We’re told not to shoot the messenger, but we do this far too often, particularly in the church (click to tweet).
It’s always easier to vilify the whistleblower, the person who sticks his/her neck out to expose injustice.
It’s happened to me, and I bet it’s happened to you.
You see an injustice. You can’t let it go. You pray. You ask God to please help you NOT see the stuff, but the conviction continues. You pray some more. You lose sleep. The perpetrator has no earthly idea you’re walking around in angst over their behavior. They act as if their actions mean nothing, that they’re getting away with all the stuff.
So you ask God to examine your heart, to scan your life for similar sins. Are you selfishly ambitious? Have you exploited others? Has gossip seeped into your conversation? In small ways and big, how do you resemble the person who continues to walk the destructive path? How can God expose the logs so you can discern the splinters? (See Matthew 7:5).
And then the stomach-churning moment arrives when you have to SAY something.
And all hell breaks loose.
- Who do you think you are? Jesus?
- You are a mess too, and let me point out all your flaws.
- Don’t be so judgmental.
- Just look at all the good I have done, or that person or ministry has brought forth.
- You don’t know the whole story.
- Don’t touch God’s anointed.
- You’re delusional, bordering on crazy.
- (Unsaid, but I will sic my people on you).
- Why be so negative?
- Live your own life and keep your nose out of other people’s business.
- You’re just too black and white, graceless.
- You’re a divider of the church for speaking up. You defy unity.
- It’s you who needs to listen to rebuke.
- How dare you imply such things?
- Haven’t you read Matthew 18:15-20? You haven’t confronted correctly.
- You’re a hater.
- You’re shrill and unyielding.
- You’re a Pharisee.
So you regroup. Seek counsel. Cry. Pray. And then you lament that speaking up is hard, and maybe you misheard. Maybe it’s better to be quiet and submissive, to dismiss egregious sins for the sake of appeasement and unity.
Whistleblower, take heart. Stand firm. Don’t let them vilify you. Find your close group of friends and invite their encouragement and honesty into the situation. Pray. As God leads, speak. As He leads, be silent. Don’t defend your reputation; that’s God’s job. Wait for deliverance. Trust that God sees. And, truly, remember that He views this situation with perfect eyes. His judgment is and will be correct.