A PROPHETIC WORD OF CORRECTION:
I was at an event a couple weeks ago where I heard several women share their stories. Some were stories of triumph and some were stories of tragedy and brokenness. One story in particular really weighed on my heart. This post is send a sound warning to leaders everywhere in the Body of Christ.
The woman shared a story of sexual misconduct towards her by her Pastor. A man who used his authority and influence to take advantage of her, and thereby, deeply wounding and defiling her.
I could relate to how she must have felt because, I too, have a similar story - in my personal and professional life.
My mother had a boyfriend whom she adored. He eventually moved in with us and for a long time everyone seemed to get along. There were nights when we all actually had fun having dinner and laughing together. I was 14 years old at the time, and one day my Mom started saying things like, "Stop playing with John so much." I didn't understand why she was saying that because I didn't do anything wrong (she wasn't accusing me of something wrong) and he hadn't done anything wrong either. But I was young and I obviously did not see what she saw. One night, while she was at work, John came home and had obviously been drinking. He called me upstairs and proceeded to explain to me how he wanted to have sex with me and physically described how he would do it.
As soon as she arrived home, I told my Mom. She was livid, but she was probably not surprised. In retrospect, I realize that her suspicions were just confirmed. John was immediately expelled from our home. My mother reaffirmed me and told me I did the right thing and that it is important for me to have self-respect; she was proud of that. But for a long time I felt so bad because I knew she loved John and was hoping they would get married; but her dreams were dashed when this happened and part of me felt responsible even though she said I did the right thing. I felt like I ruined her chance at happiness. I realized later as a young woman, that my safety and well being were more important to her than any relationship with a man. What she did for me set the tone for my self-esteem for the rest of high school.
Several years later, I went to work for the IBM Corp. There I had become good friends with an older co-worker. After a few years, this co-worker began making advances. Inappropriate words, touches, etc. After several vehement warnings, one day he ran his finger up my skirt! That was the last straw! This time, there were witnesses. I knew he was fast approaching retirement after 30 years of service, so I wrote the strongest letter I knew how to write. I threatened to bring him before management and to destroy his chances at retirement (IBM took this kind of behavior very seriously, and he knew it). I gave a copy of the letter to his best friend, and I strongly encouraged her to talk to him because I had had enough and I wasn't playing this time. That stopped him. He apologized and I never had a problem after that.
As a professional Human Resources Officer, I had 2 employees report sexual misconduct towards them from the Senior Pastor; one was to an employee personally, the other was towards an employee's child. I can't tell you the anger and utter disgust I felt, and on so many levels! The leader was completely unrepentant and arrogant in his response - even to the point of using one of the staff pastors to threaten me. My position was compromised. I couldn't stand on the side of the employees without abdicating my responsibility to the management team, and I absolutely could not stand on the side of management because he was OFFENDER! (Ref. "The Way Makers - Ambassadors for Christ", Xulon Press, 2015 - Chp. 11)
I tendered my resignation; but not without speaking truth to power. It is at this point in my ministry, that I recognize that God had given me a prophetic voice. Not the kind that gives personal prophecy to individuals or the kind that declares and decrees - that's part of it - but the kind that confronts and challenges everything outside of God's order. He told what to do and say, and I responded wholeheartedly in obedience.