By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved
In virtually every case of clergy sex abuse I see, the accused, family, friends and church members plead for minimal or commuted sentences based on the wonderful acts and invaluable service the guilty party has devoted his life to in the balance of his existence. They say we must forgive because God forgives, and they say the man is not a monster, implying he is not to be compared to “truly evil doers” like perhaps Ted Bundy.
What is a monster anyway? Is the measure of a monster determined by physical appearance, tone of voice, career choices and the relative number of hours in one’s life that are spent in positive pursuits compared to the number of hours spent in active destructive evil? Or can a single act or two, which do incalculable damage to the life of another, be quite simply enough?
It is not what is outside a man which determines who he is. It is who he is inside. Who he is inside is what drives a man (or woman) to molest and sexually assault children. “Only one or two” is one or two entire lives too many.
Is Satan a monster or an angel? Of course, he cannot be redeemed, but he was created an angel.
There is no person on earth who is a monster. A monster is a mythical creature. Ted Bundy isn’t a monster. Charles Manson isn’t a monster. The most heinous criminal you can imagine isn’t a monster. And the pastor who was convicted of sexually assaulting two children 30 years ago and no one knows of any others is no different from Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, or any other criminal. They have all committed crimes worthy of consequences which include long-term, perhaps life-long, incarceration.
There is a fundamental truth people are overlooking. God does not give people a free pass on their consequences because they have been “more good than bad” according to some people’s standard of measure. Pedophiles have, in just one moment, done more harm than they can ever do good in an entire lifetime of stellar service, period.
God can redeem, God can forgive – but God does not give a free pass on the consequences — for either the victims or the offender. Victims serve a “life sentence” of consequences for what may occur in a moment’s time. Why does anyone think the offender has any right to a commuted sentence because “it happened so long ago” or “it was just once or twice” or “he’s really a wonderful man” or “he’s not a monster.”
We confuse human emotions and a human tendency to quantify evil with the reality of the law of sowing and reaping. God does not do that. Justice has nothing to do with feelings. God’s natural law of sowing and reaping, which, like the law of gravity, transcends the law of grace, demands consequences for actions.
And when God’s people say otherwise they are guilty of violating God’s direct Word on this subject. This is not acceptable. As long as this state exists in the church, and to the extent to which it remains, the church is crippled.