The forgiveness of sin by faith in Jesus is an essential foundation of Christianity. Some non-believers think they have sinned too much to be a Christian. Yet this is not the only obstacle they face. A staggering number of men and women feel they cannot have a relationship with God because of sins committed against them. Websites need to not only address how we can be cleansed of the sins we commit, but also the heavy baggage of shame for those committed against us.
Breaking the cycle
Jewish traditions had numerous cleansing rituals for dealing with sin, including fasting, prayer, cleansing, and washing. It is no coincidence that the first action sexual assault victims want to do is wash themselves. This desire to be clean is rooted deeply within us. Yet many have no idea how to truly feel rid of the shame of having sins committed against them. That shame can act as a barrier to thinking that church is a good idea. They may figure they are damaged goods, so why would God want to bother with them. This is where your website can have a major impact.
Either named or anonymous testimonials can help support how lives have been transformed and reclaimed at your church. These testimonials can be written, audio, or even video. Obviously privacy is a huge concern; so please consider that before publishing any material. To be safe, start with written testimonials that focus on the removal of shame, rather than the act that caused it.
If your church has group counseling, highlight when and where they meet, as well as the success stories (see previous). Demonstrate how the church body can come around its members to help them through tough times. God may choose to perform a miracle directly in a person’s life, or it may be through one of His servants. So whether it is a weekly group that meets in a small room, or a network of groups with professional psychiatrists on call; show how the Church Body helps heal.
If someone is not comfortable with group counseling, they might be inclined to meet one on one. Providing contact forms (with explicit confidentiality notices posted) might be a gateway for people to come through the door. Some people have an easier time typing out their story than telling it in person. Allowing them to break the ice online might give a victim the comfort levels they require.
As you can see, you can easily call attention to how your church can lead people to a spiritual healing and renewed relationship in Christ. Display the results, provide channels for connecting with both group and private counseling, and stress how Jesus removes all of our unrighteousness:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Note: This post was inspired by Pastor Mark Driscol's sermon, "Grace and Disgrace".
Photo courtesy of Katherine Evans