Today my book We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis releases, and I am excited!
Why? Because it is my sincere prayer that this book would challenge Christian leaders to think differently about the hurting people in our pews. Jesus came to love and serve all of us–including those marginalized by sexual assault and abuse. He is both the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan all wrapped up in one empathetic Savior, tending us tenderly and washing our wounds.
In fact, when I think about how survivors have sometimes been treated by the church, I get upset. If we are to emulate Jesus, we should be pursuing people who struggle. We should find the face of Jesus on those who have been broken.
But so often, because we are uncomfortable about messy, we try to press a Christian cliche bandaid onto a bleeding friend because doing so makes us feel less awkward.
Consider this quote from WE TOO:
“When I tell my story, some recoil from it, no doubt wishing I would just be quiet and not speak of the past. Sexual abuse and trauma are painful, and the shame of those experiences thrives in darkness. One sad truth I’ve learned over the years is that the church doesn’t like messy. The church prefers a neat, victorious story, tied up with a cliché bow, full of manufactured piety and pasted on “joy.” Seldom is there room for questions, wrestling, anguish, grief, or bewilderment—because that somehow connotes that those who were harmed are not ‘walking in faith.’”
This insensitivity to those who have walked through the valley of the shadow of death keeps me up at night. In light of that, my friend Andrew and his wife Joslyn from my life group helped create this We Too trailer that chronicles many of the insensitive retorts I’ve heard and others have heard. They created it to bring awareness to the importance of listening to those who are broken, rather than resorting to cliches or ill-informed questions.
Have you ever heard one of these?
I’d so appreciate it if you’d post this on any one of your social media accounts. Here’s a ready made share:
Have you heard any of these insensitive comments when you disclosed your #sexualabuse? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3Cqtwi-svg Or do you have another one to add? Let’s start a revolution of empathy! #wetoobook
JD Greear, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote the foreword to We Too.
In it he writes,
“The question before the church is whether we will have eyes to see, ears to hear, and courage to speak. Will we be ambassadors of the Great High Priest who is willing to sympathetically and personally engage every form of human suffering? We serve a God who gave his life to protect the vulnerable. How dare we turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the vulnerable in our midst? This book is not only a warning. It is an opportunity. An opportunity to live out the gospel we so passionately proclaim. And it starts with listening. There is a remarkable power in simply listening. The damage done by silence and isolation is only matched by the healing that is possible through hearing with compassion. Hearing is not the whole of healing, but it is a simple and powerful first step. As DeMuth puts it, ‘I healed because people dared to listen to my story and pray for me.’”
If this resonates with you, and you’d like to see change in how the church walks alongside those broken by sexual abuse, pick up your copy of We Too today.