By Patrick Crough
(Investigative Police Sergeant of crimes against children and author of Seducers Among Our Children)
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
I can’t help but think that Jesus weeps for those little ones who fall into the hands of child predators. I also believe Jesus weeps over the despair and hopelessness we experience as communities because of the crimes committed against our children. We know from the Bible that God hates the sin of adultery because it destroys families and communities (Malachi 2:14-16, 1 Corinthians 12:26). If this is true, can you imagine how much more God hates sexual abuse, considering the destruction it causes in the life of a child? As parents, as communities, and as churches, we must do everything we possibly can to fight this evil and eradicate it.
In December 2005, United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales addressed 1500 local, state, and federal law enforcement officials at a conference in Washington D.C., stating that crimes against children were second only to terrorism on his agency’s agenda. While I would not argue with this prioritization, it seems to me that Satan desires us to stay preoccupied with our borders and threats from outside while he continues to quietly devour our children and destroy us as a nation from within. Through our own sexual deviate behavior and liberalism, Satan has been able to deploy the Internet to increase child abuse and exploitation to a pandemic level. Child predators are one of the most important components of his sinister scheme against fallen man. If we seriously reduce, or even eradicate, that component, we significantly hinder the forces of evil. Granted, the Bible teaches us that evil will not be eliminated from the world until Jesus’ return. However, until that happens we must continue to be proactive with this effort on behalf of our children.
If there is any chance of eradicating the epidemic of child molestation, we will need to fight this battle on the spiritual front as well as the physical front. Christian parents should pray for their children daily. Churches and Bible-study groups should pray for each child they are connected to. Because the Bible tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities (Ephesians 6:12), the spiritual aspect of this battle is more important than any other aspect. Jesus taught us to seek the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33). If we seek Him first, then we have His blessing and His power to do all things that He ordains for us to do. The Bible teaches that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4). As believers, we have a weapon that is more powerful than any earthly program alone. It would be foolish not to use it against an evil that is clearly spiritual in nature.
Please take note that this request for prayer does not come from a pastor, minister, church elder, deacon, or Bible teacher, but a cynical and calloused police detective who has made a living operating in the destructive wake of the Evil One and his minions. While humanists will tell us that good exists in every person, I have learned otherwise throughout my law enforcement career: I have learned that every person has the potential to do an enormous amount of evil. Consider these verses:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it. (Jeremiah 17:9)
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.(Mark 7: 20-23)
While prayer is the best action any person can take against the crime of child sexual abuse, God has equipped and called some of us into the battle that exists in the physical realm. We in the church body need to recognize the issues of child sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect as a mission field that needs tending. Sexual abuse is a topic that most churches choose not to openly speak of or concern themselves with. It is the elephant in the room that no one wants to openly acknowledge and then address. Pastors, ministers, and other members within a church need to work together and appoint some leadership to minister to those families who are victimized by this crime. I understand that not every clergy member will be able to stomach this issue, just as all law enforcement officers cannot, but it is important for the clergy to appoint those who possess the spiritual fortitude to minister to those who fall victim.
Additionally, members of the clergy should recognize a profession dedicated to battling this evil as a worthwhile calling for the young adults in their flock to consider. God has blessed certain individuals with specific gifts that would make them very effective in dealing with one of the most difficult issues facing mankind. They should encourage those who appear to have these gifts to consider careers in law enforcement, social work, child protective work, counseling, forensic interviewing of reported child victims, forensic evidence investigation, and medical positions related to identifying and treating the injuries of abused children. All of these professions need competent, godly, and motivated people who are dedicated to seeking the truth in all reported cases of child abuse. This kind of work is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it for those who become overly emotional when discussing the topic of child sexual abuse. One must be passionate about this work without being overcome and hindered by such passion. I cannot think of a better group of people to recruit from than those in the Body of Christ. Attempting to enter this overwhelming battle without the rock-solid spiritual foundation of Jesus Christ would be similar to the young shepherd and future king, David, attempting to fight the giant warrior Goliath with the useless armor of King Saul, the defunct King of Israel.
I was raised as a Catholic and attended an all-boys Catholic high school. In spite of my moral religious upbringing, I lived outside of God’s will and was always in search of the true meaning of life. Even though I wasn’t walking with the Lord at that time, He still blessed me with a wonderful family and a successful career. He used me to expose many horrific crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice, in spite of my own wicked and selfish heart. It was my own exhaustive search for an answer to why people do such horrible things to each other that led me to read the Bible and begin to learn the answer to this haunting question. Under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, I gained both wisdom and comfort surrounding this difficult issue, which I once considered virtually unattainable.
Eventually I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, realizing I am saved only by His grace and not by my own works, efforts, or any man-made religion. I now attend a church that teaches directly from the Bible and relies on God’s Holy Spirit to teach us His Word.
I consider myself a member of the modern-day Roman guard (so to speak), working for a 21st century Rome and enforcing its laws. But since I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and asked Him to forgive me of my sins, I am now a converted soldier who openly works for God, according to His will. After I started walking with the Lord approximately twelve years ago, I immediately thought He would desire me to retire from my police job and begin a new life of service, away from the filth of society and the ranks of the Roman guard, where sin and temptation run rampant. But every time I started preparing myself to make the separation, something would tug on my heart to not follow through with it.
Finally, I came to the realization that I had to surrender the issue to the Lord to decide and stop telling myself what I thought He wanted me to do. This was not easy for a person such as me, but by His grace, I was able to let go of it. The Lord eventually spoke to my heart after I prayed and waited on Him for several weeks and just focused on Him rather than on my future. I felt the Lord tell me in His quiet voice that He had blessed me with the gifts that made me successful in my profession, even before I was walking with Him. So why would He want me to quit the job He had appointed me to do now that I had accepted Him into my heart and daily life? In essence, I believed God was telling me to continue working in the same capacity, but to do it under His influence and direction, and watch how much more He would bless my efforts. Without any reservation, I can honestly say that God blessed me beyond belief since I accepted and embraced Him in my life and performed my job for the sole purpose of glorifying Him. I felt so privileged those many years I worked as an investigative police officer.
As a temple of the Holy Spirit, I came to view my job as a ministry. I know that God placed me in that role for a reason, so I looked to Him daily for guidance and strength. Despite the heart-wrenching challenges, God allowed me plenty of rest, always restoring me to face the next wave of evil and its destructive wake. Having investigated many horrible crimes over the years, I can say that nothing is more emotionally challenging than investigating a reported crime against a young child. However, I never felt a better sense of purpose than when working on behalf of a reported child victim. They are the helpless ones. I have always felt close to God when working one of these cases, even when I anguished over my inability to bring the perpetrator to justice. God has always provided me with an inner peace beyond my understanding that enabled me to be patient and have confidence in Him to unfold the truth in His own time.
Like the young King David, there comes a time when we must act on our faith in Christ and have the courage to step out in front of the rest of God’s army and take on the enemy that no one else desires to. I challenge all church leaders to answer the call in both the spiritual and physical realms. If anyone in Christian leadership desires to explore this challenge, please contact me—www.protectingthechildren.com—and I will be happy to pray and brainstorm with you for direction in how you and your fellowship can enter this very important battle and mission field.
Click here to see the Lighthouse Trails resources on this issue.