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An abused generation

World Racers are in the top 10% of their generation in many ways. Out of every 10 applications or inquiries we get, one goes on the race. They are hungry, committed, and very sharp.   Yet look at where they are coming from. At our training camp, out of the 150 racers we have with us this w…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
World Racers are in the top 10% of their generation in many ways. Out of every 10 applications or inquiries we get, one goes on the race. They are hungry, committed, and very sharp.
Yet look at where they are coming from. At our training camp, out of the 150 racers we have with us this week, over HALF of them have
been physically or sexually abused at some point in their lives. 
It happens behind closed doors, so people don’t talk about it. But in private, before God, desiring healing, they self-identify.
While we adults obsess about politics and the obvious issues that make the front page of the newspaper, our children are being abused. While we try to protect them from life’s pain, we’re failing them in the most basic of ways. And worst of all, we don’t even know it has happened! We’re ignorant of our children’s pain.
If you’re a parent of two or more grown children as Karen and I are, the odds are, at least one of them has been abused and never told you about it. They’re ashamed or perhaps you’ve never created the opening for them to share the secret that they’ve buried down deep.
It’s horrific and it demands a response. And the questions we parents need to ask ourselves are, “What is my response? What am I going to do about it?”

Comments (13)

  • As messed up as it sounds, even abuse can bring forth God’s great kingdom. I have come to understand that every detail of my past, from my best memories to the darkest memories of my own sexual abuse, have formed me into the person I am today. Was God happy with the abuse? Absolutely not! I believe he wept with me the day it happened. But he also knew the good that would come of it. The tender heart in created in me, and the expansion of compassion on others who have been in my place. I would not change one second of my past because I am happy with who I am today and who I am in Christ.

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    I have found that abused people many times end up raising abused children – everyone hides their shame. I am now ministering in many Slavic churches and found this to be an epidemic…I already knew the American church was full of abused children/adults. May we all allow the Holy Spirit to use us as we listen to his voice and be an open door for him to hear & heal those who have been abused. It is never pleasant, but inner healing must come for wholeness to come…Ps. 147:3

  • This is so sad and I am feeling kind of blown away from your post. I do know personally what it feels like to grow up in an abusive home, but I don’t want that for my kids and I don’t want it for their friends!

    Where are we as parents, that this is happening to our kids? I have been questioning myself lately about being a stay-at-home mom, but after reading this I am convinced that I need to be there for our kid. Just maybe it could be a safety net for our kids. The world constantly tells us women to go back to work outside of the home, but tonight my husband reminded me what God has called me to and that is to stay home and be available to our kids. I need to know where and who they are spending time with as they go through there growing up. Not that it will keep them from the abuse you are referring to, but maybe, just maybe it will help and be a safeguard. I still struggle with allowing our kids freedom and letting them fly, but also being there to protect them. I know for sure, I need to pray more for them. So, now I am asking myself “what is my response”. Right now it is praying for them, being there for them and their friends, and communicating with them constantly. I can do that! Thanks for the wake-up call!

  • This has been heavy on my heart this week. We are such a broken generation in many ways. We carry around so much shame, guilt, anger, and regret. Any ministry ministering to us must be sensitive to where we have come from and call us to be a “new generation” of wholeness. I can’t change what happened to me, but I can choose for things to be different for my adult life and the life of my children.

  • April Bertelsen (Edwards)

    I know this to be true. It breaks my heart. I’m grateful for the healing God is working out in my life and desire so much to shine as parents in this next generation, as a safe home.

    I would really like to petition you to look at a book and program called Mending the Soul. They are primarily based out of Arizona in their ministries right now, but they are expanding through the states. I went through a 12 week Mending the Soul group, and for those that are willing to do the hard work with God for intense healing, I’m a huge advocate for the group. I want this to spread, I believe it can help so many abuse victims.

  • you’re right on target, Seth – unfortunately

    as I live & move around 20somethings, it seems that there may be more than half who’ve been abused, neglected, abandoned, or ignored my we who call ourselves adults.

  • Just last night I got out my Wounded Heart book (By Allendar) to deal with my issues with my mom (who missed the warning signs of the sexual abuse from my father). That is tough stuff to deal with, even more so as I raise my three daughters. I stay at home and homeschool my kids (they have lots of social interaction though :), but I make it a point to watch my kids behavior, their reactions, and communicate openly with them. In this culture we have our kids involved in everything, constant busyness. How can we see the warning signs, if all we are doing is driving them to and from one event to the next, OR as the parent, we are so hung up on our own needs, we leave our kids to fend for themselves. I am so thankful for you bringing this issue up. It affects sooooo many!

  • Glad you brought this up.
    12 years of being silent about my abuse hurt me more than i could describe.
    not only are many parents oblivious to their childs abuse but many parents of those children themselves had been abused. i found out that both of my parents had been abused once i finally told them.

    talking about sexual abuse should be talked about just like sex. but at an earlier age. i was 7. most kids are younger. i was abused in my own home. i got really good at lying when my parents found me crying. it became a thing that turned from a one time encounter with a relative to years of abuse in my dreams, in which turned to feeling like being raped continually night after night in my mind. abuse opened the door for the enemy to entangle me in fear. this affected my relationships with men, and even women, and eventually gave me a schewed view of God.

    many things in the world are uncomfortable to bring up, and abuse is not an easy topic. but when kids are being abused, even if it is only once, it lands them in a web of lies and shame and a victim metality, that if not dealt with may be with them the rest of their lives.
    now i am not a parent yet, but i do know from my experience how i may deal with this issue with my future children. you have to define who you can trust with your children, and if you do find out your child has been abused you need to make sure that they know it was not their fault.

    i now work with men and women in sex trafficking. many of them, even though they have been forced into this lifestyle, stolen off the streets, or sold by their families, STILL feel as if it is their fault. we also have to understand as adults especially, that a childs abuse is not the fault of their abuser. the only reason abuse happens in the world today is because we fell in Eden and the enemy was given legal rights to rule the world. Many people, even those abused want to point fingers at the abuser in these situations, we have to understand that those people are still children of the Most High God. “our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities of this world, against the spiritual forces of eveil in this world” -Ephesians 6:12

    forgiveness set me free. and now i long for my abuser to know Christ. not because i pity him, but because he deserves to know the love i feel from my Father in heaven, the love that i knew from a young age because i was a believer, but the love also that took at different look once i learned to forgive Gods child.

  • RC, this is the tipping point-what you have written: “forgiveness set me free. and now i long for my abuser to know Christ. not because i pity him, but because he deserves to know the love i feel from my Father in heaven, the love that i knew from a young age because i was a believer, but the love also that took at different look once i learned to forgive Gods child.”

    This reality makes me so angry and weepy and bewildered and protective and fierce and marshmellow-y. After all of these years, still struggling with how God could allow such egregious offenses.

    Thank you Seth & folks for your hopeful transparency. This is certainly something of value that we have to offer one another.

  • RC,
    While I think forgiveness of the abuser is necessary for true healing to occur for the victim, the abuser is at fault for the abuse. The abuser sinned. We are all held accountable for the choices we make. Even though I was sexually abused, I take full responsibility for my sexual sins that occurred afterwards that I chose to commit. Yes, our abusers need Christ, and like you, I pray that someday he is set free and can feel the love the Father has for him. But, he needs to take ownership of the sin he committed–he was never forced to molest a child because of the Fall. Also, my abuser is not a legitimate child of the Most High God, and no one is unless they own their sin and see their need for Christ and put their trust in Him. The rest that you wrote, I totally agree with and can see that God has brought you through tremendous healing and I praise God for His faithfulness. I hope I am not taking what you say in a wrong light, and if I am I am so sorry.
    God Bless You!

  • Seth you know my story with as much detail as just about anyone. My father is in heaven and Jesus forgave him long ago.

    I had the chance to do that in the years before he died. Yet the sexual abuse he inflicted when I was eight turning nine during a week long trip and then later the angry beatings bruised the spirit of a sensitive kid who channeled the pain into hyper achievement and an unhealthy need for approval.

    Trust became a vapor and that was at least one of the many ingredients in two failed marriages.

    We live in the tension of grace, forgiveness and freedom knowing that actions have consequences. One cannot dwell in the place of hurt but honestly I started with a “limp” early in life and these decades later still have the cosmic Father of humanity’s family fixing things broken early.

    We are all victims and victimizers at some level.

    We are each responsible for our actions.

    And in the end God loves stories of reconciliation and redemption.

    Thanks for shining a light on this dark place touching too many people.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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