This is a difficult subject to talk about, especially for those who have been victimized or are connected to victims, which is almost everybody considering the statistics. It’s something that stirs up emotions for everyone - anger, disgust, desire for justice. There’s no question that offenders must be punished. For the sake of the victims and the sake of the community, they need to be removed from society for a time and then closely monitored to prevent recidivism.
From the Christian perspective, however, where does forgiveness fit in? It's usually very easy to talk about "judge not lest you be judged yourself" and "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us", but when it comes to certain "sins" that we ourselves have never done or consider extra heinous, that forgiveness doesn't come so easily. This can especially be true for victims and their families, whose lives are shattered forever because of sexual abuse. Still, does that mean that child sex abusers are one group whose sins cannot be touched by the blood of Christ?
First, I guess it would be good to establish what it means to forgive someone. Of course, it doesn't mean one has to be buddy-buddy with an offender or that communities have to give sex offenders a place on the county legislature. Still, when does a person's punishment stop? Some might say never, considering that the victim's lives are ruined forever, but what about the offenders like an 18 year old that was caught sleeping with his 15 year old girlfriend. After he receives his punishment from the judge, should he really be put on a national sex offender registry and have that haunt him the rest of his life?
What do you think? How can we show the forgiveness and love of Christ to someone who has committed such a reprehensible crime? Should changes be made to the way sex offenders are defined and monitored by law enforcement?