I sometimes get my inspiration from something in the morning paper. This morning it was one of those advice columnists.
A mother writes in that her teenage son had been molested by a cousin years ago and the mother is frantic. Should she sue? How does she get her son into therapy? Can she have the molester arrested?
Look, molestation of children is a horrible thing and I have no pity or patience with someone molesting a child, or an adult, for that matter. Taking advantage of someone else, whether it be physically, emotionally, or financially, is a sin. God tells us, over and over, to watch out for and protect the widow and the orphan. I believe this is more than just telling us to provide for women who have lost a husband or children without parents: the widow and orphan represent the weak and helpless people in the world, those with no one to provide for them and no one to turn to.
That being said (if you didn’t catch it, that was my disclaimer- here comes the reason for it), what is molestation? If I am 12 or 13 and I “cop a feel” from someone around my age, during a quiet moment together, is that really molestation? Or is it the normal experimentation that pre-pubescent children experience as they learn about their bodies? If I am 32 and I do the same to a niece or nephew who is only 12 or 13, that’s a totally different thing. That’s not what I am talking about.
I remember being in a friends closet in his suburban house with another friend’s younger sister. I was about 15 and she was about 13, built like she was 22. We groped and kissed; we were both experimenting. Is that molestation? Did I destroy her ability to have proper social relationships? Did she ruin my appreciation for women? I am still friends with her brother and a few years ago, nearly half a century later, she and I met when we were at a reunion. This subject came up, and we laughed about how we were so unsure of what we were doing, and she thanked me for teaching her how to “French” kiss.
Today, if something like this happened, I can see the mother and father of the girl trying to get her into therapy, accusing me of rape, and all sorts of nasty accusations going back and forth that will detrimentally affect both of us for the rest of our lives.
We are too sensitive. Dr. Spock turned parents into best friends, Sesame Street taught kids how to concentrate for 5 minutes at a time, and no longer, and today’s cartoon characters are disrespectful to parents, schools, and other authority figures. The result? Today we have a generation totally self-absorbed, with no work ethic, no ambition, no sense of fair play and no communication skills.
We are just so fast to feel wounded and abused. When I grew up I was taught, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Today it’s more like, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words are a felony.” We immediately scream, “I’m a victim!” If you tell a joke with a bad word you are a sexaul abuser. If someone hears from someone else that you told a joke with a bad word, or was racist, or was “inappropriate” in any way, you are in trouble. It’s not gossip or hearsay anymore- it’s acceptable fact. If you so much as compliment a fellow worker, doesn’t matter which gender, you could be in the HR Director’s office being condemned, without ever even knowing who complained, what the complaint was (so you can’t figure out who the abused person is), and you are guilty without even so much as being given a chance to explain. And Lord forbid if anyone should put the two of you together with a mediator to work it out!
The Bible says when someone feels that they have been sinned against, in any form (the Bible says that even having uneven weights is a sin against the Lord), the person who is sinned against should go to the sinner and tell them. This way the sinner has a chance to apologize, ask forgiveness, and make themselves right before the Lord. If they refuse to repent, go back with witnesses (give them a second chance.) Biblically speaking, to be sinned against doesn’t focus on your rights alone. You are to give the sinner his/her right to the opportunity to make atonement to you and to the Lord. As David said, all sins are first and foremost against the Lord, so if someone sins against us our first obligation is to the Lord, to try to let that sinner atone and be right before the Lord. It’s really less about us and more about making all of it right before the Lord.
The world, however, doesn’t want to “work it out”. The world wants to expose the sin and the sinner (leaving the sinned-against totally in secret), and the corporate world is the worst offender of this. In the corporate world, if you want to “get back” at someone, all you have to do is spread a rumor that the person did something sexually inappropriate. You don’t need facts, or proof- just a story. In many cases you don’t even need to make a statement, and you will never have to face the person. If you tell someone in HR that so-and-so keeps telling dirty jokes, or bumps into you now and then in a way that you feel is sexually improper, that is all you need to do to ruin their reputation, and maybe get them fired.
If the world did as the Bible says we should do when someone wrongs another person, in any way, there would be less strife and “disturbed” people in the world. Anger management would be reduced because people would be able to work things out. Personally, if I wrong someone, I am totally willing to apologize. That’s not the world in me, that is the Ruach HaKodesh in me. And if I can apologize, if I can appease the wronged person, explain that I didn’t mean to upset or hurt them, and if that person is one who is willing to forgive and wants to have normal relationships, whether personal or corporate, then we can actually take a sinful episode and turn it around to one where we can build a new friendship.
When people want to work out their differences, they will; when people want to have enmity and strife, they will.
The Bible tells us to work it out, to forgive and to ask for forgiveness, and to try to get along with each other. The world (especially the corporate world- do you sense my indignation at it?) does everything it can to create anxiety, strife and to separate people instead of bringing them together. This is the kind of work that honors and glorifies the Enemy because God is all about truth, and the Enemy is all about lies. The world wants to lie- it wants to say that I am a victim, that you are a victim, that we should get together and accuse someone or some corporation of wrong-doing. And why? So that we feel better about ourselves! So that we can get “justice” for the terrible and outrageous thing done against us. HaSatan means The Accuser. The Enemy accuses God of lying. He told Eve that she wouldn’t die (God lied when He said she would), he accused Job of being worshipful and righteous only because he had worldly goods, and he accused God of failing to protect Yeshua if he would only step off the roof of the Temple.
The Enemy is a liar, and when we lie we honor the Enemy. When people try to make us feel like we are victims, even if we have been taken advantage of, the way that God says to handle it is to go to the sinner, tell them what they did, and give them a chance to repent. God’s focus is on helping the sinner to repent, not helping ourselves to revenge against the person. That’s what it comes down to- the world says you are a victim and entitled to get justice. Sounds good, doesn’t it? What it translates to, in spiritual form, is taking revenge and preventing the sinner from having the chance to repent. Think about it: does the corporate policy where you work give you the opportunity to save the sinner’s soul? No, it doesn’t. However, it allows you to send that sinner to hell in a handbasket; all you need do is accuse them and stand back to watch that person suffer and possibly even get fired. That way not only does this horrible person suffer, but his or her family gets to suffer, also.
Does that really make you feel right with God? You have not only accused someone without giving them a chance to repent, but you have returned evil for evil (Proverbs says that is wrong) and you have taken the place of God by being vengeful (again, a wrongful thing according to Proverbs.) More than just that, you also have refused to give yourself a chance to forgive, as God has commanded us we should. So we sin against God, against the other person, and even against ourselves by exercising our worldly “rights” as a victim.
Let me repeat myself: forcibly touching someone else is wrong, sexually explicit actions or jokes, racist comments or jokes, and anything having to do with private and personal matters are inappropriate in a social or business environment. In fact, anything said or done that someone says they are uncomfortable with should be stopped. You should apologize and ask forgiveness. And they should accept your apology and forgive, completely. If you are unaware of your sinning against someone, they should (according to God) tell you about it. Nicely, maturely, and without anger. They should allow you the chance to save yourself from further sin, separating yourself from God, by telling you so you can make it right with God, and with them.
God wants everyone who sins to atone for that sin so they can be one with Him. The Enemy wants everyone to sin so they will be separated from God.
When we are too afraid or too shy or just too “uncomfortable” to speak up and let someone know they have sinned against us, we are working for the Enemy. That’s why the world wants you to be a victim, so you will want to seek “justice” (which, from a Biblical perspective, is really vengeance) and to make that sinner suffer for the wrongs done to you. And therapy, oh, yes;! How can we forget therapy? You need therapy to be better. You need someone who worships the Psychology Holy Trinity (Freud, Jung, and Maslow) to tell you how to feel, how to cope, and how to get over this great emotional trauma. Oy! What ever happened to prayer? What ever happened to forgiveness, which is the only way to get over the pain!
The Enemy wants us to die in our sin, and to make sure the other people do, also. God wants us to repent and to be one with Him, forever. That’s why God tells us how to handle being a “victim”:
1. you bring the wrong done to the attention of the one who did so;
2. you give that person the chance to repent so that they can save their life.
3. If they repent, you forgive them and move on. If they don’t repent, you forgive them and move on. Either way, you are to forgive them whether they ask for it or not, and move on.
That’s God’s way. Which way are you going to go?