I watched a video of Alicia Gray, a former high school teacher in Mobile, Alabama that was sentenced to jail for Child Rape.
It was a crime of rape against a child of 14 years, and she will have to register as a sexual offender for the rest of her life once she is released from prison.
I realize some feel that direct approach is harsh. Hardly. That’s like saying someone that got caught stealing was borrowing with no intent of giving the item back. “Borrowing’ isn’t the proper word, and nor is ‘relationship’ in the context you have used. Its minimizing the crime she is attempting to address. Ownership is part of this.
Someone (the child) in this circumstance was given a life sentence, and it does no good for anyone to make that reality palatable for others and the criminal. Her poor husband and child also have a great deal of hurt, and a life sentence as well.
Christian’s being direct about certain sins, and sugar coating others? It just doesn’t give you the appearance you claim you stand for. There is no show of firmness when you waffle back and forth like that. Think about it!
Caught on tape: 5 self-serving responses by sex offenders in the church – Recommended reading
Sinister or Naïve
I have to be honest I don’t know much about Alicia Gray’s church, but what I have found is some churches its plain to see their sinister side. I don’t think that label applies here.
The Tina Anderson story, and CJ Mahaney story are more along the lines of what I feel is sinister. They know the game, and are playing it for their audience well.
I see a more naïve side from this group, and lack of the understanding of the dynamics of the crime involved. To be more specific the dynamics of this type of criminal.
The second group allows themselves this spiritual naïve nature to often at the expense of others. It may not be their intention, but they allow their good nature to override their common sense.
They spiritualize things instead of directly confronting them. God doesn’t ask us to distance ourselves from our crime, and tell others my OLD person did that in the fashion they presented this. You see detachment, and not ownership in a healthy fashion.
I honestly don’t have a problem with this church ‘supporting them’ as the pastor mentioned. Jesus would have us support criminals as much as victims. Yet, they so clearly didn’t understand the harm they were doing, and I’m sure still feel they did a good thing in releasing this video. They wanted to show the world they were showing Grace to her, and yet Grace is not suppose to be at the expense of others.
Here is a quote from the pastor,
"The purpose of the video was simply to say to everybody, there is hope for you. If you have failed, if you have failed God, if you have fallen further than you ever thought you could, the love, grace and healing of God will be able to forgive you," Wyatt, who leads Deeper Life Fellowship in Mobile, Ala., told The Christian Post on Wednesday.
Alicia Gray never mentioned how she had fallen further than she never felt she could – or even went near that in this message. She excused herself by stating she did this because of insecurity, and a void that was left because Jesus wasn’t in her life. Yes, among other things.
Honestly? Grace should have shown a humble and contrite person who fully acknowledges the harm they have done to others. It would think about the impact this statement from her would have towards her victim and his family:
Because of that joy he has given me, and the changed identity I no longer have to feel shame about the person I once was. And I will never be again, and because I know who I am in Jesus.
When you are given grace from God, and FEEL it in your heart, soul and life? You want to give this sense of grace to others, and not tell a hurting family that you harmed that you have no shame because of some faith transformation. Discernment was completely absent here. She admits later on she hasn’t even truly began to feel the brunt of the harm she did either – we will see that later on.
The way she presented this message is she pretty much has detached herself from her crime in a unhealthy fashion, because she truly doesn’t feel the harm she has caused. I mean the ‘old’ person did that – not the new ME! Yes, you can show ownership of this crime…and God’s presence can still be there firmly in your heart. Do they feel Grace can’t be present under those circumstances, or are they in a rush to wash the sin off them?
That’s the feeling most get – her rush to wash this sin off her. She used the transformation to distance herself from having to deal with it, and sadly you have to wonder does she realize her uphill battle has just begun? She has built herself up SO HIGH will she be able to handle things when the down hill parts come?
Sadly, from what I have seen in life? They get very upset that others don’t accept this ‘new’ person, and still treat them like the old one. The true test will be after the harsh realities of prison life, and how this crime will impact her from then on. The detachment I see today won’t work as well later on. It won’t properly process the harm she has done to her husband and baby. It won’t understand WHY she will have problems finding a job. How will she handle things when people question her presence alone with her baby.
You don’t see that preparation in this video at all. Do they think this is not needed? That this isn’t part of it?
The Merit Badge of Being A Christian
Some use the label Christian, or their relationship with the criminal as a merit badge that the criminal will have this air of honesty, integrity and character as they walk with them during this crisis.
It’s almost like since they have our merit badge its okay to assume they will deal with us in honestly and truth. It doesn’t matter that their crimes tend to call that into question. You have to wonder if they feel they can’t serve them properly unless they use this naïve mindset. They also are refusing to face this detachment you can clearly see in her performance.
At this point common sense leaves the building, and we enter the time and space of the spiritual la la land. You witness and hear all the correct keywords and phrases that make Christian’s swoon with joy as the criminal plays it for them.
YES her character and integrity can be called into question due to her crimes. A person that is truly contrite in their repentance isn’t going to get defensive about that. They expect it.
If you read her transcript instead of listening to it with the music, emotion, and watching her smile at her transformation? Its not the same, because you can clearly catch things that don’t make sense while looking at the words – and not just watching her speak them.
Acknowledging the Dynamics of a Criminal
There are different characteristics of criminals depending on their crime. There are similar characteristics as well for most.
Criminals like Alicia Gray use manipulation to draw her victim in, and they are con artists. Those aspects of their personality didn’t just appear one day, and disappear the next. They couldn’t hook their victims in if they were not GOOD at it. Being good at something takes time and experience.
Now, when you point those ‘realities’ out to some individuals? They tend to do the very thing they accuse the ‘world’ of doing…assume the worse. They state in reference to the convicted criminal, “I hear you saying that there is no hope for a perpetrator!”
Actually, no one is saying that.
Sure, the criminal DID say all the right things! Remember their merit badge. They used their keywords, and phrases…and maybe even wailed in response when they reminded the criminal that God forgives …and loves them.
No one is saying to not do what you feel convicted to do, but do it in a wise way. In this case admit she wasn’t speaking of Grace that your church showed her, and the place she found herself in. Remember your purpose of the video? She didn’t even mention anything regarding that purpose. She was too busy sailing around with the Jesus Language.
I mean she didn’t even mention how God is going to help her with her struggles in the days forward, and to me that a huge portion to leave out.
She concentrated mostly on the transformation, and then shamed the victim by telling them she hopes they get over the bitterness, and sadly does NOT show she understands the implications of her actions.
I don't expect that the forgiveness might happen. I understand the implications of pain and bitterness that I have caused. Your completely justified to feel that way, but I do pray that each of you be free of the pain and bitterness, anger, anxiety or whatever you feel. Those are not things that are from God. God does not want that for you. He didn't want the situation to happen, but Thank God he uses the hurts of others. He redeemed me. And he placed it in my heart to just glorify him. And I pray that he uses this situation to heal all those involved.
What victim in their right mind wants to her their abuser say that God used the harm that was done to them to redeem their abuser? How their righteous anger is not of God? How the abuser is all better now, and I hope you get there too!
Your keywords and phases are there, but they make NO SENSE under the circumstances! Its selfish really.
She may have acknowledged the entire REALM of what she did within the presence of her husband, your church, your counselors or whomever. Although I have to be honest – I doubt it. Sadly, if she wished to show the Grace she claims God has shown her? She also would had to have felt the entire impact of what she has done. She didn’t do that she admits, and then tells people it would be a performance for them if she did.
Its one of those things that peace and rest, which are thrown around alot but...God really gives us overwhelming peace when you know who you are, and you don't have to do something to make God happy with you. You don't have to perform for other people, because I have had a lot of advice from people: that they need to see me cry more, and people need to see me fall apart. And my body makes me think, 'Shouldn't I be a mess right now? Shouldn't I have to do this? But God just lets that peace fall, and gives me that security of knowing that I'm just not that person anymore!
Seriously? She doesn’t have to fall apart knowing what she did, and then allow God to lift her back up again? She bypasses that all together, and then tries to tell people she understands the implications. Where does that happen in your bible, because it doesn’t happen in mine!
I just can’t picture Nathan letting David get away with that can you?
Sadly, people get to carried away with this ‘instant’ glorification of being transformed…and don’t realize they get played more than they are willing to admit.
Time, words and actions show the truth! Time with Action was overlooked here. Pride is holding you back from acknowledging this. You got caught up in the emotion of it, but time will show us if it is truly real.
Christians are quick to bring up stories they have seen or heard of this INSTANT transformation, and they refuse to face the fact we are all human. It doesn’t happen as often as they want to believe it does. It also doesn’t change the reality here. It just shows how willing they are to quickly go into some naïve mindset.
All Christians are in a constant state of repentance after all. All transformations take time, because breaking habits is never easy for anyone. I mean remember someone in your life that has something SMALL they are fighting to overcome…like biting their fingernails! This is MUCH bigger than that. Why is it people think the dangerous stuff is easier to overcome if they put on the proper show for others?
Keep in mind what she did was more than a bad habit, and she will need intense therapy for some time. She didn’t even acknowledge that, because her old person is gone……Wow.
A Truly Repentant Person Naturally is Contrite
A person that is truly repentant isn’t going to resist all the extras that are required from them, and at times I feel some Christians feel it maybe TOO much for them to handle…and they may flee.
Sadly, that is a sign they are not ready to do what you are wanting from them. You need to figure out a new approach. If you refuse to face this fact? You want a fantasyland, and not the biblical turning you claim you are for.
They shouldn’t resist holding their feet to the fire, because they need it! God wants it! Remember those speeches they gave you, because they told you they wanted it too! If they keep running sometimes prayer is the only thing you can offer.
Choosing to Believe Survivors Or Criminals
Lastly, to those people that are all ready to hand her over your faith in her repentance need to listen to those that have gone down this road before.
You tend to downplay, minimize, and make excuses for why you refuse to take their counsel. You assume the worse – they have been hurt, and are marinating it…so what do they know.
Granted some people are marinating in their hurt, and I don’t deny that. You might be surprised at how many have moved beyond that, and want to save you the pain of what they have learned and experienced. Instead, you treat them like a perpetual wounded animal that just wants to bite you.
So your okay with taking the word of a person that has bitten others, and willingly ignore the ones that got bit. Why does this make sense to you? Honestly, that never made a lick of sense to me!
Think for a moment! You are willing to give your all to someone that has shown they are able to harm others, but you aren’t willing to listen to the ones that have survived this crisis. That lacks common sense when you distance yourself enough to look at it clearly.
Much to often I see people telling experienced survivors they are speaking from hurt, and that hurt has jaded their outlook. They never consider they themselves are being naïve, and in some ways very arrogant. Instead of dismissing them try listening.
What is it going to hurt? Open your mind and heart as you have with the criminal. Can they NOT be authentic too? Do they not have the right to the same respect? It may give you ideas of how to better approach the next crisis, and actually stop the games that criminals tend to play almost by their very nature. Sadly, this game is VERY easy to play within the Christian environment.
Sure, criminals will admit certain things at times. They will speak of their struggle, and if you use too much wishful thinking instead of wisdom? They are going to play you like a concert pianist! Some aspects maybe on the purpose, and other aspects are just plain old habits that are hard to break. It is what it is.
Victims that are overlooked
Regarding the church in question? I think they were caught up with showing the world how they offered grace to Alicia Gray. Alicia spent much of the time proselytizing, and her apology was too generic.
Her journey is too premature to have experienced this turn yet. It’s going to be a life long journey for her, and she has some HUGE hills to climb in the future. I do pray she walks the walk as well she talked the talk.
Sadly, this church was so caught up with doing what they felt was right that they missed aspects that no doubt hurt the victim and his family. I also think they are having a hard time admitting that, and just think their introduction – or purpose – of the video could have been done better. I mean they didn’t even realize Alicia didn’t even address the question at the beginning of the video, nor the purpose of it that the pastor mentioned.
I think their hearts were in the right place, but they completely missed was really needed. I don’t fault them for supporting a criminal. I do hope they yearn to understand why so many felt their production they made in good faith was so triggering, and tragic to so many others that walked down that path before they did.
Side note from me!
I saw the news casts of her walking into court with her husband. That poor man had agony dripping from his pores, and he needs support completely and absolutely distanced from what you feel his wife needs. Separate from the marriage vows. It should be all about him – the poor man needs it. He needs more than your keywords, and Christian phrases…that they have sadly turned into more of platitudes at this point. He has a child to consider as well.
Besides the victim and his family? That husband broke my heart just watching him. Learn about the dynamics of the circumstances you are dealing with, and give him the fruitful grace he needs. I wouldn’t do another video about it. No doubt he has enough to deal with. Guilt by association by people, etc.
I can understand her NOT mentioning him in her court statement, but she didn’t even give him one syllable in the video either. That’s downright hurtful from my viewpoint – no show of grace regarding his support? Yet another HUGE aspect your good intentions completely missed.
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