Rapists aren’t strangers lurking in the shadows down dark allies. They are seemingly everyday people, people you know. I wonder how many rapists I know? Daily, how many do I encounter? I had no idea until today, but one of the pastors at my church has been arrested. He is being charged with rape. Raping a young girl in his office at a previous church. Raping her whilst he was supposed to be counseling her. Amidst her vulnerability.
It tears my heart in two. I feel betrayed. Rapists aren’t strangers, they are people you trust. I can’t believe that someone could have done this in a counseling position and then stood in front of the church and taught. I always thought this pastor was such an amazing pastor, that he truly knew what God’s grace and forgiveness were. When he stood in front of the congregation, he would remark how nice everyone looks on Sunday. How well people clean-up. Yet God sees our hearts, he knows our thought, words and deeds. We can’t cover that up.
This pastor had not been at our church very long. I was immediately drawn to him and even considered meeting with him one-on-one, because he seemed to understand God’s forgiveness so well. I felt like after all I had been through he was another Christian who also understood. Now, I am so grateful I never followed through with that thought. Shortly after his arrest, the head pastor pulled me aside one Sunday and specifically asked me if I had ever met with the pastor who was arrested. The head pastor was familiar with all I had been through with my rape. With compassion and concern he told me he wanted to make sure I had not met with the other pastor. I was grateful for his concern and compassion. I felt in that moment that God spared me from more pain. To think I even considered meeting with such a man gives me chills!
Our head pastor addressed the Church about the arrest of the other pastor. He spoke about how Satan attacks Christ and His Church. That he attacked our church. He touched upon Satan placing people in the church who seem to be believers, raising them to positions of leadership or power, and then letting “all hell break loose (that last phrase is mine, not his, but you get the idea).”
I am so thankful that this girl had the courage to come forward and hold this man accountable. Hopefully he will never be in a position where this could ever happen again. I am also very thankful that this all surfaced before he had the opportunity to rape again at our church. His ministry had been to young adults. He taught Sunday school classes and Saturday evening services which were geared toward young adults. Both of which I had been wanting to attend, but hadn’t made it yet. I am so thankful now that I never went. Not because I think something would have happened, but because I feel like God was protecting me, keeping me clear of harm’s way and the chance to develop a relationship with this pastor.