A Letter

Messages of hate,  shaming lies, accusations of misbehavior, exaltation of ego and power, ignorance of right and wrong, name calling, finger pointing, backlash, deceit, injustice, malice, and confusion surround the now very public case of sexual crimes in a small town north of where I live about 65 miles.  A case was built but then dropped months ago and a newspaper story has brought it back to light. When Drew and I read about it in our local paper, our hearts ached and our heads filled with questions and concerns. It seemed the justice system was more focused on excusing the wrong than protecting the victims. We felt angst and agony for a family who had lost so much and struggled severely when such a personal pain became so publicly debated, criticized, and contended.

Having suffered physical and emotional abuse during the actual crime, and then the social degradation of herself and her family in the months that followed in a small town setting, the torture this girl endures in her head is undoubtedly consuming. The original newspaper article said she had attempted suicide more than once. Makes me sickeningly sad.

The morning I read it, I thought about writing a letter. Writing to a family to express sadness and support in any small way. It seemed they had received enough menacing meanness from strangers that perhaps a stranger with a message of a simple “I’m so sorry” and “We read your story and our hearts hurt” would help. Despite having the idea, I hesitated. Who am I to think I have something worthwhile to say? Why listen to a stranger? What if they don’t share faith and have too hurt too much to hope? It’s probably not my place to say anything… 

It’s been a week ago now and I haven’t written the letter; I did find a possible mailing address. Today, I’m using this post as a draft of what I might say to someone I don’t know, to whom I haven’t earned the right to say anything, about  a situation that is so painful, muddled, and public that there isn’t really anything to say that can fix it…alas, here is what I might say if I did write:

To a Loved Little Lady-

I am so, so sorry for all you’ve suffered. You have been lied to and abused, injured and violated, taken advantage of and humiliated. The actions and choices of others have no doubt negatively impacted your body, mind, and soul. Not only you, but your family as well,  suffers the fallout consequences of painful wrongs. Your innocence has been stolen but your identity and future need not be shattered.

What has happened to you does not define who you are. You are defined outside of your circumstances by the love with which you were created and in which you are sustained. You are a precious person- no mistake, yours or another’s, changes your invaluable worth.  Just the way you are, you have gifts, talents, abilities and a future.

Personally, I believe in a loving God who created people for loving relationships with God, other people and oneself. The God I believe in is the opposite of evil, lies, abuse, degradation, and hate. God stands on the side of the helpless, the suffering, the victims, and the belittled, and offers peace and presence in the midst of pain. God hears the cries of those who seek justice. 

When people who knew God really well had something to say, whether it was anger, indignation, shock, surprise or worship- they cried out to God. Some of their cries sounded like this:

“Lord- you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them” Psalm 10:17-18

“God is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit”. Psalm 34:18

“The Lord lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads...He cares for the orphans and the widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.” Psalm 146:8-9

Jesus, who lived on earth like us to show what God is like, lifted up women who were tossed out by their town (John 4:1ff, 8:1-11), degraded by men (Luke 7:36ff), or stuck in agony (Mark 5:24ff). Jesus wept with families who grieved (John 11:35) and restored hope to families who had suffered greatly.  Jesus came not to condemn but for love.  Jesus lifted up the cause of the widow and the left out. When everyone else was judging who he hung out with and why, Jesus was relentless in his pursuit of people who needed love the most. God sent Jesus to live and to heal, restore, revive, rebuild, and raise up the hope of the anguished, to bring peace to the persecuted.

You are a beloved child. Your life matters. You were created with purpose and are designed to live life as it is fully meant to be lived. You are cherished and deserving of love, respect, honor, and esteem.

May you hear the voice of the Advocate who whispers, “You can overcome. Do not fear. Do not believe the lies. You are okay. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are important.  You will make it. ” in times when the voices of disrespect and violation seek to seep in your head or fill your heart.  

May you have the confidence and power to walk, run, play, live, risk, adventure, dance, sing, learn and teach, daily. I wish you healing and hope, peace and love. May you be free from what has come before, to live loved into what’s ahead. 

With humble thanks for hearing me out, 


Off the cuff and out of my head with what time I had today, this is a bit of what I believe and what I think. But will it send?



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