Designed to Need a Savior
I do not normally (ever) write about particularly controversial things on my blog. I just write about what I'm thinking about. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is spiritual, sometimes it is introspective. Well, right now I happen to be thinking about something that is controversial. It happens on occasion. I've sat here and debated whether or not to write down my thoughts, and finally decided that I should. Not to make a point. Not to become a lightening rod for opinions and criticism. Just to continue doing what I've always done...write what I happen to be thinking about at any given moment. So here goes.
Just down the road from us in Bellefonte, PA, a jury is currently deliberating and preparing to come to a verdict in the trial of former Penn State football coach,Jerry Sandusky who has been accused of many different crimes related to inappropriate sexual contact with multiple young boys over the course of several years. This case has drawn intense national media attention. As reporters and news outlets are each trying to come up with a different angle on the case, and gain more readers in the process, articles are emerging on the periphery that have nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky or his accusers. They are focusing, instead, on pedophilia. Analyzing it, dissecting it, puting it out there for the world to consider and talk about. Tonight I read one such article on CNN.com. Here is the link: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/21/opinion/cantor-pedophila-sandusky/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
The article asks two questions: 1. Are people born pedophiles? and 2. Do pedophiles deserve sympathy? First, the article defines a pedophile as someone who has a sexual attraction toward children. The author distinguishes a pedophile from a child molester by stating that not every pedophile acts on their urges and actually molests a child. Scientific evidence is then given that points to the possibility that people can be born with a bent toward being sexually attracted toward children. Thus, the question the author poses, "If people are born this way, should we feel sorry for them?"
I've been thinking about the greater questions that this conversation brings to the surface and I wanted to jot down my thoughts here as I process them. I am not a theologian. I am not a doctor. I am not a geneticist. I am the sum total of the thoughts, experiences, knowledge, and faith that God has blessed me with. It is from this humble place that I offer these observations:
1. As I read the Bible, I read of a God who has created us in His image, knitting us together in our mother's womb. I read of a God who does not make mistakes and has no regrets.
2. This fact does not mean that our physical bodies are "perfect" in the way that we define perfection. As simple human beings who, apart from faith, have only this world as a frame of reference and only other human beings to compare ourselves to - we define perfection as that which is most desirable to the most people. God is not limited by this world and thus does not define perfection in that way.
3. We do not understand when someone is born blind, or deaf, or autistic, or with a physical malformation. We see these things as disabilities, and at times we question a God who could allow someone to suffer such "imperfection," undeservedly.
4. As science continues to delve into the area of genetics and attempts to separate out that which is nature versus that which is nurture, more and more physical and psychological "imperfections" are believed to have been hardwired into people before they were born.
5. As a person of the Christian faith, I must choose to compare myself, not to those around me, but rather to Jesus Christ alone. The Bible tells me that none of us is perfect. Nope, not even one. Not because of our "flawed" God-given physical bodies or psyches, but because of what we've chosen to act on, sinfully. We do not know what proclivities were hard-wired into Jesus' physical DNA while he was on Earth. We do know that the Bible says he was tempted in EVERY WAY but was without sin. Every. Way. Whatever his tendencies were, he never acted on them sinfully. He is our gold standard, not each other, but the one who walked this Earth and was tempted but did not sin. Jesus, when tempted, returned to scripture and prayer, and he never acted on any temptation. We are to do the same, with His help. These tendencies toward sin, these imperfections, can actually drive us right into the arms of the one and only Savior of the world, and that is where we have belonged all along.
6. Should we feel sorry for the pedophile? No. But not because he/she is repulsive and undeserving of our sympathy. We shouldn't feel sorry for him/her for two reasons: 1. Because we are no better, and 2. Because he/she is NOT WITHOUT HOPE. We should feel grateful that God has designed each and every one of us to need a Savior, to be faced with our flawed tendencies so that we seek out His help. Otherwise, we would never turn to Him, and the truth is that He is the center of the universe. Not you, and not me. He is what life is all about and living our lives thinking and acting otherwise is foolish.
7. Who should we feel sorry for then? I believe we should feel sorry for those who think they have it all together. Who believe they have no need of a Savior. Who have looked at their own flawed tendencies, whatever they may be (pride, drunkenness, lying, rage, laziness, sexual deviancy, passivity, etc.) and rather than humbly putting faith in Christ to save them from themselves, they determine to just give into their instincts and define their own morality, choosing to make themselves the center of the universe and elevating themselves to the place of god in their own minds. He/She is to be most pitied, and prayed for.
And that's what I think about that.
6/21/2012 10:28:52 pm
Thanks! You expressed truth so well! I am from a family tree that has many pedophiles and sex addicts, and guess what? There are more who have chosen NOT to walk that path with God's help and grace. God does not need our excuses, but our surrender of our will. I do feel sorry for victims, and I hurt for the years of abuse. I even grieve for the pedophiles in my family because they knew very little else. There are many layers to the lessons God has been teaching and I have been learning regarding these things through the years, and I can't always express my thoughts. They get a bit jumbled.
6/21/2012 10:45:04 pm
Amy, I rarely reply to comments on my blog, but I had to reply to yours. THANK YOU, so much for sharing. One of the things that I kept thinking about as I processed the CNN article is that as a society we have declared certain sins deplorable and others as acceptable. Thus leaving those who are struggling with the more "deplorable" sins to feel completely ostracized and freakish, when in reality - WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH SOMETHING. I too, grieve for the victims of childhood sexual abuse, and I can understand how you grieve for your loved ones who struggle with pedophilia - not because their struggle is any greater than your own, but because theirs is taboo and that adds so many layers to the mess. I should feel sorry for them from that stand point as well, but we do not mourn as those without hope! God is able! Thank you so much for your candor.
6/21/2012 11:16:12 pm
Carla - I appreciate your thoughts and your willingness to share them.
6/26/2012 08:37:30 am
Well said. Appreciate your thoughtfulness and regarding a terrible, yet real issue which surrounds us every day -- how do we view either ourselves or those around us, and why. I read another blog recently which took a different, but similar approach, and highlighted how every one of us has the propensity toward sin, including sexual sin -- whether of the heterosexual type (adultery or premarital sex) or homosexual or . . . here is the URL if you wish to read. The blog is written by a Southern Baptist pastor from Oklahoma - http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/05/loving-homosexual-pedophiliac-adulterer.html
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!