“If someone causes one of these little children who believes in me to ·sin [lose faith; stumble], it would be better for that person to have a ·large stone [large millstone; L millstone of a donkey] tied around the neck and be ·drowned [L thrown] in the [L depths of the] sea. ·How terrible for [L Woe to] ·the people of the world [L the world] because of ·the things that cause them to sin [temptations to sin; L stumbling blocks]. ·Such things will happen [L It is necessary for stumbling blocks to come], but ·how terrible for [L woe to] the one ·who causes them to happen [L through whom the stumbling block comes]!” Matthew 18:6-7
This has been something I’ve struggled in anger with the most. What David did and the lies that I believed, they caused me to participate in things that I’d not otherwise have participated in. They caused me to sin. Sin isn’t simply disobeying God – it’s participating and accepting behaviors that are against God’s best offer for our lives. The enemy doesn’t care if you’re ignorant to what God’s best offer is, he still wants you to use the evil in men to cause you to sin. He strives to do so through trickery and deception, even using scripture out of context of it’s intended purpose.
I struggled in this truth… I was a sinner despite not knowing what sin was. I was walking in sin despite my best efforts as a child to do the right thing. I was sinful and unworthy because David stole things from me, things I wasn’t even aware of, and I was too young to see the depth of harm such a thing was inflicting on my core. I was ignorant to the evil and without even yet having faith, he blew out the light of childlike faith that was growing inside me; a light the Lord would have to pursue me to light again and I’d have to fight hard to trust again.
You see, a sinner isn’t wicked because of their lack of value. It’s not the offender that is without God’s affection. It’s the act of anything less than God’s best for us. The action. When I see my child hurting because of a choice they made that was outside of my best for them, it breaks my heart. It makes me angry that they’ve had to learn that way. Not at them, but at the evil and pain that is in the world. I think that is a glimpse of God’s heart towards the sinner who sins in ignorance, out of deception, or walking in the lies they have been believing. I think God’s heard towards the sinner who doesn’t yet see Him is that of deep compassion, not of wrathful vengeance.
However, His heart is different towards those who knowingly deceive, trick, and harm others; those who have no repentance or desire to do good in any form. David was one of those men. He tricked, deceived, and harmed several of us girls. We were lonely and vulnerable and he was a predator, preying on our innocence and weakness. He caused us to sin and had no shame… and after he was released from jail, his death brought an end to that. He could no longer cause little girls to sin, to lose themselves, to experience such confusion throughout her life. It doesn’t matter what else he did when that is legacy – violating young girls for his own perverted desires of control, manipulation, and power.
I realize now that the words that I’ve felt attacked by – blamed, unworthy, dirty, sinful, etc. didn’t mean what I had internalized. I was lacking wholeness (blamed), no longer comparable to who I once was (unworthy), robbed of what made me holy (dirty), snared and shocked as I stumbled along struggling in my faith (sinful). I was not a villain as portrayed in movies. None of these were indicative of the value I have in Christ, that God sees in me. All of these only magnified my value: God desired to keep me whole, but would work to make me blameless once again when I was broken; He would lift me up out of the ashes and make me new and beautiful; He would wash me in the blood of His redemption and call me holy; and He would pull me out of the pit of lies I was believing and reveal Himself to me so I could find The Truth and be set free.
My value is found in God’s desire for me to have His best for my life. My value is great and not dependent upon what wounds the evil of this world has inflicted on me but His great goodness that doesn’t leave me in that place. I was angry that I was a sinner before even understanding what sin was – I was angry because it felt so unfair of God to place that on me… but when I realized it wasn’t condemnation He was placing on me, but compassion, that truth freed me from the lies I had been believing about myself and how God sees me. God sees my beauty and seeks to protect it and for that I’m so grateful.
I was a brand new floor, but someone came in with muddy boots and moved things around, scuffing it up and causing destruction. The floor yielded to the invader and allowed itself to become ruined, but the beauty of the Lord is that He won’t leave that floor in such a state. That floor is no longer what it once was, but where value has been lost, He has come to restore to it’s original value that He established from the beginning. What had made seemingly ugly, the Lord renews into His precious and beloved again.
“…there is beauty in destruction and it comes in the form of restoration. Such a restoration comes through the process of discovering where value is truly found, which was established at the beginning of creation in the beauty of a Savior.”
ETA: I forgive myself for not doing something to stop what was happening, for needing affection and allowing that need to permit what was done to me, for not knowing how to stop what was happening and for staying quiet. I was wronged and God has such grace (favor, an inclination towards and desire to be near) to me. He does not desire that I live in shame or guilt for what happened or that it have any power over who I become. As such, if God has that kind of love and kindness toward me, I will not call Him a liar. I will love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength; and I will love myself as He loves me, so that I can love my neighbor as I love myself, as stated in Mark 12:30-31.