My heart has been weary this week as we continue to process the sheer magnitude of the Guidepost Report as a family. Although my abuse did not happen as a result of church negligence, what sits with me now is the truth that there is abuse happening in our churches right now.
Statistically speaking, there will be both abusers and the abused in most congregations. And the question is, which one are we more interested in protecting?
I try my best not to allow my mind to go back to that place - where I was a sweet 11-year-old girl who trusted my daddy with everything I had. I try not to think, “if only someone had told me what sexual abuse looked like, maybe I would have known.” Because twenty years ago, we didn’t talk about it. No one did.
But now, friend, we have to.
Now we must have difficult and uncomfortable conversations. We must talk about it until we are blue in the face. In our homes, with our children, with our friends, from the pulpit, from our social media platforms, in our Sunday School classrooms, in our schools.
Because the more we bring the darkness of sexual abuse into the light, the more darkness will be exposed. The more the enemy will be forced to shrink back.
"Don't participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them." (Ephesians 5:11)
Knowledge is power and awareness is key.
It’s not helpful for me to go back and walk through all of the shoulda coulda woulda's, but it is helpful to walk forward advocating that we do things differently. Using my personal experience as a barometer, I know that doing nothing is not an option. Staying silent is not an option. The need is now, and the need is urgent.
I am fervently praying as the SBC prepares to meet next week. I am praying that they will find value in exposing this darkness. I pray that the churches that have remained silent will be forced to take a stand. I pray that victims and our voices begin to matter to leadership more than the cost of uncovering sin. And I pray that victims will be encouraged to come forward from pulpits all across our country. That our pain and our mess would be welcome at any church door we walk through. That survivor care will take priority over pastoral protection.
Now is the time to pay attention. Now is the time to act.