Mar9WedMarch 9, 2022
I hate writing the words, "another leader has fallen!"
However, once again, we hear of another leader that has committed sexual misconduct and harassment. Another leader has abused his power, influence, authority and control.
Will we ever stop hearing these stories? I wish the answer were yes, but unfortunately, we are unholy people, and in some way, we all succumb to our cravings and temptations. However, where and when will this stop? When will these abuses end? When will we say enough is enough? When will we learn? When will our sorrow turn into action?
I can remember a time in my life when a wise woman challenged me to count the cost of putting my wants and desires ahead of others.
She shared the image of a beautiful egg that we want to cherish and hold on to and not let others even know about it. However, what we may not know is that within that egg is a deadly snake that will destroy not only the holder but everyone around us.
Once again, we hear of the damage that has been caused by the abuse of power. It is so senseless, so unnecessary, so sad!
But, it is not time to point fingers!
It is not time to judge motivations and intent!
It is not time to cast stones!
The Jesus I follow says, “you who are without sin, cast the first stone!”
It is time to listen to all the parties!
Time to seek wisdom!
Time to show grace and tough love!
Time to discern what you hear!
Time to pray! (For everyone involved)
Time to weep!
Time to lament!
Time to be angry!
Time to serve those that are hurting!
Time to care and walk alongside the victim!
This journey for the victim, and for those involved will be a very long journey of healing.
The question is asked, "what role does forgiveness play?"
You are responsible for yourself. Ask yourself, "What wrongdoing did the party/parties do to me?" If the accused was someone you looked up to, your pastor, friend, mentor, and counsellor, then forgive the individual for their wrongs against you, but only when you are ready to do so.
Forgiveness does not mean there will be no consequences for actions. If someone had a marital affair, there is a breach of trust in their marriage relationship that may last a very long time. If they abuse their position of power and influence, they must be subject to disciplinary steps. If they were well-respected leaders, it might mean they will lose their following.
When a leader falls, this does constitute a crisis. When a leader falls through an act of sexual misconduct, harassment or abuse, there is a victim. The needs of the victim must take precedence. The demands and wishes of the victim must be considered and weighed carefully. Give voice to the victim! Don't silence the victim -- never battle secrecy with more secrecy! Being trauma-informed and victim-centric means not losing sight of the victim and their pain and potential triggers.
If you are invited to, walk with the victim. It has been a privilege for me to walk with a few of the most recent fallen leader.
With so many fallen leaders in our midst and so many victim-survivors of abuse in our communities, it is crucial that organizations put safeguarding policies and procedures in place. It is crucial that we define terms like "abuse of power," "clergy abuse," "power differentials," and "sexual harassment."
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue the conversation. We will also be highlighting the additions to our newest version of Plan to Protect: A Safeguarding Guide for Children, Youth and Adults (Church Edition). CLICK HERE to reserve your copy to be shipped within the next 6 weeks.