I Grew Up In Church And Never Heard Sexual Abuse Mentioned In A Sermon, That's Not OK

I Grew Up In Church And Never Heard Sexual Abuse Mentioned In A Sermon, That's Not OK

"It is everyone's job to be a spokesperson for the destitute."

Like many other children in the United States, I was raised in the church. I grew up in small-town Alabama, so I was smack dab in the middle of the "Bible Belt" and was both homeschooled and in private Christian school, both with conservative Christian curriculums. My parents took me to our Southern Baptist church nearly every time the doors were open, and I loved it. All my best friends were there, I loved Jesus more than anything, and I was hungry to learn about God's character.

Those things still ring true for me today! I love my church family and am just as hungry for more of Christ. Much of what I believe today was passed down to me by my parents before I made it part of my own faith walk. I am truly thankful for my raising.

But, looking back, I put altogether too much trust in my church's own personal philosophies and ways of dealing with certain issues.

Something that bothered me then and still disturbs me now is the lack of discussion in the church about sexual abuse. I have heard thousands of sermons and Sunday school lessons as a child, adolescent, and adult, and not one of them has even alluded to the widespread epidemic of sexual misconduct.

I just don't understand how they missed it!

It's not like the church isn't up to date on today's culture! I heard plenty of speeches made on evangelizing "the homosexuals," Alabama football as an analogy for the Christian life, and why Miley Cyrus is a whore. (Yes, that was a real sermon.) It seems as though the church likes to pick and choose what they see in today's society.

But sex abuse is undeniably a part of today's society. Here are the facts:

- Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

- Every 8 minutes, that victim is a child.

- 9 in 10 rape victims are women.

- 1 in 6 American women and 1 in 33 men have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.

- The majority of sex abuse victims carry other long-term effects (depression, suicidal thoughts, drug use, PTSD, social hinderances)

If these numbers do not stir up a righteous anger in the hearts of the church, then something is terribly wrong. These facts would say that there are hurting, burdened sexual abuse victims sitting in the pews of every church in America. But, even after being confronted with these statistics, some may argue that it is not the place of the church to discuss such things. Let's see what Scripture has to say about that:

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute."

-Psalm 82:3

"May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!"

-Psalm 72:4

"Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?..."

-Habakkuk 1:3

"Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."

-Isaiah 1:17

God has charged the church with the task of bringing justice to the oppressed, being a voice for the voiceless, and to have compassion for the victims of wrongdoing! For anyone to say that this is not their job is heartless.

In ignoring sexual abuse and its victims, we as the church turn our backs on our own purpose.

It is everyone's job to be a spokesperson for the destitute. That kind of love is what we were put on this Earth to do.

Others might say that the "afflictions of this world" are brought up in a general sense in sermons to avoid bringing up more hard-to-swallow topics. Let this be a reminder that Jesus was incredibly up close and personal with the people He interacted with. When He spoke, He brought up the troubles of that time period (slaves, widows, certain illnesses, etc.).

Why shouldn't the church, as a reflection of Christ, be just as specific?

I cannot help but wonder how my own life would be different if I had heard sexual abuse mentioned in my church. As a victim of both child and adult sexual abuse, would I be more able to cope if I felt comfortable talking about it with my church family? Would my healing process be easier if I knew I and other victims were seen and heard by people of faith?

Talking about sexual abuse at church isn't a cure-all. It won't fix the problem, and it can't heal the broken hearts of those suffering. But, it's a start. It's filling a huge need felt by sexual abuse survivors everywhere to be accepted and heard by their faith families.

Church, I beg of you, listen closely to the voices of those in your community. Listen to their pain, their struggle, their story, and then help guide them to healing, restoration, and freedom in Christ.

Cover Image Credit: Ella Pitman

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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How Incorporating Organization In My Daily Routine Single-Handedly Changed My Life

And how it can structure yours.


It would be a complete fabrication of the truth if I pretended that my life in any way has been picture perfect. Things are messy, life is messy, and my life becomes an endless cycle of self provoked destruction.

I've had short bursts of motivation as a last expedient to seize control of the downward spiral I have endured. But mostly they have diminished along with any motivation I have left.

None of these short term solutions have yet to salvage my mental, physical, and academic state. SO, as an attempt to overhaul my life, I decided the best way to strive for control, is to organize every aspect of my life.

Yes, this could become unhealthy if I used this tactic as a way to tear myself down or over analyze my accomplishments, or lack thereof. But I try to view my life as something I have a say in while considering that not everything will be perfect or completely satisfy my goals for myself.

To successfully enact this measure, I try to never go into a day unaware of what I must accomplish, what tasks/work I have to attend to, and stocked with a full calendar and set of alarms that prevent me from missing deadlines. Although mildly time-consuming to detail my life in advance, it is greatly beneficially outweighed through the amount of time this tactic saves me.

Recently, I have noticed how much happier I have been, and feel as if my life is back on track and it's future in my hands. This has allowed me to work an upwards of 50 something hours a week, see and manage friends, read and keep up with hobbies, as well as give me peace of mind and time to relax with loved ones.

I am grateful for the role that organization has played in my life and suggest that everyone incorporate some type of underlying structure in their lives, to realize that anything is achievable with proper organizational preparation.

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