Careful What You (Don’t) Say: Paul Coughlin
Warnings have been given within the quickly growing Applegate Survivors Facebook group to be careful what you say. That God is watching, and you might be held accountable for careless and damaging statements. Fair enough. It’s a legitimate warning.
What I haven’t seen is ANY warning and potential accountability regarding what people haven’t or won’t say. Because of fear. The sin of cowardice (Rev 21:8). Vanity, and with it the want to remain popular. The list of transgressions go on as they relate to the sins of omission.
Theologians have debated as to whether or not we will be held accountable for the good we didn’t do, when it was within our power to act. You know, those moments when we should have spoken up to help and defend another. But we didn’t. And the pall we feel lingers. Sometimes for years. It feels like a little death because that’s what sin does. Kills.
Being nasty and slanderous in spoken and written word is a bad witness. So is not saying or writing a word.
If ACF implodes, and the people who worked there sought employment at a church where I was at, one of the first things I’d ask is, “When did you speak out, and what did you say publicly?”
If their answer were a big fat goose egg, I wouldn’t want them on my team. Because it takes courage to lead and follow God. It’s one of the greatest virtues we can possess. I wouldn’t want nice people on my team, niceness being a knee-jerk reaction to people pleasing. Niceness is often vanity in disguise, with a big, toothy grin. I want good people, those with backbone and conviction.
When we remain silent, we appear complicit. Perhaps we are.
The old playbook for abusers—remain silent, be vague, just see if you can weather yet another storm, “lost” phone and all—doesn’t play anymore (BTW, disgraced church person Mark Driscoll and his family change their phone numbers when yet another scandal storms their way… same playbook).
The same is true for those who surrounded abusers, some of them sycophants, and say nothing.
They’re being asked, or should be asked, “Why didn’t you say something? Do you not care about your reputation? Where’s your integrity? Do you even think about honor, or fear of God?”
Those who know important information yet remain silent, may not be mean. But they’re not good either.
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