PUBLIC STATEMENT RE: Blog on CC Matthews

Questions are coming in regarding changes I made to my previous blog in which I shared links to blogs written by victims of CC Matthews.  These changes included wording edits, removing of a victim’s name (whose name is public by her choice in the blog originally referenced; I do not make victims names public!), as well as removing the reference to the blog from my main Facebook page.

Out of respect for the particular victim originally mentioned in that blog, I have removed reference to her name. I have also linked to the main blog – GRACE UNASHAMED – rather than the story posted on the blog on her behalf. It is not my intent to wound victims in re-sharing what they have made public. 

Also out of respect for that victim, I am stating publicly that I used the word pimp in my original title and post, in reference to the pastor’s suggestion to young women to sell their bodies. I placed it in quotations to indicate it was not a literal ‘he is selling them’. This was offensive to the victim, and immediately upon hearing what it communicated to her, I edited my blog. She asked me to do a public retraction of what she felt was a misrepresentation of her story, so I am doing that here. CC Mathews did not sell her or make money off of her; he suggested to her to sell her bodyPimp was not the appropriate word choice to communicate her story. I apologize for this poor choice of wording and any misunderstanding this caused, and I am especially sorry for how it impacted the victim. The shortest word to sum up a sentence, I’ve learned, is not the wisest or most thoughtful way to tell it. I will be more mindful of this going forward.

Finally, within minutes of the victim requesting that I remove the reference from my Facebook page, I did so. I was told that the negative comments (bashing CC) were overwhelming for the victim(s), so I honoured that. On the professional pages the bashing did not take place. Nonetheless, I removed all comments that were made, since some referenced the victim by name.

As I mentioned in my original blog, the victims make it very clear in their writing that they are not out for revenge, but rather are hoping that other victims will come forward. That is my hope and prayer as well.

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PLEASE NOTE: Given the public outcry over me sharing the blog link originally without asking, be advised that the blog owner has given me permission to keep her blog linked in the previous post.

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The story is far from over. What I have learned in just over 24 hours, having communicated with pastors, church members, community members in both locations, is both alarming and encouraging.

It is very encouraging that the leader – John Weaver – made every effort to expose the wrongs and hold Matthews accountable. It is equally alarming that these concerns were disregarded by individuals who should have heard them, taken them seriously, and responded accordingly.

It would be appropriate, and seem necessary, for a thorough and unbiased external review of the matter to be done. There is a trail of evidence that points to blatant disregard and dismissal of these concerns. Unless addressed, this will continue to wreak havoc going forward. At the very least, we ought to learn from our mistakes. And as long as they are glossed over, that can’t happen.

There needs to be greater transparency and accountability for offenders, and protection for the vulnerable.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Training and conference, Dayton Virginia, October 9-12, 2019.

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To read a recent 5-part series addressing victim healing and forgiveness for offenders, click: HERE.

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ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

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JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

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If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

 

 

WWJD with Child Molesters? And Are Public ‘Attacks’ Persecution for Faith?

(Part 3: The Forgotten Children)

The merchants sold things in the temple courtyard. There was no hidden crime, that we know of; they were right out there in the open, and obviously they thought what they did was fine. Even so, Jesus threw over tables, grabbed a whip and chased them out. The Pharisees made a host of man-made rules and imposed them on people as part of redemption, and Jesus called them hypocrites, a brood of vipers. He even declared them to be sons of hell. “You travel land and sea,” Jesus said, “to make one convert. And having done so, you make them twice the sons of hell that you are.”

Ouch. Definitely His outdoor voice, wouldn’t you say? And this isn’t the Old Testament God of wrath, talking here. This is Jesus, the gentle-hearted healer, speaking to those who defile the temple with ignored sin, those who defile God’s name by misrepresenting Him through external things, those who defile the temple by taking what is not theirs. That’s what thieves do; they take what is not theirs.

What would Jesus do with sexual abuse hidden in the ‘temple’? He would react. I know for certain He would not turn a blind eye, or shrug it off. The Gospels are full of Jesus’ response to sin, and the response of sinners to Jesus. When Zacchaeus encountered the Christ, he gave back 10-fold what he had taken. The impact Jesus had on him was not a, “thank God for grace so I can move on from my little mistake”… No, when Zac met Jesus, he was confronted by the wickedness of his own heart, and this stirred repentance in him. Repentance that included paying the consequences for his crime and acknowledging he had done great damage.

canstockphoto0605710 (1)

I am also confident that Jesus would not say the offender (or their family) is being persecuted for their faith, if such sin came to light and the world around was angry and called them hypocrites. My confidence comes from the Word of God, which clearly states that if our suffering is the result of wrongdoing (sin, criminal activity, gossip) then we are not to rejoice in it, and it is not being ‘reproached for the name of Christ’. Jesus would most definitely stand by the Word. Yes, he would extend forgiveness to the repentant, which I also promote… with boundaries to protect victims, and following the laws of the land. (Romans 13:1-5)  I certainly can’t imagine He would run around saying, “This man/woman suffered dreadfully for my name’s sake”, when there is sin or criminal activity linked to the attacks. Fallout in the world around, as a result of those things is called consequences, and shames the name of Christ–even when/if it has been dealt with through repentance.

When I hear the cry ‘persecution’ associated with some of the recent ‘Christian sex scandals’, whether Gothard, Provencher, Duggars, or any other ‘Christian’ suffering ‘persecution’ after committing a crime, it makes me feel physically ill. It isn’t persecution. Does the world react differently to Christians being exposed in sex scandals or crimes? Yes. And they should. They have expectations of us, behaviours they hope for, and when our sins look just like their sins, they are bewildered, angry and call it hypocrisy. Sometimes it is hypocrisy, and sometimes it isn’t. But to the world it all looks the same.

Persecution, in terms of Christianity, is when someone suffers for the sake, cause or name of Christ. If I am bullied for dressing in a particular cultural fashion, it is not ‘suffering for the sake of Christ’. Christ didn’t ask me to dress a certain way. My church may have, or my parents, and it is perfectly fine for me to dress that ‘certain way’ associated with culture or personal preference, but that attire has nothing to do with the name of Christ, because my attire doesn’t represent Christ. My life, however, does represent Him or misrepresent Him, as the case may be. But, if I declare boldly the love and name and teachings of Christ, and I suffer for His name’s sake, that is Christian persecution.

So, as a Christian, if I commit(ted) a crime and it comes to light and collides with what I teach, and I am attacked, bashed or shamed because the crime came to light, it is not persecution. It is a consequence of sin. It is one of the reasons I chose early on to disclose my own past–the things I did and those done to me–so that the name of Christ would never be shamed because some hidden thing in my own life comes to light, and my past would not be used against me. And as part of my healing I shared every sin ever committed against me, and every sin I could remember ever committing, and have written about many of them. I desperately wanted to be free, and my greatest fear back then was that people would discover who I once was and use it to destroy me, or it would give Satan a foothold. (And now it’s out there in book form. Who would have thought it?!) But I will say this, if ever I get attacked by the world for what I disclose in my memoir, it will not be persecution. If I get attacked for presenting Christ and my faith in Him, that will be persecution.

That said, there is forgiveness for every sin and Jesus is more than enough, for my sins, for your sins and even the sins of celebrities. All sins are equal in needing grace,  but all are not equal in consequence to us or others. We say sin doesn’t have ‘grades’, and then hold up homosexuality as ‘a sin unto death’ while brushing molestation under the proverbial rug. It would seem that Jesus might disagree with our grading system. There is only one sin for which He declares it would be better for the offender to be dead than to face the consequences, and it is the very one I see hidden most often in churches; sinning against a child or causing a child to sin. (And I deal with the fallout of ‘causing a child to sin’, and think often of this verse.) May God have mercy on our warped grading system, and open our blinded eyes to the impact of silence.

Children who survived abuse have long been overlooked, their pain gone unacknowledged. Let alone the devastating aftermath of sexual abuse. Many are later disciplined by their churches for struggles that are the direct result of being sinned against. All of this must change if the church–the Body of Christ–is ever to have a voice of hope or authority in the world. In Amos 5 God says He will turn away from every form of worship, if we don’t first love justice and righteousness. And there is no justice in turning a blind eye to victimization, while trying quickly to cover up the crimes through ‘forgiveness’. And there is no righteousness in that pretense.  We, the church, have so much more to offer…

Victims need compassion–not pity; understanding, not ‘blaming’; and time and space to heal, not a mad dash to forgiveness and silence…. for the sake of image or any other wicked motivation. They need affirmation; to know they are not insane, even when they feel it. They need encouragement; to know they can make it. They need a listening ear, without judgement.

Victims need a church that does not overlook their trauma, but invites the Jesus who whispers to children in the night; “I am here. You will never be alone”.

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I will share this interview with Boz Tchividjian, on the last of the ‘Forgotten Children’ posts, because it is worth watching. Boz is a man of great wisdom on the topic of sexual abuse. He is a Christian and a former prosecuting lawyer in child abuse cases, who speaks with insight, compassion and offers balance. If ever you find yourself wondering if something is ‘sexual abuse’ or ‘normal curiosity’, have a listen.

Boz interview with CBN

Coming up… A few thoughts on the Duggar daughter’s interview.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

“When I prayed, I felt big arms wrap around me”… Do Angels Really Visit Children?

“I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”
~ GOD ~

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(Part 2: The Forgotten Children)

…First a little story that happened in 2015:

angel with child

Had I not been there, face to face with her, and had I only heard it on GodVine or whatever other social media forum out there, I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have concluded someone coerced her, or framed the questions just right. But when it played out in front of me, I had no choice but to believe. I tell the following story with permission from ‘mommy’.

This year I’ve traveled to numerous times to various states in USA, to offer support in difficult situations. Being a Canadian, I go solely to offer a listening ear and spiritual encouragement. I do not tell people what they ought to do, beyond encouraging them to educate themselves with the law, and fight for their children’s best interest and healing, and to get them support, help or therapy they need. Always.

It was on one such trip that I found myself sitting with a little girl…. yet again. Her blonde, fly-away hair caught in her ice cream cone, and she licked it clean, giggling. Her blue eyes sparked with mischief… until that one topic came up…

I asked if we could talk about what had happened, and explained that mommy had told me everything. Immediately, it was as if someone had turned out the light and drawn the blinds in her beautiful little eyes. With great intensity she told me that mommy had explained we would talk about it, and it was okay. Still, I could see the shame.

“What do you feel when we talk about it?” I asked.

She shrugged, then said, “Bad. Like it was my fault and I ruined his life.” My heart filled with sudden deep pain, on her behalf, and immediately I assured her it was not her fault. I told a little story, using a practical example, of a grown up wrecking some precious toy, and asked if it would be her fault. “No!” she giggled, in that ‘don’t-be-so-silly’ way, and shook her head.  The sparkle returned.

“Then, can it really be your fault when an adult hurts you?”

She shook her head, and smiled. “So it’s not really my fault at all, is it?”

“No, sweetie, it isn’t,” I said. Relief visibly washed over her. We talked about many things, and repeatedly her deep thoughts amazed me. And then I asked about fear. I remember debilitating fear surging through my body, so that I could hardly breathe, especially at night, and how there was no one to talk to about it. “Are you ever afraid?” I asked.

“Not very often, any more,” she said, “but sometimes I am.”

“What do you do when you’re afraid?” I asked.

“I pray and talk to Jesus,” she said. I nodded, contemplating where to take the conversation. I asked what she says to Jesus. “I just tell Him I’m scared, and ask Him to help me,” she answered.

sleeping girl

“Who taught you to pray when you’re afraid?

She looked thoughtful. “No one. I just do it.” She went on to tell me how the first time she lay in the dark, terrified, she began to ‘talk to Jesus’.

“Then what happened?” I expected her to call her parents into her room to hold and comfort her. Because they would. They’re like that.

“When I prayed, I felt big arms wrap around me and hold me, and then I fell asleep,” she answered matter-of-factly, as though it should have been what I expected. Whatever emotions I felt in that moment, I pushed them down. I was here to support her, and tears were out of place. So I smiled and told her how beautiful that is, and how it makes me so happy.

“I told my little brother to try it when he was scared. I said, ‘you can just pray, and these big arms will come and hold you’, but he said it didn’t work for him.”

“Have you told mommy and daddy about this?” I asked. She furrowed her brows, thoughtfully, and then shook her head, adding that she never thought about it. “Do you think we can tell them later?” I asked. “I think it would make their hearts happy.” And that is just what she did when we returned. There were tears and relief, at knowing so  that Someone had been with their daughter so intimately all along.

The words of Jesus, “…their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven…” replayed in my mind, over and over. She won’t have an easy road; it never is for victims of molestation, but she will never be alone.

God has an amazing plan for this little girl, as He does for all of us. Being molested will bring unnecessary struggle and pain into that journey, but I know this; God will redeem it. He will turn her into a dynamic young woman whose faith will be a testimony to God’s faithfulness in spite of tragedy.

I do not thank God for what happened to her. I do not downplay the wickedness because of God’s promised redemption. I am heartbroken that children continue to suffer. It should never have happened. But I will never stop believing that God will raise us up, as victims, to be the strongest voice for healing in our land, on this topic.

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I will share this interview with Boz Tchividjian, on each of these ‘Forgotten Children’ posts, because it is worth watching. Boz is a man of great wisdom on the topic of sexual abuse. He is a Christian and a former prosecuting lawyer in child abuse cases, who speaks with insight, compassion and offers balance. If ever you find yourself wondering if something is ‘sexual abuse’ or ‘normal curiosity’, have a listen.

Boz interview with CBN

To be Continued….

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

The Conflicted Heart: Forgiving, Releasing and Blessing My Father (Part 3)

It is an unexplained conflict that happens in the heart and mind of a child who is victimized by someone they love and should be able to trust. I loved my father. All I ever wanted, starting in early childhood, was his protection, love and acceptance. I wanted Dad to be proud of me. And I wanted to be proud of him. Instead, I found myself compelled to protect him. To prove my love. To accept him.

I was seven years old. Several neighbourhood boys bullied and teased me. About what, I don’t remember. But I was hurt and angry. In my imaginary world, that strange space I had created in my head, I had a father who fought for me. Protected me.

I put my hands on my hips, squared back my shoulders and looked those little boys right in the eye, “I’m going to go tell my Dad on you!” I said it with all the courage in the world, as if my father would appear with a gun–which I knew he had and knew he was capable of using if he needed to–and scare them away. They would never bother me again.

The boys laughed. Their pointy fingers taunted me. “Oooo… she’s gonna get her dad!” They laughed again. I marched into the house, my shoulders still squared back. I never told Dad. He wouldn’t have done anything. He wouldn’t protect me. It was me against the world. Still, it didn’t hurt to imagine things differently. Somehow it gave me courage.

In spite of the fact that I had not felt protected by Dad as a child, when I left the Goderich hospital, having cried my tears in the parking lot, my warrior/protector instincts kicked in.  Somewhere, in early childhood, I had become the protector. I remember the day it happened. It was the day Dad threatened to kill us. The first time I recalled seeing it in action. The first time he engaged me in the process. The first time the police came in. It was Dad I was going to protect our family from.

Ironically, as I left the hospital, I felt an overwhelming urge to protect Dad. I was furious at my family. Dad said no one else had come to see him. I was the only one. I still don’t know why that made me so angry, but it did. Maybe it was the image of the little boy, lying there, curled up. Broken. Abused. Lonely. It haunted me. Haunts me still when I think about it too long, and draws such depth of grief and compassion I can hardly bear it, even now.

Maybe, in a strange way, I wanted to protect the little boy he once was and change the course of history. I’ll never know for certain. But that’s what my heart tells me now, as I think back and try to make sense of that moment in time.

I arrived at the meeting with the psychiatrist. I listened to what he had to say. I was polite. We asked a few questions. And then we left. It was hogwash. All of it. Dad wasn’t some untamed animal who needed to be sedated. He was a broken child who needed healing. I believed that then and I believe it still.

Flush the drugs and introduce the man to the real Jesus, not some secular assessment of a spiritual situation. Sure, I’d grant it, the years of carrying the trauma had impacted his mental health but I was convinced that if he encountered Jesus, the real Jesus, he wouldn’t need drugs to numb the mind. He wouldn’t have the rage. The desire to kill.

The only thing I see differently now is that the medications served a purpose. I didn’t see it then, but having been involved in enough situations since that time, I recognize that medications are a necessary thing for a time, even for life, in some cases. It is using them to numb the mind that bothers me. And, in any case, I believe Jesus is able to heal. But, just as He does not always heal cancer, He also does not always heal the mind.

We live in a fallen, broken world and the impact of that sin affects us all in one way or another. For my father, it damaged his mental health, though, given the resources I have access to, I think he would have been healed. I, too, was on that path to mental break down when Jesus healed me. Tim is my witness. And my children, if they could remember it, would also speak to that fact. But that’s too long a story to tell here. I will save that for the book.

After the meeting some of us siblings talked awhile. I blew off some steam about them misjudging Dad. I preached a little mini sermon about him just needing love and grace. Maybe if we loved him and accepted him, he would heal. He was wounded. I didn’t tell them all he had told me. I still haven’t told most of them. Which is why I cannot tell it here.

They didn’t understand or agree with me. Which only further upset me. And my way of being angry was quite tame, really. It amounted to a lot of feelings being stuffed down, and speaking my mind in a matter-of-fact way. Then it was over. I drove home, a bundle of twisted emotions. Unsure of what to think of everything and everyone. I realized then how disconnected I had become in six years.

Somehow I had closed a part of my heart. I didn’t feel like it was my family at all. Was Dad really my father? It was strange. That feeling of not belonging. Of wondering if ever I had. Who was I really? Would I ever be part of the family again? Would I know how? Had leaving at fifteen, and never looking back changed me so completely?

To Be Continued….

© Trudy Metzger

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