Besides the messages of self-defense coming out of Moscow, CREC leadership, its pastors and elders, have remained conspicuously silent on the questions of abuse that have been raised in the past couple weeks. Some things may be going on behind closed doors, but out in the open, it’s very quiet. Unfortunately, silence communicates a message to victims.
It may seem unfair to be judged for what you’re not doing, but I remember a voice from my childhood, Keith Green, emphatically stating to his audience “the only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to the Scriptures, is what they did and didn’t do!” Christ’s message is shocking, “inasmuch as you’ve not done it, to the very least of my brethren, you’ve not done it unto me.”
Dear church, you have the weak and hurting and abused, bruised reeds and smoldering wicks, in your midst. They need your support. They need your voices. When someone who has been grievously abused speaks up, she deserves your attention. When someone else tells you how their church leadership silenced and hurt them, they need your support.
Your silence may be for many reasons. Perhaps you’re reluctant to be involved in discussions of such tricky issues in public forums. Perhaps you’re not sure what good speaking can do. I can tell you what harm not speaking can do.
Not speaking communicates to victims that you won’t take up their cause. That you aren’t going to support them. That you are willing to abide alongside these abuses. This silence is why many who speak up eventually sink back down into silence. No one will go with them or advocate for them.
Whatever conversations may happen now in private, whatever steps you may take to prevent these things from happening in the future, your silence is still a part of the problem. The next time someone wants to stand up and ask questions or appeal against unjust measures taken against them, your silence will be on record.