In a world afflicted by the corruption of the fall, abuse is a tragic reality. In order to address the evil of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), Pamela Gannon and Beverly Moore wrote In the Aftermath: Past the Pain of Childhood Sexual Abuse. In this work, they seek to offer applicable truths from Scripture that provide the healing only found in Christ.
The authors begin by assuring the reader that God has not left them alone during their suffering. Additionally, suffering is not from Him. Rather, it is the result of living in a fallen world. God does, however, use our trials to help us grow in Christlikeness and to bring about His glory. This gives purpose to our suffering.
Some of the topics discussed in this book include shame, guilt, fear, anger, forgiveness, confronting the abuser, relationships and sexual intimacy within marriage. As the authors work through each of these topics, they constantly bring the reader back to the truth of God’s Word. For example, shame is defined as a feeling of unworthiness because of a past action either done by or toward an individual. The individual who has been abused can find hope in the Gospel which offers freedom from shame. Jesus bore the shame of mankind in His crucifixion so believers might be redeemed. If you are in Christ, your identity is not determined by the heinous acts committed against you, but by the fact that you are a child of God.
Another topic discussed is guilt. Scripture explains that guilt is wrongdoing before God. Thus, guilt belongs only to the abuser. Even when our feelings tell us otherwise, we must trust in the truths contained in God’s Word.
One of the greatest strengths of this book is the compassion and understanding displayed by the writers. Having been sexually abused as children, Gannon and Moore understand the pain that accompanies this devastating experience. As a result, they are able to compassionately apply the truths of Scripture to others who have survived CSA in a practical and encouraging way.
Another helpful feature found in this book is a series of questions for consideration and personal applications at the end of each chapter. This helps make the truths discussed more practical by giving the reader steps to take and not just theoretical concepts to consider.
Although this book is emotionally difficult to read at times, the truths contained in it are invaluable both for the counselor and the survivor of CSA, because they show that there is hope in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
- “The answers we’re searching for, the comfort we desperately long for are found only in God.”
- “God is in the process of transforming us into the likeness of Christ, and He promises to use even our sufferings for our good and His glory.”
- “Shame is defined as a deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something you did, something done to you, or something associated with you.”
- “If we continually think of ourselves as unclean, impure, shameful, worthless, or damaged goods, we are actually saying that Jesus Christ didn’t do enough to cleanse us, and that we need more than His blood to deal with our shame.”
- “A survivor of sexual abuse is not responsible for what was done to her. You are not responsible for the wicked actions of your abuser. The guilt of this heinous sin against you belongs solely to the one who harmed you.”
- “Sexual abusers severely misrepresent God’s intent that sex be an expression of godly love within a committed marriage relationship.”
- “Change will take place when we make purposeful and conscious choices to reject the lies we may have habitually told ourselves or heard from others for many years, and then choose to replace those lies with God’s infallible and life-changing truth.”
- “We glorify Him when we give others a right picture of who He is as we reflect him in how we live, speak, think, and respond to what comes into our lives.”
- “The conditions we find ourselves in are not always easy or pleasant, but knowing we are accepted by God, that His grace is always abundant enables us to rejoice in sufferings.”
- “We don’t know your story, the devastation you’ve experienced. Nor do we claim to have all the answers, especially the big question ‘Why?’ But what we do know is that God loves you and has proven His love on the cross.”