Ask Pastor Roger Barrier - Church Leadership

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The Heart of the Abused

The Heart of the Abused

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at

“Forty-two percent of the women in our church were sexually abused, inappropriately touched, fondled or molested before the age of 16!” I couldn’t believe my ears!

Steve and I were leading a women’s conference for 200 women in our church. I’ll never forget the results of an impromptu survey we administered near the end of the final session. We passed out paper and asked the women to answer “yes” or “no” to the question above: “Were you sexually abused … before the age of 16?”

I was stunned by the result! The women were aghast!

Forty-two percent answered “Yes.”

Later, reflecting on the results, it dawned on me that if 42 percent of the church women answered, “yes,” what must be going on among the women outside the church?

About one-half of the questions to “Ask Roger” are about sour relationships. Most of these are from women tormented in one way or another by the man in her life — or by the men and boys in her past?

Last week I received an insightful poem from a woman abused. She shares of her shattered life, and of the hope and wholeness that came from the Lord Jesus Christ.

(I’ve made several small editorial changes — Roger)


She once laughed with abandon;

but now she’s scared to feel joy.

She cringes at the sounds of his coming.


Tears fill her eyes:

she knows that no matter how she tries,

she’ll never be good enough,

pretty enough,

or smart enough,

for the one who thinks that he’s perfect.


She puts up her invisible wall,

and he wonders why.


She cries rivers of tears,

and he steps right over them,

afraid that his feet might get wet.


Sometimes she prays for his demise—

lost in wicked imaginings.

At the same time prays for her soul.


Sometimes she prays to gone—

finally she would be free.


When he soaks her in poison,

she prays it won’t seep into her soul...

for she knows she’s better than this.


She gives until she’s spent.

She loves ‘til she’s depleted.


She once sang with angels,

but her voice is now stilled.


A girl forgotten and unloved,

abused and beaten,

pushed away and shoved.


How are some girls worth fighting for…

while I’m all alone … bleeding on the floor.


I cried, “God, where are you?! Rescue me!”

and finally He came.


“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”

(Psalm 34:18).


Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier recently retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

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