What Should the Church Learn from #ChurchToo?
If you pay any attention to culture, then you are aware of the insane amount of horrific stories of sexual abuse by famous and powerful individuals. These individuals have been prominent actors like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. to executives like Harvey Weinstein and most recently Pixar’s John Lasseter. Even self-professing Christian, Senator Roy Moore appears to have done some wicked things to teenage girls. While, this has been incredibly disturbing to see the vast scope of these disgusting displays of abuse of power against women, I’ve been slightly encouraged by the fact that women finally seem to have the support they need when they tell their story.
Perhaps, you’ve read on Twitter or Facebook about the hashtag “#MeToo” stories that are going around. At last women are getting the help and support they need after these abominable acts by tyrants and pigs calling themselves men. Then something happened. Women started accusing pastors and churches of either abuse, hiding that abuse, or not supporting them when they had been abused. The hashtag “#ChurchToo” is trending on all social media platforms. As I read through these stories this morning, my heart broke. Not just for the women, but after a few years in ministry I could easily see how the church would do these things. I believe these women. This lead me to this question:
WHAT CAN THE CHURCH LEARN FROM THIS?
Go online, read these awful stories. Let them break you. Don’t criticize these women or wonder what their motives might be in stating these things online. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching culture’s abuse problem play out over the last few weeks is that anyone can become a monster. Don’t pridefully ignore these issues and stories thinking it could never be true in your church. Because the truth is most likely it has happened in our churches. Don’t just look at the world and criticize them for their sinful actions, look in your life and in your church and ask “Is there something that needs to be addressed here?”
I know what your natural reaction is to these things, because I had the same gut reaction. “These are just people trying to take down the church, right?” Wrong. I’m not saying that every story online is true and that they are said with the right motives, but I believe in general these women are stating the truth. This means that they are victims. They have been hurt by people within the church. We need to help them find healing through the Gospel, counseling, and being a safe place worthy of supporting them. Look at the tenderness of Christ toward the weak and hurt. We are His church, let us live with that same compassion towards these women.
Today we’ve been shown a big problem that is hiding in the church. Let us seek this problem out and banish it from our community. How do we do this? First, by believing there’s a problem. Second, by doing something about it. We cannot look at this problem and just say “there’s nothing I can do here.” There are always steps that we can take to make sure things like this do not happen in our church. If for some reason they do happen then we have the plan set in place to help the victims of such cruel actions and reach out to the authorities to deal with those monsters who would act in such a heinous way.
Do not ignore this moment, church. You cannot sit on the sidelines in this discussion. The world is watching. More importantly the women in your church need you to step up and be a leader in this area. Don’t add to the culture of silence within the church. Speak up, say this is wrong, and then do something about it.