Saturday, August 11, 2012

Don't Shoot the Messenger

A couple days ago I was talking with someone inside the IFB movement, who is very satisfied and comfortable with what they believe and made the statement that they aren’t going anywhere. While talking about it, they made at least two logical fallacies that I’m sure that most people in this person’s situation are making. The first was that we shouldn’t be talking about everybody’s abuse because we don’t know the whole story. It was stated that it was fine what we did and what was done to us was wrong and we could talk about it because we were there. The problem with talking about the other stories is that there are two sides to the story, and we don’t know all the details, we shouldn’t be saying anything about it. The reasoning is that these “victims” could be making it up to get attention and I was asked if I thought that was true. I said most people would not make up an abuse story. Even real victims don’t want to come forward because they don’t want the attention. I did say it highly unlikely and that we will always side with the abused. We will always speak up for them because they don’t always have a voice, especially in religious organizations and churches and we will always support the abused.

One of my biggest concerns is that the message of abuse in the churches is being dismissed because of the people trying to draw attention to the abuse. This was the other logical fallacy that was brought up. They stated that it looks like it’s just a vendetta against churches and that they’ll do anything for attention. They also said all the stuff they see on Facebook in reference to their lifestyle and everything else was making them not look credible and because of our association with them that we don’t look credible either. I tried to explain, briefly, that just because you don’t agree with how an advocate lives, does not lessen the importance or significance of what they are trying to say.

I’ve communicated with people from various religious, sexual, and political backgrounds with varying levels of interest from soft-spoken to overly-aggressive in stand against abuse. Every single one of the people has one goal in mind. Their goal is to stand up against the abusers. They have taken different methods and tactics but they want to see abuse end, no matter what the organization, whether church, college, children’s home, etc.
Another thing that keeps being mentioned is motives. I think we should worry more about what is being done than why it’s being done. Motives refers to the heart that we can’t see. Let God worry about that. We may assume or even be right about someone’s motives but don’t dismiss someone’s message because we think they have the wrong motives. It does not change the fact that abuse needs to be attacked. 

Mark 9: 38-40 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us.

Philippians 1:15-15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.

Can I make a suggestion?  DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER. In other words, don’t dismiss them because they don’t think like you.

ADVOCATES – Keep your voice loud and clear! Keep up the fight, no matter the obstacles. Don’t attack each other. You’re on the same team, with the same goal, just in a different part of the war.  

IFB MEMBERS – Just because you don’t like someone’s beliefs or lifestyle, don’t ignore the warnings. The problem is real even though you don’t like it. Listen to the message, even if you don’t like the messenger. It’s important.

IFB PASTORS – Become an advocate!! Quit being quiet about the problem. Stand up for the victim and stand against the abuser. You’re so vocal on so many things that don’t matter. Be vocal for God’s children. Remember Jesus cleaning out the Temple? Do that! Help clean God’s House and throw out those who claim to serve God but are only serving themselves.

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