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  • Writer's pictureShannon Makujina

To All of Those Who Don't Think It's Their Problem

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

In the book of 1 Samuel, there is a story about 2 sons of the high priest, Eli. Their names were Hophni and Phineas. The chronicler records that these men were sleeping with the women who served in the tabernacle.

You know what it says next?

1 Samuel 2:25 "....The Lord intended to kill them."

Several months later, Phineas and Hophni died.

That should tell you something about how God feels about abuse in church.

This past week, the head of the Louisiana Southern Baptist Convention, someone who called himself a pastor to pastors, was arrested for 12 counts of felony sex crimes against minors. His bail is set at 1.5 million.

Why should you care about this? 3 reasons.

1. Begin to demand accountability in your church.

  • Background checks for pastors and any staff employed by the church should be mandatory. The results should be public. If your pastor refuses to get a background check, that is a huge red flag. Every other place of employment is required to do background checks on employees, why should church be held to a lesser standard?

  • Raise awareness and have a written plan in place for what your church will do if there is an accusation of abuse. This plan should include mandatory and default police reports any time there is a suspected incident or an accusation is made. Remember, a police report is not an admission of guilt, it is a statement from the church that they are willing to pursue justice and cooperate with the law.

  • Have a church culture where women and children are treated with respect and men are taught self control, not blaming women for how they dress. We should be discussing abuse in church and placing a high priority on talking about domestic violence and marital rape and condemning those things. Your church should be a safe place for someone who is experiencing abuse. Your church should NOT be a safe place for their abuser.

2. God wants you to be an advocate for justice! Justice is important to God, and like everything else, he wants your help to accomplish his mission. If Jesus's mission was to provide justice for the oppressed and care for the vulnerable, what should ours be?

  • Micah 6:8 "He has told you men what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God."

  • Isaiah 1:17 "Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause."

  • Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

3. When people are doing shameful things in the name of Jesus, it is our responsibility to expose that and preach the true gospel!

Christians should be the FIRST to call out religious abuse and be the first to condemn it. We should be explaining what the Bible actually teaches and the healing and freedom Jesus offers.

Instead, many Christians are afraid to mention church scandals because they don't want to look bad.

Hiding makes us all look bad. Advocacy makes it clear which side you are on.

One more Bible story. In Judges there is an account of two women being raped and killed, tossed outside of their home to satisfy the demands of a violent mob.

The writer's shock at this incident leads him to say these words: "Think over it, discuss it, and speak up!" Judges 19:30

Will you do this? Take the first step today and instead of scrolling by, take a moment and soberly think about this. Abuse happens here. In this town. In our communities. In our churches.

I know it does, because I'm a survivor. The man who took advantage of me was a well respected leader in his church. He robbed me of my innocence and my feeling of safety. I learned that dark people can lurk in God's house just like they can anywhere else. If my church had taken some of the steps I've suggested above, maybe that wouldn't have happened.

Church should be the safest place you could ever be. Make church safe again.

All Scripture quotations are from the Christian Standard Bible.

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