Here is a Scripture that is Regularly Used to Oppress Abuse Victims in their Churches – But it is to be Applied to the Wicked
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18)
Many times people who seek justice in their local churches are accused of being “divisive.” They are told they need to be quiet because they are disrupting the “unity” of the church. Verses like the one quoted above are often cited in support of such silencing.
Wrong. Dead wrong.
Victims do not cause divisions in the body of Christ. The wicked do. And when the church refuses to effect justice in obedience to what Paul is teaching here in Romans 16, the church is guilty of causing division. Seeking justice for evil done does not cause division in Christ’s church. It promotes unity! It addresses the real culprit, the real one causing division and creating obstacles.
Verse 18 really sheds light on what kind of person verse 17 is speaking of. Who have we seen over and over again use “smooth talk and flattery” in order to deceive and to obtain self-serving objects? Who? Who are they? The victims of abuse? NO! It is the abuser who pulls these tactics and who has these things as his goal. HE is the one who is causing divisions and obstacles. HE is the one we are all to watch our for and AVOID.
The victim who seeks justice is not the source of division in a church. The source is the wicked man and the disobedient church that allies with him because they like his smooth talk and flattery.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Eph 5:11)
Fail in this regard, fail to avoid the wicked divider of Christ’s people, embrace him and his flattery and accuse the victim who seeks justice of causing division, and you have just taken part in the unfruitful works of darkness. YOU molested that child. YOU abused that abuse victim. How? Because you refused to expose them, and by default such refusal renders YOU a participant in those evil works.
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