5 years ago, I saw God shut down a pedophile who used his position as an associate “pastor” to serve his own sick ends with young girls whose parents were part of the Sound Doctrine cult. Even though many cult members declared his innocence, the testimony of one victim put him away for 18 years. That final verdict began to restore my faith in our justice system.
Then not long ago, the #MeToo movement began to make waves across America as women stood up and broke their silence about the sexual harassment and abuse they’d experienced.
Seeing justice served with a sexual predator like Bill Cosby and Larry Nassar proved that high profile abusers will, sooner or later, be found out, exposed and sentenced. It may be here on earth, and if not, it will be before the judgment seat of God, but it also began to raise awareness of the criminal attitudes towards victims of abuse by those who turned a blind eye and even covered up for the abuser.
To then see the #MeToo movement give courage to those who would stand up against Dr. Paige Patterson’s involvement in sending battered wives back to their abusers and silencing rape victims on his college campus, at the risk of losing their jobs … I began to thank God for exposing the fruit of the twisted mentality. An attitude that one in a position of leadership like Dr. Patterson could use to intimidate those in his employ to keep silent and not question or criticize blatant sinful behavior, with the threat of job loss.
That’s the mentality and culture that offers a breeding ground for predators. I saw it first hand in the cult, where you couldn’t question leadership or point out anything unbiblical for fear of being humiliated and disciplined for having a bitter root and gossiping. There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to people who want to use others for their own personal benefit and use intimidation and scripture to get away with it.
Some have said judgement has come to the house of God, and rightly so. As one friend said, too bad it took the world championing the #MeToo movement in order for the church to start addressing what’s been happening for decades in her midst. Sad.
However, I’m hopeful that those courageous souls who’ve endured shaming, shunning, and ridicule for speaking up will not weary of doing good. Their courage gives other victims the strength and permission to speak up. A good day for righteousness, but a bad day for all those abusers out there who thought their intimidation could keep their sinful behavior swept under the carpet for good.
Not gonna happen. More to come, I’m sure of that.