As I continue my way through “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” I am recognizing more and more that the extreme circumstances I faced as a teen and young adult are just a tiny piece of a larger problem. It is making me rethink the focus of my blog and the book I want to write. It’s easy to get tunnel vision looking at your own experiences. It’s easy to judge people who grew up like I did and left Christianity. But I’m realizing they have very valid reasons…
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11 ESV).
There is a lie spread throughout Christianity and it really bothers me. I’ve experienced it firsthand both in my Christian cult days and in “normal” settings since then, seen it expressed on social media, and read it in articles.
This lie allows people in Christian leadership to cover up serious problems. It allows abusive situations to continue, and it keeps hurts and issues buried.
Let’s talk about the “Can’t Talk Rule.”
Although, it can be stated (or left unstated) in a variety of ways, the core lie goes something like this: We must ignore, hide, or cover up sin (including unethical behavior and abuse) for the sake of Christ, to protect God’s name, for the sake of unity, or something similar…
Please hear me. I am not advocating gossip. But there are times when the truth needs to be told. Talking about a problem does not make you the problem. It is not okay for Christians to use fear, intimidation, or twisted biblical ideas to shut people up!
If God really believes in sweeping people’s sin issues under the rug to protect His name, wouldn’t He have left certain stories out of the Bible…David & Bathsheba…Samson & Delilah?
If God really feels that it is vitally important to hide issues for the sake of Christ, why did He publicly kill Ananias and Saphhira?
The “Can’t Talk Rule” is a lie. The only people who benefit from it are the perpetrators.
Yes, we should be careful who we tell and why we tell it. Yes, we need to avoid gossip. But without accountability, Christian authorities have unlimited freedom. This is dangerous. Even as Christians, we are still broken sinners who are capable of incredible evil when left to ourselves.
“Leaders are more accountable because of their position of authority – not less accountable. Why? Because if you are a leader people are following you, behaving the way you do” The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, pg. 69.
Sadly, there are a lot of wrong things that secretly happen within Christian churches and ministries. And because of the Can’t Talk Rule, people who talk are considered the problem instead of addressing the real issues.
Countless, precious individuals, made in God’s image, are being injured by Christians and are walking away from the church deeply wounded.
If that’s you, I’m SO sorry! Please know that the Can’t Talk Rule is not Biblical. It’s not from God. That’s not how He feels. People can misuse Bible verses and twist them to make you think this is truth, but God is never on the side of the abuser. Never!
Fellow Jesus followers, we have GOT to stand up for the victims of abuse, including spiritual abuse.
- We cannot continue to turn a blind eye, or allow things to be swept under the rug.
- We cannot blame victims.
- We must humbly recognize our own lack of perfection and desperate need of grace.
- We need to be aware of how Christianese terms and ideas may reinjure these precious, hurting people.
- We need to evaluate our own beliefs against the Word of God. Just because we were taught something in church doesn’t make it truth. Ouch.
- We must be like Jesus…full of love, grace, and acceptance.
How has the Can’t Talk Rule affected you? Have you felt the pressure to stay quiet? Have you become the problem because you talked? I really think that much of the hurt behind this rules comes from a misunderstanding of grace. But we will talk about that next time. 🙂
Just a note: The words libel and slander can be used as threats, but you should know that in the United States legal system, things are only considered libel or slander if they CAN’T be proven true!