You Are Seen. You Are Valued. You Are Safe.
These are words that everyone wants to hear, but women especially need to know these truths. For centuries, women have been marginalized, ignored, objectified, and treated as less-than. We have been the subject of crude and insensitive jokes. In business, women have been offered less pay, fewer opportunities, and have been treated as the “second string” in practically every field. And women have endured horrific crimes committed against them, often only to be ignored, dismissed, or persecuted when reporting the crime to those who are supposed to be there to offer help.
It is easy to be discouraged and it is easy to be confused when, as a believer and a follower of Christ, you read that we are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
The one place that should never treat women as anything less than an image-bearer is the church. Yet here we are.
In light of the recent report surrounding some in leadership positions in the Southern Baptist Convention, we can find ourselves asking…how can I stay in an institution that has failed my sisters and in so doing, has failed me? Am I indeed, seen, valued, and safe?
As I evaluate my own position, my own opinion, and my own place in the Southern Baptist Convention, I want to share my thoughts. Please know that I see you, sister, whether you are a victim/survivor, a betrayed wife, or a confused lay leader. You have my deepest empathy, as a survivor myself, and make no mistake, I stand with you on your journey. But for me, on my faith journey, I see the Southern Baptist Convention as bigger than the few people who allowed the enemy to have control over them, and thus harmed many and stood in the way of justice. I still look at the institution as a whole, and, with that in mind, this is why I will stay:
- I will stay because I believe in the inerrant Word of God. The Southern Baptist Convention affirms that the Bible is without error- and I do too.
- I will stay because I support Southern Baptist Missions and Disaster Relief. I am inspired by the outreach that goes on globally, and I am deeply moved when I see boots on the ground in devastated communities following tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and more. I see godly men and women striving to reach people with the gospel, and as I serve alongside them, I am treated with dignity and respect.
- I will stay because I believe in the Southern Baptist Convention’s commitment to studying the Word of God. The personal spiritual growth that I have experienced though organized study of the Bible through many of Lifeway’s studies has been immeasurable.
- I will stay because I believe in the power of forgiveness, healing, and restoration. I know that God is still in control and that He still offers forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus. Because of His sacrifice, my sins are forgiven, and I can stand before God blameless, no matter what any other person on this earth says. I am redeemed, valued, and loved by my Father!
- Finally, I will stay because I was never one to back down from a challenge. We indeed have a challenge ahead of us, sisters. As the light has been shed on these many egregious sins, on so many levels, we have a real opportunity to make some changes. I want to be part of those changes, starting with myself. I will speak up when I am insulted. I will continue to work to provide victims and survivors with concrete answers, and I will help ensure that anyone who needs help, gets that help right away.
By God’s grace, I have the honor to have been asked to co-chair the SBCV Caring Well Task Force. This team of leaders from across the Commonwealth are working hard to provide resources for anyone—whether you are a victim/survivor, church, or a concerned individual—who is seeking answers, guidance, and training in the area of sexual, physical, spiritual, and emotional abuse as well as domestic violence. If you have experienced any of those forms of abuse, we stand with you. If you want more information, please go to sbcv.org/caringwell. We are constantly updating our website, so please be patient with us as we add content and resources.
May God’s mercy, grace, and love be evident to you today, and may you feel seen, valued, and safe.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)