Respecting The Dignity of Every Human Being
Rev. Robert W. Nelson,Rel.D.,LMFT
Episcopal Diocese of Alaska
retired July 2001

Our God is one who takes sides with the vulnerable and the oppressed against the powers and principalities, even when the principality is the church... Inherent in this stance is judgment against those who cause harm to others. This judgement is not for judgment's sake, but for the sake of repentance for the abuser and justice for the victim.

Comapassion for the victim means that we be willing to suffer with her/him and not look for some easy way out of a difficult situation; we help make justice in spite of the confusion, pain and hostility in the community. Compassion for the abusing minister does not mean helping him/her avoid the discomfort of being called to account. It means being willing to call him/her to account and be present to him/her for the purpose of repentance.

Justice-making becomes the means for healing all parties involved. The church... can be the vehicle for justice where harm has been done by one of its representatives. Justice-making can free people to forgive, which can make restoration possible- with memory. Our goal is not to forgive and forget, but to forgive and remeber.
The Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence, Seattle 1992

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