There is an epidemic of sexual assault and the statistics are jarring. One in four women and one in six men are or will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. As sobering as the statistics are, they don’t begin to speak to the darkness and grief experienced by these victims. Because sexual assault causes physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual pain, victims need the kind of hope and help that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can provide.
Do You Know How to Help?
Tragically, many churches and Christians are woefully unprepared to help those who have been assaulted. Worse still, many Christian leaders (including parents) are ignorant of this epidemic because ashamed victims are reticent to simply declare what has been done to them, and untrained leaders do not recognize the signs of sexual assault or know how to inquire lovingly of victims.
Victims want and need a clear explanation of how the gospel applies to their experience of sexual assault and its effects in their lives. Many parents, spouses, ministers, and friends are looking for solid, gospel-based information that would be helpful in serving victims. Informed supporters are needed for the healing process.
Care Compassionately, Not Shallowly
We wrote Rid of My Disgrace to help equip pastors and ministry staff as well as family members and friends of victims. As you read what we are saying to victims, you will become better prepared to respond and care for victims in ways that are compassionate, practical, and informed. While avoiding platitudes and shallow theology, we combine biblical and theological depth with up-to-date research. Much of the literature on sexual assault employs self-help approaches that do not offer the full-orbed good news of the gospel—that it is God’s one-way love replacing self-love that is the true path to healing.
Jesus Vs. Sexual Assault
It is important to address the effects of sexual assault with the biblical message of grace and redemption. Jesus responds to victims’ pain and past. The message of the gospel redeems what has been destroyed and applies grace to disgrace. It is our hope you will be equipped to provide accessible gospel-based help, hope, and healing to sexual assault victims who know too well the depths of destruction and the overwhelming sense of disgrace.
The Rest of the Story
Please return tomorrow as Justin and Lindsey address What to Say, and Not to Say, to a Victim of Sexual Assault.
For more on hope and healing for victims of sexual assault, check out Justin and Lindsey’s gospel-centered approach in their book, Rid of My Disgrace.
Join the Conversation
How prepared are you to minister to victims of sexual assault? How could you become better prepared?
Note: This article was first posted at The Resurgence and is re-posted by the BCC with permission of the authors. You can read the original article here.