What happens when a pedophile becomes a heart-led servant of Christ?
If you go by the experience of mainstream American Christianity, you don’t have a clue. The mainstream churches have no plan for dealing with moral and spiritual recovery of pedophiles, or any other sexual perversion, for that matter. Those few who have come up with something rarely get it right. They ignore what the Bible says (Galatians 6:1-5) and develop something that mirrors the bogus therapeutic failures of secular society.
There is a minority literature out there, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who reads it. The social hysteria about this problem prevents anyone taking seriously the power of the Holy Spirit in redeeming and healing people from this demonic idolatry. It’s funny how they can work with drug users — though typically getting that wrong, as well — but nobody wants to talk about pedophilia.
Let me shake you up: The personality make-up of a pedophile is what makes them also the very best teachers of children. They can empathize with children in ways few adults can comprehend. The only difference between a pedophile and a great teacher is that the pedophile is focused on self-gratification, whereas the teacher is focused on the community. It really is that simple.
Granted, there is more than one kind of pedophile, but the truly nasty predator types have another problem entirely, and it’s misleading to call them pedophiles. They suffer from some other affliction and children are simply their targets. You wouldn’t know that from reading the mainstream clinical literature. The mainstream reaction jumps from “not my problem” to “kill `em all” without stopping to consider redemption and recovery to build shalom.
By choosing the image of pedophiles, maybe I can shake loose the evil castle (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) of lies about the business of the community of faith. A church is the one place on this earth where you can unburden your soul and expose your true self because the people there won’t betray your trust and rip you to shreds out of self-righteous petty fears. There is a whole range of human misbehavior that is handled poorly by most organized religion. We don’t even have a good lore for understanding for it. It’s time to write that lore. Do you even know the difference between a pedophile and a child molester?
I’m not going to prescribe any answers. When I deal with such things, I do it according to my calling, gifts and experience. You’ll have to do that same. But as one who exercises the gift of prophecy, I warn you that if we continue failing on this issue of redeeming God’s children from their weaknesses, God’s wrath will fall on us. This sin of building a false “community of faith” means there is no hedge of protection for our children. We have not because we don’t seek God for our supply (James 4:1-6).
When churches can normalize how they handle pedophiles seeking redemption, and stop treating them with the spite of Satan, they can stand confident in the grace of God to face anything else the Devil throws at them.