How Should the Church Respond to Abusers?

By Diane Langberg, PHD - Posted at

There has been much discussion about what a church should do when confronted with an abuser in its midst. Such a question cannot begin to be adequately or wisely answered unless we first grasp the truth of what it means to be an abuser of the vulnerable. To see abuse as simply a wrong action that needs to be stopped (though it certainly does) is to minimize and externalize what is a cancer of the soul and does great damage to the abused. We often seem to think that when we understand the outside of things we are fully aware. We are not. Our God looks on the inward condition that gave birth to the outward actions. God does not classify evil by a catalogue of deeds done. He always goes to the internal root of the matter (Genesis 6:5). To abuse a vulnerable child (or adult) is to alter the course of their life. The shape of their life and their sense of self has significantly changed. Those heinous actions are spillage from the heart of the abuser and exposure of the cancer deep within. When the church shows “grace” in response to a few approved words and some tears, we have done added damage to the victim, risked the safety of other sheep and left the abuser with a disease that will rot his/her soul.

Sexual abuse is a cancer; a practiced sin with an underlying, often hidden infrastructure. The abuse is the fruit of that substructure. Roots go down deep into practiced deception which becomes metastasized sin. Abuse is the external exposure of that internal, life strangling system. A response of mere words and emotions is hardly sufficient. Evidence of change. Such an infrastructure requires a surgical operation over a long time. The church has failed victims horrifically. She has hidden abuse and been complicit in its soul damaging outcomes. She has actually allowed sin God said is worthy of a millstone to continue unchecked in her midst! She has also failed the one who is cancer ridden and walks in darkness.

When churches have asked what I recommend when dealing with someone whose has sexually abused children my response is – do not allow him/her to attend church. ...

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  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome! I'm so glad to hear from you! I pray you and your husband are doing well. :)

    2. Yes, we're well - thank you, sister! How are you two and children! Prayers for you both!


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