But thats the point, it isn’t the same for us humans.

    We might not know what this dude/girl, labeled “child molester” or “sex offender” might do. But it doesn’t matter. What will change his/her mind of doing anything is if we say we do trust him/her. That “love heaping coals on their head” will cause him/her to keep him/herself in line, just as all of us should, and just as each person did in the Amish Country.

    The point is, we might be afraid of what they might do (and not saying you should let this dude/girl babysit your children). But the point is, don’t tell that person you don’t trust them or would never trust them with your children, but tell them you do, even though you might not, and them knowing that you do trust them gives them more strength then you could comprehend to respect and honor you as a person, and then respect and honor your kids. Why don’t we revolutionize their hearts and minds with our level of love and trust?

    Thats it. Thoughts?

  • http://mattbeardblog.com Matt Beard

    I think the thing we (especially me) forget is that we’re all capable of the same thing. We don’t have any intentions of getting there but I’m sure he didn’t either. He may be done as far as he or we are concerned but obviously God isn’t done. I think the conversation his honesty sparked about a tough subject is proof of that.

  • http://www.whatsthislifefor.org Toby

    I’m positive he can be healed, but I’m also 199% positive his healing would NEVER be tested around my kids.

    And that’s just the thing….I can’t imagine anyone who has kids would think any differently. Kinda the crux of the situation…..yep, there IS a God and yep, He heals ALL wounds, BUT when it comes to kids, especially my kids, he will never have a chance to prove it.
    Seems to me he lives an example of Hebrews 12:11. Also, like it or not, 12:6.

    • Mimi

      EXACTLY!

  • http://charlieschurchofchrist.wordpress.com Charlie’s Church of Christ

    I appreciated your response to this man Los. I think either way its dangerous – it can be dangerous to not give someone the benefit of the doubt that they have changed, and it’s dangerous to give them that same benefit of the doubt.

  • http://Noname Sorry no name

    My husbands brother s daughter married a child molester ,never told the family and we have alot of small children in the family,they hid it ,kept it secret ,Because my husband did not like him ,had a feeling something was not right ,his business was destroyed by his family ,they were in it together ,my husband was pushed out by his so called family to keep the child molester working there because he could not get a job any where else.A neighbor found this out ,she was in bed one night and something told her to get up and look at the sexual offender web site ,and sure enough there he was.It has torn the family apart,they are from a religous sector that take care of their own and if you are not part of them they throw u out , IT was wrong to hide this from the family ,it was wrong to discredit my husband and push him from his own business ,they also tried to destroy my whole family and all at christmas time ,the molester now has permission to have his own kids by the state and guess what,they are both girls …….My husband has not talked to his brother in 5 yrs since this happen ,its a sad situation,had they been up front with this mess maybe it would have turned out in a different way,they have been banned from family and events,everyone is afraid for their children and i dont blame them.And no ,i dont think you can compare raping a 6 yr old little girl to some of the other sins,sorry ,just dont ,they choose the path and must deal .And let it be your child he raped and then check your heart ummmmmmmmmmmmmm That little girl is changed forever ,childhood stolen and he has gone on with his life like nothing ever happen ,Sorry i just dont get this ,i guess i need to check my heart at the door

    • http://joyinthesmallthings.wordpress.com joy renée

      I tried replying to you, and it put my comment down lower in the comments feed.

      To add to my comment, however, I would like to reiterate how I feel sorry for you and your family’s pain. I hope you can find it in your heart…no I hope you can find the strength in CHRIST to forgive. It can really only happen through His strength, I think.

  • http://www.crucialencounter.com Andy

    This is tough. I’m 27 years old. When I was 6 I was molested. It wasn’t but a year ago I was able to say that I could truly forgive. Even after that, I still have moments where I don’t really.

    Can he be healed? Abso-Effing-Lutely. Anyone who says otherwise would also believe that they can’t be healed, and are in danger of repeating each of their sins, again. and again. and again.

    I can trust that true healing really happens. I’ve been true healing. I’ve seen true healing. I’ve witnessed it. What I can’t trust is OUR ability to really love unconditionally. Our ability to look past the sin and see what Jesus sees. Our ability to reach out, with arms open, and offer an ear, a heart, a hand. This guy is gonna need all the help he can get, and all we can think of is, “Hide the kids.”

    • http://www.crucialencounter.com Andy

      That may have sounded REALLY biting, and that wasn’t my intention… so, sorry if it did.

      • http://melindaguerra.myadventures.org melinda

        even if it sounds harsh… you’re right. because that’s exactly what we think of.

    • Mimi

      The problem is, WE don’t have the ability to discern REAL and COMPLETE healing. Only God can. So yes, DO hide the kids.

  • http://www.kristerdunn.wordpress.com Krister

    This is one of the most powerful things I’ve read. Ever. Wow. That’s all I’ve got right now… wow. This took guts to write. And Jesus.

  • http://www.mohan37.com mo

    not sure how I was so late getting into this post, but, here’s a little coinage from me too.

    1) I ask myself the same questions you did, and have no idea what the answers are.
    2) I know Jesus would forgive the man. Perhaps alrady has forgiven the man, if all he says is true.
    3) People got away with some weird stuff in Jesus’ day. Would he have condoned the lifelong ostracization of the guy?
    4) I don’t have kids (but will in 7 weeks), so I have no business saying this, but I’ve never supported the publicly-available sex offender registry. As a kid, I was kind of appalled that Christians would support it, b/c it seems to go against everything they (I, now) preach on forgiveness. Now that I’m older, I get it…but I’m not sure my mind has actually changed.

    In any case, God used you in that situation, maybe bc he’d judged you capable of having the right word for them man at the right time.

    Thanks for recounting the story.

  • http://www.visiontobecca.blogspot.com wpusey

    God spoke to me about something like this not to long ago.

    In this case a man molested a child… It’s easy for the church to surround the Child and embrace them with comfort… but who really needs more help? I say the person that committed the act.

    Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with the church embracing the child, but they must also embrace the person that committed the act…

    “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

    • Anonymous

      Who needs more help? Are you kidding me? You really think it’s the offender? Christ told the story about the good samaritan, he helped the victim…. he didn’t go trying to rehabilitate the victimizer.

      I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be something offered to the man, but to say that they need it more than the victim, is a bunch of crap!

    • rodge

      Women and children first, Jesus is very clear on that. He is a defender of widows and orphans, the sick, the poor, the week, the oppressed. He is a Champion and Defender of those that are most vulnerable.

      • Johanna

        Jesus is very clear that the religion the Father sees as true is helping the orphan and widow in their distress and not becoming polluted by the world. That’s different from “women and children first.”

        The “orphan and widow” in this passage refers to those who are politically, educationally, financially, emotionally, spiritually marganilized by society, as orphans and widows were in Jesus’ day.

        I would argue that In Carlos’ post, the sex offender is the widow and the victim is the orphan.

  • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

    Gotta say folks. This is the same post we have seen many, many times. And continually, forgiveness, consequences, grace, love, all of it are misunderstood and misapplied.

    Did God love Moses? Lifetime consequence. Was he forgiven? Yes. Did God love David? Forgive him? Yes. His son and David both had lifetime consequences.

    Take most of the above arguments to their end degree…and basically you are saying as Christians we should open the doors of all prisons too. Because they are all forgiven and we love them all. While this could be true, the Bible or Jesus never say that lifetime consequences have gone away.

    Grace and consequence are not the same thing!

    And seriously folks, how many times do we have to cover that not all sins have the same consequence? This is played out in the Bible many times. Yes, they are all sin, but no, they are not all treated the same. Ask Annanias and Saphirah, ask that dude who touched the Ark… on and on. They have very different earthly consequences. They all result in death. But Moses did not get to see the promised land. David did not get to build God’s house… and so on.

    • shayne

      I hear what you’re saying Bruce. However, none of the responses I’ve seen thus far condone or ask for the “opening of prison doors” as you put it.

      In my opinion, the question here (yet again) is not whether there are consequences for sin…we all know there are. The question is…does any person on earth have the right to enforce those consequences? Are you going to be the man to point your finger and say “You there! You messed up but good buddy! Now you get to pay for it!”

      I say this to you not to attack you, but rather because I believe I have a right to say it. I survived 5 sexual abusers. From the time I was 6 until I was 12. If anyone has the right to call for blood on this issue…I do. As do many of the other posters here who’ve survived the same thing.

      It’s just that, I don’t like blood. It’s messy, has a nasty taste to it, and it’s a real bear of a stain to get out of clothing let me tell you.

      While I’m not exactly positive what the perfect thing to do in this man’s situation is…I think it’s always best to err on the side of mercy.

      Mercy triumphs over judgement. But prisons rarely, if ever, stop anyone from committing a crime.

      • shayne

        I got your name wrong…sorry Brice.

        • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

          No problem on name. I get Bruce all the time!

          You are correct about your rights and what you have gone through…awful. Oh my. Horrible.

          Here comes the however (but), I don’t want blood, or revenge…and agree prisons rarely rectify. I want mercy, I want peace, I want all those things. Its just that punishment sometimes goes with the crime. For me, for everyone. I am not talking about eternal punishment or anything…I get that. Just earthly ones that I think and from what I read in the Bible are OK.

          Thanks for the response.

          Oh, and I think people on earth do have the right to enforce consequences. I think that is a big reason God has set up leaders and leaderships, from churches (discipline) to governments (prisons, etc.)

          • Anonymous

            Amen, Brice. God set up authority structures here on earth for a reason.

          • Shayne

            Yes I see what you’re saying.

            I agree with you that God has set up authority on earth to enforce discipline…but aren’t discipline and punishment separate issues?

            Which I think is what we’re discussing here. When I say I’m not after blood, that’s what I mean. I don’t want to be the one enforcing punishment over what’s been done to me. I guess because I’m looking at my own self and seeing no justifiable right to do so, since I myself have committed some pretty heinous acts of anger, jealousy, etc.

            So…discipline…yes.

            Punishment…I leave that to God. Great conversing with you Brice as always…

            • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

              Good stuff, good thought. I got nothing else.

  • Paul

    I’ll start by saying that I am not a parent…but I soon will be. My wife and I are adopting a little girl from Rwanda, so I am trying to temper my statements in that light.

    You know, I truly don’t believe God sees sin in degrees. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe it. Any sin is distance between where the sinner is and where God wants him to be. And it really isn’t our job to judge sin. Christians are supposed to have turned our lives over to God. They are no longer our own, and as such, any actions that wrong us, in fact, wrong God. So it should be between Him and the offender…not us. What I am, poorly, trying to say here, is that we are in no position to say whether or not those who have slipped are or are not reformed. The bible doesn’t say for us to weigh others in the balance and if they seem to have repented, then you are free to love them…otherwise, you must ostracize (heh, I feel like Johnny Cochran). We all sin. Period…not comma, not ellipses, not semicolon…period.

    When Jesus was confronted with the woman who had commited adultery, his offer to the Pharisees was, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” He didn’t say that they could throw a stone only if their sins came in lower than hers on the rank of badness. His intent, obviously, was that they should forgive her, and I think forgiveness means full restoration. I would think that any Christian would try to keep themselves from areas in which they are tempted. I know what my buttons are, and I try, as best I can, to keep from giving satan a chance to push them. I wouldn’t think a person with sexual issues would want to be in a situation where they could lapse.

    Can any sin be forgiven by God, YES…and they are if we ask and repent. Can any sin be forgiven by others…Not usually…and that makes us (myself included) a poor picture of Christ.

  • http://joyinthesmallthings.wordpress.com joy renée

    “they are from a religous sector that take care of their own and if you are not part of them they throw u out.”

    That sounds so incredibly sad.

    It’s also sad that they apparently tried to destroy your whole family. If you are certain without a doubt that that was their intention, then I’m so very sorry for you to have gone through that. I’m sorry your family was hurt by their not disclosing that information. It’s obvious you are very upset by that, and I really hope there is restoration and peace in that situation.

    But I would never be able to be a part of a religious sect that would be like the one that you describe. I could never meet the kind of qualifications I can imagine they have.

    That said… My mother was raped for years by my grandfather. My older brother was molested by a babysitter. I have SEEN first-hand the pain that can come from this type of sin. But I have also seen first-hand the pain that can come from having anger and bitterness run like a cancer through one’s body, family, church. The moment we can stop looking at people as “murderer”, “child molester”, “rapist”, “criminal”, “liar”, “thief”, etc, and begin looking at them as God does, a soul for whom Jesus died, is a moment when we can truly start grasping the weight of the cross for others’ sins as well as for our own.

    • http://joyinthesmallthings.wordpress.com joy renée

      that was supposed to be in reply to: “sorry no name”. my computer did strange things.

  • Miss Miller

    This is a big one.

    I have a friend who has been totally redeemed. Actually my family lets him babysit their kids, and yes, it has caused quite the stir in their church.

    God is so much bigger than we allow Him to be in our lives.

    One other thought… “I know there are consequences of sin. Like the little girl he molested being wounded for life.” Really? Wounded for life? I think there will be a scar, but hopefully she will not remain wounded. God can heal her too.

    Just my two cents.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      Wow.
      Amen.

    • Mimi

      I think that is incredibly irresponsible, and actually *sick*.

      Only God knows if that person is truly healed. Why anyone would take that chance with their children, is beyond me.

      And yes, for some people they ARE wounded for life. Some people never experience complete healing from God. Some people never come to know God at all. They remain wounded, and it goes on to effect them the rest of their life.

      Shame, flashbacks, insecurity, fear – they often last a lifetime. Even when they have BEGGED Christ to heal them.

      So no, you will NOT hear an “amen” from me when someone knowingly puts their children in care of an abuser (one that claims to be healed). That just makes me sad.

  • http://napervillechristian.org Neil Schori

    This is a fantastic post, Los! It is great to see followers of Jesus struggling with connecting their minds and hearts to such an important question. I think this should be a struggle. Why? Because the lives of the vulnerable depend on us to protect them.

    I’m curious about something else…what do we do with domestic abusers and their victims? We can’t be too quick to say that if Jesus forgave them, then we should too because actions have consequences just as we see throughout all of scripture.

    Abusers of all sorts tend to claim restoration and cry a lot of tears then go to pastors in churches and further victimize their already run-into-the-ground victims by convincing them that their victims are the heartless and unforgiving ones. And what does that do? It perpetuates the evils of abuse.

    I’ve heard that 70% of pastors send battered wives back into the homes of their abusers all the while quoting scripture about submission and God’s will and that divorce is bad…while ignoring the problem. It has also been my experience that pastors not only turn a blind eye to abuse but that most of them couldn’t even pretend to care about it.

    I’ve encountered quite a few victims of domestic violence over the last few years. I will never make excuses for abusers and I will never send a victim back into the home of her (his) abuser. Jesus wouldn’t do it and I won’t either.

    What do you think about this? Do we just take someone at their word that they’ve changed? What about their victims?

    • Anonymous

      Would definitely like to see people’s responses to this question as well. Abuse is a largely ignored issue in the church. Domestic violence happens far more than anyone in the church wants to believe.

    • Jessica(nu2htown)

      Wow. Had to mention domestic abuse?? Ugh, I only say that because I loathe the abusers. I believe we are gifts from God and I really hate that women (sometimes men) believe that this person loves them “so much it hurts”. And it makes me sick that certain religions believe in the sanctity of marriage over the lives of the believers. NO Christ would not want them to continue to go back and be abused. He loves us. Why would he WANT us to be hurt?? I understand about trials and tribulation, but there should be a good strong no longer abused person at the end of the story. If I had any message to spread it is this – You are worth it. You can have it better. There is someone out there that will love and protect you as God intended.

      I could go all day.

  • http://melindaguerra.myadventures.org melinda

    If the early church had kept this murderer formerly known as Saul away from their families, in fear he would murder again, most of our New Testament would not exist.

    To really believe in restoration and redemption means believing, “that is what some of you were… but now…” When we aren’t willing to walk the hard road with people… the road that leads to restoration… those he need to be restored aren’t the only ones who lose.

    God isn’t safe. I wrestle with that idea, because I want him to be safe… to be edgy only when I want him to be, and to be completely predictable when I don’t feel like being stretched. He doesn’t work that way.

  • shayne

    I have a few questions…I’m wondering what kind of counseling there may be out there for spouses of sexual offenders? Our judicial system, often treats the families of the offenders as though they themselves are criminals too.

    Also…since the offenders aren’t supposed to be around children…how can they possibly receive healing in a “normal” church setting?

    Does forgiveness always mean restoration? What does the Scripture mean when it says that the “gifts and calling of God are without repentance?”

    Just a few things stirring in the ol’ noggin thanks to Los.

    Also…Los pal, I’m so glad God put you in that man’s path that day. He needed to hear that he was clean in your eyes. Love you dude. Or at least, I love what I know about you from reading this blog.

    • shayne

      One more and I promise I’ll shut up.

      Los, I’m sure others will disagree with me here, but being a survivor of sexual abuse doesn’t make me wounded for life.

      Jesus healed my wounds. Completely. Therefore, I’m no longer wounded.

      That 10-year old girl…I pray that her family knows Jesus and that they allow Him to heal her completely as well.

      • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

        AMEN A MEN

        • Anonymous

          I struggle with this healed completely concept. I would say that Christ has healed me in miraculous ways, but it is a LONG, dare I say life long process.

          Just with anything that we go through in life, it affects us, who we are, how we act for the rest of our lives, healed or unhealed.

          This girl will NEVER go through life the same again, never.

          I’ve been through my own abuse, I’d say I’ve been healed, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a daily struggle with certain things, I will always have triggers. And part of my healing process is realizing that’s okay. It’s okay for me to say, I’m not comfortable with xyz because of where I’ve been in my past, and I’ve learned that trying to ignore the trigger, out of a desire to prove I’m healed, is a really bad idea.

          So yes, healed yes… but never the same.

          • Shayne

            Anonymous,

            Thanks for your response. I never meant to imply that I am not changed.

            I am wholly changed…but through Jesus’ care I’m changed for the better. You’re right, healing is a life-long process. I believe that’s true for anyone who has suffered.

            So let us raise our hands and give praise to the One who loves us enough to love us through the angry, rage-filled “where were You when I needed You” days, and the long fear-filled “will I ever be over this” nights.

            I don’t say that tritely…I say it in reverence and in awe for what He has done for me and for what He continues to do in you.

            Much love to you Anonymous…

  • http://windowsandpaperwalls.wordpress.com/ Cathy

    I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe someone already said this.
    As a Mommy of two toddlers, I would not want this guy in contact with my children. Children MUST be protected as much as is humanly possibly, since they cannot protect themselves. As this man’s sad story points out, all it takes is one incident of abuse, and it scars a person for life.
    Yes, of course Christ forgives. But we will not be sinless until Heaven…we all mess up daily, and the Devil knows just where to get us. For some, it may be slipping back into gossiping. When this guy “slips up”…it will be with a sin that slices through the heart and soul of a child. So he must be kept from them, for their sake, but also for his.
    I would LOVE it if people were able to keep my areas of weakness “away from me.” If a former sex offender gets indignant about being kept from children…well, then the big question is: “WHY is he mad about that?” And I can guess the answer.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      So the answer is…no. He cannot be completely healed from this?
      Just looking for discussion.

      • http://bricebohrer.com Brice Bohrer

        I say yes, he can be completely healed.

        No, he can never serve in the children’s department or be a babysitter.

        The two are exclusive.

        • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

          I agree.
          So how about this.
          Should a women who has had 2 abortions be able to get pregnant again?

          • Anonymous

            Kind of comparing apples to oranges here. I don’t have control over some one else’s pregnancy, God didn’t design the world to really work that way. I do have control over children that have been placed in my care, and what is best for them, and I believe God asks us to exercise control where he has given it to us.

            • RegisteredSexOffender

              So using your logic – should you give those children back to the mother that participated in killing her first two? After all they have been placed in your care.

              She can repent and can be a good parent. It is entirely possible. Just because someone made a sinful decision does not mean they will continue to do so.

              Because the media and politicians spill out very inaccurate information all the time concerning sex offenders people believe it. The numbers are hyped and misreported about how much of a risk for reoffense former sex offenders are and how treatable they are.

              Having said that (and as a former offender) I believe it is best practice for someone that offended against a child to NOT participate in activities where they are in leadership over children or would be left alone with children. It protects the former offender from having any appearance of evil.

              • Anonymous

                I don’t think I must have explained what I meant by in my care well enough.

                If they are my children… I am responsible on one level… if they are not my children, but I am another kind of relative, I’m responsible for them on a different level, and if I’m a church leader over them, then I am responsible to them on yet another level.

                There is an authority structure in place for a reason, and like I said, we’re comparing apples to oranges here.

                • Cathy

                  Agree with both of you…as to the abortion question: well, in the Universe of Cathy, the woman wouldn’t have been “allowed” to have an abortion to begin with.

                  As you pointed out, we have no control over her future pregnancies. We DO (and should) have control about who we allow to have private access to children.

                  And yes, we should all stay away from our areas of weakness.

                  And to the blogger – none of us will have ultimate healing until Heaven. Although, yes, the Lord can miraculously deliver people, here on earth.

                  But He doesn’t always. Some are left with a thorn in their side.

                  And only He knows which is which.

                  • Cathy

                    Also, there is nothing about the sin of abortion that classifies it as an addiction, or a compulsion, or a binding habit.

                    I understand your point, but I think this is a false analogy.

                    • Cathy

                      By the way loswhit (then I’m done, I think), it sounds to me like it WAS the Holy Spirit speaking through you to that man, backstage. That sounds like something God would say…and maybe that was something he needed to hear, to allow him to be delivered.

                      However, the Holy Spirit did NOT tell you to have this man babysit your kids, alone, at your house.

                      There are consequences to our sins. I have sometimes paid for long periods of time for sins I’ve committed. Just because God forgives, and even frees, does not mean He removes the earthly consequences.

                      I think one consequence of hurting a child is, you are not trusted ALONE with children again.

          • Sarah

            Los,

            Thats a great point! I’m still trying to figure out what’s right in my head but that right there has seriously made me stop and think.

    • http://joyinthesmallthings.wordpress.com joy renée

      The thing that doesn’t sit well with me with this kind of thinking—and this is just my opinion—is the lack of real forgiveness.

      I know that today, people see forgiveness as many things. The definition gets a little muddled sometimes.

      But this is how I see it: When I choose to forgive my husband (or anyone, this is just an example) after he has hurt me, it is me saying that I do not see his actions as something that defines who he is to me. I don’t forgive him because I think he’ll never hurt my feelings again, but because I trust that God can do, will do, and is now doing a good work in Him. And I forgive him because I trust in the cleansing power of Christ’s blood more than in my husband’s fallible human nature. And I forgive him without further distrust, because, simply, that’s what God has called me to do.

      You and I are just as capable of doing what the man in Los’ story did. Our SINS may differ from person to person, but our SINFUL NATURE does not. Therefore, for Christ to have forgiven me for the things I have done (either in action or in thought), it is no smaller or larger task to extend equal forgiveness to someone who holds the exact same sinful nature as I do, regardless of its manifestation.

      One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar:
      “Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last nihgt.”

      I’ll say it a thousand times. We must learn as children of God, to see people as souls for whom Christ died, not as walking lists of past mistakes.

      • Christina

        You just said exactly what I was trying to say.. Thanks!

  • sabra

    I have often thought about the people suffering in this world either from things they can or cannot control. This life is blessedly short as compared to the eternity of peace and joy we will enjoy later. We all sin and are tempted daily, having accountability built in to our lives,church,work,etc. is best to protect ourselves and others in this life. I pray that I can show Gods love to everyone I meet. We do often have to live with results of our sin till we leave this life. Thank God for the hope of heaven!

  • Nick

    I think this is the most powerful statement,

    “And I think that was the moment Christ was speaking through me and I was not clouded by, well, me.”

    This is what following the Holy Spirit looks like…

    • http://joyinthesmallthings.wordpress.com joy renée

      Agreed! That stood out to me, too. Makes me think twice about how often I truly stand in the way of allowing Christ to work through me.

  • http://bethegospel.wordpress.com jay sauser

    Thats powerful.

  • Rebecca

    My immediate answer is – of course there is complete healing. To dispute that would be to dispute who God is – Jehovah Rapha. He is the God that heals.

    While I wholeheartedly believe that he’s been healed, I most definiteyl believe that it’s possible for him to be “reinjured” and for that we must not only protect the children, but we need to protect him as well.

    • Anita

      “While I wholeheartedly believe that he’s been healed, I most definiteyl believe that it’s possible for him to be “reinjured” and for that we must not only protect the children, but we need to protect him as well.”

      My thoughts exactly. While Christ did challenge the Pharisees with “he who is without sin shall cast the first stone”..He also told the adultress, “go and sin no more.” Los–it was a total God thing that you were paired with him. Bless you for showing Christ’s love to this man. I hope he has authentic Christian men who can help him remain accountable in his walk.

    • Scarlet

      I agree! But alas our will to protect children and even him will likely be viewed as discriminating or not practicing true forgiveness!

  • http://violetjune.blogspot.com Violet

    I think the hardest thing I’ve encountered from being molested is the people around me not forgiving him. It hurts to hear how much my mom HATES him. I forgave him a long time ago… and I wish people would stop hating on him. It was a mistake and a long time, and he is a part of our family… well he was, but he can’t even come to Christmas. It’s messed up.

    • http://violetjune.blogspot.com Violet

      long time ago**

  • http://www.unforcedrthymsofgrace.blogspot.com becky

    Nothing new to say….your crew says it here….praying for him and all of us…..I get to work w/women who have been abused as children, using Dan Allenders’s amazing book Wounded Heart…..so I go nuthin that ain’t been said…..healed and forgiven….hmm….thanks for this forum

  • http://www.fredmckinnon.com Fred McKinnon

    Los,
    the hardest question is how we relate when it’s OUR kids being put in the picture. The stats reveal why this type of sin has no 2nd chance, because the repeat offenses are so statistically staggering.

    So, you’re left to make a judgment as to whether someone is “healed” and “safe” … based on what, a story, a confession, etc?

    It’s horrific, for sure. (not just what he did, but how it impacts him for the rest of his life). I hate, hate, hate how it’s impacted his life. I truly believe that I’d have given him the exact same response that you did. I’d want so badly to give him grace, and I’d want EVERYONE else to do the same … but then when it’s time to let the guy hang out w/ my kids … I don’t think I could do it.

    IT’s where wisdom and grace collide.

  • Dean

    Wise words that once contributed to the transformation of my own heart: “Man is incapable of change. Only God can change a man’s heart.”

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/stuffchristianculturelikes stephy

    Heavy.

  • Christina

    Los,

    I absolutely LOVE how you showed this new friend grace and mercy. The fact that you would invite them into your home and be around your kids (with supervision to protect ALL involved) speaks volumes.

    Must we protect our children? Absolutely(I have 3 myself, 2 boys -14 and 12 and a girl almost 9). Would I let someone like this into my home? As long as they were supervised yes. God’s grace has been given to me, why can’t I give it to others? How and I supposed to teach my kids about grace/mercy and God’s unconditional love if I can’t show it myself, I can’t. I’m not saying I would let him be around my kids unsupervised, that’s for BOTH his protection and my kids.

    My father is a recovered alcoholic(sober almost 41 yrs) and to this day he will not put himself into a position of temptation. Like others who have stated here, my dad knows he is one drink away from the old life he lived before God came into his life and restored him. The humility that my dad shows and this new friend shows is what keeps any addict from taking that one step backwards. If people hadn’t shown my Dad God’s grace and love who knows where my parents would be, I know I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t. So I choose as much as I can being a mere human to show God’s grace and love to those around me, including addicts/child molester’s. Without God none of us would be here.

  • Scarlet

    I don’t think one can compare the man who sleeps with many women teaching your kids to a child molester.

    I was sexually abused for many years by three different people, during different stages of my life. I have come to forgive each one of them and have no anger or ill will for them.

    I do believe that God has the ability not only to heal the victim but also the perpetrator. I do believe in giving people second and third chances, however, wisdom should always be used. I would never put a a recovering alcoholic in a situation where he could be tempted to partake in alcohol. Nor would I leave young children in the care of an ‘ex’ molester.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      should a person who has had an abortion be allowed to get pregnant again?

  • @danewutke

    is not the church for the sick?? did christ give the boot to judas when he knew judas would betray him?

    i think we all like the idea of safe ministry. when, in reality, ministry isn’t supposed to be about being safe.

  • Anonymous

    When I was 28 I married a man who had been “healed” for almost five years. I walked through it with him, we cried, prayed, sought counsel. I believed (and still do) that the blood of Jesus can cleanse from all sin.

    He was on a five year cycle. When I got the call that he was in jail, I had to look at the file that showed what he had been doing online. Sex with anyone, porn, etc. Sex addiction is like no other addiction in that you carry what you are addicted to in your memory. It is always there. I understand that we are all close to sin, but please do not trust your children with this person. Please. Also, my ex is a professional in his career (CPA), and anyone reading this would not be able to tell what he really is. He wears a suit and tie, and is very sincere that he is repentant again and again. But it always happens again. Honesty about what happened does not prevent a reocurrance.

    • Anonymous

      I totally here you, and agree fully.

      • Josh

        I couldnt agree more. It is an addiction. And as a M.F.T. I know that with any addiction one in recovery ones whole life. Same rules apply here. 1 Corinthians 10:32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God. This man would clearly be stumbiling if Carlos let him around his kids. As christians we would not take a recovering alcoholic to a wine tasting event would we? Sure, we need grace but theres a need to be wise with how graceful we are. You can just through around grace, if God did that we would all be save. We much ask God for grace and then live a life according to that grace. “Jesus did not entrust him self to the crowd because he knew the hearts”. John 2:24

  • http://taminprogress.com tam

    sigh…can i be brutally honest here?

    i was molested from the 5th grade, off and on, til the end of 8th grade by my younger sisters father. he also beat me and my brother frequently.

    he said he loved God. he named his 3 sons, from a previous relationship (before my mother) ‘matthew, mark and luke’. so, he HAD to be a godly man, right?

    when i was 18 years old i heard the news that this man had died in an extremely tragic, brutal, car accident. one that left him pinned between the grill of his truck and a tree. we were told he suffered for hours.

    it was upon hearing this news that i finally forgave him.

    i forgave him because he hurt, suffered, felt fear and died.

    thats where my heart was then. im not proud of that.

    today…im sorry he died. im very sorry he died that way. i believe there is hope and healing for anyone who wants it. i believe he had a chance at it. or, he could have. i wished he could have.

    today…i forgive him. not because he suffered and died – but because he deserves forgiveness. and to not forgive him would be to live under his power, and the power of those memories, for the rest of my life.

    i aborted two babies as a teen. God forgives me.

    who am i to withhold forgiveness from another?

    • http://www.ricianne.com patricia

      “who am i to withhold forgiveness from another?”

      love this tam!

    • http://livingfullypraisingloudly.blogspot.com LS

      tam, i am 100% with you on the “who am i to whithhold forgiveness from another?” i was going to type an original comment based on that same thing.

      i feel very strongly that we have been extended an unbelievable amount of grace by our Father. i think holding on and judging others for their sins (no matter how horrible from a worldly perspective a sin may be) is hypocrisy at its ugliest. who am i to say anyone is beyond grace? i think that judgment belongs to the One who paid the debt for that sin.

      while all sin is sin, the consequences for different sins are unique. so, if this man is truly repentant i don’t think the church should continue to throw salt in the wound. set up some precautions and accountability, absolutely. but to ostracize or judge this man — i don’t think so.

      this is the exact kind of person that Jesus hung out with when He walked this earth. He was all about healing sinners. Jesus was interested in true repentance and authenticity – not the proverbial middle class, minivan driving, 2.3 children families who go to church with their carefully constructed “my life is perfect” mask.

      so i say forgive. i say extend grace. i say trust the Lord. because in all honesty, harboring resentment and unforgiveness is the birthplace of bitterness. . .and last time i check, bitterness is not one of the fruits of the Spirit.

      • http://taminprogress.com tam

        and you said it SO much better than me!

  • kellyclinger

    i keep asking myself how the church of the new testament would have handled a situation like this…and there’s one thing i do know, they would NOT have kicked anyone out for sins committed.

    maybe if the church would not have IGNORED sexual sin and made it such a taboo subject for DECADES then this wouldn’t even be an issue. maybe if the church would have taught that it is NOT a positive virtue to satisfy every human appetite instead of feeding us milk and fluff then things would be different.

    God can, will and does heal…EVERYTHING…no exceptions…

  • Chuck

    Forgiveness seems to be such a tricky thing and especially for us as humans because we cannot see into the hearts of others. God can and He forgives anyway. We can’t and so we are plagued with anticipation of failure by the one we have forgiven. And fear, because we are afraid they will fall to the same sin and we will suffer hurt again (or someone else might be hurt) We are often afraid of the possible failures and it is too much work to monitor the “known” sinners so we cast them out.
    It is hard when the accusation comes up about not being forgiven because there is no trust given and then when trust is given, it is broken again. I am still struggling with how Forgivness and trust work together.

  • http://longsleevesandchucks.com Michelle

    There’s a lot of talk about keeping children safe. But shouldn’t the focus be on what God would have us to do, first and foremost?
    There seems to be a tension between what we feel Scripture says about this and what would be best for the kids.
    But I don’t think the two are distinct from each other. We can do the thing that shows grace and mercy and love, AND we can know that God has everything else under submission to His power. What’s best for the kids is doing what God desires us to do. Always. If we don’t believe that, then there’s a whole other issue that needs to be addressed.

  • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com loswhit

    Lot’s of talk about he could relapse into that sin again.
    What about a women who has had an abortion.
    Should she be able to get pregnant again?
    Or are we scared she might abort?
    If a change has taken place then a change has taken place.

    • danielle

      I’m not sure you can really compare the two in terms of likelihood to repeat–sexual sin often becomes an addiction, whereas abortion is generally an attempt to avoid consequences, a decision probably made largely out of fear. I suppose a woman who is addicted to finding love through sex may find herself in a similar situation again (i.e. pregnant), but my guess is she would be a lot less likely to abort after experiencing the loss once. I don’t think people become addicted to abortions.

      That’s not to say that they are undeserving of the same grace, but as others have mentioned we need grace and wisdom–to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

      • Josh

        I agree, daneille. Abortion on molestation are not comparable.

      • http://taminprogress.com tam

        i had an abortion.

        then had another one.

        so i was a repeat offender.

        i think both cases are a heart matter. imo. plain and simple. i aborted two babies cuz i was selfish and insecure.

        i think sex crimes are committed largely because one is full of self and, also, insecure.

        both are huge heart issues. both are sin. both can repeated. both often are.

        but i agree, los, if change has happened then grace must prove itself in others.

        • Rebecca

          I suppose I’m confused that so many people are equating grace and trust as if they are synonyms……they’re not. I am 100% certain of God’s grace for this man, and all of us sinners, and I, probably even more than He am in desperate need of it every single day. Still, I don’t believe that grace and trust are the same thing. For the same reason that men set boundaries with women and women with men…..wisdom often gets growned out in the process.

          • http://taminprogress.com tam

            i can totally see what you’re saying here.

            though i started thinking back to when my husband dealt with porn issues on the internet. it drove an instant wedge in our marriage. it took a long time, a very long time, for me to regain trust in him. but before i could even wrap my head around the trust issue…i had to extend grace first. for me, grace had to supersede trust. grace allowed me to trust him. that act showed my husband that i was in it “with” him. so, they, grace/trust, went hand in hand.

            dont know if that makes sense here. makes sense in my heart and head tho.

            ;)

            • http://livingfullypraisingloudly.blogspot.com LS

              makes sense to me :) i tend to think of it as forgiveness is required but trust must be rebuilt…

  • CJ

    Can the sinner be forgiven and healed?
    Can the wounded forgive and be healed?
    Can the Church learn to trust in the power of God to do these things?

    “…Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

    I guess it really comes down to whether or not we take Jesus words at face value…

  • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

    Carlos, this reminds me of a post i wrote back in July…
    (http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com/2010/07/hope-begins-in-dark-you-wait-and-watch.html)

    At the time, i was an intern for a ministry that serves a nearby reservation. A week before i left, a man was shot on our grounds. This man was a known troublemaker in the community; in fact, the people who shot him did so out of revenge. i wrote in my journal to help me process and as i did, i couldn’t shake my mind off one particular thought— If i don’t have hope for Luke, can i truly have hope for myself?

    Was i truly that different from this man? i too, have my addictions. i too, am broken. i too, need hope. If i can’t hope for this man, i can’t have any hope for myself. If i can’t believe God can change his life, i can’t believe God can change mine. If i can’t believe in grace for Luke, i can’t believe in grace for myself.

    Yes, i realise the crime of sexual abuse is difficult. i myself am a survivor of rape. Yes, it’s an evil act that is awfully hard to forgive, but if i can’t forgive my rapist, can i expect God to forgive me?

    All the emotional stuff aside, i think part of the problem with grace for sex offenders stems from the huge amount of misinformation out there. Not all sex offenders are equal. Someone who has sex with his 15 year old girlfriend is not on par with a serial rapist, yet our society doesn’t often make that distinction– even our current legal policy doesn’t reflect that fact. With the proper treatment, most offenders can heal and move on to live without re-offense– but that doesn’t happen in isolation. People need community, even sex offenders– especially sex offenders.

    And i truly believe the Church should lead the way in grace, love, and reconciliation– yes, even toward sex offenders.

  • http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com Kristen

    Looking at some of these comments I’m reminded that Christians often confuse grace and forgiveness with trust. You can forgive someone, and have grace with someone, while still maintaining their accountability going forward. Sin is sin, yes. But if I treat a child molester differently than any other sinner, it is not out of judgement of their sin. It is out of a knowledge of the implications of their behavior.

    Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knows that there are grave consequences to molesting a child. Both for the molester and even more for the child. For someone to be cognizant of the ruin that could occur and still go through with the act? To me, that shows a level of compulsion and lack of control that I would not trust around children. Forgiveness? Yes. But trust? No. I would assume this person would need strict accountability for the rest of their life.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      Good stuff minivanmama

    • http://livingfullypraisingloudly.blogspot.com LS

      100% agree with you here kristen…you concisely put to words where my heart is on this matter…

  • CJ

    yes. he can be healed. He may could even be trusted. But trust is lost and has to be rebuilt in any case. In this particular case, that could take a lifetime. Sad, but true.

  • http://www.anthemofpraise.wordpress.com Randi

    I’ll be honest here. I have a hard time forgiving someone who looks at me the wrong way. Or doesn’t agree with a comment I make. Or… whatever. But that’s my problem. Not theirs.

    God forgives. We’re called to forgive. If we don’t, that’s our problem. No? While we were still sinner’s God forgave us. We keep waiting for people to be perfected before we forgive. If Jesus waited til we had things all straightened out before He forgave us – where would that leave us?

    Yet even as I say this – I realize how hard it is to do. Because I am there myself. How to forgive someone who has done the unthinkable. Someone who you can’t even look at without feeling nauseated. Someone you should have been able to trust.

    Is forgiveness possible? Yes. Healing possible? Yes. For this man? Yes.

    Does it ever occur to us that maybe the reason why there are so many people committing the same sins over and over again, is because the church, I, decide to show condemnation instead of forgiveness? The one place they should be able to come where hope and forgiveness is extended – where Christ’s love is lavished upon them – we shun them, making them think it’s all on them, there’s no hope of healing and restoration.

    But, as I’m sure other’s have stated here. We have to use some wisdom. I’ve worked with people who are recovering alcoholics who can’t even stay in the same room as someone who is talking about alcohol – even after 5-10 years of being sober. And a friend who addicted to pornography sold his computer because he didn’t want the temptation sitting in front of him any more. Why would we place anyone in an area of known weakness? Are we trying to set them up for failure?

    We should use wisdom in placing ourselves (sinners just like this man), and our kids, in situations that could cause us to give in to our weakness, causing hurt to all involved.

    My 2cents.

  • CJ

    I’m reminded of a quote: “God gives mercy and grace freely, but he is thorough in His discipline.”

    Mercy, grace and forgiveness does not necessarily mean getting off scott free. We all pay consequences. We can show grace and mercy, yes. Again, trust that is lost takes twice as long to rebuild.

  • Ryan

    Posts like this make me want to start a blog and post really hard questions on it just to see the responses, but then I wise up and just come here where you have done it for me! Ha ha ha!

    Through many verses in the Bible it clearly says that this man can be healed of this! The battle is removing himself from the original environment that gets his mind to the place of sin.

    What I mean is this… the enemy can create and environment where he can solicit our minds with thoughts that will stir our affections in the hopes that we will enact our will to participate in activities that are not honoring to our King.

    The way we combat this is like John Edwards once said, “Whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, I trace it back until I have come to the original cause and then I both carefully endeavor to do so no more and I fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

    So in summary, can the evil one ensnare him again? The obvious answer is yes. Can your buddy remove to the “umpteenth” degree the origination of the environment that produces sin? Again, if he is willing, the obvious answer is yes. However the question becomes “SHOULD this man ever teach a children’s Sunday school class?” not “WILL this man ever be able to teach a children’s Sunday school class?”

    Nice post Los!

  • CJ Kelly

    I have been thinking about the issue of trusting again, after a failure.

    Could it be that we tend to think of trust as a static object, something merely exchanged in a momentary transaction, when in reality it is organic, and just like any other organic thing needs to be given time, nurtured, and cared for to see it grow?

  • Claygirlsings

    I can’t help wondering what the 4th song was and could sharing it here encourage others who are struggling with the same thing?

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      God of Second Chances. My album

  • rev.spike

    It is important to remember that forgiveness does not mean exemption from consequence. Unfortunately this guy is going to be excluded from certain kinds of service in the church. The challenge for any congregation will be to find some meaningful way to plug this guy in. On the other hand, I think we would be surprised what sort of things were going on (or had gone on) in the lives of people in our church if we had a Mississippi squirrel revival and everyone aired their business. At what point does someone become irredeemable?

    Exaclty.

  • Josh

    Carlos, how are you comapring abortion and molestation? It seems like apples and oranges. Abortion could be needed…like in a rare case if the mothers life would be in danger.I know it does not happen at all, if any in the USA but it happens in les medically advanced countries. Molesation is never needed to happen to save someone elses life in this country or any other.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      I’m not. I was comparing the issue of sin to sin.

      • Josh@Sandals

        Didn’t think you were. Just wanted to clarify.

      • http://taminprogress.com tam

        sin to sin.

        thats it.

        Christ died once for all, for sin, for us, you and me….all….our example of Forgiveness.

  • Lindsey

    In terms of whether or not that man (or any sexual offender) can be completely healed…I’d say that they absolutely can. Who are we to put God in a box? No sin is heavier than another, and if God can heal a gossiper, He can heal a molester. God’s grace doesn’t run out and it doesn’t stop short, so I believe that this man can absolutely be healed. And how amazing is that he’s chosen to give God the glory for it?!

    I’m not a parent, so maybe my opinion doesn’t count for much, but I am actively involved in church leadership and I 100% believe that there is a safe way to accommodate situations like this. In my opinion, it’s areas like these that the corporate church falls short. Maybe if we’d stop “hating the sin” before we “loved the sinner,” we’d get somewhere. Corporately, Christians are so busy running their mouths about how horrible abortions are, judging people based on political decisions, and hating gays, that we’ve missed the whole reason that we’re here. Why aren’t we standing at the back door of abortion clinics telling the girl who more than likely already feels bad that she is loved (regardless of it that was her first or fifth abortion)? Where are we at while homosexual children are killing themselves? We’re too busy looking inward and creating walls, that we’re losing sight of our only goal. Shouldn’t we be meeting people where they’re at? What happened to spreading the love of Jesus?

    Wouldn’t Jesus trust this man again? Aren’t we called to look and live like Jesus?

    Honestly, I think distancing ourselves from this man is the exact opposite of what Jesus would do, and it’s amazing to me that this man has chosen to remain under the label of “christian.” THAT alone is a true testament to how powerful the love of Jesus truly is.

  • Sharon

    I commented earlier but I have to add this….. I was molested in the 70′s. I think a lot of people were molested then and later because no one talked about it. I think that all this debate is healthy because it gives awareness. As a parent I talked to my children at a young age about sex not because I thought they would have sex that young but because I wanted them to know what was appropriate and inappropriate touch. When I was molested I didn’t know what it was and it made no sense. Maybe if someone had talked to me about sex earlier then I would have known and would have told then and not waited 20 years. This is a hot issue and people’s emotions go crazy when thinking of their own children being hurt but the best way to protect them is to empower them with knowledge.
    I also think it is pointless to bring in other issues like abortion because that has nothing to do with this. It is totally about what to do with former offenders. My opinion is that you should allow them in church – if anyone needs Jesus they do but you should make them be accountable for their time, never allow them or anyone else to be alone with kids. Remember with them you know what they have done with others you may not. And most importantly talk to your kids about sex and abuse and have a continuous dialog with them.

  • http://twitter.com/Antof9 Antof9

    I love that you wrote this. I love the way you wrote it. I love how thoughtful you were/are about this. And mostly I love that you let God speak through you to this guy.

    It makes me think of two things:
    1. people who have decided that homosexuality is the one sin that’s not ok (well, we know none of them are ok, but you know what I mean) or is too big or whatever. This seems to fit into the same category.
    2. this is (sadly) such a great example of the difference between earthly consequences and heavenly consequences. The fact is that God forgives. Period. From Heaven’s perspective, he’s fine (as far as we can know, anyway). But the earthly consequences in his case are so BIG. He can’t volunteer, he can’t help out, he can’t he can’t he can’t and the list goes on. My best illustration for earthly/heavenly consequences used to be sleeping w/ your boyfriend. You can ask for forgiveness and be genuinely, sincerely sorry, and God WILL forgive you. But you might also still be pregnant. Your friend has presented another great example. But it makes me sad.

    I don’t have kids either (I actually have 12 nieces and nephews, despite my screen name), so I don’t know how I’d handle this, but thank you for making me think.

  • http://www.billkunkel.com Bill

    You have some stones for posting this and I admire your courage to do so.

    I have heard it said that “Where there is harshness, there is hypocrisy” Here is how harsh is defined: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/harsh

    I believe that we need to ask for a supernatural unction of grace and wisdom in situations like these as our carnal nature will not point this person to a path of redemption, but towards a punishment in this life that seems ‘right in our own eyes’.

  • http://bradshimomura.wordpress.com Brad

    Children’s Pastor here. I believe him 100% without a doubt. I think I would trust him to be around my children, however, I could not in good conscience allow him to volunteer in Children’s Ministry in any capacity. Why? Good question:
    1) It opens doors to men who may think they are healed, but are not, or men who simply have ill intentions.
    2) If the parents were to find out that I allowed a former, forgiven and healed child molestor (no matter the circumstances) volunteer, I would have no children left to minister to.
    3) The legal implications are huge. Simply allowing him to be there could open the doors to lawsuits that would close the doors of the church. How are we being effective then?
    4) Though I trust him, I have to ask, “What if he slips?” I would never be able to forgive myself, and I would be out of ministry for good.
    I know this sounds heartless but it is how we have to operate. Safety takes 2nd priority in church (behind the preaching of the gospel), if things are not safe (physically and legally) we get sued and shut down.

    I appreciate this post, and would like to have him serve, but it simply can not happen.

    • http://vagabondrun.com/ Kyle Reese

      Wouldn’t living out the gospel be more important than preaching the gospel. And what does the gospel truly show us with regards to this situation?

      I think we are missing the point of how to respond to people who have screwed up but deserve a second chance and healing — in all categories of life, not just this topic.

      I mean, should we make a decision because legally we may be sued? Shouldn’t we worry more about the eternal consequences than the worldly ones? Often these types of situations produce people who make themselves the victim and ask that the church enables that. In scripture, often when a person messed up, they were exiled…but then were almost required to come back. Why? Because that’s where healing and redemption took place for both parties.

      We need to quit worrying about politics and start worrying about grace, love, and reaching those who are far from God.

  • http://www.keithelgin.com Keith Elgin

    Los – would you let your kids be alone with him? I know you said you’d let him eat dinner with your fam and your kids would make him feel forgiveness.

    If not, does that mean you don’t believe in complete healing?

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      I don’t know.
      I honestly dont know.
      I’d pray and ask God when.
      Maybe 10 years. Maybe 20.

      • Josh Alden

        There seems to be a lot of debate about “Complete healing” but we seem to forget that our time on earth is a broken one until we go home to be with God. As such Satan still roams this earth stalking us. Just as Paul famously talks about the temptation of his flesh we will always have that there. So it is up to use to keep the things that temp us out of our lives as much as possible. Being healed from a porn addiction does not mean you can just venture into a porn convention. I feel our sins are always a stage of recovery while on earth. The best example I know of is alcoholics say “I’ve been sober 14 years” not “I’m free of addiction so I can drink regularly”. We are all recovering from sins at different levels and should treat it as such or else we might get proud right before we fall… again.

  • Charlton

    wow… that took me a few hours to read all the replies… Thanks Los on being open to being used by God in a very un-human like manner.

    Is God’s healing absolute? yes
    Is God’s forgiveness absolute? yes

    I truly believe that a person who is truly forgiven and does not want to mess up again will do whatever necessary to not be in that situation again… Even if this person trusts him/herself, there is no reason to let Satan get into the situation again. We, as sinners, need to trust in God and Christ’s blood to forgive us, and for us to forgive those who have hurt us.

    If a “registered sex-offender” or any other sinner for that matter refused to get the help and take the necessary precautions that it would take to refuse Satan a foothold, I would have to question their heart and if they are truly repentant. I know this is a touchy subject, but you can judge (or “know”) they are disciples by their fruit/love for one another.

    • CJ Kelly

      “I truly believe that a person who is truly forgiven and does not want to mess up again will do whatever necessary to not be in that situation again… Even if this person trusts him/herself, there is no reason to let Satan get into the situation again. We, as sinners, need to trust in God and Christ’s blood to forgive us, and for us to forgive those who have hurt us.

      If a “registered sex-offender” or any other sinner for that matter refused to get the help and take the necessary precautions that it would take to refuse Satan a foothold, I would have to question their heart and if they are truly repentant. I know this is a touchy subject, but you can judge (or “know”) they are disciples by their fruit/love for one another.”

      I think that’s a powerful and important aspect of this discussion.
      Thank you for posting that.

  • http://www.thusfarwithgod.blogspot.com Michelle

    Crazy. I trust my molester with my kids. I trust him with myself. I forgave him, he healed. My scars allow me to love deeper, yeah I still struggle with trust; I’ve asked my kids several times if they’ve been touched inappropriately. Come with the territory I guess.
    Why do we judge some sins so much harsher than others?
    Would I trust this van driver with little kids? A stranger? Right now the mother of teenage boys I say yes. Honestly idk, I’d love him, hang out with him, cook dinner for him, do life with him as a community of believers.
    Love, forgiveness, trust. Los- this world is a crazy place, thanks for all your blogtastic conversations.

  • Danielle

    That is an amazing humbling word. I do believe that people can be healed, but I also believe when sins are committed toward our sweet children, unfortunately our flesh (as a parent) gets the best of us. However, what an awesome example of God’s infinite mercy and grace- I could never ever comprehend. Thank you so much for sharing this story and making such impact in this man’s life.

  • http://bajanpoet.wordpress.com bajanpoet

    All I can say is – this post hits too close to home – I can’t read the comments; it’s too painful…. but you can see where I am by reading my last post on my own blog.

    I liked the one set of comments I did see, from Ian, “It’s not just the convicts who are unworthy to minister in our churches. No one is.”

    Tell that to those who kicked me out – and now I’m afraid to even TRY to approach God, far less pray for anyone else. I’ve died inside….

    (Oh and – unrelated – I think this is the first time I’ve been here… first time I actually posted a comment, anyway…)

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      Thanks for being here man

  • Abby

    I was sexually abused multiple times between the ages of 5-7. I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that those experiences broke me in ways no child should ever, EVER be broken. But I’d also be lying if I’m sorry it happened.

    Please don’t misunderstand . . . I’m not celebrating what happened. But, if given the chance to go back and rewrite my past without those experiences in it, I would say no.

    The level of wholeness I’ve come to know in the intervening years amazes me. GOD amazes me. Restoration isn’t just about gluing broken pieces back together–it’s about making it as good as new. He has restored me–100%. No nightmares, no hidden trust issues, no lingering brokenness or unforgiveness. I’m not a survivor, or a victim, or any other kind of statistic . . . it’s just a part of the larger story that is my life.

    I have seen God use the brokenness of my past to save me from my own bad decisions, to lay a balm of healing on the blistered, festering sores of other people with similar stories who need to know that God truly, absolutely RESTORES the broken pieces to us. Because of that part of my past, I can hold up my life and say, “Look! Look what He can do for you! He MAKES ALL THINGS NEW. Bottom line.”

    Does that mean that that part of my story goes away? Nope. Does that mean that the man mentioned above gets to lose that part of his story? Nope. We’re both stuck with our pasts and neither one of us can control how other people react to our stories.

    And I guess I’d like to say something to that man, should he ever reads these words:

    I forgive you.

    • Lolly

      Amen!

      I was laying in bed thinking about it. I think someone stated it already, but I’ll say it again b/c this is what resonated in my head when I was thinking about all of this. The same grace and forgiveness God extends to all of us is the same for a molester. If we think for a minute that they cannot be set free from it and yet we can be set free from the things (although lesser in our eyes) that we needed deliverance from, then we are just showing our unbelief. Either God’s healing and deliverance is for everyone or He is a liar.

      I say this with complete sincerity. This truly hits close to home for me as well. I was fondled by my mom’s boyfriend at 9 and have a FIL that also molested my SIL.

      I pray for wholeness for us all. They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the power of their testimony!

  • Albee

    Ok, I’ll be the A-hole….I’m not letting him around my kids without me in the IMMEDIATE vicinity. Too much to lose. He wants to go get coffee, go to a movie…no problem. My first responsibility in this world is my children, and there are a lot of roles in the church that are hundreds of feet away from FlipFlops. He can serve there.

    Does he deserve grace….yep, and I truly hope he finds it. Just not around my kids.

    • http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com Los

      a hole. ;)

  • Miriam

    Within the next 3 weeks I’ll be confronting my molester. At 35 I can see now the effect that this has had on my life, my choices, my present and how it will effect my future if I don’t get this out. I’m not so sure how it will go. He doesn’t walk with God. He’s family so he’ll be around forever. But I have to confront this, because I am at this point in my healing process. I want my future to be bright.

    When he gets around my daughter, the hair on the back of my neck bristles.

    I also have a dear friend from long ago who was just recently released after 10 years in a mental hospital that specializes in sex offenders. They didn’t want to put him in general population for his own safety. He’s a dear friend, but I can’t let him around my daughter after what I experienced.

    • Plano Mom

      I’m praying for you big time Miriam.

  • http://over-communicate.com Thoams

    Man, that was heavy.

    Situations like this are why grace is such a difficult thing to get our heads around. God calls us to forgive people who do things like this before they even ask for the forgiveness… that’s what he did. Until we can forgive the people that we think deserve grace the least (pedophiles, Osama Bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, etc) we don’t understand the weight and importance of Christ’s blood.

    …but its so freaking hard sometimes.

  • Vicki

    I think the discomfort also comes from the scary fact that although we are forgiven, the pain and consequence of any of our sins will not go away until Jesus comes again. There are some consequences that will not go away while on this earth.

    With that said, I think a molester breaks a trust that you just can’t get back. The price is just too high to take the chance. I can’t be a party to a little child being hurt because I don’t want to be perceived as being unmerciful. If I’m going to err in this case, I’m going to err on being protective of the innocent.

    I can love people with boundaries. I could love the man who made the mistake and forgive but make sure that it is in a controlled environment. I can make sure that he is not shunned by me nor run out of town or church. I can look at him as a person and love him but I wouldn’t allow him around children unsupervised and I would be very careful with sending a message to the children that he is safe to be around without another adult being there.

    I applaud this man’s honesty and bravery. That definitely says something and he should be embraced. However, he should also understand that there will always be the needed boundaries as a consequence.

  • Pingback: The different understandings of forgiving…- Unsafe Challenge

  • http://cyprusjourney.wordpress.com Dan

    Forgive him 70 x 7. Trust him alone with children…never. Love this guy, completely. Name one sin that you have struggled with, where you have felt healed from, that you haven’t repeated. Like me, I’m guessing the list is short or nonexistent. We are capable of sinning, being healed/forgiven, then sinning again. It is our nature. It is a constant battle of the flesh. If I turn my back to God, even if for a short time, I am capable many sins. It is this battle, to stay turned toward our King and not hide that will plague us till He brings us home. Consequences are real. Forgiveness is real. Love is meant to be unconditional.

  • http://Noname Sorry no name

    Amen Dan ,Consequences are real ,i am not perfect by a long shot ,i have and will pay for things in my life i have struggled with but letting my children around a child molester is not one of the things i could ever bring myself to do ,why would i place a child in the situation like that ??A child molester makes a decision to do what they did One of the most precious things that God gives us in life ,makes me sick to think about what they do ,He can be forgiven of coarse but left with children i think not,.as for me i would not take that chance ,never

  • Plano Mom

    I was an adulterer. Thankfully my ex-husband has forgiven me. I am very open about it in my church, tell folks that if you can commit a “big one” and still be loved, anyone can receive Grace.

    Although I’m not single now, never has there been any woman in the church who has not been willing to leave me alone with their husbands. Not sure they’d let them sleep in the same room with me though.

    There’s recognizing the power of Grace, and there’s also recognizing the power of Temptation. You have to honor Grace, but you also have to prepare for temptation and sin. It’s a double whammy, you can’t have one without the other.

  • Art

    “You have to honor Grace.”

    That’s powerful. The alcoholic that honors grace will stay away from liquor. The drug addict that honors grace will stay away from drugs.

    The child molester that honors grace will stay away from kids.

  • http://twitter.com/matias72 matias72

    Completely agree that there are consequences for every sin, and that this sin carries the consequence of not working around kids or being alone with them. This is wise… but it does not mean to ostracize them from the church all together

    1 Corinthians 9, 10, and 11 talk about all things being lawful, but not all things are beneficial, and that we should avoid things that might offend or cause others to stumble – 1 Corinthians 8:13, “For this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.”

    We should avoid putting people in situations in which they might be tempted

    BUT:

    Galatians 5:13-15 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” However, if you continually bite and devour one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.

    Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual4 restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention6 to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too. Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

    Where is the love in dealing with people who have sinned? Where is the carrying one another burdens.

    • http://twitter.com/matias72 matias72

      Sorry for the long post… this has been mulling around in my brain

  • http://www.whatwasithinking.wordpress.com Susie

    We are called to love and to be kind to child molesters. We are not called to entrust our children to their care, or even their presence. Our God-given intelligence has afforded us the ability to conduct and examine research on pedophiles. The reality is, the majority re-offend, regardless of psychiatric treatment or religious experience. Can God remove the desire from them? Absolutely. Can we risk our children’s psyches (incest has been aptly called “soul murder”) on our hunches or hopes or beliefs that God has done so? Absolutely not. Only God and the perpetrator can know for sure. Only those two; not a third party, not ever. There are some choices we make that, even though forgiven, their consequences remain with us throughout this life. You and I didn’t set up that system; God did. I wrote a related post some time back, on my belief that you just don’t put your kid at risk, no matter what: http://whatwasithinking.wordpress.com/2007/06/19/seen-too-much-dont-want-to-see-anymore-no-funny-here-today/

  • http://silatjunkie.tumblr.com/ sean

    Grace vs. stupidity

    Can a sex offender change? Possible.
    Will they change? That’s really the question.

    Why does a guy with that background have a van. No doubt a panel van. That just smells creepy from the start…

    We have the obligation to protect our children from predators NOT work to test the reformation of a person’s heart.

    Would you drink alcohol in front of an alcoholic?

    Would you offer cocaine to someone recovering from “coke” addiction?

    Would you give the web address of porn sites to someone recovering from porn addiction?

    If you are a Christian you are naive to think that this simply goes away. The fact that the guy still lives in it, keeps it right in his face all the time. I’m sure it consumes his thoughts—anything thought is as good as done according to Scripture.

    Should a sex-offender be part of the church? Absolutely, like anyone else. There are far more people in the church who have histories that are unknown and no less vile. Let’s just not be naive about it and think this person should be around kids. We as the church should be holding him accountable on every level!

    The statistics for child sexual abuse are on the rise. Out of every THREE girls at least ONE is sexual abused. Out of boys at least ONE out of FOUR.

    I have three girls and I am concerned about the statistics to say the least… I have little tolerance for child abusers personally, having come from that background myself. I’m also sure, that out of all of these people who have responded there are a good deal that have as well.

    Think about how it has messed with you before you start making decisions about Grace…

    • Leslie

      Your reply is very responsible and a call for people to wisen up.

  • http://rtbtaketwo.wordpress.com Sandra

    As I read this I felt my shoulders tense, my brow furrow, and my heart flip over from OPEN to CLOSED…WAY CLOSED. Like my own version of the Meatloaf song, I would do anything for love but I won’t do that. (Okay I’m not even sure how my mind went here but it did.)
    But that’s from experience. That’s from never knowing what it’s like to hear someone “like that” show repentance. or healing. or giving a damn.
    But that shouldn’t matter.
    You’re right about how we gauge sin, saying the molester is worse than the man whore. This sin is worse than that. Yet considering what Christ did for us while we were sinners, how can we NOT extend even an inkling of love to others? Even the guy in the beat-up old van? This idea still makes me shudder, but I’m inching closer to embracing it.
    So thank you from the bottom of my (now slightly open) heart.

    • Jessica(nu2htown)

      “That’s from never knowing what it’s like to hear someone “like that” show repentance. or healing. or giving a damn”

      Exactly

  • http://ammointhedryer.blogspot.com ammo in the dryer

    Might be running a little late with this. But here goes.

    I was sexually abused when I was 14 years old. And with time, and lots of talks with God. I found two things. The man who abused me, just sinned, like we all do. His sin just hurt me more deeply. He needs Gods love, more than anything. I have forgiven him.

    However, I dont think I will ever let him back in my life. Should we get mad at a snake for being a snake? No, but as such we also do not let snakes live in our beds. Accept what the evil is and love it for what it is, but keep safe. The man who abused me never did repent, turn to God, or ask for forgivness. I am not sure how I would respond if he did. But even as it stands I have a level of Love for him. He is just a man, just a child of God, his wrong is no more or less wrong than mine. He needs Love and God just as much as I do.

  • http://mallaschmeditations.wordpress.com/ Carol Mallasch

    beautiful- this is not about molestation which is HORRIBLE. but about the CHURCH. we are the body, these are very difficult issues that we must face- sin raw exposed unafraid confessed forgiven redeemed restored renewed
    WAKE UP
    LIFE SUCKS
    WE MAKE IT THAT WAY

  • anon_igtor

    There are a few elephants in the room here…
    1. This fellow was a straight arrow up until 2 years before the molestation… How many people in your church are pushing up against the last few days of a 2 year slot that freely work with kids unhindered?
    2. This fellow was molested when he was six. How many people in your church who freely work with kids were molested at age 6?
    3. This fellow confessed… how many people in your church are molestors, but have not confessed, and yet work freely with kids?

    My point is… a molester can be anyone, even the straightest most righteous staffer or non-staffer in your church. Most folks who find out their senior pastor molested a child saw no signs, and are incredibly shocked that such could ever occur.

    Some might argue that this fellow is a known risk, and that makes it different. I’m not so sure. The key is safeguards to minimize the potential for molestation by anyone, even the seemingly least likely candidate ever.

  • Paul

    Ok, I have a short follow up question. For those of you who say, “I would forgive him, but I wouldn’t ever let him around my children”, what do you consider forgiveness? If there is no change in your action around him besides saying, “I forgive you”, then what has really happened? I guess what I’m asking is, for those of you to whom this was addressed, what does forgiveness MEAN?

    Not a leading question…just curious to your responses/reasoning.

    • Jessica(nu2htown)

      I think most are saying that the person can be forgiven. But accountability is the key to a more Christ like life. You may not have to forgive an alcoholic for who he/she is, but your gonna help them not go into the bar. Not serve wine at your party. I have heard of Christian “celebrities” that have an accountability partner so that they are never alone with the opposite sex (other than their spouse). It is just staying away from temptations. It is our sinful nature to be curious. I would find it hard to be in a room with a known molester, but I would try to love them anyways. Forgive them even though they did not sin against me. So really, I wouldn’t have any forgiveness to give them I guess. But it is the trust factor. You can trust that Christ has worked in that molestors heart. That doesn’t mean to put that person into a situation where they will be tempted or your children in harms way.

    • Leroy

      Forgiveness cannot be exercised without a degree of trust. They go hand in hand. For anyone to say that they “forgive” an individual for their sin, yet would not trust them, is self contradictory. Still, above and beyond all of this is the fact that as Christians, is it not said that you are not to judge?

      This is an extremely delicate topic that undoubtedly invokes deep and strong emotion on all accounts. The answer only God knows.

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  • Bill

    Sadly, the statistics on the number of repeat offenders (christian and non-christian) in this area is a staggering fact. The potential consequences of misreading this guys heart is far greater than misreading the heart of a “Judas” that is handling money. Make a mistake in determining if Judas is healed/recovered and the worst thing that happens is some money is taken. Misread a sex offenders healing/recovery and let him be alone with children and the thing that gets taken is a child’s innocence and childhood. Let me be clear, i believe that he needs to be forgiven and that the church needs to make a place for him in their fellowship. I would invite him to my home to have dinner with my family. I would not leave him alone with my kids. Forgiveness does not have to equal no boundaries. The other part of this discussion is “who gets to determine the appropriate level of risk?” If i choose to leave him alone with my kids that is my decision and i live with the consequences as a parent if it goes south. If i as a church leader put him alone with kids as a volunteer at church i am risking another parents child – I dont get to make that decision.

  • http://www.iamsarahjoy.com sj

    wow. this is such a confronting post but so so good. thanks for writing it and bringing this to light. and all the comments here (i couldn’t even finish reading through them there’s so many)

    i struggle to forgive people and show grace even to things that are not as severe as child molestation. at the end of the day, a sin is a sin and my lack of ability to show grace, love and forgiveness is as much a sin as any other sin. and then i struggle to show my own self grace.

    so i guess we all need God’s grace to show grace ha ha. but still, the need for boundaries is real. grace or not we still need to be wise.

    thanks for writing it!!

  • http://scarletcordm.com Kamrie

    Wow this is a crazy story full of questions with tons of gray answers that will never be black and white. Honestly, this man is really screwed. He will be labled for the rest of his life but maybe instead of working with kids or teens he should commit to assist other registered sex offenders. Now days sex trafficking is getting more publicity so it would be awesome for someone to talk with the perpetrators rather than the victims.
    Thanks for the post I am not sure if you heard this but this month is dedicated to domestic violence and I believe this post fits in perfectly!

  • david u

    Hi, I’m David and I’m an alcoholic. I haven’t had a drink or unprescribed drug in 283 days. I am very fortunate to have never killed anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle. Each day I thank God and through constant contact with God and other addicts, I am free, one day at a time. I was asked the other day how I would respond if someone killed my family while DWI. I would be devastated. My world would seemingly be over. I am commanded by Christ to love and forgive. I am blessed to lead worship in my church on a semi regular basis. I don’t deserve this. I live in Grace, His grace. Would I want this man to be alone with my children? absolutely not. I hope that I live what I believe enough to offer everyone measures of the grace I so don’t deserve. I love to think of Christ drawing the line in the sand…

  • http://www.comeinunity.com Tom Hawkins

    “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” Gal. 6:1

    The Greek word restore here is like a person resetting a broken bone back to its original place. If you believe the word of God; If you trust God and not your ability to control the future, there is only one choice. Restore this brother….but only you who are spiritual are capable of such faith..

  • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com ChadJ

    This gets to the heart of the scandalous nature of grace. If Jeffrey Dahmer can find Jesus, why not this man? David Berkowitz turns down parole so he can continue to minister in prison. We say no one is beyond God’s love, but do we actually believe it? Either grace is for everybody, or it’s for nobody.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t believe for a minute that Jeffrey Dahmer found Christ.

  • http://JJ JJ

    just like it would be unwise to let a recovering alcoholic to work in a shop where they sell alcohol, it would be unwise to let a recovering sex addict work with kids.

    • david u

      haha. funny, I manage a bar. Recovering alcoholic here.

  • drhoctor2

    As a victim of sexual violence and a woman who believes in God’s grace…I say this..If this man has been healed than HE should NEVER put himself in a situation where he is alone with children. EVER!! You do not repent your sin and then do NOTHING to atone for it.
    He SHOULD MAKE IT HIS LIFES WORK TO PROTECT ALL CHILDREN FROM HIMSELF…no matter what it takes from him in terms of finances, pride or personal sacrifice.
    He does sound as if he is complaining about how “hard ” it is on him to move forward and be trusted…every time he feels resentment I hope he falls to his knees and begs forgiveness again for his vanity.
    I am grateful that God forgives those I cannot..I am grateful that God forgives ME when I cannot..but when I recognize my sin , I recognize I must ensure that I stay away from the very occasion of that
    sin, that I do not allow myself the arrogance of assuming I’m strong enough to resist that which I have previously failed to resist.
    In other words..were I this man…I would never allow a child to be in a position where I/he would have to resist the temptation of sin.
    AND yes…if a man has raped he should also never allow himself nor be allowed to be in alone with or in any position to make a woman uncomfortable with his presence.
    I am weak and doubtful..I am only human…I need to SEE the difference forgiveness has made in a rapist/molestors daily life.
    Self regulation would be a minimum requirement for asking me for my trust in their statements of regret and repentance.
    “I didn’t lie when I got caught/confessed” is irelevent. You cannot take pride in not compounding a horrible and damaging sin against another. It bothers me that such a self serving statement was made by this man.
    I’m very disappointed that some people took to the tactic of what-if’ing analogies ..Adultery is not equal to sexual violence against children and women. Please do not minimize the pain this man’s sin caused to the innocent people he victimized because you are uncomfortable and seeking a way to forgive him easier by talking yourselves into thinking his sin as less dreadful because he has stated his repentance.

    • http://www.kitchencorners.com Damaris

      Well said!

    • Notlookin’fortrouble

      Sorry, but you must remember, most likely, the most important verse in Scripture about forgiveness.
      Matthew 6:14-1514 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
      We cannot talk about forgiveness as if God should do the things we are unwilling to do. Forgiveness of any and all sins is “dirty work” and one part of cultivating God’s kingdom.
      Secondly, the man in the article was not complaining about being unable to participate in children’s ministries after the act. He was relaying how hard it was to join in/be accepted in a faith community.
      Sister, truly, try to understand a person before spewing your filth/accusations and judgements at them, and if you cannot do that, avoid the temptation of such, by not participating in online discussions.

  • Stephen

    The issues of forgiveness, freedom, and wisdom are being mixed up into each other without clarification.

    I think every Christian is in alignment that this person can be fully forgiven. It’s appropriate that the church fully forgive as well as exercise wisdom in how to handle his role in the church. Ignorance here or “pretending it didn’t happen” is absolutely not the answer nor is it biblical.

    First, look at the qualifications for elders in the church. There must be a track record and a good standing. It’s very appropriate for a church to put very specific regulations around a member who has committed this crime and let him build a reputation of service to Christ. This goes into the issue of wisdom in dealing with a member, not forgiveness.

    The bible tells us to flee temptation, and make no provision for the flesh. It is unwise to place this person into an area where there was a gross violation against another person (aka kids ministry). The bible also distinguishes sexual sin apart from other sins in that it violates others quite directly.

    My main point again, is that forgiveness doesn’t equal an abandonment of wisdom and of time for a proven track record of character. It is biblical to use wisdom in how to handle the specifics here.

    —————————–
    Molestation vs Abortion:

    The problem with this comparison is that it’s necessary for someone to get pregnant to have a child. In the comparison, the question is whether that person should get pregnant again in order to have a child–potentially running the risk that another abortion might take place.

    There is no “process of pregnancy” comparison for the molestation example. In other words, there is no situation that that man would need to be in order to have the joy of a successful ministry (the comparison to the joy of having a baby). You can avoid the risk of him molesting kids all together while he still has a fruitful ministry in the church. So, in this case, why wouldn’t you? There is no reason, logically or biblically, for him to be put into a situation where he could fail in the same way.

    Likewise, it would be wise to not leave your kids alone with him and still encourage him in getting help and building up his character. “Lead us not into temptation” (wisdom) and “deliver us from evil” (forgiveness) work hand in hand.

  • http://www.dougruhs.wordpress.com Doug

    I have no idea what the right thing to do is as far as his serving goes. My job is to love him. If he says he’s healed, then Praise God, and pray for him.

    I’m not bright enough for much else.

  • http://ndever.livejournal.com/ Nicole Devereaux

    I think there is a difference between loving someone, forgiving them, showing them grace – and still dealing w/the consequences of sin. Adam & Eve sinned – they brought death, deceit, & a whole bunch of sh*t into the world. We deal w/the consequences of their sin (and ours) every day. But we still have the unmerited & glorious grace of Christ, healing us and bringing us to wholeness and to home (someday).

    So, I think loving this man, forgiving this man, showing him grace, is welcoming him into community. Should he work w/children? Probably not. Can he lead a small group? Serve on a hospitality team? Experience mission trips? ABSOLUTELY.

    And I love that you made point #8. We should not only be praying for this man but for all our church leaders – because, “but for the grace of God, go I” in the exact same direction.

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  • http://wordpress.com/lannamichelle Lanna

    I am reading a book that has really helped a lot by Dr. Dan Allender, Wounded Heart: Hope For Adult Victims Of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

    In the book I came across a passage that speaks about your very question about healing. It indicated that because we live in a flawed world we can not expect complete healing, we can expect to be forgiven and substantial healing but complete healing will come when we are no longer in this world. This thought actually goes w/ my personal beliefs that a pedophile can not change, just as an alcoholic has to abstain, so to must a pedophile. All it takes is one moment of weakness.

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  • http://spiritualklutz.com Spiritual Klutz

    I believe God has forgiven this man, and I believe his sin died on the cross with Jesus. As a believer, I could embrace him. But knowing that this man has a human weakness – as a dad, I would never, ever trust him to be alone around my children. To do so would be to abdicate my responsibility as a dad, and I think that’s sinful in and of itself.

  • http://www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com TinaC

    I know a church that did havea sex offender integrated into their small congregation. He was, from what I could tell, very much a part of the faith family. I didn’t know his history until our pastor was rounding up rides for ppl for his funeral. (we have lots of poor car-less, jobless, people in this church) Then, he took a minute to speak about how, in case we didn’t know, he helped our church be a better church- to grow- b/c he was a sex offender. They needed to find ways to include him, and keep the kids safe. They found ways. He found a faith community. Everyone was the better for it.

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  • Molly

    If he is healed, let him volunteer castration, then he will be acceptable again and people can trust him. I am an incest survivor and I would NEVER trust a pedofile around my kids, NEVER. NOT WORTH THE HELL!!!

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  • Remorseful

    Well I fell from grace and violated my step daughter’s trust. I went to jail for 3 months and my family and I have started on the road to recovery. We all have been in counselling for almost two years, I am still not in the home until the court gets our consellors approval that we are ready to be a family again. I belong to a church that is aware of my situation and not allowed to be in ministry. That is fine, I attend, get involved with a prayer group etc..

    Yes I can be healed and it is only through the grace of God that it is possible.

  • Geri

    I have been reading through this page and I am very thankful to find this. I am a mother of a child who was molested. I am also a molestation victim, or, I was, as a child. My step-father in law molested my daughter. My mother in law, thinks I harbor unforgiveness to him since I won’t let him around my children when he gets out of prison next year. I feel I’ve forgiven as much as I can, and wish him no ill will or harm, as a person. I believe he can have a productive life and many blessings the rest of his life. However, I don’t believe he should be around my 2 daughters. I honestly don’t believe that’s unforgiveness from any definition I’ve read. I believe God loves him just as much and forgave him, etc… but, I also believe I have the right to protect my children now that I am aware.

    Where is the line between forgive and forget? When the forget might mean putting my girls at risk? I just can’t figure that part out.
    Thanks for any responses,
    Geri

    • Whitney

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think you are in any unforgiveness for not letting your daughters around him. You are protecting them, and as a mother, that is your job… Good job, mama.

  • Meghan

    http://gizmodo.com/5726667/the-agonizing-last-words-of-bill-zeller?skyline=true&s=i

    Many things that ran through my head as I read this, including reminding me of this post. What a tragic story – how often do we miss the pain of those around us?

    I’d love to hear from all of you on this…

  • http://lovingfromtheinsideout.blogspot.com Connie

    There was a time in my life when I was considering a serious relationship with a nice, fun young man in my church. I more or less asked him out–believe I asked if he wanted to catch the MWS concert at the state fair. He said he’d have to think about it and get back to me. I didn’t think much of that, figuring he needed to check his schedule or something. When he finally did reply, it was to tell me that he was a convicted sex offenders (and as such parks, fairs, and the like were off-limits to him). To say that this news shocked me would be a major understatement. After serious consideration I decided against such a relationship with him because I realized: that conviction would play into EVERYthing we would do. It’s not like it would ever go away.

    Beyond the news itself, the most surprising and distressing things to me were: 1, when I asked him “how does a child become an object of sexual desire” and he said “I don’t know.” I thought, pedophilia is an epidemic in this country, and we don’t KNOW how it happens?? (He’d been in therapy; it’s not like he’d never tried to get treatment.) And 2, when I looked for Christian literature re: what if someone you care about is the abuseR, there was little to nothing. There’s near-total focus on the victims–and of COURSE they need and deserve such focus–but if we don’t focus on figuring out how it happens and on those who go there…aren’t we (even if passively) perpetuating the cycle???

    Both sides of the equation need serious attention. We have a lot of work to do.

    • ashleystorey

      Amen. We do have a lot of work to do.

  • wacky will

    All I can do speak from personal exsperince, I was molested by my oldest bro fro 2-5 & gang raped by my Bio father, step brother & there next door nabor at 5 I just blamed myself because I was unwanted & very difficult to deal with, but I never wanted to hurt anyone else & stayed far away fro children because I didn’t understand them & they freaked me out but at 14 my mom was working in a church daycare, she had the baby’s but in the after noon she got the potty trainers as well & she begged me to take a 4 yr. Old girl to the bathroom because she couldn’t leave the others I felt it wasn’t right but took. Her as asked I ended up fondling her I was appalled by my behavior! I was never caught but I treated myself like I was a regersted offender, I resurched & obayed. The rules to the letter, I am now 37 & have never repeated that awlful mistake, & now because of God letting me know he had frogicen me & now it was time for me to forgive myself I will talk to a kid or pat them on the head but am still cautious, nobody had to punish me I did it myself & every church I have been to has been pretty. Understanding when I told them, I have a friend ofmine from a former church that was in my sexule recovery group with me & he had been peeping in on his 16 yr. Old step daughter & has payed his time, he now has 2 young daughters & has worked hard & has commuted to never do this to them so resumption through Christ is possible

  • http://terricamp.com Terri Camp

    This hits very close to home as I was married to a man for nineteen years. We had eight children together. Life was good. We were strong Christian people, homeschooled our wonderful kids, and were active in our community. Then one day, our daughter who is 18 tells me that her dad molested her for four years. I later found out there was more abuse with other kids.
    Have we forgiven him. Yes. Does he get to have dinner with the children sometimes. Yes. Will he ever be their “dad” again. No. We are no longer married and he only gets supervised visits. Sometimes I hate him for what he did to our family because of his own selfishness. But I must go to the cross and forgive – over and over again. It’s not a one time thing. Reminders happen. And again, I must forgive.
    He will not be trusted just because I have forgiven him.
    He speaks of repentance. He says Jesus has healed him. And then he will send me an email telling me that I broke up our family.
    Should he have friends. Absolutely. Should he be allowed to serve in church. Yes. Should he be trusted? NEVER!
    Forgiveness does not equal trust or forgetness.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing your story. You are a strong woman to have gone through that. God bless you.

    • Sarah

      I am so sorry for what you went through. I pray that God continues to heal your heart. I completely agree with you. You are right forgiveness does not equal trust. Trust is something that is earned while forgiveness is a requirement.

    • Tracey Thompson

      I too have been through basically the same thing. My ex husband is currentl serving his 6 year sentance. My prayer is that he comes to repentance. So far he still says we are all liers. I don’t think he ever will repent. But either way, he will never have a meal with us.

    • Linda

      Ma’am: Thank you for sharing. This short pamphlet on the topic of forgiveness has greatly empowered me in recent years: http://web001.rbc.org/pdf/discovery-series/avoiding-the-dangers-of-superficial-forgiveness.pdf

    • ashleystorey

      I wholeheartedly understand what you are saying about forgiveness. Sometimes I have to forgive someone twenty times in one day. Each time the reminder of how they hurt me pops up, I have to choose to forgive again. You aren’t alone in that, sister.

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  • Marssia

    This hit home. Molestation hurt me when I was 5yrs old. And,I must admit,it’s affected my life completely. Forgivenes is a process. It is possible with Christ’s help. He shows us how to do this and carries us through it. I love God. He has helped me get thru the scars that such an act gave me.

  • Mandy

    As the fiancee of a registered sex offender, I think he should absolutely be given a second chance. Granted, my fiancee had consensual sex with a 15 year old at 19. Hardly the same as child molestation. However, I have received a look inside the lives of sex offenders (child molesters and others) and can honestly say, they really do change. They are all required to go through therapy and treatment, and when the treatment is good, and done well, they do change (even when it’s not, sometimes the punishment alone of being a registered sex offender for life is enough to change them – not to mention its beyond cruel and unusual punishment). Honestly, my boyfriend doesn’t want to be around anyone the age of 17 or under. He just doesn’t even want the appearance of possibly being inappropriate. Plus, he’s on his last year of probation and any appearance of him even having contact (i.e. short conversation, etc) can get him in jail. This is not unusual behavior for RSOs.

    The point is this:
    1) the recidivism rate of this kind of crime is less than 2% (some studies show up to 5%). The only crime with a lower recidivism rate is murder. Notice it was a stepdaughter. Someone he was close to and had a lot of contact with. Less than 97% of child molestation cases happen by a stranger or a barely acquaintance. It’s usually someone well known to the family. And if you have someone who’s made this mistake before, just know you stay in the room with them when your kids are home. Plain and simple. Even so, less than 5% recidivism rate.

    2) If this guy really has changed, he won’t offer or be interested in teaching children’s bible class, because he’ll know it can just get him in trouble (even if he doesn’t touch a kid, one could accuse him and into prison he’d go). Guys who have gone through this process tend to avoid children/minors at all costs. If he’s offering to teach a kids Bible class, then I’d get suspicious.

    3) We are all broken. We all fall short. We all need grace. God’s grace is big enough. Why are we so quick to say it’s okay for God to give them grace and forgiveness, but that doesn’t mean we have to? What is grace? “Unmerited favor” according to Mike Foster of People of the Second Chance. It’s even greater than mercy. Mercy is undeserved forgiveness. Grace is going a step further and putting them in a place of honor. Giving them trust and respect they may not deserve. If we are called to be like Christ, then we are called to give them Grace, even if it does make us uncomfortable. As I said, if the guy really has changed, he’s not going to offer to teach Bible class or be alone with your kids. He knows better. That’s my opinion from my experience with the men AND women who are registered sex offenders (and almost all of them have no minors involved in their crime – that’s the irony of it all).

  • http://Beingbrittany.tumblr.com Brittany

    This hit me hard because I am the little girl that was molested by her father. I believe in radical grace and forgiveness but I won’t forget and I won’t have a relationship with him. I haven’t forgiven him fully yet and there is a lot of bitterness but I’m hoping God will do work. Maybe I’m biased with this but I don’t know if I would ever feel comfortable with him being near me or my children.

  • airlantiss

    There are plenty of places to serve in the church that don’t involve children. You don’t want to place someone that has the propensity or the possibility of hurting a child in any part of the children’s ministry because that puts them in a position of “authority” with the children. Plus, it builds the children’s confidence and trust in that person. Molesters are master manipulators and very often do a lot of “grooming” prior to an assault.
    I am too tired and too scattered brained right now to say more but I am a survivor and more over mother of a survivor and mother of a perpetrator…..
    One day my son said “mom, do you really think I would hurt my sister again?” I said “No, but I never thought you would in the first place. So, now there will always be a safety plan and it will always be followed weather needed or not.”
    Maybe when I am not distracted I will come write more. This is a topic I wish I didn’t know as much as I know about it.
    Forgiveness and trust are two very different issues.

  • http://thewiredhomeschool.com John Wilkerson

    Dang. You making me think on a Thursday afternoon. My heart says, “Yes. He’s welcome in our church in any capacity.” My head says, “Screw that! He might hurt your kids.” I’m going to go walk around in circles for 30 minutes…

  • Tricia

    This broke my heart to read. Mainly because I struggle with understanding God’s forgiving nature daily and then incorporating it in my head and heart as I walk through life. I’ve been asked to show transparent Christianity all the time, but have always wondered exactly how transparent we should really be. How much do you tell the world about who you really are because we all know people don’t always understand and forgive or honor your faith.

    I’m going to keep working this out within myself because I really believe we need to allow people to walk through the forgiveness God has given each of us. It is up to each of us as Christians to provide the true response to healing and forgiveness. I’m just never sure how to achieve that honestly.

  • anonymous_sinner

    I have read many of the comments and I am pleased at the discussion that has taken place without a bunch of emotionally charged missiles fired from both directions. Thank you Los for bringing this up, as we all need to wrestle with how we live out our belief in what God’s word says. That being said I wanted to add my two cents. First some statistics that are taken from studies and not randomly fired about by the media and politicians.
    The Department of Justice reported that
    34% of sexually abused minors were
    assaulted by relatives and 59% of their
    perpetrators were acquaintances (Bureau of
    Justice Statistics, 2000). About 49% of
    victims under the age of 6 are abused by
    family members and only 7% of sex crimes
    against minors are perpetrated by strangers
    (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000).

    The U.S. Department of Justice found that 5%
    of 9,691 sex offenders released from prison were
    re−arrested for new sex crimes within three years
    (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003).

    Based on simply these and some of the comments above, parents and church leaders need to protect children and the vulnerable from all threats. Many have acknowledge that it is not impossible for any person to commit these heinous acts. That being said no child or vulnerable person should EVER be alone with any person male or female. For our own accountability and protection we should all live by this standard. I don’t disagree that certain folks whose sins are known should not be permitted nor should they seek to put themselves in potentially dangerous or tempting situation. Actually I might better say that anyone struggling or having struggled with a given sin area whether others know about it should not pursue these situations.

    We need to all be above reproach and avoid even the appearance of sin and we all need to be watchful for as 1 Cor. 10:12 states “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” and Gal. 6:1 states, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” We need to embrace all and walk together as we grow together in Christ but we need to exercise discernment and prudence in all things. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Mat. 10:16.

    And yes I, like the man in the article wear the label and am dealing with the consequences but I know my healing and forgiveness is complete in Christ no matter what people may say or think, and I currently run a ministry for the “lepers” in our world today who are often not tolerated at many churches let alone accepted. We are all in need of God’s saving, healing, redeeming grace no matter what outward sin we are guilty of since it is all merely an outgrowth of our sin nature which is the same in all of us.

    Thank you for letting me share.

  • Diana

    There are many different circumstances where people end up making mistakes they wish they could take back. If the church can’t be supportive then who will?

  • http://mrsgwest.blogspot.com/ Genevieve West

    My sister was murdered by her boyfriend. The details are the-truth-is-stranger-than-fiction terrible. Only God can heal someone that sick. But if Ben were to tell me that he’s been saved and made clean by Christ’s blood and he’s now my brother in Christ, I would rejoice with him… and then remind him of Romans 7:7-25. He cannot say with absolute confidence that he will not be tempted again and tear apart another family. I’m not sure that being integrated into the unsuspecting public is best – maybe this is part of his story so that he would minister to people who are where he was instead. I appreciate your courage to say that you meant every word that probably helped set him free a little more… and your transparency in admitting that you’ve “shuffled” since then. cassie brown .org

  • Anonymous

    Nope. I don’t buy it. I have a very hardened heart toward molesters. My own father was caught with multiple young girls and has been called a narcissist and pathological liar by two psychologists, and meets every character dead-on for being a psychopath. The thing with a person like this is that they can be VERY charming, very believable, and VERY good at lying. Child molesters don’t change. And I DON’T want them in my church. They are dangerous and often suffer from extreme personality and mental disorders. It is a job for a professional, not a church. Maybe I am wrong in my thinking…. but that’s how I feel. I have no empathy for child molesters. I don’t buy for a second that this guy was a changed man.

  • Anonymous

    Also, when you let your guard down and invite these people in your life, they find ways to harm you. Did you know that 90% of children are molested by someone they know? NINETY PERCENT. I know I would be PO’d if my husband invited a known child molester to my house, where my kids live, where I spend the majority of my time alone with them while my husband is away at work.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, me again. Sorry, this is a subject that kind of hits personally. Psychopathy is not something that is fixable. I am not saying this man is a psychopath… but did you know that 1 in every 20 people IS a psychopath? They do not feel love and they have no conscience. That is what psychopathy is, in a nutshell. Everything is for personal gain. Psychopaths, because they do not feel love or guilt, have to study people to “pretend” their emotions, and they are really, really good at it. Ted Bundy was a psychopath… he had close friends who never even had any inclination that there was anything wrong with him, much less that he was a serial killer. The reason I bring up psychopathy is because I think in order to hurt a child like this, you’ve got to be pretty hardened, if not psychotic. Not every psychopath is violent, and not every psychopath will hurt people in their lives, at least not physically. Most psychopaths will live their entire lives with no one knowing they are psychotic.

    My whole in this is to say what I said before — that some mental issues are not fixable. It is a theory that psychopaths are bodies without souls. After all, doesn’t a person who is unable to love or feel guilt pretty much sound like the epitome of evil? Maybe I am going to get some flack for this … but with child molesters, I don’t take my chances. I love my dad, and when he pretends to be a good dad, he acts like a really good dad. But there is a reason I live across the country from him and only talk to him every few months, and there is a reason my children don’t have a relationship with him (not that he cares), and a reason I will NEVER leave either of my children with him unattended.

    Okay, I’m done, swear.

  • @keithrileywhitt

    It’s easy for us to judge the sin we don’t commit.
    But what about the ones we do!?

    This guy belongs in the kingdom of God. Yes you need to be totally upfront and tell him you can’t leave him with children (it protects him from wrongful allegations just as much as it does them from harm) but he is no less worthy of the kingdom of god then anyone else.

  • http://fayebryant.com Faye

    I wouldn’t have a problem having this guy over for dinner. I’d love to talk with him. I’d love to be there for him (though a man would be a better choice for various reasons) when he needs a friend.

    No, he shouldn’t work with kids.

    Yes, he should be welcomed into the church. He can work with senior adults. He can cook meals. He can sweep and paint and help in a clothing closet. He can serve next to the others who have been redeemed from the sickness called sin.

    If we’re going to represent the Savior, we have to love. And that’s going to look really strange to pretty much everyone.

    Thank you, Los for doing just that. And thank you for being honest about your struggle since.

    • ashleystorey

      I’d love to talk to him because I genuinely enjoy getting to know people and hear their stories. But, as a mom, I wouldn’t leave him in a room alone with my kids. That’s a trust I don’t think he could ever gain with me. But dinner and getting to know who he is and how he got there? Do-able.

  • Marlisa

    As a children’s pastor at a church that has a recently released offender attending, I have had to wrestle with these questions and come up with an answer.

    While you can be set free from your sins and have a new life in Jesus, that doesn’t always excuse you from the consequences of your sin. For instance, if you are addicted to gambling and set free from that addiction, your debts don’t just disappear. You still have to pay them off. It’s the same with sexual sin. You can be set free from it, but there are still consequences for it. At our church that means you can’t serve in children’s ministry. It doesn’t mean we love you or value you any less. We just have policies and that is one of them.
    Our lead pastor has sat down with this gentleman and explained it all to him. He fully understands where we are coming from and has signed up to serve elsewhere. He actually has invited several friends from his halfway house to come visit because he says it is a loving and safe place. For everyone.

    • Linda

      Agree wholeheartedly! Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.andygill.org/ Andy Gill

    by far my favorite post by you los.

  • Mandy Clare

    As the fiance of a registered sex offender, this post moves and challenges me. My fiance was 19 and had consensual sex with a 15 year old. However, because she was not old enough to “consent” his conviction is “attempted sexual assault of a child.” I fear what people will think if they see him on the registry before they hear it from us. Being a part of the SO community, I know guys like this. I know several. They are some of the most inspiring and amazing men I know. And I trust every one of them with my life. Did you know the recidivism rate for sex offenders is less than 5%? The only recidivism rate lower than that is murder (yes, I included sources). This man is VERY unlikely to hurt your children. Thank you for giving grace to this man. I can only imagine what it meant to him.

    http://www.usafair.org/recidivism_studies

    • Linda

      Thank you for sharing. Your fiancé is not a diagnosed Pedophile. Research indicates significantly different re-offending patterns for the Pedophile.

      • Mandy Clare

        Linda, while I agree somewhat with what you said, pedophilia is actually a very rare thing. The clinical definition is one who is sexually attracted to children. While molesting a child is not something I would ever condone, doing it once (or even twice) does not make someone a pedophile. The recidivism rate for sex offenders (across the board) is 2-8% depending on the study. The man in this blog is not necessarily (and very unlikely) a pedophile. He’s a man who made a bad choice, and he’s paid his price (and then some if he’s registered).

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Very powerful and thought provoking. I am someone who sees this from many angles… as a child that was molested, as an adult who unknowingly married someone addicted to porn, and also later dated a sex addict. I consider myself now ‘permanently damaged’, and find forgiveness and trust very difficult, but your writing makes me think critically about how I view those past predators and the possibility of their salvation. A much needed read.

  • http://inspiredrd.com InspiredRD

    Interesting that you shared this today as we were just talking about this kind of situation after getting a sex offender notification in the mail. My first instinct is to keep the kids protected and away from this house, this area. Then I wonder, what must it be like to move into a new house and have it announced to the entire neighborhood that you’re a sex offender? What if you’ve actually changed? I have no idea about this man, but I wonder. And I wonder what my response will be the first time I see him at the park or on a run through the neighborhood.

  • Melanie

    I was molested as a child. Repeatedly. No, I couldn’t allow him around myself or my kids.

  • gabetaviano

    Awesome stuff, Los. God sure was speaking through you! Thanks for sharing.

  • chad

    As churches our priority is to the children and families who are and who potentially will be present at our gatherings, events, etc. Not to convicted sex offenders. It’s against the law for them to even be there in most cases, so there isn’t a question over whether we should allow them to be. The law is clear on what is allowed with most of these situations.

    However, what are we to do in terms of reaching this marginalized group of people? I don’t know of a more hated people group than this.

    Tough questions that have been brought up.

  • Kris Van Houten

    Great post. All we are is sick people, telling sick people where to find the doctor.

  • DianaDePriest

    He has to be able to be healed right? Otherwise we are limiting the power of God. BUT, can we know? No. Could he still be a predator using the song of redemption as a pass to get near kids again? Without question. Would I have him in my home? Maybe. I know redemption of my own, and I know God gives him second chances. Would I allow him around my daughter? I don’t know. Would I ever allow him ALONE with my daughter? Not a chance.

  • God’s Grace Notes

    As a survivor of childhood abuse, I would never leave my children or grandchildren alone with someone who had once been a child molester, and that’s just the truth of where I am today. I wholeheartedly celebrate the deliverance of the one who was held captive to this horrific addiction, and pray that their life be restored to where it would have been if they had not become an abuser. I am 57 years old, and still healing, so I can’t say I would feel safe in the presence of a known abuser, even though they have been healed, and are now a “former” child abuser.

    We ARE all ONE body, and there needs to be a safe and welcoming place for those who have been redeemed from the nightmares that were inflicted on their own lives. I know that many who become abusers were assaulted in their own childhoods, and I think circumstances like these may be what the Lord had in mind when He instructed Moses to build cities of refuge. Former child molestors deserve a safe place to heal, and learn to thrive. It will require much mercy and patience on their part to bear with those of us who need time, and in many cases; distance, to recover from our own wounds.

    I understand the struggle of seeking to overcome the guilt and shame that comes from being a child victim, and I would imagine that the guilt and shame of the repentant perpetrator is even deeper and more complex. I know that Jesus heals, and I believe He intends to heal BOTH SIDES of this difficult scenario. I agree with the other Connie who posted; “we have a lot of work to do.” But, I KNOW that God is all powerful, and this is issue is not too difficult for Him. I believe God desires, and intends to bring COMPLETE DELIVERANCE to victims and their abusers. The fact that I am able to speak up, and share my thoughts about this is an indicator of the level of healing that I have experienced so far, and I am completely certain that God has COMPLETE restoration in mind for me.
    (I still need some time AND distance)

    I believe He will do the same for this man, and the countless others like him…. and for the countless other (adult) children like myself. What a day of celebration that will be, and God will receive all the praise for accomplishing that which is impossible with man. We all need to give, and receive mercy… and be relentless in our pursuit of unity of the body of Christ. I can’t honestly say that I would be capable of hugging that man today; but I am willing to be made willing, for both our sakes.

    “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments…

  • Michael

    We are going through this right now with a long time Elder of the church. My church has a very dark history with this type of sin, and over the past three years that I have served as the Youth and Childrens guy I have put a lot of effort to ensure this does not happen on my watch. While it did not happen at church, the very fact that it happened with a trusted individual within the church is scary. I hope this cycle of sin stops with him, but the statistics do not look good. Some are filled with hatred, others denial. Sadly none want to allow him to ever return. Considering there are 13 other members that are his direct family, we are in a difficult position.

  • Linda

    I like the response posted by Jimmy Hinton [He is the son of a pedophile]. Find his opinion on how Christians can most wisely respond to Child Molestors here: http://jimmyhinton.org/2013/08/20/how-should-christians-treat-repentant-pedophiles/

  • ashleystorey

    I am so amazed that you brought this topic to light. It’s one we don’t hear about often because, your friend is correct, it’s often “one and done” with the church. I’m not sure how I feel about it all either, but I’m so glad you started this conversation.

  • Lori Roeleveld

    When I first started in social service in RI in the 80′s, I attended a training on dealing with pedophiles. The trainer was a state expert, not a Christian, but when asked if he had ever seen a pedophile “changed” he replied, “Only a couple of times and they were guys who made a genuine conversion to the Christian faith.” That was powerful testimony for me coming from someone outside the faith.

  • Betsy Compton

    As being a child victim,you struggle with trust,,especially with the ones who are to protect..deep down inside even l as a child knew it was wrong and so did he. But yet l kept singing “Jesus loves me”, two totally. different kinds of love.
    l grew up, of course looking for what l THOUGHT was earthly love,still. singing my little song.
    Finally realizing Satan made the word victim real in my mind, still singing my song..The battle of mind and spirit. My life is awsome now…my little song became my focal point…So if “Jesus Loves Me”,he loves the sinner too.

  • AbeLincoln

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QB0OhnhJe-M This is a really good video about Forgiveness.

  • nici72

    I know this is a very old post…but thank you for posting! 2 years ago my husband of 21 years confessed to molesting our daughter who at the time of the confession was 15. The offense happened when she was 8-10. He confessed, called the police turned himself in, and I brought my daughter in (even though she did not want to) to the police to give her statement which I knew would seal his fate regarding social justice. This all happened in a 24 hour period. Needless to say it felt like everything I knew to be true In our home was a lie. He is still in prison, and will be there for another 2 years. What have I learned? More than I ever wanted to about this subject. I chose to not sweep it under the rug, support my daughter whole heartedly by giving her social justice, AND the acknowledgement that she did nothing wrong. We have both been in counseling, and are both healing. As for my husband, he has been through several lie detector tests, psych evals, and is in a prison that offers a comprehensive treatment program for offenders. He has never once made an excuse and has taken full responsibility for his actions…even the judge was taken back by our story. He is not a pedophile. He is a sex addict. He had a long and very well hidden addiction to porn, based on the psych evals he was addicted to masturbating. I have wondered how I could have lived with someone for long and not known this. He made a conscience decision to do what he did
    and I am 100% OK with him being in prison. With that said, the beauty of witnessing his total repentance and healing has blessed me in ways I can not explain. The repentance is real and so is the restoration. I believe that my daughter will get the Dad back that she loved so much…He is still the man we all knew and loved, but now he is a new creation in Christ. We have a long journey ahead of us…but I will not put God in box, and even if I tried to I could not contain such a wonderful and radical savior. In my opinion it is not the registered sex offender that we need to fear, but the one sitting next to us in church that has yet to confess. Not all stories are the same, but we all have one. The stories I have heard about the men that he is imprisoned with are heart breaking….most of them were also molested, and some violently. Some men in prison are still making excuses and not taking ownership, but the majority are. It’s time we start talking about molesting in the pulpit, and stop treating child molesters like outcasts and the unforgivable. Can you imagine struggling with a sin that you can’t confess to without not only prison time, but complete social condemnation? We have to talk about it! They have to know that they can come forward and confess and not be hated for the rest of their years on this earth or more importantly come forward with their thought and struggles BEFORE they ACT! I hate that most victims will never have the support of their family, admittance from their perpetrator, and social justice…but maybe just maybe if more people talk about it and we change the ways we deal with sex offenders the statistics will go down. Praise God for this storm in our family…I totally trust He will be glorified through our heart ache

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