Category: Sexual Brokenness

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Merciful Discipline 1: Broken, We Pray for the Abused

This is the first post of six in the Merciful Discipline Series. A complete list of available posts will be at the end of each article as they are made available.

Merciful Discipline 1: Broken, We Pray for the Abused

No wound runs deeper in the Church today than the sexual abuse of children by her priests. Over the last 30 years, the wound has become apparent as brave, broken souls throughout the world have dared to confess the perversion deposited in them by priests.

We the Church bear this wound. We are the broken: bewildered, angry, more tempted to strike the Church than to heal her. And yet we are ‘her’, the wounded bride, as needful of her graces as we are appalled at her failures.

Gratefully, we serve a wounded God who Himself suffered unjustly in order to bind up our wounds. He invites us to into His Mercy that we the Church might be healed and so become a healing arm for the abused.

How can we do this, mere laymen and laywomen? We gather, we bend the knee, we cry out with repentant hearts on behalf of those damaged by the Church. We cry out for Mercy for those most in need of it. Might the water released from His side cleanse those bearing the shame of another? Might His blood administer new life to broken lives? Might we become the face and hand of Jesus for those scattered by evil shepherds?

We take up both a priestly and prophetic call when we pray rightfully for the abused. We become a part of His solution for His wounded bride.

His wounds are the only just response to the wounds of those sexually abused by priests. Only His wounds, extended tenderly and patiently, can cleanse the ‘abuse’ wound and send its evil source to flight.

Consider the evil: the Roman Catholic Church is the last coherent institution on earth with a sexual morality that upholds the dignity of each individual, beginning with conception. Her teaching advocates for each life from the start, and upholds each as an inviolable sexual gift, instructing him/her to protect that gift until marriage. Her priests model that sanctity, and encourage little ones to walk accordingly, with priestly help.

When priests become predatory, the Church herself becomes an arm of evil. Her morality and mission are torpedoed; children are left in the wreckage, defiled and disoriented by one who was supposed to mirror his/her dignity.

While Catholic morality encourages sexual integrity (wholeness), sexual abuse provokes sexual disintegration. It fractures his/her gender identity, and moral clarity; abuse clouds one’s vision for a whole Christian life in general.

Such disintegration is rooted in the Greek word for devil: ‘diabolos.’  It means ‘to throw apart’, in other words, to disintegrate. Perhaps that is the most precise way of defining the impact of priestly sexual abuse of children—disintegration.

Does that not break Jesus’ heart and ours? The ‘throwing apart’ of a child in Jesus’ name violates His very purpose for the Church: to protect and redeem the wholeness of every life.

Priestly abuse is particularly diabolical because of the spiritual power of the abuser. In assessing the depth of abuse, one must consider: was the abuser someone that the child trusted and had good reason to rely upon? The spiritual power of the abuser amplifies the impact of sexual abuse.

In other words, an abusive priest intensifies the act of sexual abuse with spiritual abuse. He manipulates the sheep for his own purposes; instead of feeding them, he partakes of them.

Arguably, priestly sexual abuse has done more to disintegrate the mission of the Church than any other single force over the last 50 years.

We consider the damage done in His Name so we can be a part of His solution: crying out for Mercy for the wounded Church, and in particular, for her children that have been ‘thrown apart’ by sexual abuse.

We are ‘to mourn with those who mourn.‘ (Romans 12:15) ‘If one part suffers, every part suffers with it’. (1 Corinthians 12:26) When one member of the body is abused, we each share in that suffering. I urge you: may our shame in the light of priestly abuse be transformed into prayerful solidarity with the abused?

Might you join me this Lent in crying out for a river of Mercy to be released in the Church for her abused? As we reflect upon His wounds, might we also intercede for the binding up of the disintegrating effect of abuse?

May those sexually abused receive the first fruit of Your suffering, Holy God. Unite them in Your healing arms, through trustworthy members of Your Body.

Pope Benedict recently reflected:

I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ’s grace, His sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives. I acknowledge with you the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; I invite you to offer it to the Lord, and trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of victims, the purification of the Church, and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people.

MORE:

The Merciful Discipline Series of Posts (updated with each new post as they become available):

 

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Rousing a Captive Culture

A well-known Christian leader, hammered by the sexual immorality of his family members, just announced his shift on embracing the homosexual practice of a particular loved one. He is on the brink of accepting ‘gay marriage.’

‘How can I not?’ he reasoned, as he listed the divorces, affairs, co-habitation and children born out-of-wedlock in his family.

We are inundated daily with the breakdown of holy boundaries in heterosexual relating. A new poll reveals that 61% of US singles have sex on their first date; not surprisingly, for the first time in US history, more than half of births to American women under 30 now occur outside of marriage.

The devolving of heterosexual morality in our culture is the single biggest reason why ‘gay marriage’ is gaining ground. We have so bashed heterosexual marriage as the sole framework for sexual love that we are too weak and dazed to protest activists who want to alter its DNA further.

That is precisely why a gay New York Times columnist defended ‘gay marriage’ against the critique that it would destabilize the American family. Pointing to Newt Gingrich’s rather tragic resume of mistresses and marriages, he claimed that heterosexuals have botched it pretty badly, and ‘no-one is trying to heal them…’

Wrong. We are. Most of our dear friends pursuing sexual wholeness in Living Waters are good old traditional sinners. We realized long ago that the fracturing of gender and boundaries at the core of homosexuality is a direct result of heterosexual fragmentation. First things first. The main and plain of heterosexual immorality must be the starting point of our repentance and healing.

Like Nehemiah, we confess ‘that our gates have been burned with fire’–the fire of heterosexual lust–‘and we are in disgrace.’ (Nehemiah 1:17) My son Sam shares candidly of the pornographic fog and multiple partnerships that drive many of his peers. Even Christian friends are tempted to go with the polluted tide. For a shameless generation, we must pray for a godly shame, for ‘we have no shame at all; we do not even know how to blush.’ (Jeremiah 6:15)

Would you please join DSM this Lent for a 40-day fast focused on praying for loved ones who will perish without Mercy?

If you want a complete copy of the 40-Days of Mercy Devotional—Lent 2012, please email me at acomiskey@desertstream.org and request either a pdf or a paper copy (USA only). For the latter, please include your complete address.

And on every Wednesday throughout Lent, beginning on Feb. 29th, I will post a new prayer/teaching on how we can best understand and pray for the Roman Catholic Church as she faces discipline for her sexual abuses. I want us to be a small part of her solution, and forego the temptation merely to rant at her failures. Let us prayerfully, in truth, pray for her recovery in this Lenten season.

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The Mercy of Marriage

Since our transition to Kansas City, God has provided two men who have stood with me in prayerful friendship: Mike and Morgan. I am not sure I could have stayed true to the Lord without them. When I have been discouraged, they speak God’s truth to me; when unsure, they speak wisdom.

They have helped me close the gap between things we aspire to in faith and the uneven ground our feet trod on this earth.

Most practically, we help each other to love our wives and kids well. We have a commitment to the whole of each other’s lives. The main goal of our bearing with one another? That each of us might be a good offering to our families, without compromise.

Each of us knows the real threat of compromise. It is not a distinctly ‘homosexual’ or ‘heterosexual’ threat; it is a human threat, the temptation to idolatry, to cast off the restraints of commitment and to offer oneself to the sensual gods and goddesses.

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Roused By Mercy

At the dawn of the new millennium, I noticed a growing darkness in the area of gender and sexuality. Powerless to overcome perversion, western culture used its power to justify all manner of sexual expression.

Around that time, I had a dream about a group of young people who were confused and seeking answers to their sexual identity questions. They were on a secular college campus. Older gay mentors began to confirm them as bona-fide gays and lesbians; as they laid hands on these young ones, the latter began to morph–their beings changed into an image that distorted their real humanity.

When I woke up, I began to pray that God would rouse us and make us like a warrior’s sword (Zech. 9:13); I prayed for a merciful authority with which to cut through lies that bound young people to false images and relationships. I prayed for the power to convey what the Heavenly Father had in store for them.

We trained our people to start running CrossCurrent groups—a shorter version of Living Waters aimed at encountering those in the valley of decision. Sure enough, God sent men and women to us who loved Jesus and yet were on the brink of leaving marriages, Christian colleges, and their own value systems for sexy new partnerships.

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Dunking the River Goddess

I hate idolatry. The worship of false gods turns humans into animals. While worship of the one true God humbles and exalts what is best in humanity, idolatry enslaves us.

No-where is this more evident to me than in Thailand–the first nation I served that had no Judeo-Christian foundation. Through the veneer of Thai women dressed as dainty goddesses and orange-clad monks bending incessantly to Buddha, sexual immorality reaches new lows. The devotion to myriad gods and goddesses of their own design renders the Thais subject to multiple partnerships, the sex-trafficking of children, and other vile perversions.

False spirituality is a set-up for sexual immorality. Yet how much more beautiful is the hunger of those whose eyes have been opened to Jesus Christ, and who, out of worship of the One, long to be set free from the sexual ties that have bound them? And the gender confusion that has blinded them?

No-where on earth have I seen such a pure hunger for holiness than in Thailand. The tiny minority of Thai Christians knows its need for Jesus in body and soul.

Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.

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