Not so very long ago I learned that a beloved relative was sexually abused as a child by a trusted family member. When I hear of cases of pastoral abuse, I can't escape the memory of my heartbrokenness and sadness learning about this event in my family history. Because my loved one was of a generation that was wary of prosecuting such crimes--believing the stigma of being openly declared a victim was the worse fate--there was never any possibility for him to genuinely receive justice. The family did protect him from the abuser after it became known... but no legal action was ever sought. So the family sheltered him, but perversely also sheltered his abuser with their silence.
This personal connection feeds a certain animus I have regarding cases of sexual abuse that are glossed over or minimized, especially in the body of Christ, where I expect truth to reign. I cannot fathom how a pastor can be accused of abuse of authority--like using a ministry to fatherless boys as a "fishing pond" for finding teenage homosexual partners--and be allowed to stay in his position, without even the formality of independent investigation by the church. Even the world has judgment enough to temporarily bar a teacher accused of seducing a student from the classroom... or to put a cop charged with brutality on desk assignment while the internal affairs unit investigates.
When I see a church has neither a mechanism nor a willingness to compel a pastor to withdraw while an independent body adjudicates, it almost makes me despair whether the most vulnerable in our communities of faith will ever believe we're sincere in our ministry. When I hear brothers and sisters characterize allegations of spiritual abuse as if they are merely indiscretions or personal failings, I almost despair. When I hear folks suggest that we should "just pray for" the abusers, rather than confront them and compel them to confess their wicked behavior, I almost despair. I'm certain that victims of sexual abuse see us as complicit with abusers... sheltering them with our silence.
Bless you bro.Gill for speaking up on a reality so wrought with ________________ we can all fill in the blanks.
I too,am worn out with "we should not judge" or, "let's just pray", and in the case of leaders "the big one" - "touch not my anonited...."
It MUST STOP! How this iron wall of silence started i don't know. It certainly does not reflect CHRIST,who turned tables over ,took rope and chased the money changers out saying you have turned my FATHER's house into a den of theives.
Isaiah 58:1 says "Cry aloud,and spare not,lift up thy voice like a trumpet,and show my people their transgression and the house of jacob their sin.[kjv]
I am glad you kept saying ALMOST in the post,as we one by one continue to "cry aloud" soon we will have a thousand voice or more choir speaking AGAINST harbouring/sheltering the abusers and doing something definitive about it.
Stay encouraged bro.Gill
God will judge all sin to include sins committed by the church. When you give man all power and authority (reverend them) there is a price to pay. Accountability. Hold them accountable. Now if you are sitting in a renegade (apostate) assembly under a renegade (apostate) pastor blame yourself. You have given them the power. No escaping the judgement of God. Can I preach that? Sometimes we forget that people who commit crimes will one day be held accountable.
I feel you. We should call people out, once we know for sure that they have done something. As long as we follow the protocol the bible sets forth. The bible says that we do handle the situation one-on-one first. We cannot allow emotion to take charge of the situation. Even if someone goes to prison for those types of allegations, the prison keeps them separate from the other prisoners, because they would be killed.
Let us also not forget that prayer is important. We are to pray for everyone, including our enemies. If we do not pray for our enemies, and release forgiveness upon their lives, we will not be forgiven ourselves. Although we must not forget to take care of the child and love them, we must also love our enemies. This is not easy, but it is a command. We must find a way to make both parties whole. We have an obligation to forgive the sin, remove the sin, and reform the sinner. There is nothing like allowing the power of God to take a Saul, and allow him to become a Paul. Sin is sin. At the end of the day, we must not forget that. Do not treat one person differently out of emotion, but love them the same out of action.