One of your sheep walks into your office and tearfully announces he/she is an SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) survivor. What is the normal response?
A sentence with the word “nightmare” is probably going through your mind right now, and rightfully so. But the thing to remember is:
Panic is the absence of strategy
Panic sets you up to react in ways that could harm your precious sheep forever, so beware. Any grimace, sigh, look of horror, or impatience will be interpreted by your sheep that God doesn’t care, that she is now a problem to you, that you don’t care or believe her, or that she is not welcome in your church. The outcomes of this can be catastrophic. Your sheep might never go to a church again in her life, and some might even have nothing to do with God after that.
The sad truth is that the majority of SRA survivors will never again go to a church. Many of the courageous ones that are in a church are left to themselves to deal with their trauma. They will be on the outskirts of the congregation, not entering in, and feeling alone and uncared for.
If a survivor comes to you and tells you about SRA, she is communicating that she is in a pivotal and critical part in her recovery. What she really needs is to know is if you will reject her, which to her ultimately means God will reject her. To keep this from happening, let’s create a strategy:
- Immediately open a prayer channel in your heart to be led
- Smile at her and offer for her to sit, offer a drink
- Know where your tissue box is
- Tell her how sad you are to hear this and that nobody should ever be treated in this manner
- Tell her you believe her
- Assess where she is in the healing process and proceed accordingly
- Affirm God’s love
- Ask her if she knows what she needs from you
- Activate your critical response team (article to come)
- Personally check in at least once weekly
God has given you the wondrous opportunity to minister to the remnants of a tiny, terrorized child that was completely in the power of the devil. God has entrusted you with her care.
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
You don’t need a special master’s degree to help you through this. You have every answer in the Bible just as you have for every other issue you deal with in pastoring. You’ve got this.
Take care of this precious sheep that has been placed in your pasture. You can do it!
Picture by: David Padfield