We all have our chosen idioms for when something seems particularly easy. “It’s childsplay” or “that’s like a walk in the park.” Something “is not rocket science” or “I can do that with my eyes shut.” “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel” or “it’s just as easy as taking candy from a baby.”
This last option has been around for quite some time. While it’s hard to find the exact origination of certain phrases, it is believed that “like taking candy from a baby” came about on June 11th, 1896, in an article from the Columbus Daily Enquirer-Sun (Columbus, Georgia) when discussing a baseball game between the home team and Mobile, and their star player:
“Folk also fielded and batted well. Columbus has, without a doubt, drawn a prize in this player. He is tricky too, and made Mobile give up one run yesterday in the ninth inning that seemed like taking candy from a baby.”
Some circumstances which we attribute this saying to hold less gravity, like this baseball game. You wouldn’t likely read this article and believe that Mobile’s team was victimized, even if you are a fanatic. It’s unfortunate that your team did not play well, but there is no lasting damage done and loss is inherent in the game. However, there are circumstances in which “it’s just as easy as taking candy from a baby” portrays extremely damaging results.
I am currently working through a curriculum on how the church might better serve victims of sexual abuse. In so many situations, individuals are chosen or even groomed specifically because they are innocent or powerless. I’ve heard many stories that have left me in tears, not just for the horrific circumstances which unfolded (90% of these instances at the hands of individuals that the victim knew or trusted), but especially because of the guilt and shame which is heaped upon their shoulders in the aftermath.
So many times, the perpetrator informs the victim that terrible things will happen to them if they try and share their experiences. This will certainly keep someone quiet. Other times, the victim is convinced that what happened to them is their fault. It goes without saying that one must be wise and keep themselves safe in whatever ways possible, but a suggestion that rape or molestation is deserved because of how the victim dressed or because of their habits surrounding alcoholic beverages ultimately demeans the value of the human being created in God’s image.
At times, a victim is told that a person, organization, or church’s testimony is more important than the injustice that occurred. With Ravi Zacharias’s case close in our rear-view mirror, there were hundreds of women impacted who were all influenced to believe that God would silence their pain rather than have evil illuminated. It would certainly be the case in other situations that instant blame is placed on the victim as if it is a guarantee that they are manufacturing their story to tear down some politician or movement. This one touches me personally. Someone whom I am close to opened up after years of suffering in silence. They were received by loved ones who spent a great deal of time pointing out that women who claim to have been victimized are simply political extremists who are trying to gain power through lies. I can attest to the fact that this person absolutely did not fall into this category, but she was made to feel that way.
She needed a community to come alongside her and mourn with her as she mourned. She needed her pain to not be ignored or downplayed. She needed comforting and healing. Isn’t it fantastic, then, that we serve a God of Comfort, Healing, and Restoration? God is a beautiful God, in part, because Christ suffered in order to bring us life. Praise God that the Church is able to be the hands and feet in this restoration work where we might do all in our power to be a place of safety and genuine loving community to those who carry great burdens and pain.
I’m thankful for a community like ours in which victims find healing in the hands of the ultimate Victim and Healer – Who, though He hung on a cross and suffered for sins that He did not commit, also visits the broken-hearted, the hungry, the orphans, the widows, and even the guilty, with a love that can hardly be understood while on this earth. Praise God that He is so good to us.
If you or someone that you know has struggled in this area, please reach out. If you or someone that you know feels as though you are struggling under the weight of pain that was inflicted on you, please come and be seen, heard, and accepted as you are. We believe in the power of God to heal and restore. That work is difficult on your own, but we will help to carry your burdens to the cross. We love you and our doors are open.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff