The “me too” movement, begun by Tarana Burke ten years ago, has now taken on a hashtag and represents over 1.5 million tweets and millions more posts on other social media sites in just the last month. Women, and men, are openly sharing their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment. Light is certainly needed in this dark room of our culture. Such selfishness and disrespect of another person must come to an end.
Sadly, kingdom workers are not immune to sexual abuse and harassment. It seems that in any positions of authority exists risk for the abuse of said authority, and some of that abuse will take on a sexual nature. Kingdom workers are human beings, after all, and are broken just like the rest of society. Most mission agencies have rules, written and unwritten, related to proper relationships and interaction in the workplace… but so do most companies. Abuse still happens.
In addition to risks within our own culture and companies, cross-cultural kingdom work adds another layer of consideration: many other cultures do not view human rights the way we do. Some developing countries do not view men and women equally, and what we would call sexual abuse and harassment is commonplace and seen as normal. In some cultures, women are still viewed as possessions. When our North American workers enter these cultures, they must learn to live and work within those cultural norms and risks.
Finally, a word must be said here about the deeper issue of sex trafficking, which happens both in the United States and around the world. A growing number of kingdom workers are engaged in bringing hope to these hopeless situations, but this kind of work brings with it extreme risk. In a sense, it is one of the places where both the spiritual and real-world battles are fiercest. A higher concentration of light is needed in to dispel this darkness.
What can we do as Christ-followers, in the world but not of the world?
Since this is a spiritual battle as well as a physical one, we need to pray. Prayer is our greatest weapon and should never be taken lightly. Pray for safety for kingdom workers. Pray for changes in governments. Pray God will be glorified and honored around the world.
We also need to work more diligently for freedom within our own house. Training and support networks should be developed where they don’t already exist. This should be a no tolerance area of kingdom work.
Christ followers must take seriously the need to be the light and love of Christ where darkness and selfishness exist. We need to provide help for both the abused and the abuser. The time of looking on from our holy towers must end. We are to be people of action, who bring with us the kingdom of God wherever he may send us.
Our daily answer to this issue, and all fallen issues, in our culture and world should be,
“Here am I, Lord, #sendme!!”