In the last week I’ve been weighed down by the evil in the world. This happens to me at regular intervals. I battle to not be overcome by evil or by the knowledge of evil in the world. I battle to overcome evil with good.
But reports come in. They come from news outlets and they come through social media. I get a telephone call or maybe a text. Someone stops by.
With all my heart I desire to bear the burdens of others. I think about how God has saved me through the loving prayers and presence of others as they’ve borne my burdens. I seek to do the same. Yet some weeks I feel as though my soul and my prayers and my presence cannot keep up with the widespread tsunami of evil, destruction, and perversion.
How can God take it all in at once and all of the time? I don’t know.
I don’t know.
Twice this week I’ve been told of male pastors who have raped and assaulted little girls and teenage girls. These girls are now young women. I sit listening to them on my couch and on the phone. And I think “For the love of God, why are these leaders still in the ministry?” These corrupt-of-soul men (and women like them) are leaving casualties strewn across the landscape. Like the enemy, they are chewing up and devouring the vulnerable that come across their path-including their own children.
Listen to me. If you are a church leader or desire to be a church leader and struggle with disordered sexual desires and behavior, will you please, for the sake of the kingdom and the innocents and others, will you please step away? Step away and get help. Stop hiding. Confess your sin. Make amends. Take the consequences.
You are not beyond God’s grace.
If you repent, things can turn around. It doesn’t mean that those you hurt will recover, but you can stop hurting others with your abuse of power and people. There is hope for you. You can stop perpetuating evil and overcome evil with good.
You and I, we don’t want to be part of the problem of evil. We don’t want to curse others. We don’t want to cut them off from the way of life. We don’t want to perpetuate pain, dysfunction, and maybe even death for generations. It is possible to begin blessing others. It’ll be much worse if others come after you. Why not turn yourself in?
Didn’t Jesus say, “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt. 18:6 NLT)?
And didn’t the Apostle James note that, “…not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1 NLT)?
By doing our part to keep the ministry free of those who should not be ministering we can save many souls. We can prevent the destruction of life. Are we really pro-life or are we pro-ministry at the cost of many lives?
If you are reading this knowing you are one of those who is abusing other ones (physically, sexually, verbally), I implore you to either not go into the ministry or to step away from it. I encourage you to seek help. And if you’re on a church or ministry staff and you are covering up abuse-that makes you guilty. Stop. Blow the whistle. No church or ministry is worth allowing abusers to go unpunished. Do the right thing. It may cost you your job. But do the right thing.
We will all be held accountable.