This is my third and final article concerning the sex scandals that have been breaking across the country in the last several weeks. Click here to read the first and here to read the second. We have already looked at the root causes of the scandals, and the fact that we are all sinners. But what should the Christians response be to the stories, to the victims, and to the perpetrators?
I think our response can be summed up in two words: heartbroken prayer.
Prayers for the victims
As each new story of sexual abuse hits the airwaves, it is more and more apparent that this “open secret” has existed for a long time. To be sexually violated is more than any person should go through. But to have that experienced followed by being told something along the lines of, “It is just what happens here,” or “Don’t tell anyone or it could end your career,” is even more disgusting.
We as Christians should lift each of these souls to God. They have been degraded and then treated as though their suffering didn’t matter. So what can we pray?
Pray for their physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Pray that God will deliver someone to them who will clearly present the gospel. Pray that they will come to the only One who can heal the deep pain no amount of medication, therapy, or time can touch.
Pray for the alleged perpetrators
Before we get too far, let me explain why I say, “alleged.” I am a firm believer that all people are innocent until they are proven guilty. There are false accusations and there are innocent men whose lives have been ruined by them. But we have seen many of these men admit to their behavior, albeit some who did so without apology. Even with that in mind, I believe there is one prayer we should utter in regard to both types of men: that truth will prevail.
For the men who are innocent, we should plead with God that He reveals their innocence to all and restores their lives. Also that they and those around them will see the power of truth, and that their desire for truth will lead them to the gospel.
For those who are guilty, we should pray that they will not escape the truth; that God will bring to light the deeds they committed in the dark. Our God is a God of justice, and therefore, we can pray that God will bring justice to those who are guilty.
While we are praying for justice, we can also pray God will open their eyes to see the depth and depravity of their sin, leading them to repentance.
Pray for the families
I watched as the hosts of Today read the email stating Matt Lauer was fired from NBC. They mentioned how he was a friend for more than a decade and they now have to reconcile the man they know with the allegations brought against him.
As Christians, we must remember that individuals are guilty of specific sins. Families are not. Yet, they are harmed. Can you imagine being the wife of a man who has been sexually assaulting women for years? Can you imagine being the son or daughter of such a man?
In a very real sense, family members of those who sexually harass or attack others are victims too. Their trust was abused, their love was treated as meaningless. They will have scars on their hearts and souls for the rest of their lives.
Pray that God will reveal Himself to them and that He would open their eyes to the fact that He is a good, trustworthy, and kind heavenly Father.
Pray for the investigators
We see the headlines and hear parts of stories. But those investigating these crimes hear the stories firsthand. No matter how hardened they may be by their job, seeing women and men tell their stories of how they were violated is going to affect them.
They do not have an easy job. First, they must see the pain. Then they have to deal with the pressure of the nation’s eyes being on them. It is a heavy burden for each investigator. Pray they will have wisdom and skill in their profession so that truth and justice will prevail.
There are many more people involved who need prayers. Some need comfort, others need to be confronted with their sins. It is not the place or the role of Christians to publically throw stones at them on social media or in personal conversations. The secular world is doing plenty of that. As Christians, we have the responsibility to pray for each one, and to realize, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”