Reflecting upon the details that have emerged concerning J.W. and A.M., I know I am not alone in feeling uncomfortable, confused and angry that something like this could happen, especially within the Kingdom of God–we cannot ignore the fact that what has happened is nothing short of evil.
It is a harsh reminder of what a false prophet looks like. As disturbing as this scandal is, we cannot just shrug it off and move on. It should be discussed, prayed about and most importantly, learned from.
Something like this does not just affect the Christian community, but the people who don’t know Christ who are looking to us, whether they know it or not, to be the light of the world. Incidents like these break people’s trust and harm their expectations of the Church, which can be hard to rebuild.
The enemy has found a way to take root in God’s Kingdom here on Earth by twisting human desire and selfishness to abuse power and take advantage of the vulnerable. But because of the courageous people who have spoken up, it has been exposed.
I think it is safe to say that because of recent social movements that aim to empower victims to speak up about sexual abuse, it is very possible we will see similar cases emerge in the near future. When they do, it is our job to effectively expose this dark area in the Kingdom where the enemy has taken hold of believers and eradicate it.
It is our job to help and comfort the abused, and to promote justice and reconciliation in the wake of situations like this. We must never allow sin to flourish like it did in the situation with J.W. and A.M..
We must never even consider shying away from uncomfortable events like these, but face them head-on with the wisdom, courage and steadfastness that only the Holy Spirit gives us. If we turn to self-preservation and the preservation of fellow believers to try to keep a clean appearance, it will backfire just as it has in the past.
Hiding sin also does not honor God. By hiding sin, we allow the enemy to have a foothold in our hearts, a foothold that should be occupied by the Lord. In times like these, it can feel like all eyes are on us, waiting to see what the Christian community will do next. We must be bold in the face of criticism and attention from the world when they look at the Christian community with narrowed, skeptical eyes.
Because of this, we must resolve to pray for wisdom when we address these issues, and for strength to trust that justice will be done. If we move forward with the resolve to uproot what the enemy has placed in God’s Kingdom, I believe He can and will restore all that has been broken by the enemy in this situation that has hurt our community so deeply.
Sierra Ullrich is a sophomore majoring in environmental science.