Two months ago my thirteen-year-old daughter revealed to my sister-in-law that my husband (her stepfather) had been sexually abusing her. This is affecting me because my daughter’s father wants to report my husband to the police, but I chose to forgive my husband instead. My husband is very sorry, and he has given his heart to Jesus Christ. I can see genuine repentance on his part. Am I doing the wrong thing by forgiving him instead of reporting him? I have told my daughter’s father that I will be neutral in this matter.
We are always happy to hear when someone has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and even happier to know that their life has been changed by following Christ. We are also happy, for your sake, that you have been able to forgive him as Christ has forgiven him.
However, there is something very important that you have not yet understood. When we ask God for forgiveness of our sins in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, God does forgive us and He does take away the eternal consequences of our sin, but He does not take away the natural consequences of our sin, nor does He need anyone else to take away the natural consequences either. If God wanted the natural consequences to be taken away, He could do it Himself.
Your husband has changed your daughter’s life forever, but you don’t seem to want to believe that. You want to believe that he made a mistake, God forgave him, you forgave him, and now it’s over. No, it’s not over! It will never be over for your daughter. She is the innocent victim who has suffered and will suffer life-long consequences. Please read Case 663 to better understand how your daughter feels.
Your daughter’s father is trying to protect her and to honor her, while you are trying to influence him to protect your husband instead of protecting his own daughter. We beg you to start protecting your daughter and stop protecting your husband. By trying to remain neutral, you are indicating that your daughter is equally to blame as your husband, or that your husband is just as innocent as your daughter.
A person who sexually abuses a child is a pedophile. And pedophiles have an attraction for children that does not go away just because they are sorry for getting caught. The attraction often does not go away even after they have sincerely confessed their sins to God and asked for His forgiveness. The pedophile must submit to treatment and accountability, but your husband isn’t likely to get treatment unless he is reported and held accountable to the justice system.
We grieve over your daughter and over all that are being abused. The consequences for them are devastating and life-changing, but those consequences are multiplied even more when the girls’ own mothers betray them and stand up for the pedophiles.
We wish you well,