Joyce Meyer Forgives, Then Baptizes Father Who Sexually Abused Her

She says he remains frail, but his soul is 'healthier than ever'.

Charismatic Bible teacher Joyce Meyer talks about miracles with a renewed passion these days, having seen God's power change the life of the person who caused her the greatest pain.

The "Life in the Word" TV and radio preacher, who shares her own experiences in her teaching on emotional healing, recently baptized her father - who had sexually molested her for years - in an emotional service at the Dream Center her ministry started in the inner city of St. Louis.

The baptism followed Meyer's reaching out to her father in reconciliation and forgiveness, and moving him closer to her Missouri home so that she could care for him. Although he remains physically frail, his soul is "healthier than it's ever been," she said.

Although Meyer has spoken in the past about the sexual abuse she endured as a child and young teen, she has never previously identified her father as the perpetrator. She still does not use his name in public and does not release her maiden name to protect him.The abuse ended when Meyer left home, and she went on to found a ministry that now reaches millions through broadcasts, books and conferences. Married with four children, she forgave her father for his actions. But two years ago, while he lay sick in a hospital, he told her: "Joyce, I am sorry you feel I hurt you. But I still don't understand what was so bad about what I did." Meyer said she left the hospital feeling very sad, not knowing if he would live through the night and sure that he did not know God.

She said that God told her to move her father closer to her home and take care of him. It was a difficult act of obedience, but she complied and tried to show him her love. She bought clothes and food, and ensured all his basic needs were met. During one visit he told her: "I am sorry for what I did to you. I have wanted to say this to you for a long time, but I didn't have the guts." He apologized to Meyer and her husband, Dave, and asked them to forgive him. Meyer knelt beside her father and joined him in praying to receive Christ.

When she visited a few days later, Meyer's mother said that her father had been doubting his salvation. Meyer encouraged him from the Bible, after which he asked her to baptize him. The service took place in December, before hundreds of onlookers.

Meyer tells her conference audiences how becoming a Christian helped her cope with the abuse. "I always felt dirty," she said. "I was always washing, bathing, trying to get clean. And in this one moment, Jesus washed me, and He never left me."

When Meyer told her mother what was happening, she did not intervene. "I guess on some levels, I can understand that," Meyer said. "It is easier to believe your 9-year-old daughter is a liar than it is to believe that the man you married could be capable of something so awful." But even when she walked in on one episode of abuse, her mother did nothing. "I thought: 'Thank God. Now she'll put an end to it.' But she didn't. She picked up her purse and walked out of the door - away from the nightmare."

From Charisma News Service (Strang Communications)

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