The Forgiveness Series Article 14 of 71
The fifth major deception that hinders many Christians from mastering the biblical principles of forgiveness is the belief that someone who has been offended has the right to hold the offender accountable for the wrong the offender has committed. This article explores the affects of this deception through the case study of a rebellious teenage girl. Molested as a child, this adolescent is untrustworthy, violent toward her own family and uncontrollable.
The fifth major deception that hinders many Christians from mastering the biblical principles of forgiveness is the belief that someone who has been offended has the right to hold the offender accountable for the wrong that offender has committed.
The girl wouldnt look me in the eye, and she wouldnt say a word.
This case study began several years ago when a husband and wife brought their 15-year-old daughter to me for counseling. She proved to be one of the most rebellious teenagers I had ever met. She was into the grunge look. For those of you who are not familiar with grunge, it was a counter-culture clothing fad. Grunge clothes made wearers look like they just crawled out of a garbage can. She had an earring in her nose, several earrings in both ears and blond-streaked hair that was matted down on her head. Her hair came down over her eyes, so she didnt have to look directly at anyone unless she chose to. She did not choose to look at me.
When her parents left her in charge of her younger brother, she would beat him up.
She had been sneaking out of her bedroom window each night to be with her friends. This was a special challenge because she lived in a second-story bedroom. She had a 13-year-old brother. Her parents were afraid to leave her alone with him because, if the siblings got into an argument, she would beat her brother up.
The family attended an evangelical, Bible-believing church. The youth director had informed the parents that he could no longer allow their daughter to attend youth functions. She was so rebellious and disruptive that she made it impossible for the director to carry out the regular youth activities. He went on to say that she was welcome at church only if she agreed to sit beside her parents. No one wanted to be around her. Her parents told me that the dog didnt even like her.
Her grandfather had sexually molested her for seven years.
The first time that her father brought her to me for counseling, he left her in the waiting room with her mother.
He filled me in on her background and ended with, One other thing that you need to know about our daughter is that from the time she was 4 years old until she was 11, she was sexually molested by her paternal grandfather.
This grandfather was a deacon in his church; he was a prominent member of the community; and he was very wealthy. He used his money as a means to continue his molestation for those seven years. He would bribe her with gifts and cash. She knew that if she ever told anyone what was going on, she would no longer receive all the things that he gave her. For years, he used the material perquisites to control and manipulate her.
Then her school presented a sex-education program when she was in the fifth grade. She watched a video entitled Good Touch, Bad Touch. Her teacher instructed all the students, If you have ever been touched in a bad touch way, you need to tell someone today.
She finally had the courage to tell her parents about the sexual abuse.
That afternoon when she got home from school, she mustered up all her courage because she was about to do the hardest thing she had ever done in all her life. She told her mother what had been happening. As soon as her father came home that evening, her mother assessed him of the situation. His initial response, though not at all uncommon, was dead wrong.
The continued story of this teenage girls life is one of the most glorious accounts of Gods healing power that I have ever witnessed. God worked miraculously to restore wholeness and beauty to a broken, fragmented life.