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"Since you asked ..."


Josh McDowell

Question: Is there hope and healing for me if I have been sexually abused?

Answer: The first step in being healed is to recognize that you were a victim. In no way were you responsible for what happened to you, regardless of your age when you were abused, who was involved in your abuse, what the person told you, or the circumstances surrounding your abuse.

When you accept the fact that in no way did you cause the abuse, then you can refuse to accept the condemnation Satan tries to hold over you.

The second step is to acknowledge that God did not want this abuse to occur. Although He could have stepped in and prevented it, He did not, because He gave each person a free will to choose righteousness or to choose sin. When a person chooses sin, innocent people suffer.

God grieves over man’s sin and His heart is compassionate toward the hurting. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Some people deal with the memories by suppression. At some point in a person’s life these memories surface. This is God’s way of saying, “Now is the time I have ordained for you to deal with your past.” Trying to suppress these memories will only make the healing process more difficult and take longer.

God wants us to experience the abundant life that Jesus promises in John 10:10. Some people are more aware of their emotional wounds than others, but all who have been victims of sexual abuse suffer to some degree. God sees our emotional wounds just as much as He sees our physical wounds.

God has many ways He can heal – through His Word, Christian books and music, prayer, praise, Scripture meditation, and even tears. He may lead you to share your memories with someone – either a professional Christian counselor or another trusted Christian friend, mentor, pastor, or teacher.

Forgiveness is not easy, but it is possible in the Lord’s strength.

As much as you may want to be healed of your memories, recognize that Jesus wants it even more. He said that He came to bind up those who are bruised (Luke 4:18).

I hope you’re spending time each day reading your Bible and praying. Doing these things can draw you close to the Lord, causing you to trust and love Him more as you understand His ways. The Word of God is powerful in bringing about changes in our lives. The written Word is the Bible, and the living Word is Jesus.

As you spend time each day reading the Bible and praying, you are drawing upon a very real source of strength, both the written and living Word. Forgiveness is a very important principle in the Christian walk.

Carrying unforgiveness can cause a real blockage in your relationship with the Lord. Do you feel that you have forgiven the person or people who caused your pain? Forgiveness is not easy, but it is possible in the Lord’s strength.

We forgive, not because we feel like it, but because it is commanded in the Bible. If we do not forgive others of their sins, then God does not forgive us of ours, according to Matthew 6:15.

You can walk in confidence with God. You can lead a full and victorious life, emotionally whole and healthy. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give us an abundant life. The power of God is greater than the power of the enemy (1 John 4:4).

God is able to do more than you could possibly imagine (Eph. 3:20). Trust in and lean on His Word. The Lord loves you very, very much, and He is able!

If you have prayed and feel led of the Lord to seek professional Christian counseling, we encourage you to seek someone who has experience in dealing with victims of sexual abuse.


Josh McDowell, once an agnostic, is now an apologist for the Christian faith. He is a prolific author and renowned speaker, having addressed more than 25 million people and giving more than 26,000 talks in 125 countries.