Should a Church or Christian Ministry Cover-up Abuse?
There is no doubt that around the world there has been a massive increase in cases of both sexual and spiritual abuse scandals within many churches or Christian ministries.
It is horrific to discover that within many professing churches or Christian organizations that sexual abuse especially, can take place for years and such abuse be either known, perpetrated or even covered-up by its own leadership.
When many such scandals and abuse take place, the victims of abuse are either ostracized, gas lighted or manipulated so as to keep the victims from exposing the abuse.
So should a church or Christian ministry cover-up abuse? Should victims of sexual and spiritual abuse expose Christian groups and leaders that perpetrate such scandals? When abuse takes place within a Christian group, should its victims be ostracized or should they be heard so that justice prevails?
What is to Cover-up?
Cover-up means an attempt to prevent people discovering the truth about a serious mistake, abuse or crime.
According to Merriam-Webster, a cover-up is a concerted effort to keep an illegal or unethical act or situation from being made public.
A cover-up is a deliberate and planned effort to hide dishonest, immoral or illegal behavior and conduct.
A cover-up is an effort to hide the truth by upholding a lie.
Should A Church or Christian Organization Cover-up Abuse?
Since the act of covering-up involves dishonesty, lies and manipulation then such acts are clearly against God’s laws and teachings. When a professing church or Christian group covers up sexual or spiritual abuse, then that group or the perpetrators involved are guilty of sin.
To cover-up is to deny the victim of justice while spreading lies and misinformation.
The general purpose of a church or Christian ministry is to speak truth and to uphold the truth of God’s word. To cover-up is to bear false witness.
Proverbs 12:17 NLT says: An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies.
Proverbs 12:19 NLT says: Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.
As Christians we are encouraged to shine as lights in a dark and corrupt world (Matthew 5:13-16). Christians must not be perpetrators of darkness but instead Christians must shine light on all things that represent deception and darkness.
Ephesians 5:11-14 says: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light…
As Christians we are not supposed to victimize or ostracize people who have suffered sexual of spiritual abuse within a Christian group or institution. We are expected to protect the weak and vulnerable.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. 9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
When a professing church or ministry covers-up abuse it is also an act of religious hypocrisy. It opposes the very genuine, authentic loving nature of God. Hypocrisy by a church or Christian institution misrepresents the true nature of the living God in the eyes of the victims and the world.
Exodus 20:7 NLT says: You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name.
Exposing Abuse is an Act of Love & Justice
Victims of abuse need protection. They need healing & recovery. They need genuine loving support. Most importantly they need to believe that justice will eventually prevail and that good can triumph evil.
Covering up abuse is a malicious act against the victim of abuse. However exposing sexual or spiritual abuse is an act of love and a search for justice on behalf of the abused victims.
Romans 12:9 says: Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Isaiah 1:17 says that we should “learn to do good” and to “seek justice” and to also “correct oppression”.
Therefore true Biblical Christianity does not cover-up abuse. Instead we must be moved by love and the search for justice to expose and uncover abuse because it is the will of God. Biblical Christianity shines the light and justice of God instead of covering up lies and unrighteousness.