Molestation is a grave sin that goes against God’s design for relationships and sexuality. As Christians, it’s important we understand what God’s word says about this issue so we can respond appropriately both in preventing abuse and caring for victims. In this post, we’ll explore the biblical perspective on molestation by looking at relevant passages, theological principles, and practical applications.
Molestation, defined as unwanted or inappropriate sexual contact inflicted on another, especially a minor, is universally recognized as an evil act that causes deep and lasting damage. As Christians, we must be clear that molestation grieves the heart of God and violently contradicts His intentions for human relationships and sexuality.
The Bible speaks to the issue of molestation in several ways:
- It categorically condemns sexual immorality of which molestation would be considered an egregious example
- It instructs us to defend and protect the vulnerable, which would include protecting children from predators
- It outlines just retribution for crimes like molestation
- It shows how to care for victims with compassion
In this post, we will explore what the Bible teaches about molestation through examining key passages, theological principles, and practical applications. The aim is to equip Christians with biblical truth so we can become part of the solution in preventing abuse and ministering to survivors.
- Molestation is a grievous sin that warrants just punishment
- God calls His people to defend and protect children and other vulnerable groups from predators
- Victims of abuse need compassionate support and care
- Preventing molestation requires promoting truth, accountability, and wisdom
- Healing is possible through God’s redeeming power and the support of Christian community
Clear Condemnations of Sexual Immorality
Several biblical passages categorically condemn sexual immorality in all its forms. Though no specific Hebrew or Greek word exists for molestation, it would undoubtedly be classified as severely immoral under biblical sexual ethics.
For example, Leviticus 18 lays down clear guidelines for sexual relations, stating:
“You shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her.” (Leviticus 18:20 NKJV)
“‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.” (Leviticus 18:24 NKJV)
The chapter goes on to forbid all manner of incest, adultery, and perverted sexual acts. Though not specifically mentioned, molestation would fall under behaviors that are called “perversions” (Leviticus 18:23).
Additionally, the New Testament contains stern warnings against sexual immorality, which encompasses molestation. Colossians 3:5 instructs believers:
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5 NKJV)
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 also exhorts:
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NKJV)
Overall, it is abundantly clear that molestation, as a form of sexual immorality, is condemned in no uncertain terms throughout Scripture.
Defending and Protecting the Vulnerable
A major theme of the Bible is God’s concern for defending and protecting vulnerable groups from oppression and violence. Children are consistently identified as among such groups. Tragically, children disproportionately suffer molestation more than other segments of society.
Scripture shows how God expects His people to emulate His protective care for children. For instance, Psalm 82 depicts God chastising rulers who failed to defend the vulnerable:
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4 NKJV)
Isaiah 1 also portrays God indicting His people for failing to protect the vulnerable:
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17 NKJV)
As Christians, we are called to follow God’s example by enacting spiritual, social, political, and legal protections for vulnerable children. We must be proactive both in preventing child sexual abuse as well as supporting survivors in their recovery.
Retributive Justice for Abusers
Though we should not seek personal vengeance, Scripture does establish societal retribution as an appropriate response to crimes like molestation. God instituted governing authorities to punish wrongdoing, as evidenced in passages like Romans 13:3-4:
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:3-4 NKJV)
The Bible categorizes some acts of sexual immorality like molestation as capital crimes, which under the Old Testament law were punishable by death (see Leviticus 20:13-16). While these Old Testament laws were fulfilled in Christ, they establish precedent indicating molestation warrants severe retribution.
Of course, the church today does not exact capital punishment. However, Christians should support just legal consequences for convicted abusers, caring for both justice and public safety. We can advocate for policies and lawmakers pursuing such aims.
Compassion for Victims
While abusers deserve punishment, the Bible also shows how God has deep compassion for the victims of abuse. As Christ’s ambassadors, we are called to emulate such care in our treatment of abuse survivors.
For instance, consider how in 2 Samuel 13, Tamar was raped by her half-brother Amnon. Yet while Amnon faced death for his crime, Tamar was cared for by her brother Absalom, pointing to God-honoring responses toward both perpetrator and victim.
As part of showing compassion, we need to counter shaming or blaming survivors. The Prophet Ezekiel showed that individuals bear responsibility for their own sin, not that of others (see Ezekiel 18). While we must encourage wise decisions, victim-blaming has no place in Christian counsel.
Caring for abuse victims well also requires being trauma-informed. Many survivors struggle with effects like fear, depression, damaged senses of self-worth, and difficulty trusting. We must exercise patience, grace and wisdom in supporting them toward healing. Our aim should be restoring hope and dignity as they learn to thrive in Christ.
Preventing Abuse Through Truth and Accountability
While responding to molestation allegations righteously, Christians also should actively prevent abuse. Scripturally, we see how promoting truth, accountability, and wisdom helps curb sin, including sexual immorality.
For one, we can teach regularly on biblical sexuality, relationships, and conduct. Messages on topics like porn use, sexual integrity, and protecting children help establish foundations for sexual ethics and best practices. Church leaders also should consistently advise caution in high-risk scenarios like one-on-one interactions.
Additionally, maintaining a culture of accountability and transparency helps prevent abusive behavior. Policies that reduce opportunities for secrecy and abuse are prudent and wise. Also, reporting allegations promptly and investigating thoroughly while avoiding premature judgment follows the biblical model of seeking truth through multiple witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15).
The Hope of Healing and Redemption
Amid addressing molestation biblically, we must also convey hope. While horrible, child sexual abuse need not be a life sentence condemning victims to irreparable brokenness. Through God’s redeeming grace and the support of Christian community, survivors can experience profound healing and restoration.
Scripture assures that God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 NKJV). Isaiah 61:1-3 depicts the Messiah coming “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve.” That same power and restoration is available to molestation survivors who seek Christ today.
Still, the road to recovery often is a journey. Wise Christians must understand trauma and how to come alongside hurting individuals with grace and truth. Our aim isn’t rushing healing but providing space for God’s restorative work through prayer, counsel, delivering forgiveness, and any means He may choose.
In cases when scars linger, the church still can provide meaningful purpose and belonging through Christ to those marked by childhood abuse. With compassion in view of God’s mercy toward us, Christians hold a key role in helping turn victims into overcomers.
Molestation is an abhorrent sin that opposes God’s desires for protecting the innocent. Scripture outlines how God’s people can respond in righteous ways: condemning immorality, enacting justice for perpetrators, showing compassion to victims, and fostering prevention through truth, accountability and wisdom. While devastating, abuse need not be the end of one’s story. Through Christ, redemption and healing are possible.
The Bible makes clear how seriously God takes sins of sexual immorality while also revealing His heart of compassion toward those who suffer from abuse. As the church, we must reflect His perspective in our beliefs, actions, and attitudes. In doing so, we can become agents that help prevent child sexual abuse and also see survivors restored to wholeness. Though not an easy calling, this mission is one with which faithful Christians need to engage for the glory of God and the good of all people.