When Have I Been Shown Mercy?

Mercy is showing compassion or forgiveness towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Over 20 years ago, my family came as one unit and confronted my father about the incest in our family. After that meeting, my parents contacted the pastor of the church they attended and asked that he preside over a meeting between me and my father.

The other children of the family didn’t attend this meeting but I represented their accounts of abuse.

The pastor asked me to tell him our recollections of the abuse. I told him about the story my brother recalled being molested in the cab of Dad’s truck and how they filmed him going to the bathroom on fishing trips. I recounted how I had been raped before we left the house on Delaware Lane, so I had to be under four during these times. As I was recalling how the brick on the fireplace was a kinder focal point than my father’s face during these attacks, my father stood up, clenched his fists at me and said, “Not another word.”

I stopped talking.

At that time, the pastor stood up, walked right past me and hugged my father. Then the pastor said, “Jodie, I believe you. You seem very sincere but I don’t believe it was your father.”

I answered the pastor and said, “Then the man who did these things lived in our home, drove my dad’s truck and looked just like him.

What atrocity! My father had been given full clemency by this supposed man of God.

What about my sisters and brother? What about me?

I decided long ago not to look to others to find what I could only find with God. Oh, but I tried for years before I changed my expectation.

I would try to earn that favor from my parents for many, many years. What I learned was that while I was attempting to climb out of the pool of incest, they were trying to hold my head under water.

Unfortunately, my other siblings didn’t withstand my parents’ attempts to silence them.

Most of my siblings have succumbed to the temptation my parents placed in front of us: lose them or stay quiet. As full grown adults, two of my siblings have recanted their memories of abuse.

It is such a shame to watch now as those siblings’ lives will never be free. They will not find what their souls so desperately crave – freedom. Their prison cell doors will be eternally shut by their choices until they have the courage to return to their stories.

I would give them all clemency, but it is not within my power to do so.

Churches need to come out of the slumber they live in. Help these victims as they are climbing out of their troubled waters. Scream at the abusers to stand in a place of accountability. Stop being cowards in these situations.

To the abuser: of course grace can be given – isn’t that the easy part? What about the act of a strong accountability that needs to be established?

People of God – rise and shine! Hold these people accountable for their actions. Don’t live in a subtle denial because it’s the easy way out – for you.

11 thoughts on “When Have I Been Shown Mercy?

  1. I’m sorry, but that pastor was no man of God. This is why abuse victims don’t feel encouraged to tell anyone what is or what happened to them. Their story is either disbelieved or discounted. I read more than one story of an abused wife who sought help from her church. I read stories of abused women seeking help from their churches. One woman who told her priest that her husband was abusive hoping that would tell me that she didn’t have to live like that but he told her she had to stay in the abusive relationship. Another woman was married to a man who emotionally abused her, threatening a murder-suicide if she left him. One priest told her One priest said it was a shame she was suffering, but all she could do was offer it up while another told her she had a demon in her. The third priest listened to her story and advised her not to go back to her husband. One woman’s pastor insisted that her first obligation was to protect herself and her kids. Be safe, he told her. You are not safe with your husband, and God wants you to be safe. There are priests/pastors who offer no help to women and there are those who help them and even save their lives. It isn’t a sin to leave an abusive marriage/relationship. It isn’t a sin to say that it was your father who abused you. It’s the truth. It’s a sin to tell an victim of abuse/incest that you believe her but at the same time, you doubt her when she says that her father was the abuser. That pastor failed you, Jodie and he failed God. Churches need to do more to help victims for rape/incest/spousal abuse. After all the church is supposed to be the body of Christ, isn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have one sister who admitted memories to me and now denies completely everything. I have another sister who has been a drug addict and alcoholic since she was 15 years old…she’s now 43. I have a brother who refuses to look at any of it. The collusion within the system is strong and the retaliation for speaking out is harsh. I no longer have contact with most of my family, they shut me completely out. It’s heartbreaking, but probably healthier.

    Liked by 2 people

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