‘This book is a courageous gift,’ writes Debra Hirsch in the Foreword to Tim Hein’s powerful book, ‘Understanding Sexual Abuse’. A courageous gift indeed; one of those books that the reader will feel privileged to have read and learnt from. Drawing on his own expertise as a church minster and the personal experience of his wife’s and his own stories as survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Hein offers this deeply insightful, practical, pastoral and empathetic guide to ministry leaders and survivors of sexual abuse.
Unreservedly drawing attention to the fact that the church has often failed those who have shared the suffering they have experienced, Hein constructively opens up both the complex psychological and spiritual aspects of sexual abuse and he guides those in ministry, who may be trusted with the courageous stories of survivors, as to how best walk alongside; ‘Listen, believe and acknowledge. Remember, this may be the single bravest moment of the person’s life so far.’ ‘The posture of the Christian leader is one of…a sojourner,’ willing to wrestle with the deep questions of ‘Why God’ along with the intentionality to create space within our churches for truth that ‘gives voice to the deepest experiences of humanity.’
Hein offers this deeply insightful, practical, pastoral and empathetic guide to ministry leaders and survivors of sexual abuse.
The careful reading of this wisdom filled book will inform, guide and counsel those who sojourn alongside those walking the difficult road towards recovery. It will help you think before you speak, wrestle with the uncomfortable questions of suffering, prepare you to enter the trauma of childhood’s stolen and it will point you to Jesus, the one so familiar with trauma and who leaves no one alone in their pain.
For the survivor, this book is one that speaks of healing and hope. Hein’s words hold the authority and authenticity of one whom has walked the painful and complex road of trauma and recovery. Affirming the fact that anger and condemnation are necessary for recovery, as are sadness and mourning, and that premature forgiveness is a grave hinderance, Hein offers a theological, pastoral map detailing the possibilities of a road to healing that emphasises a survivor’s longing for justice and reminds them that God – in his love – who walks alongside them always, requires it too.
Sensitively recognising that for some survivors of childhood abuse, simply reading his book will have taken a huge amount of courage, Hein reassures that no survivor needs to walk the path to recovery alone. They have the right and power to ask for help whenever they are ready. They have the right to heal and to become whole.