How Abuse Affects A Child

My oldest son (J) is in college; attending the same school I am.  I help him and other students with their papers – editing but never writing, of course!  Last semester he made a statement in a paper that struck me.  I knew it was true but it was interesting to me that he realized and expressed it.  Here’s what he said (copied with his permission):

It seemed to me that I had to live my life to everyone else’s expectations and follow their dreams for me. I was raised going to church every Sunday, hating every visit, tortured by every sermon. Looking around, I had no doubt there was a God but I did not want more [rules]. I already had one father who seemed great in public then at home would verbally and physically attack me. I did not feel I needed another father like that so I rejected a heavenly father.

Fortunately, when he was 18, J did accept Christ and his life changed dramatically and visibly. My point is that his “wonderful Christian” father’s private abuse, which the church refused to acknowledge, nearly cost this boy his relationship with God. That is probably the single biggest reason it matters that the church get its collective head out of the sand and take responsibility for abuse in the homes of church families. There is a Biblical pattern to address church discipline – it needs to be Biblically exercised.


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