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In recent weeks there has been an increased awareness of the church’s need to be more skilled and more aware in how we care for marriages and dating relationships where abuse is present. I know that many public figures that have spoken out have been applauded for doing so. And doubtless there are many of us—in the SBC specifically—who feel like the proactive pieces that have been written in recent weeks (to which I contributed one) are groundbreaking.
At the same time, I have begun to hear more and more from many of my sisters in Christ (and some brothers) who have been championing this cause for much longer than a few weeks. Hearing their stories and sensing their passion, I am realizing that we need to be more humble and sober than this. Our awakening to the issue of abuse, even if just to new nuances of the issue, means that we were previously asleep. And as we struggled to learn how to care for the vulnerable well, people were suffering. The church’s clumsiness has often meant that the suffering of others was longer in duration and deeper in impact than it should have been.
Lateness - Consequences
Is it better to wake up late than never at all? Absolutely. But I believe we are only beginning to see how profound this “lateness” is, and how damaging its consequences.
So to my sisters:
Brothers - Christ - Ministry
I believe you deserve to hear your brothers in Christ, particularly those of us called into pastoral ministry, say:
“We are sorry and we should have heard you before now. We know our deafness has added to your suffering. For many that suffering was direct, as it put you in unsafe or abusive contexts. For others, that suffering was indirect, as we allowed a toxic culture to grow up in our churches, one in...
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