Updated: Oct 29, 2021
This is what she told me today:
I didn’t always hate church but one day, one experience, and one moment changed the way I saw the church. Decades of beliefs and perceptions were erased with my gasp.
I grew up in the church. As a child, I remember “holding hands with God” on long road trips. My little hand literally HELD the unseen hand of God. I envisioned His fingers wrapping around my palm; I sensed the warmth of His hand surrounding my cool fingers. I saw Him going about His business while He, almost absentmindedly, created safety with His consistent grip on my hand.
He’s always been there for me.
And then He wasn’t.
With my gasp, I felt He released His grasp.
And I heard Silence.
When my adult life exploded at 55, shrapnel flew, piercing every sector of my life.
I sought God’s Hand but I couldn’t feel it.
So, I searched for the next best thing: God’s Hand in the church. Surely His Hands would be where Lord lovers and faithful Pastors existed. I could find safety there.
But this is what I heard:
“Just love him.”
“It will pass.” “Have you tried therapy?” “Why are you destroying your family?”
“He’s so sad.”
“We all have our issues.”
“Don’t cast the first stone.”
“Why can’t you just forgive him?”
“God calls us to forgive.”
“It’s just a little porn…”
She stopped speaking, looked at me and asked:
What does that mean, "a little porn?"
I will gift you with a few facts about porn use but frankly, I'm not hopeful it will sway you into believing it is traumatizing families.
· According to National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, 2010, 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home.
· Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%.
· 40% of people identified as “sex addicts” lose their spouses, 58 percent suffer considerable financial losses, and about 33% lose their jobs.
· 68% of divorce cases involve one party meeting a new paramour over the internet while 56% involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.
Does that knowledge shift your beliefs from “this is not a problem” or even “this is not my issue?”
I just don’t think so.
I’d like to try a different approach.
Come to church with me today. When I enter the sanctuary and sit in my seat, I look to my right and I see a woman in pain. I look to my left. I see a woman in pain. Statistically, half the women I look at are in mourning or in a crisis.
I look up front and I see a pastor, the leader of this congregation, turn his back on these women.
The repetitive sermons pleading for people to become missionaries abroad, begging the newly saved to share their stories of hope, and encouraging people to give their time to the needy do not motivate me.
What I hear pastors say is, “You women, struggling to survive in front of me do not matter because I’m not going to talk about pornography or infidelity. You women, I want your support of plans that are important to me and make me feel good. You women do not matter.”
And yet these women wake up daily, fighting to save their marriages because that is what is “right” in the eyes of the Lord.
That is what is expected. Support your man. Be kind. Love him. Forgive him. Pray for him.
And these women are dying inside because churches are consistently choosing pride over humility. These women cannot save themselves or their families alone. They need help.
Where is the hand providing them safety?
I sink into the floor my feet press on, wondering how can the broken serve? How can you genuinely encourage others to embrace the joy of the Lord when darkness engulfs your heart?
Faith communities, hear this difficult statement:
You are willingly supporting satan’s intentional destruction of families by not actively addressing this issue of sexual shame in your churches.
That’s the harsh reality.
If church is such a mess for her and for betrayed partners, why do I keep going? Why bother? Why do I sit in rooms filled with men hiding from their own sin, rooms with filled with women weeping invisible tears, and rooms filled with young adults and children blind to the impending carnage that awaits them?
Because there is hope.
There are miracles. I’ve seen marriages remade, women rebuilt, and lives recreated by simply acknowledging truth.
Interestingly, that is all Christ asks from us: truth.
“… the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
I’m not a whiz at scripture and haven’t been able to memorize much (trauma does that to the brain) but I have a sense, a gut, and a belief that God wants me to speak a truth which can set families free.
I am asking church leaders to do the same.
Will you? Will you take the brave step of helping your families enslaved by sexual sin?
Will you offer them the Hand of Christ despite your discomfort?
Here are a few resources to get you started.
I know God is here. I know He hears these women and each time one reaches her hand out to me, grasping for support, I turn to God and we high five each other as we rejoice in her courageous attempts to survive.
There is hope.
Please contact me for further information and ways to support women and marriages.