New Zealand worker Graham Thompson spoke about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) at Special Meetings in Auckland, New Zealand, 4th June 2012.
The full transcript is here: Sermon by Worker Graham Thompson at Special Meetings in Auckland, New Zealand, 4th June 2012
Key Points included:
Mark 10:13-16, Jesus had care for children.
CSA is a crime, one of the most heinous crimes as it has the worst disastrously damaging effect and leads to a legacy of challenge that is carried life-long. It is mistreatment that is of the cruellest, basest, most defiling and most damaging kind.
I Corinthians 6:1-5 applies to civil suits but NOT to CSA.
A person should not be sheltered from penalties of the law because they are a member of the fellowship.
Romans 13:1-4 and I Peter 2:13-14 apply to the criminal breaking of the law.
The process of the law is not to be resisted. There is to be a cooperation, there is to be an acceptance, there is even to be a thankfulness to God for the legal system because it is of God.
Where there is a known risk, there must be openness so the risk can be avoided. Failure to do so is as much an offence as the offence itself.
Where there is known to be or even thought to be reasonable grounds that an offense might have occurred, or a suggestion of risk, then advice and counsel must be given to all members of the fellowship in sufficiently clear terms that all measure of risk of further CSA offenses is avoided.
The necessity for openness and avoiding risk means cooperation, not vindication or vengeance or any such thing. Cooperation whereby someone who may have a problem is able to have the benefit of everybody’s support and help, that encouragement and support is given in every way possible.
II Corinthians 7:8-11 applies to repentance and rehabilitation.
The process of dealing with CSA must involve
- very concrete measures taken that there might be a change;
- even-handed and effective application of justice;
- not trivialising matters, not pretending to minimise things but rather the opposite ability, to maximise the application to oneself that CSA may be treated as it ought to be treated;
- cleansing, not by denial, but by acceptance and addressing the matter.
Repentance is much more than just verbalising a statement that ‘I am sorry.’
Three different aspects of CSA need to be addressed by those who are competent to do so:
- Matters that relate to criminally breaking of the law need to be dealt with by the police;
- Matters that relate to mental health and those sorts of concerns need to be dealt with by mental health professionals;
- The workers will seek to help in matters of spiritual welfare for individuals of the flock.
Repentance, the thought or suggestion or feeling of repentance, will have no value at all unless all those matters have been addressed, and there is willingness for the law to be followed and the penalties to be faced and accepted without appeal. There must be willingness for the acceptance of penalty. There must be willingness to seek help from those who are clinically enabled to deal with matters of process and proper mind, and there must be very clear and definite steps that speak of change from the depths of the heart. Only then can there be a feeling that there has been repentance.