How do we as a church live out an answer to the question: “why is there abuse in the church?”
5 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
There are people in churches who are disobedient to God’s word and abuse children and others. The judgment in these verses towards them is chilling. God is angry at them, does not acknowledge them as His children and they will not inherit His kingdom. Churches get it wrong when they do not set safety measures to prevent abuse from occurring. When it does happen, they cover up these atrocities and sometimes even continue to partner with them. It’s a double whammy for Satan as he gets to destroy the lives of people and also the reputation of the church.
This week we have looked at a big question about why there is abuse in the church. The answer is there shouldn’t be. If we obeyed God and His instructions, there would be no abuse in the church. There shouldn’t even be a hint of it. God is very clear in His word about His expectations for us in how to live our lives. We are to follow God’s example and walk in the way of love.
We’ve been talking about abuse this week but look at the other instructions that are listed in the same list. When I read the verse “nor let there be any obscenity, foolish talking or coarse joking…” to my husband, he said: “This is your shortest ever! Just say that ‘I can’t comment on this, follow God’s example, not mine. Love, Petrina.’” I am a child of light, but sometimes my light is very dull. I can tell you, this has been very confronting to reflect on. How do others see Jesus in me?
Head: “…and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” Jesus gave His life to us on the cross. What would that look like for us?
Heart: Think about what Jesus did for us on the cross, even while we were still sinners and abusers. What an amazing God.
Hands: If you know of abuse occurring, if you are the abuser or if you are the victim, bring it to light. Tell a trustworthy leader in church. This is the right thing to do. Walk in the way of love.
Dear heavenly Father
Forgive me for all my sins. Forgive me for the numerous times I fail to shine your light to others. Sometimes I just get so weary, as I see the evil around me, and the evil in my heart and I long for the day when we can all be in heaven with you and there will be no more sin, pain or suffering. Thank you for dying on the cross so that I can be your child. I need your Spirit every day to help and guide me to walk in the way of love. Amen.
A song to listen to: What love, my God