“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1 (NIV)
Shame. It’s a powerful word and feeling. Being sexually assaulted brings shame.
After years of secrecy I finally let people know I had been sexually assaulted. The response was shameful. I had a couple people support me publically, but no one else. People don’t want to associate themselves with the terms sexual assault or sexual abuse.
I feel similar shame at church, where for survivors of sexual assault church can initiate shame. I’m not criticizing the church, but revealing the role it plays in our shame.
In church, and as Christians, we are told to honor, love, and forgive those who assaulted us no matter who it is. (Matthew 19:19, Matthew 6:15 NIV). This brings shame and condemnation.
You may have received responses at church including, “I’m sorry that happened, but God helps us forgive.” Leaving you to feel more shame and dismissed.
Yes, forgiveness will need to happen in our lives if we are to completely heal. To be honest, I’m not there yet. Forgiveness takes time and God’s help. Time to work through the trauma of what happened to us. It also requires support from others and prayer. Something we search at church to find.
God does not want us to stop going to church or to condemn them, but to educate. Shame is allowed when we stand back and do nothing and allow the enemy to take hold of what God wants to do in our lives.
The shame I feel at church and I have felt about finally putting myself out in the public view brought me to my knees. God reminded me, I’m doing this for Him, and to help others heal. To help myself heal, and to educate people.
“We” have nothing to be ashamed of. The people who sexually assaulted us do. It is not our fault we are in the situation or life circumstances we are in, but we can follow God and fight shame. It is a nasty thing. It does not define us. We are precious children of God. If we were the only ones on earth Jesus would have died for us.
Believe me I know shame is hard to fight. I am still there with you. Let’s fight it together. God on our side. We don’t have to live in shame.
I feel shame about what happened to me, about how people react when I tell them, and when I go to Your house to worship. Bind Satan from allowing any control over shame in my life in Jesus name. Please help me show others the grace needed to understand sexual assault. I am asking you to help me rid my life of shame and to live as your child, loved and treasured by You.
© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.