By Danni Moss
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In a situation like the one reported by the ABC News affiliate there are several serious ramifications and implications. First of all, while not all pastors are brazen enough to publically make a declaration supporting wickedness, this attitude is prevalent among church leadership toward the abuses of their peers.
Whose side are they on? If church leaders will stand up for and defend their peers who have been justly accused of criminal abuse, just whose side are they on? Think about it. If they will not stand up for righteousness and if they persist in standing up for guilty peers, they are literally STANDING FOR evil. Doesn’t that strike anyone else as having dangerous implications for the church?
I’ll go a step further. If they refuse to stand up for righteousness, when they know without a doubt unrighteousness has been committed, they are passively standing for evil. There is no fence to sit on here!
What are these pastors afraid of? If there was nothing for them to lose by standing up for righteousness, when supposedly their entire life is dedicated to truth and righteousness, they would not be taking the stance they are. Pastors, by the nature of their vocation, are communicators who speak for truth. Why is there such a stunning silence on the issue of unrighteousness within church leadership? It can only be motivated by fear that is stronger than their supposed fear of God (which, incidentally, is idolatry – and that’s a whole additional issue).
- Are they afraid the reputation of the church will be damaged? Wake up call!! The reputation of the church is already in tatters. It can’t get much worse.
- Are they afraid their own personal reputation will be damaged by association? Well, snuggling up close to known offenders is a sure way to soil your own clothes! The only possible way to prevent the tarnish of association is to disassociate.
- Are they afraid their own personal indiscretions might be revealed if they dared to point the finger at someone else? Unfortunately, this is most likely true in at least a good number of cases. But, one thing is sure, if they refuse to separate from unrighteousness, their inaction certainly raises the question of whether they themselves have things to hide.
Another serious consequence of pastoral inaction in the face of abuse is that by taking the side of unrighteousness, they heap coals on the heads of victims. In so doing, they make nearly unbearable pain, profoundly more painful. Not only do they hurt victims tangibly, they also offend these victims – in the truest sense of Scripture.
Mt 18:6 ~~~ But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Jesus used a child to illustrate His point when He said this, but the word “little” in the original language simply means “less” or “least” — it is not about age or size. It just means someone who is “less” — “less than the one in authority or one who is under that authority” would also be an accurate understanding of the meaning of the verse.
Do you hear what Jesus is saying, applied directly to modern day pastors and church leaders? Would it be better if they were drowned? That doesn’t sound to me like Jesus would be even slightly tolerant of the state of today’s church on this issue.