The latest edition of HopeSpeak, a periodical by The Hope of Survivors (a international support network for victims of church sexual abuse), published an article by me on how to deal with leadership sins – including sexual abuse – in the church. It’s titled Leadership Abuses: Private and Public Sins.
I’ve just learned that another international magazine also wants to re-publish it.
Lately, Marianne and I have become involved in more and more church abuse cases – including local private cases and also very public national scandals.
Sometimes our involvement is very confidential, while other times it involves publicly confronting the abuser and warning others under the dictates of 1 Tim. 5:19-21 where there has been no repentance.
Often, we provide private pastoral counseling to the victims or the abusers (where they have been truly repentant). When needed, we also provide legal support (in fact, we are now preparing a case against some individuals who have been attempting to coverup a history of abuse by a national author and leader, through a concerted campaign of lies, threats and intimidation to silence his victims and those who might bear witness against him).
All of it, though, has been through Nathan’s Voice, a ministry I helped created with some local churches here in Virginia to deal with this scourge in the Body of Christ.
Anyway, I originally wrote this article several years ago, after I reluctantly agreed to help address – as both an attorney and a local church leader – a pattern of overt abuse by a pastor in a church I regrettably once attended. That was my first involvement in such a case, and it was a real eye opener.
The article still reflects lots that Marianne and I have learned in the intervening years as we’ve been asked to help other victims, in other churches, who have been abused by predatory and exploitive leaders.
Anyway, check it out – Leadership Abuses: Private and Public Sins.
~ Jim Wright
Why the picture of an alluring young woman? What was the point of using this photo? Is this person someone involved? Random photo?
That is the picture used in the banner at The Hope of Survivors’ web site, thus creating a visual link to their own site. She visually represents many women, who have been abused by leaders who use their position and influence to prey upon and sexually exploit their vulnerability in the church.
What happens when “they” (those in leadership) do everything in their power to insist that the victim’s truth is a lie, and their lies (assumptions, false accusations) are the truth – and because of their position, people will more willingly believe them, rather than the victim who has been misunderstood?
I walked into such a set up, which God Himself had to intervene to straighten out, but my judgement had been so perverted – under a feeling of obligation to obey those in leadership – that it’s taken 20 years to come right. However, the learning in the healing process was a necessary learning curve I needed to mature and – through the negatives – by the grace of God, become dis-abused of subconscious misbeliefs from childhood/teenage years that had formed an unhealthy concept of God.
http://www.livingwisdom.co.nz This was the person who gave me the tools to be able to do this. I am so glad that God is even, like King David found, where we make our bed – even in the depths (Psalm 139 v8), and can rescue us from there and put our feet once more upon the Rock 🙂