In my recent article, How Christians Defend Their Favorite Abusers on Social Media, I satirized several of the most common phrases I’ve read. Someone asked if I would write out some possible responses to these cliche’s. So here you go:
Everyone stumbles. Be careful about judging lest you stumble too.
Stumbling or slipping implies a mistake. “She stumbled over the ottoman. She slipped on a banana peel.” Stumbling and slipping are accidents. Abuse, on the other hand, is a choice. People choose to hit, hurt, cut down, molest, murder, shame, and abuse their power. And just because someone points out abuse doesn’t mean they will become an abuser themselves.
The Bible is about redemption.
That’s right. The Bible offers hope and healing for the weak, the marginalized, the widow, the repentant, the poor, the disenfranchised, and the abused. God will redeem this situation when we tell the truth about it. God will redeem the abuser when he accepts responsibility and consequences, repents, and makes amends to his victims.
The last time I checked, a person is innocent until proven guilty.
Please notice that this statement is sometimes given as a response to someone coming forward with allegations. In other words, victims get the clear message that in order for their story to have any credibility (so people will believe them), they can only come forward if they have proof. But does abuse only happen—is it only real—if someone can prove it? Like an eye-witness? Someone who took a video of the relationship or the abusive incident? That’s not available in almost all cases because abuse is under cover. It’s done in secret. If a victim’s testimony doesn’t count, then perpetrators are innocent? No wonder the world is full of abusers. They get to be innocent while their victims are judged as liars. In other words, the only people that are innocent until proven guilty are perps. Victims are guilty of lying with no proof necessary. #doublestandard plus #nonsensical
I understand the fear of someone purposely trying to ruin the reputation of a good man or woman. My ex-husband and Bethlehem Baptist did this to me, and I work with women of faith who have gone through the same thing. Abusers are very effective at smear campaigns, so how do you know what’s happening? Who is telling the truth? Generally speaking, abusers want things kept secret. They don’t initiate anything that might expose them. On the other hand, victims (when they are ready) want help. That means bringing secret things to light. Victims take huge risks when they expose an abuser. Abusers lie and manipulate with zero guilt, so they come across savvy and innocent. Victims are often nervous, emotional, desperate, and easily triggered.
The other thing to remember is that this law protects people from being imprisoned without a trial. It’s not for religious leaders who may have to lose their jobs preaching because they abuse their power.
If you are a Christian, you should. You never. You always.
A Christian is a Christian because of Who they are putting their faith in – not because of what they do or don’t do. When people say this, they are spiritually abusing others. It’s never okay to use Jesus to manipulate others. It’s blasphemous.
The Bible is clear that…
If the Bible was so clear, there wouldn’t be thousands of denominations inside of Christianity. The fact is, the Bible is not clear on a lot of things, and it’s designed that way. If everything was so clear, faith would not be necessary. The Holy Spirit would not be necessary. Wisdom would not be necessary. So let’s stop saying this.
I stand by my pastor!
Okay. I stand by Jesus, truth, justice, and love.
You’re trying to ruin a man and his family!
A man is ruined by his choices. Even if he was the victim of a smear campaign (like I was), he can still continue to serve Jesus in every single thing he does, whether it is busing dishes in a restaurant or being kind to the clerk in a retail store. If he is the real deal, he will humbly move on because he knows Jesus loves him and will use him in other ways. Preaching isn’t the only way we serve Christ.
An entire church will be destroyed because of your GOSSIP!
“Gossip: casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” (Source)
A victim coming forward to report abuse is not gossiping. Advocates fighting on behalf of victims are not gossiping.
And gossip doesn’t destroy churches anyway. Hate, greed, control, and power destroys churches. Enabling wolves to flourish destroys churches.
We live in a free country! We can decide who we stand by!
Yes, you can. So use your freedom wisely and don’t support people who abuse power.
God forgave you, so why can’t you forgive this man? Everyone is guilty!
God forgives the humble and repentant. And how do you know someone hasn’t forgiven their abuser? You don’t. Forgiveness doesn’t equal reconciliation. Forgiveness doesn’t mean lying, denying, minimizing, justifying, or enabling sin to flourish. Everyone is guilty of sin, but not everyone is guilty of abusing others and lying about it.
Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you!
When I tell the truth and bring a wolf to justice, I am loving not only the wolf but the innocent lambs. Love for the wolf means exposure. Love for the lambs means protection. The only persecution I see happening here is Christians persecuting their brothers and sisters who are on the front lines trying to rescue victims. Fight or go home.
This is a spiritual attack of the EVIL ONE on our church! Our pastor must be doing something RIGHT to get attacked like this!
It’s definitely an attack of the evil one. And if your pastor is doing something right, you will see the character of Jesus Christ in his humble, beautiful response. You will see compassion for the victims. You will see him publicly acknowledging what he has done to hurt them (BEFORE he gets caught. Confession after getting caught is not super impressive. Just sayin’). You will see him making amends to his victims. You will see him stepping down from his role as a shepherd because he knows he has violated his position. You will see him learning from his mistakes and seeking to serve God in the quiet, normal ways 99.9 percent of other Christians serve Him.
Other rules of etiquette on social media (in case you’re interested):
- Don’t attack other people. Focus on the arguments and ideas.
- Be a good listener.
- When others get their focus off the arguments and ideas and start to sling personal jabs, stop engaging with them. Silence is powerful.
And of course, fly free!