Everyone Needs Grace

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” ~ James 5:16 

I believe SIM has a responsibility to all the MKs that have been under their care in boarding schools over the years.  If those MKs are suffering effects today from abuse that occurred under the watch of SIM, it is the Mission’s responsibility to do what they can to help them recover, even if 30 years have passed.

SIM also has a responsibility to the abusers.  Abusers are living with the knowledge of what they have done, which has to come with a considerable amount of guilt.  I realize that some abusers may be in total denial that they did anything wrong, and may not have guilt or a desire to confess, but I usually give people the benefit of the doubt.  Lets assume some of these people have a conscience and know when they have harmed someone else.

Maybe they realize the damage they have caused in someones life (most likely a lot of lives) and maybe they have confessed this to God, but have been unable to confess it to the person (s) they abused.  If the Mission has a policy of keeping these matters confidential, what is the message to the abusers?  The message is that you can make matters right between you and God and maybe with a private confidante within SIM, but don’t say anything to the victim, because then the whole matter will become public, damaging the reputation of SIM.  The Mission might think they are protecting their missionaries or their reputation, but in doing so they are denying abusers the opportunity to confess and receive forgiveness from their victims.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. ~ Ephesians 4:7

In the twisted world of the Kent Academy dorms, a lot of the abuse that children suffered came from other children, especially in the boy’s dorm.  For years the older boys preyed upon the younger boys, and those younger boys did the same when they got older and bigger.  This was both physical and sexual abuse.  In order for healing to take place, these victims need an apology from their abusers, but perhaps they also need to receive forgiveness from other boys upon whom they inflicted the same punishments they had received.  This is also SIM’s responsibility, because somewhere along the line the dorm parents were responsible for starting that chain of abuse, because they looked the other way and never stopped it, and because there were dorm parents who actually encouraged fighting and punishment among the boys.  Nevertheless the boys themselves are carrying the burden of guilt for harming other boys.  It is a complicated mess that no one wants to deal with, and in the meantime the children involved continue to suffer (as adults now) with memories of being abused and with the guilt of having abused others.

For I am about to fall,  and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity;  I am troubled by my sin. ~ Psalm 38: 17,18

When they don’t allow an investigation to move forward, or they create an atmosphere where people are afraid to talk, SIM is doing a disservice to the abusers as well as the victims.


20 thoughts on “Everyone Needs Grace

  1. @ Beth, there IS a blog the Father owns that ultimately makes the abusers accountable, whether or not they volunatarily contribute to it, because when they refuse accountability to their victims, they must face the victims’ Lord and Saviour. Offering memory failure did not let any Nazi war criminal off historically and the abuser will never stand the test of Jesus Christ if they try ‘memory failure’ face-to-face with Him.

  2. I will ask you this:
    Would many, would YOU, be able to live with an human, call them God, Lord and Saviour, who represented that and wielded that very power, and had all power and knew it?
    Not very many, my friends, only the ones He came to rescue and He knows them all by name. You know inside yourself if you have eternal life. You know who your Friend is or is not.
    THAT is predestination.

  3. It was not just Jesus’ death on the cross that saved us all, but it was His rising three days later that brought us all back, and we are accountable to Him, good or bad. If He had not risen, nether would we have, and He is Life itself. Since it was the whole world that did it, they, the whole world is accountable unless they confess His name. Watch as it happens. There will be very few left that confessed.

  4. There is a time for all things. “Seek the Lord while He is near”. Time is fast running out, if you have not already sought Him. Soon, it will be too late and in Hosea it says, “They will not see my compassion.”

  5. @ Much Afraid, please DO NOT leave this blog. As Liz pointed out and corrected me on, the blog was set up to hold SIM accountable. There are many of us injured here, whether it was at boarding school or in some other way. Sometimes we are in such pain that we do not always read/understand what someone is saying or what he/she may be trying to communicate. The beauty of this blog is that we can go back and forth, ask for forgiveness, explain our thoughts, encourage. There have been many times when I have offended unintentionally………

    I am sorry for the struggles you have experienced in your life………..please do not leave as your input in very valuable!!!!!

  6. I deeply hesitate to say anything more, because the intentions of my heart have not been what my words have communicated or how my words have been heard. Murray from the States and others on this blog, I am not an abuser in the way that I have been horrendously abused, but from Jesus’ and my heart’s perspective – anything that I have done that has caused someone who is dependent on me to not see a clear picture of Jesus’ love and to not trust Him is a grievous sin. Because I know what it is like to have my heart shattered over and over, and then live with that affecting every area of my life year after year, I feel accountable for even one second of anything that touches that…I barely can stand to hear a child cry without wanting to protect or defend him no matter what the situation. I doubt my ability to reason or know truth because of what “godly” and “leaders” did to me…but there are some things that I am clinging desperately to: 1) Jesus’ death on the cross is the only thing that can even touch what is “owed” to me – nothing, no one, no way will ever pay the cost of the damage to my heart, body, life, and soul apart from Jesus! 2)I do not want to continue the cycle of abuse; I don’t want to be a part of abuse in any way, shape, or form to anyone not even to those who have grievously abused me. 3)There has to be hope otherwise I cannot live; The only hope I have finally found is in Jesus! He says that the truth will set me and all others free; He says that it is only by grace that I can be saved and lived saved. Murray from the States, please do not hold Liz accountable for corrupting this blog…it is because of me (I will ask Liz to take me off so you will feel safe again). I believe that it would be a gift (not revenge) of real Jesus love for abusers to know truth and with that HELL staring them in the face to be offered the immense grace of forgiveness (not reconciliation or trust which are not synonymous with forgiveness) for their journey of repentance. Please forgive me for offending you Murray from the States; others on the blog please forgive me for adding to your pain. It was unintentional, but it still happened and I am sorry. May God bless you and make His face to shine upon you in your journey.

    • Much Afraid, I know you, and I know that you are not an abuser, and that you don’t intend to harm anyone here. I also know that it has taken a lot of courage for you to even make an appearance on this blog. You are very welcome here.

  7. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
    Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
    He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
    To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
    Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
    But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral,
    those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
    This is the second death.” Revelation 21 : 5,6

  8. Much Afraid, are you serious when you throw doubt that Christ is the center of this blog or just blind? You sound just like my abuser when you say we all deserve hell. I know I don’t, because I am a child of God and I follow His precepts and laws and have claimed victory over death. Jim Knowlton, give it up, you will not win this. I am no longer a child, nor do you have my family or yours to protect you any further.

  9. @ Liz………thanks for clarifying. As you stated, there are lots of opinions and feelings and maybe a “closed” blog for victims, as Shary mentioned, would be the way to go. This blog certainly does allow for much dialogue and alot can be accomplished if those reading it have open hearts to see and hear about boarding school abuse and its devasting outcomes and the responsibility of the mission/missions involved.

  10. Let me also make it clear though, when I say a blog set up for those that were abused and then went on to abuse others, I am referring to those who are truly seeking forgiveness and are repentent of their sin. And yes, they still need to be held accountable for their criminal acts.

  11. @ Much Afraid…………..my understanding of the purpose of this blog is that it is/was set up for victims of abuse, SIM boarding school abuse. By victim, I mean those who were abused, not those who were abused and then became abusers themselves. This is a blog for the abused to be able to share their stories without judgement, to receive encouragement. When you have a victim of abuse, one whose life has been impacted forever by said abuse, you can understand why this victim would not want nor be able to share a blog with one who was abused and went on to be an abuser. In the victim’s eyes, the abuser made a choice to move forward and inflict the same atrocities that were inflicted on him onto someone else. Does this mean I don’t have compassion for someone like this? NO…………but do I believe they should be able to share the same blog that was set up for victims………..I am not so sure! The VICTIM deserves the right to share in a place where he does not have to hear about the abuse of one which in turn made him an abuser. The victim has the right to “his” space……if not, he/she never escapes from said abuse and relives the trauma over and over.

    @Murray……I am very sorry for your pain!

    Having said this, maybe a blog should be set up for those that were abused and then committed abuse themselves. Maybe they can explain how what was done to them made them feel the need to move towards such a life choice. Yes, we are all guilty and we all sin……..but for the grace of God.

    • As the author of the blog I feel like I should clarify my own reasons for setting up the blog. It is to hold SIM accountable for abuse that happened on their watch, on the mission field, to MKs who were under their care at boarding school. If you read “about this blog” I state that “This blog is about abuse at SIM Boarding schools in the past, the survivors of that abuse, and what is being done today for those people. ”

      In order to do that it has to be an open blog, where anyone can visit and it can be seen by the world. It seems like the blog you are talking about, Beth, would not be an open blog but one that could only be accessed by victims, and then only by a subset of victims, those that had not gone on to abuse anyone else. Shary Hauber mentioned early on as well that we need a place like this that is closed, like a Facebook page or private blog. This is NOT that closed, private place, and anyone who comments here is getting into a discussion that could involve victims, abusers, missionaries, etc.

      I totally agree a closed place is needed for victims to talk, and will wholeheartedly support that if it happens.

      I sincerely hope people can share their stories here and recieve encouragement. The more people that share, the more SIM will realize the extent of the problem, and be held accountable. I am personally on the side of the victim and will throw all of my support behind them. The more people share, the more others are emboldened to share, because its not an easy thing to do, and SIM has a pervasive code of silence. These are all extremely sensitive and emotional things that take a lot of courage to discuss, and I thank EVERYONE who is willing to join in the conversation.

  12. Murray from the States, I am truly sorry if I am causing you pain by what I am writing. That isn’t the intention of this blog, and I don’t believe its the intention of most of the people who comment here to give abusers equal footing with the victims. We all want the abusers to be held accountable for what they have done, and we want SIM (and other missions) to take on the responsibility of helping victims who have been suffering for many years. To quote Shary, grace is for everyone, but they have to desire it. An abuser who is unrepentant, who believes he did nothing wrong, or who chooses to remain hidden, does not desire and will not receive grace.

  13. My abuser centered his whole life on these words to me, “You are no better than I am and you are going to hell just like me.” These words seem to be echoing in this blog, and I for one have had enough. I will take this to my Father above and let Him figure out how He will punish all of you for this.
    Now let us claim separation from the world and claim redemption and not mess around with damnation. Why would you let my abuser’s words rule to this day? Do you really think that you are no better than the abuser? Have you not with faith become a new and changed person? Why do you want to claim undeservedness, while in all reality you’re just attempting to continue to shield the abuser? By being falsely modest about your grace, aren’t you really conceitedly thinking you’re somehow better than the afflicted?

  14. Grace is for everyone but they have to desire it. The mission is wrong in hiding sin of any kind. The offender whose sin are hidden lives without guilt believing the abuse really wasn’t wrong. Hiding sin denies the abuser the opportunity to make right with God and those who were abused. Now given what I have seen very few adult abusers will admit that they have done anything wrong even when faced with the facts in front of a investigating group. Actually I don’t know of any.

    For a mission to come out and admit who is or was abusing and asking them to make some kind of payment making right for what they have done will help the abuser realize his or her sin.

    The attention is on the survivors now because abusers have been protected for so long. I think this is good because it is right to expose sin.

  15. What is the purpose of this blog? Revenge? Redemption? This blog has the possibility of swinging to extremes…Let those who say they have no sin cast the first stone. This blog for me is a gift for victims – to be heard, to be acknowledged, to be considered, to be valued, to be advocated for, to have the possibility of forgiving those who have grievously offended them, to be offered freedom out of the bondage… It is also a gift for the abusers – to be offered the opportunity and invitation to hear the truth, to be offered the possibility of help out of bondage and secrecy, to be offered the possibility of the freedom of true forgiveness. We all deserve hell – the ground at the bottom of the cross is level! If this blog is only about hatred and revenge – then I do not see the Bible or Jesus in it at all. If this blog is only about smoothing over great sin and forgetting it, then Jesus and the Bible will not be apparent either. Truth without grace is brutal cruelty; Grace without truth is lethally impotent. Liz, hold only to Jesus! You are offering a strategic journey – some will be willing (both victims and offenders) and some will not be willing (both victims and offenders). In the end, we (wounded victims and abusers) all have to answer Jesus’ question given to the man at the pool, “Do you want to get well?”

  16. Liz, thanks for writing about grace – which we all need especially myself…. Just like forgiveness is a difficult word because we have all defined it according to our preferences, boxes, family traditions, and religious parameters, so also has grace become a word with the same difficulties. Grace has swung in pendulum from “legalism” so that it means something very wimpy, turn the other cheek, “letting it go”, etc. It in effect has become opposite of the gospel – it says we can sin as much as we want because grace will abound. That grace has nothing to do with the courageous grace in Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”

    Liz, you are in a really difficult place – please don’t give up…this journey is awkward and precarious – hold to Jesus!

  17. Everyone NEEDS grace, not everyone gets it. How are the abusers given the same treatment here? The abusers needed to quit a long time ago and confess then, not wait until now and expect grace under fire. I was given the same choice to pass on the abuse but I made it stop, not only from me, but to me. I gave back as a child to those younger than me, to try to even the odds that healing would take place with stuff I didn’t even do, and a complete change in policies would take hold in our schools. While I was there, I witnessed the change. I had and do have a conscience.
    How is my abuser given the same grace as me, when they did not confess the abuse and continued it into adulthood? Why are they even considered on this blog? That totally defiles its purpose, and makes me want to stay away now. It has been compromised.

    • O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
      Make Your way straight before me.
      There is nothing reliable in what they say;
      Their inward part is destruction itself
      Their throat is an open grave;
      They flatter with their tongue.
      Hold them guilty, O God;
      By their own devices let them fall!
      In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
      For they are rebellious against You.
      But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
      Let them ever sing for joy;
      And may You shelter them,
      That those who love Your name may exult in You.
      For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD,
      You surround him with favor as with a shield.
      Psalm 5:8-12

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