An E-mail Sent To A Local Pastor Who Had Proclaimed
“We’re Not Comfortable Addressing This Issue . . .”
I realize that God has given me a zeal for a ministry that most of the saints do not share; in fact, it is very unpopular in most church circles. More than one pastor has told me that I was wasting God’s call in my life, that He would never call someone to this type of ministry.
That means there are times I can be a pain in the neck, in fact, I’m sure that many feel that the pain is considerably lower! More than once my wife, Debbie, has told me, “Get off the soap box, Joe, they don’t need a sermon.” Nevertheless, I feel compelled of God to share the following thoughts with you.
First, I must lay a scriptural foundation. In Deuteronomy 30:19 God proclaims, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
It seems strange that God has to command His people to choose life or blessings, I mean, who in their right mind would choose death or curses? Then I realized that, like computers, we have a built in default setting. If we don’t choose life, by default we choose death, if we don’t choose blessings, by default we choose curses. And here is an unchanging spiritual law, whether we realize it or not, we win or lose by what we choose, and tragically, whether we realize it or not, no choice, by default becomes a choice!
This law prevails in every dimension of our spiritual life. For instance, we are commanded in Romans 10:2 to not be conformed to this world, but rather, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. No child of God would deliberately choose to be conformed to this world, however, if we do not choose to be transformed through the renewing of our minds with the Word of God, our default setting kicks in, and we are be conformed to this world.
Romans 6:13 tells us, “Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” If we do not present our members as instruments of righteousness to God, here’s that default setting again; we present them as instruments of unrighteousness to sin.
Even God’s free gift of salvation is tied to this law. If we do not choose to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, by default, we choose an eternity in hell. Tragically most people do not even realize that their default setting is dictating the course of their lives. Again, we win or lose by what we choose!
This brings me to something that many churches have told me. “We are not comfortable addressing the children and youth of our church on sexual abuse and prevention. We are not interested in your ministry.”
I know that they would not consciously make this choice, but when their default setting kicks in their stance becomes, “We are more comfortable leaving the children and youth of our church vulnerable to sexual violence than we are addressing them on sexual abuse. Therefore, we are going to ignore this epidemic in our society.” And make no mistake about it, I can almost guarantee that any church of any size has children and youth, who have been, or are being, preyed upon by sexual predators. Let he who has ear hear what the Spirit is saying.
I take no joy in sharing these truths with you; I pray that I am being led by the Spirit and not by my emotions. Please pray that God will breakdown these strongholds of fear that prevent God’s church from fulfilling their sacred responsibility of protecting God’s lambs. Thank you.
With Humility and Prayer,
Response To Default Settings
You have brought truth into my life in ways that you will not realize. I greatly appreciate your ministry. You brought truth to my life in a time when I truly needed the support that your ministry brought. I was abused, verbally and physically by my Mother. If you had not brought out the fact that verbal abuse is actual abuse, I would not have chosen the treatment that I now seek. God is setting me free because I was free to believe that sort of childhood was abusive. Before, I was told by the church that to seek counseling meant lack of faith and that someone like me was just feeling sorry for herself.
I was told day after day that she wished I was never born. I often wondered why I had thoughts of suicide as an adult. Long story . . . blah, blah, blah . . .
I needed you. Many others do too. Thanks!
A Sister In Christ