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Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT
It’s been a while since I have posted about the class action lawsuit involving pastors, churches, and school connected with Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). I noticed a couple of articles came out yesterday. Peter Lumpkins has this article Sovereign Grace Ministries and C.J. Mahaney want lawsuit to end which links to this courier-journal.com article, Louisville-based Sovereign Grace Ministries wants lawsuit ended, says it’s shielded from abuse claims.
I’m not going to be discussing those articles here except to say Peter nails it, so if you read any, read that one. But I think the Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders get far too much attention. Of course we know CJ Mahaney gets to go gallivanting around the world speaking at conferences (he recently returned from a speaking trip in S. Africa), yahoo-ing with all of his BFFs, tweeting, blogging about sports, pastoring his church in Louisville, ya know, just having a good ol’ time. But, you see, it’s been over SIX months since the original lawsuit was filed. The lawsuit has been amended already adding more plaintiffs. These are real people behind the lawsuit with real lives. Let’s talk about the plaintiffs.
I’ve been reading/hearing rumblings of depositions taking place among other rumors circulating and have kept in contact with some of the plaintiffs over the months. It has struck me how different my case was from theirs.
When my case went viral, everybody could see my full name, some may have seen or heard me in an interview and could connect a face or voice with me. They could read my personal words here and connect with me publicly on the blog or privately by e-mail. It worked well for me because I could see and feel the support. That has not been the case with the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.
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When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Living life under the pressure of a lawsuit is no easy task. For me, it meant my normal sleep pattern of 7-8 uninterrupted hours of sleep became 4-6 hours of interrupted sleep. I mean really . . . . how many times can you interrupt 4 hours of sleep? Well, that was my life. I truly believe it was the prayers of the saints that sustained me.
You try to go about business as usual, but there is a dark cloud hanging over your head – a cloud of uncertainty, what-ifs, questions, concerns for the future, etc. Over the past six months and several months before the lawsuit became public (yea, it’s been a long haul for these folks), SGM plaintiffs have dealt with illnesses, job uncertainties, babies, paying bills, raising children, car accidents, housing challenges, counseling appointments, weddings, dirty laundry, graduations, allergies, school, work, all with that dark cloud that seems to be tethered to them.
Let’s face it. Life is challenging on its own. Then add church corruption. And Spiritual Abuse. Forced restitution with perpetrator. Let’s add physical and/or sex abuse to all of that. Did I mention the lawsuit? Where.Is.God.In.All.Of.This? Is He there? Did He abandon me, too? Did I mention crises of faith? Ok, did you combine this paragraph with the last one and get an idea of what some of these folks are going through? I hope so.
To survive abuse is a feat all on its own, but to add the stress of a national lawsuit – – – – even when you yourself are nearly spent trying to cope/survive with the abuse, perhaps in ongoing therapy – takes a tremendous amount of energy and courage. But somehow – – – because somewhere deep inside you, you realized that if you did not SPEAK OUT, others would be walking the same horrific path – – No. NO. NO MORE ABUSE, so help me GOD!!!! THIS MUST BE STOPPED!
That is what the plaintiffs are doing for the Body of Christ. That is love in action.
The plaintiffs are true heroes to me. It might be because I have been through a lawsuit that this is really tugging at my heart, but I think we as a Church Body owe these folks a debt of gratitude for speaking the truth. I would like to devote a whole post for that purpose.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
We’ve talked a lot lately about what Christian love is – – what compassion is – – how Jesus demonstrated the kind of compassion that had shoes on. You guys get it. Some of you have represented the Body of Christ more to me than I have experienced in a church building filled with people. Would you please join me in a visible show of support for these precious people by sending words of encouragement, verses, prayers, thoughts in the comment section below? I will get word out to the plaintiffs so they can read this. Thank you! Let’s do this!
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