Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sins of an Angel (And the Danger of Preaching)

I don't remember much of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father's friend. I believe it started when I was 4 years old. And I know it stopped when I was 8. I remember him calling me over to sit on his lap. I remember his hand reaching into my pants. I remember his other hand placing my hand inside his pants.

And I remember slipping into a fantasy world. I could not live in that time and place. My small, fragile mind could not be in the same place as my small, fragile body at that time. But, just because I wasn't mentally/emotionally present in these moments, doesn't mean they didn't affect me and stay with me and revisit me time and again in my nightmares. And they still do at times.

After we moved away from this abuse (and into a whole new kind of abuse, which is a subject for another time), I tried to forget what had happened. And, I succeeded for the most part - until someone started preaching that premarital sex is a sin. Losing your virginity outside of marriage is a sin. And, I grew up in a household where sin meant going to hell.

Surely God wouldn't send me to hell for something that happened when I was but a child?

Would He?

I slowly forgot about such a concept. I pushed it back into the recesses of my mind. I wasn't prepared to understand or accept that what happened to me was my own fault, although I already knew such a thing.

Then that one summer happened. I was sixteen, out bike riding with a couple friends. My girlfriend had to go home, so the other friend (a male) and I started the trek back to my place. We stopped in a wooded area of the bike path for a moment... and he raped me. Perhaps I was still considered a virgin before that point simply because of how young I was and God couldn't possibly consider a child sinful. But this time, I knew. The pastor said it. My parents said it. Others preached it. If you lose your virginity outside of marriage, you're a sinner. I was 16, and I was going to hell because something happened that I did not ask for or consent to.

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Earlier tonight I posed the question of whether or not losing ones virginity was the same as being sexually immoral. I had some definitive "YES" responses. And had one chastise me for the way I worded the question because most people equate sin with willful action (something rape and molestation are not). As an adult, I am aware of this. But when I was a child? When I was a teenager? When I was in the trauma of being raped and molested? There was no difference. If someone told me having sex or losing ones virginity was sin, then I was the biggest sinner around. And, as a teenager in the aftermath of a rape trauma, now believing I was a major, un-savable sinner?

As Christians, we are entrusted with God's Word, and with making sure it is never used to harm another person. We are entrusted with teaching God's Truth. We are entrusted with looking out for each other... for loving both our neighbors and our enemies. This means using caution with our use of Scripture. Scripture should never be used to kick someone down.

And, as unintentional as it often is, making a blanket statement that losing one's virginity is a sin... this is kicking people down. This is using God's Word as a sword. It is causing some young girl to commit suicide, or start being promiscuous (she's already a sinful whore for losing her virginity.... might as well keep going...) or start doing drugs or start drinking or get into an abusive relationship.

It is good to spread God's Word.... we're supposed to do so. We just need to make sure we're doing so responsibly.

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