An Open Letter to the Sexual Sufferer

The life-giving Spirit speaks to the heart deeper than the most awful experience.

How do you ever come to terms with betrayal and violation at the hands of an evildoer? There are no easy answers or quick solutions. Other people—who genuinely care, who want to be helpful—often don’t really understand. Pain and woe bring a loneliness—“The heart knows its own bitterness” (Prov. 14:10). Even people who do understand the experience often offer explanations and advice that fall well short of wisdom.

 

Dear friend,

How do you rebuild after sexual victimization? To experience such evil devastates so many aspects of who you are. Your expectations about life are forever darkened. Primal fears of danger awaken. In time they will ebb; they may even go dormant; but they will not go extinct until the day when you have no more reasons to fear.

How do you ever come to terms with betrayal and violation at the hands of an evildoer? There are no easy answers or quick solutions. Other people—who genuinely care, who want to be helpful—often don’t really understand. Pain and woe bring a loneliness—“The heart knows its own bitterness” (Prov. 14:10). Even people who do understand the experience often offer explanations and advice that fall well short of wisdom.

There are no easy answers, but there are fruitful ways to go forward. Where do you begin? Let me say a few things that I hope will serve as landmarks to orient you.

First, know you are not alone. The person who most matters truly understands your experience. God himself knows. Your true Father knows your vulnerability (Ps. 103:13–14). His love is wise and does you great good. Jesus sheltered within his Father’s care—ponder his experience of grave evil as captured in Psalm 31. You are also invited to shelter within God’s care when you’ve been savaged by human evil. The LORD walks beside his beloved children. He speaks tender, persistent, life-nourishing words. He is full of goodness and wisdom. The life-giving Spirit speaks to the heart deeper than the most awful experience.

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