(Randy received the following letter from a woman attending one of his conferences. She expressed herself very well. Abuse being an obstacle to salvation, in the way she explains it, makes sense. She graciously allowed us to reprint this letter.)
I really enjoyed your message of “Truth and Grace” at the conference. It was extremely powerful. I know that you write and talk about the abortion issue a lot. There is one sensitive topic that I’m not sure has been fully addressed as a major obstacle to salvation. When I brought up the topic at a crisis pregnancy center the director saw no direct ties to abortion, sexual purity, and being violated as a child.
Becoming a Christian makes a person clean. However, if the dirtiness that a person feels is not a result of her actions then it is hard to really feel like you’ve been forgiven. Women scrub themselves with Christianity, as one would soap, in hopes of feeling truly clean. When the residue of dirtiness is still present, they assume that Christianity didn’t work. They want to be clean, but it is hard to identify that the dirtiness was not theirs to begin with. Only true forgiveness can free them up to accept the cleanliness that comes from Christ.
This is a personal issue for me. I thought it was one that I would take to my grave. It didn’t affect me in the same way it cripples others. For some wonderful reason the Lord had his hand on me at a young age. Nevertheless, when I realized that my sister—whom I love with all my heart—didn’t have a relationship with the Lord, I decided to talk with her about our past.
In reflecting on our story it reminded me of coming out of a burning building. I was singed, but thankful to be alive. But then I realized that someone I loved was still in the inferno and didn’t know how to get out. In fact, she didn’t know there was a fire.
It was hard to bring up our past. She didn’t even remember it until we started talking. I told her how God loved her and wanted to take the dirtiness away. All she could say between the tears was, “I have already tried to be a Christian. I said the prayer over and over, read my Bible and memorized scripture. I wanted to feel clean, but no matter how hard I tried, it never worked. I still feel dirty. I thought perhaps I was already destined for hell.”
Randy, sexual abuse is an obstacle to salvation. When I look out into a crowd, I know that at least one-fourth of us share the same pain. It doesn’t have to be that way. People need to be told with truth and grace that God cleans all the dirt. It is so much easier to forgive ourselves of the sins we have committed. Substance abuse, promiscuous behavior, and even abortion are topics that are openly talked about. We can take ownership of problems that have been self-inflicted, but being inappropriately touched as an innocent child somehow crosses a line.