Those who have been sexually (or otherwise) abused may feel abandoned or unloved by God or believe that He must not exist because why would God – a Supreme Being, your Heavenly Father – allow innocent children and others to be abused?
Well, He doesn’t. Not exactly.
God does allow for agency. He allows
each person who has come to earth to be able to choose for him or herself, to choose good or evil.
In 2 Nephi 2:16 it says, “…Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”
And then it continues in verse 27, “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh;… And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”
Agency allows us to make choices, but in order to make choices, we have to have Jesus Christ’s plan on one side and Satan’s plan on the other. There has to be opposition.
God does not often intervene to stop someone from making the wrong choice by force. Will He try to influence them through the power of the Holy Ghost? Definitely. But, do people always listen to the still, small voice of warning? No, because we have agency.
Unfortunately, and too often, others use their agency to hurt others. When you were sexually abused, this is exactly what happened. There are consequences for the abuser, if not in this life, surely the next.
We, too, have a choice to make. We can let the abuse continue to destroy our lives, or we can be strong, heal, forgive, overcome, and help others to do the same. Don’t let someone’s agency cripple your progression.
In response to a similar question posed in the Ensign, Carlfred Broderick explains:
Indeed, my experience in various church callings and in my profession as a family therapist has convinced me that God actively intervenes in some destructive lineages, assigning a valiant spirit to break the chain of destructiveness in such families. Although these children may suffer innocently as victims of violence, neglect, and exploitation, through the grace of God some find the strength to “metabolize” the poison within themselves, refusing to pass it on to future generations. Before them were generations of destructive pain; after them the line flows clear and pure. Their children and children’s children will call them blessed….
In a former era, the Lord sent a flood to destroy unworthy lineages. In this generation, it is my faith that he has sent numerous choice individuals to help purify them.
This perspective hit me hard when I read it. Though I don’t have concrete proof, the spirit told me I am not the first in my lineage to be a victim of sexual abuse. But I am the last. It stops with me. Because of my experience, I can protect my children by teaching them how to stay safe and to talk to me if something ever does happen – no matter what.
You’ve been the victim; do not become the abuser.
One last think Broderick says in his message, is something to consider:
Most of us, I believe, are acquainted with one or more of these valiant, struggling spirits. In the latter stages of their progress, they are easy to recognize and appreciate. But sometimes in the early stages they are suffering so much from their terrible wounds that it takes a mature degree of spiritual sensitivity to see past the bitterness and pain to discern the purity of spirit within. It is our duty and our privilege to befriend such individuals and to provide whatever assistance and support we can in helping them to achieve their high destiny.
Others of us may be, ourselves, the suffering messengers of light. Let us be true to our divine commission, forgoing bitterness and following in our Savior’s footsteps.
God never wanted you to be abused. He felt all the pain and suffering you have felt and are feeling. He knows how it broke your heart. He knows how to mend the wounds and succor your spirit. Agency is critical to our Savior’s Plan of Happiness. But, we have the atonement not only for when we make mistakes, but also when others use their agency to hurt us.