If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

Hearing about more covered up cases of sexual abuse in the Church isn’t particularly nice. And it seems the problem is that some in Church leadership decided to follow the old dictum and not say anything at all.

At the heart of this phrase which parents use to simultaneously cease fighting and educate character in their children is the desire to do no harm. Do not harm the other in word or in deed. Choose not to speak to avoid damage to a relationship or community.

When those in Church leadership chose not to speak the ugly truth of violence done to the vulnerable, they did harm. The dictum doesn’t apply when your omission of speech protects and perpetuates harm.

Now is the time to listen to things that aren’t nice. Be courageous enough to listen. Take it all in. Let it make you feel sick to your stomach. Let it boil your blood. Let it make you cry. It should.

Now is the time to pray. Pray for this Church that has let evil in. Pray for children and adults who have been victims of violation. Who have had to live with this layered pain for years. Pray for the courage to listen so that healing can happen. Pray for the ability to cling to Christ on the cross, his Church.

Now is the time to incarnate love wherever it is that God has put you. Make yourself vulnerable by being the one who reaches out. “What are you going through?” Be a safe space for someone to land. Be lovingly attentive to your spouse, children, and friends. Be courageous and faithful in the face of ridicule for being part of a Church where horrific harm happens. Be confident in your relationship with Jesus and hopeful that he can transform all things. Believe that you are an instrument of his healing love.

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