Daily Devotional for Friday January 26, 2007
Children Being Sexually Abused
(Psalm 17:6, 34:11, 113:9, 127:3-5)
The tragedy in Missouri and the rise in children who are being sexually abused. The nation cheered Saturday, January 13 when 13-year-old William Ben Ownby who lives in Franklin County, near St. Louis, and had been missing for 5 days was found alive in a Kirkwood, Missouri apartment. Also, to everyone's amazement, in that same apartment was another boy, 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck who had been missing since October 2002! Michael Devlin, 41, was arrested and is facing an initial charge of first-degree kidnapping, and no doubt numerous other charges as the investigation into his activities with these young boys and possibly others unfolds in the coming weeks and months.
We rejoice with these two families who have been reunited with their children and pray for them as God brings healing and restoration to these homes. We, of course, pray for Ben and Shawn and the Lord's healing in their young lives after such an ordeal. We also pray for Devlin to seek the Lord's forgiveness for his crimes and that the justice system will insure he can't harm any more children ever again.
This recent tragedy in Missouri serves as the backdrop today for the larger issue I want to deal with, and that is the rise in the number of children who are being sexually abused. People wonder if there really is an increase in the number of children who are being sexually abused, or if it just seems like there is due to the fact it is more openly discussed today than in years past. You also never had the incredible number of news outlets we have today, including the 24-hour cable news networks.
Statistics do clearly show that the number of children who are being sexually abused is indeed on the rise. Because of the anonymity of the Internet and email, people come to us every day with issues in their lives that they have never told another living person about. The biggest one is people who were abused as children, in addition to many children and young adults we hear from who are currently living in a home where they were being sexually abused. I can tell you that over these nearly 8 years, the number of people we deal with who were and are being sexually abused has greatly increased each year.
In dealing with this incredibly sensitive and difficult issue today, I want to share with you WHY we are seeing this increase in children who are being sexually abused by men and women. The flurry of recent stories of female teachers having sex with their young male students has showed us that children are being sexually molested by men and women! There are two major contributing factors to this rise in the number of children who are being sexually abused. One is the widespread proliferation of pornography and the other is the breakdown of the family.
Porn used to be predominantly a male problem, and many people still view it as such. However, with the advent of the Internet, we deal every day with as many woman as men addicted to pornography. Porn has gained such widespread acceptance in our culture, that many view it as "harmless." That is a lie from hell! Pornography destroys lives, destroys marriages, destroys families, destroys the ability of a person to have a normal and healthy sex life with their spouse, destroys careers, and leads people into other bondages like drugs and alcohol.
Here is where the widespread acceptance of pornography in our culture today factors into the rise in children being sexually abused. Like all addictions, those in bondage to porn need more stimulus as time goes on to get that rush or high. What starts out as simply looking at a few naked pictures on the Internet, turns into more hardcore porn, than turns into cyber and phone sex, than ultimately turns into visits to massage parlors, escorts, street prostitutes, swingers and BDSM clubs, as well as anonymous real-time meetings just for sex.
After a while just looking isn't enough. After a while, scenes of normal sex become boring and people turn to more perverted forms of sex. The powder keg of a person in bondage to porn, needing more perverted forms of sex, needing to actually act out their fantasies, often leads them to the most accessible and vulnerable person they can control for their perverse pleasure.... a child!
YOU WILL FIND MANY IN BONDAGE TO PORN WHO NEVER MOLESTED CHILDREN, BUT YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND THOSE WHO MOLEST CHILDREN IN BONDAGE TO PORN!
The other major contributing factor to the rise in children being sexually abused is the breakdown of the family. For nearly 8 years now I have been preaching about how the moral deterioration of our society is directly linked to the breakdown of God's plan for the family. The sexual abuse of children is simply a byproduct of that breakdown. The ideal situation is for a child to have a mother and father and live in a Godly, loving, nurturing home. That is God's plan. With divorce rampant, with so many having sex outside of marriage and having children without a spouse, you now have well over 50% of children being raised by a single parent or by adults who are not their birth mother or father.
Today, a single mom or dad over the years their child is growing up might have 2, 3, 5, 10, or even more love interests who live there, stay the night, or just come over occasionally. Children are growing up today with a dad who has dozens of women in and out of his life, and subsequently his child's life. Children are growing up today with a mom who has dozens of men in and our of her life, and subsequently in her child's life. The fact is, these moms and dads are exposing their children to people they don't even really know! They have NO CLUE who this person they are "seeing" really is, yet they expose their child to that person!
Case in point from a recent national story is Scott Peterson and Amber Frey. Frey, who had only had one overnight date with Peterson, that was it, allowed him to go pick up her daughter the next day at her day care. Of course Peterson is now on California's death row for the murder of his wife and BABY!
The other recipe for abuse lies in blended families. You have homes where the mom has 1, 2, even 3 sets of children all with different fathers. Couple that with her husband who might have 1, 2, even 3 sets of children all from different mothers. ALL THESE KIDS ARE NOW LIVING TOGETHER UNDER ONE ROOF! There is normally big age discrepancies and quite often you see sexual abuse occur when an older partial siblings abuses a younger partial sibling.
THE BREAKDOWN OF THE FAMILY AND THE NUMEROUS ADULTS AND OTHER CHILDREN IN AND OUT OF MOST CHILDREN'S LIVES AS THEY GROW UP, COUPLED WITH THE INSTANT AVAILABILITY OF PORNOGRAPHY, IN ADDITION TO THE FACT THE BETTER PERCENTAGE OF TWO FULL GENERATIONS ARE NOW GROWING UP VOID OF GOD AND BIBLICAL VALUES, IS WHY THERE WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN WHO ARE BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED!
I love you and care about you so much. Having to deal with this issue every day for years, I know the incredible pain and damage sexual abuse does to a person's life. I counsel people daily that they need to seek out qualified, professional Christian counseling. I can pray for them, encourage them, help them, and guide them spiritually, but there is very real psychological damage done when a child is sexually abused and they need to take advantage of those professionals God has gifted to help them work through all of the many complicated issues that are a result of sexual abuse. This is not something you can simply rub some dirt on and make it better. Anyone who has been sexually abused needs professional Christian counseling to help them heal and move forward in their life.
I will be praying for anyone today who has had to endure the horror of being sexually abused as a child. It is NOT your fault. You did NOTHING WRONG! Sadly, there is much evil in this world, and even children are not immune from that evil. I will pray for you today to seek out professional Christian counseling to help you heal from the abuse you suffered. I will pray for you to know that God loves you and that He has a plan and purpose for your life. YOU MATTER and have great worth! God wants to help you heal and help you move forward to live a victorious life in Christ. It is no accident or coincidence you are reading these words today. God is speaking to you and letting you know that HE LOVES YOU AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I can only state again as I do so often how destructive pornography is, how critical who you marry is, and how vital it is to follow God's plan for sex. Sex was created for a man and women in MARRIAGE. PERIOD! Ultimately, it is the children who suffer when there is a divorce. It is the children who suffer when a child is conceived out of wedlock. It is the child who suffers when they are raised in these complicated, blended families. Can God help a single mom and dad overcome their sin? YES! Can God bless a blended home? YES! The key is the mother, the father, have to humble themselves before the Lord and seek His strength, wisdom, and counsel each day as they love, protect, and nurture their child, raising that child in accordance with God's Word.
I will be praying for you parents today. As I tell you so many times, being a mom and dad is the greatest ministry you will ever have. EVER! God gave you the gift of your child, and it is your responsibility to love, nurture, protect, and raise that child in the admonition of the Lord and to know Jesus as their Savior. It is the most difficult, but rewarding job you will ever have in this lifetime. I pray that God will give you His wisdom and counsel, strength and guidance, as you raise that child or children He has blessed you with!
There is a rise in the number of children being sexually abused, however, as there is also a rise in the number of men and women who come to know Jesus as their Savior, turn from the allure of pornography, follow God's plan for marriage and the family, we can see that rise stopped!!!