Sunday, November 20, 2011

love is the issue

the penn state abuse scandal.
i've read news reports, blogs and even a grand jury presentment.
these things have all caused great sadness in my heart.

i can't stop weeping.
little children, abused by one they trusted and admired.
a child dealing with hopelessness and fear as he is seen by a passer by that does nothing to intervene.
growing up, trying to live their lives wholly, as their abuser walks free and likely abuses more and more.

these things are familiar to me.
sexual abuse is familiar to me.
i have been sexually abused.

my childhood was filled with birthday parties, roller skating, swing sets, make-believe and joy.
unfortunately, my childhood was also filled with shame and anger.
honestly, i am not really going 'there' today, and likely never will here on my blog.

i mention it to give glory to god for his continued healing in my life in this area.
also, i have gleaned a fresh perspective on this whole thing. i want to share!

over the summer i read this book. it took me f o r e v e r.
it's just not the sort of book you really enjoy reading, you know?
i finished it though, and it's the greatest resource on the subject, in my opinion.
i have been grieving.

i thought that i had already done those things.
turns out, i had barely scratched the surface.

in jeremiah 31 i read
...i  will turn their
mourning into joy;
i will comfort them, and
give them gladness for sorrow...

i get it now, joy comes from mourning.
gladness is after sorrow.

my prayer is that joy will come for other victims.
that their shame would melt away.
and that restoration, freedom and peace would reside in their hearts and minds.
that they would be drawn close to jesus and know him as the protector and savior or their souls.

i also pray for families, friends, neighbors, teachers, the passer-by...
that they would notice. have courage. question. intervene. be heroes.

i pray for the offenders. the ones who harm.
lord, break their hearts. kill their passion for perverseness.
turn them to you, their maker. only you can transform them.

here's what i want to share.
something struck me through this whole penn state thing.
something super huge and important.
i copied and pasted here, because i want you to read it.

the following is from the gospel coalition blog.
{this is an excerpt from this talk by tim henderson.
it was given to penn state students in a campus crusade meeting.
you can read and/or listen to the full reflection here.}

Love Notices Wet Hair
"Jesus said the most fundamental responsibility we have is to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In light of this he was asked, "Who is my neighbor?" which is another way to ask, "Whom am I obligated to love?"
At Penn State, we have been asking questions about obligation all week. Who is legally obligated to report sexual abuse of a child, and to whom must they report it? Who is morally obligated to report sexual abuse of a child, and to whom must they report it? Is there a difference between moral obligation and legal obligation?
Jesus responded to the heart of that question in his famous story about the Good Samaritan. Surprisingly though, he didn't actually answer that question. He answered a more important one.
First, though, consider two of the victims described in the grand jury's findings in the case against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. According to the report a graduate assistant saw a 10-year-old boy (victim two) pressed against a shower wall being raped. The assistant then left, eventually called his boss, and reported what he had seen, just as he was legally obligated to do.
In contrast, when victim six returned home from a visit with Sandusky, his mom noticed he had wet hair. On the basis of that small detail alone she was concerned and learned that they had showered together. Immediately this mom called the police, cooperated in a wiretap, confronted Sandusky to his face, interrogated him about the details of showering with her son, grilled him about the effect he had on her son, and rebuked him, telling him never to shower with another boy again.
What's the difference between these cases?
The difference is the mom loved her son. She loved her little boy and was moved to outrage by the simple fact of his wet hair. She moved aggressively. She wasn't fulfilling a legal obligation, and she wasn't fulfilling a moral obligation. Obligation wasn't the issue.
Love is the issue. The shame engulfing Penn State is about a deficiency of love. The chief responsibility of our life is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbors as much as and in the same manner that we love ourselves. "Who is my neighbor?" is the wrong question. According to Jesus, the right question is, "Am I a neighbor?" It's not, "Who must I love?" It's, "Am I one who loves?"

Ultimate Love

Again, the chief responsibility of our lives is to love God and others as we love ourselves. But we don't. If we're honest, it's not even close. We don't love anyone with the vigor and thoroughness that we love ourselves. Jesus Christ is the only one to walk the earth who fulfilled that command. He is the ultimate Good Samaritan, and he is the one who loves radically. He said, "Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends." And then he did just that. He loved radically; gave himself away---not just figuratively but literally. He laid down his life as a sacrifice on the cross to protect us from the punishment our sins deserve. He loves you as much as he loves himself.
To the extent that fact penetrates your heart, it will transform you and make you love better. It will give you not just the affection of love, but the courage of love. A love that moves to protect. That moves into danger. A love that doesn't measure obligation but suffers so the beloved won't.
The kind of love that would notice wet hair and respond immediately.
In order to love like that we need to first mourn over this evil. There has been an urgency for us at Penn State to get past or even deflect this shame. Don't do that. Let the shame into your heart. Grieve. Mourn. If we will accept the glory of Penn State, we must also accept the shame, and this is a shameful moment.
Let shame produce softness and repentance in your heart.
Perhaps God will give you the grace to see your own failure to love in others' failure to love.
As you mourn and confess that failure to him, you can experience his love,
become one who notices the wet hair all around you, and move to love others."

you who have made me see
many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
you will increase my greatness
   and comfort me again. 
i will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, o my god;
i will sing praises to you with the lyre, 
o holy one of Israel. my lips will shout for joy,
when i sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
and my tongue will talk of
your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame
and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.
{psalm 71:20-24}


  1. oh hannah, thank you for sharing your truth and your healing. God can and will use it to heal others. your heart is so sweet... love to you!

  2. Hannah, thank you. This was beautiful. You are beautiful. Have a wonderful Sunday =)

  3. hannah, i am so sorry to hear that. you are beautiful! "joy comes from mourning. gladness is after sorrow."... AMEN!

  4. Hannah, this Penn news makes me so so sad too...thank you for your honesty. I love reading your blog, you are so so inspiring! I awarded you with the Liebster Blog award :)

  5. I love your truth speaking! With Jesus alone is unfailing love and with HIM there is FULL redemption. Praying, grieving, repenting, rejoicing, and watching for Jesus' return!

  6. Hannah, thank you for being the blessing God has created you to be. I'm sorry to hear of your pain and suffering. You are such a light to others and your willingness to share painful admissions about your childhood will touch others who are reading this post.

  7. Thinking of you and praying for you today. May you have peace during this time that, I'm sure, brings up so many terrible memories. And may God bring peace to the many other victims of abuse.

  8. I am so proud of you for sharing and so thankful for this post!

  9. I admire you so much for posting this and being transparent for those who will take comfort from your amazing words :) love you and your heart!

  10. I love you, Hanny. Great post.

  11. Oh friend...we have more in common than I care to. :-/ I totally get the whole "going there" thing...I've never managed to do so on my blog. But what a befitting time to do so. I knew better than to read the Grand Jury indictment. I have a 9 year old son. Not a good place to go in my head. So nauseating...and such a good reminder that I am NOT nuts for being so protective of my children and SELECTIVE about who I allow them to spend time with. I am thankful for your book recommendation. Do we live close? We so need a coffee date. :-)

  12. thank you for sharing this! it spoke such truth to my heart... and we choose not to see the wet hair a lot i think... maybe smaller things.. but still. how many times does the 'i'm fine' answer ring false but i don't want to take the time to dig deeper.. as i love HIm truer so i pray my heart loves truer. thank you for your vulnerability as well.
    ps.. i think we have similiar 'friends' i think i have commented after you on a few different blogs. :)

  13. Hannah, you are beautiful, inside and out. I always leave your blog feeling uplifted, challenged, encouraged.

    I honestly knew nothing about this Penn State case before today... What a disgusting tragedy. That children are abused in any way shape or form just boils my blood. I am so thankful that we have a God who loves, heals and restores.

  14. I love you, Hannah. You are so very beautiful and brave. God's love shines so brightly through you and all that He as redeemed. I pray that He continues to bring you healing.

    I am so very saddened and angered that you and others go through this. We were ready to adopt a pair a of foster girls, when my health problems began. I pray that sometime in the future, we can still be a redeeming family for girls who have been physically or sexually abused or neglected. I pray He does a healing work in my body and mind so that I can be that love to others... but I know it's in His hands.

  15. Hannah, I love your heart and your love for others . I couldn't help but think about the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 being SO evident in your life as you shared this... God comforts us so that we can comfort others with that same comfort He gave us. What a blessing that He can take our pain and use it for His glory! Bam! Take that Satan!!

    A favorite quote from streams in the desert: "God doesn't comfort us to make us comfortable but to make us comforters."

    Praying for all those effected by this tragedy at Penn State.
    Love you xxoo

  16. me too, hannah. me too.

    but God.

    and i know he redeems, restores, rewrites. i know first hand.

    and that is my prayer for those who ache- for the wounded and the wounder.

    may God magnify His mercy, His truth, his grace upon grace, and lavish with his good love.

  17. Oh, friend.
    You are are brave and beautiful
    and I'm so thankful that you have experienced
    the healing that transcends
    all earthly understanding.

    Prayers to all of those who
    still need that Healing.