“The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, But the name of the wicked will rot”- Proverbs 10:7
Today I’m feeling incredibly grateful for my amazing husband, such a wonderful friend, a gentle leader, a man of integrity who chose to walk in righteousness. Being an optimist and always believing the best about people, Angelo blessed everyone with his beautiful safe heart.
Although I am often lost in the grief of being separated from him, I am so incredibly grateful for the abundant goodness he gifted to me, to us. As I witnessed him father his daughters, my soul was ministered to as he held their hands, genuinely conversed, prayed with them and for them and tucked them into bed at night.
There's a deep well he dug in my heart and theirs as he poured in the beautiful gift of childhood innocence.
He protected that, we protected that, and it is even more precious to me now than ever. The choice and challenge of homeschooling was a commitment he believed in part protected his children’s innocence. Being loyal and committed to a church family was also a choice to provide our children with safety.
When you believe the best about people as Angelo did, it’s really challenging to see the truth of evil. And evil knows this and uses it.
Sadly, Angelo and I were faced with the crushing evil truth of an adult in our congregation, cunningly and calculating abusing several children. Deceitfully denying it for years, the victims and our community have suffered devastating destruction as the abuse was ignored and never repented of.
As a leader, Angelo took his responsibility to walk in truth, to be a protector and to offer compassion to the hurting seriously. He took seriously protecting his own children’s innocence and others.
When we first heard the story, it was shocking. Ignoring the truth, or placing it on the back burner, however, was never an option. My husband, ever the optimist, truly hoped for the best in others to arise. For those whose moral and legal responsibility to protect the innocent to be apparent. For those who are to offer soul healing to be compelled to do so. For those who represent The Truth to address every aspect of the situation truthfully. When they didn’t, we walked away.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”- Ephesians 5:11
“ Hope deferred makes the heart sick “- Proverbs 13
He and I immediately educated ourselves on the truth and tactics of abusers, and on how to offer healing to the victims. Neither of us knew what the road ahead would look like. Both of us understood, in the core of our being, our God is righteous, He sees all, nothing is hidden from Him, and His righteousness demands protection and justice for victims of spiritual, sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse.
To have walked beside such a pure soul, so Christlike, to have grieved over the betrayal with him, and to have been steadied in his faith in God’s goodness, mercy, righteousness and justice is a treasure I am holding tight to today. For the gift of the example to his children of living out his faith genuinely, placing authenticity toward God as paramount and simply choosing honesty I am eternally grateful. His selfless leadership is a priceless pure legacy.
As we seek to protect the innocent, extend compassion and mercy toward the hurting, and seek honest justice, I have no doubt we have a heavenly angel peacefully interceding for true freedom for the oppressed, one who has walked the path of righteousness, one whose light still leads us.
“- the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”-Isaiah 30:18
This is what the Lord says: “ Maintain justice and do what is right, For my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this-“ Isaiah 56
Did you know 1 in 4 women have been sexually abused before adulthood? And 1 in 6 men.
Did you know abusers are calculated and intentional, grooming their victims and the people around them, creating a cover?
Did you know abusers just look like “regular people “?
Did you know that anytime two people are together one has more power than the other?
That means one can use that power to harm OR benefit the weaker one.
Power differences are:
Physical: stronger vs.weaker
Relational: teacher, parent, coach, minister vs. child/student
Capability: one more capable than the other psychology , developmentally, educationally
Gratification: an adult understands intent vs. a child/minor still developing
Did you know abusers first target their victim, gain their trust, fill a need, isolate them from safe people, sexually abuse them, then maintain control?
Did you know less than 10% ever confess?
Did you know research proves abusers systematically deny, justify, rationalize, minimize and then shift the blame onto their victims?
Did you know this blame shifting results in shame and silencing of the victim and witnesses?
Did you know most people don’t want to believe the evil that has been done, and this makes it difficult for the victim to be believed?
Did you know less than 5% accused are false accusations?
Did you know there is now decades of reliable research on abusers and on the trauma suffered by the survivors?
Did you know often Christians will encourage victims to “forgive” and move on?
Did you know this is not only unsound theologically, but morally and lawfully irresponsible?
Did you know this deception perpetuates abuse?
Did you know silencing another is a tactic of abuse?
Did you know there are an abundance of resources available on how to understand and deal with abuse?
He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
…. I am absolutely convinced that nothing- nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable, absolutely- nothing can get between us and God’s Love because of the way Jesus our Master has embraced us. from Romans 8