At the End of a Week of Sorrows: Feed My Lambs

by | May 27, 2022 | Abuse | 18 comments

Merchandise is Here!

This was one of those weeks that leaves everyone gasping for air and searching for hope.

It started off with two things dropping on Monday: The Southern Baptist Convention report on sexual abuse, which was devastating, and the viral video from a church in Indiana where a pastor confessed to adultery, received a standing ovation–and then a woman and her husband got on stage and said, “It wasn’t adultery. I was only 16.”

Over the course of the week other victims connected to the church came forward, including several whom the pastor’s son allegedly abused when they were just children.

We all thought that was bad, but then it got worse.

Nineteen children mowed down, and two teachers dead.

Yes, you can say that the police didn’t handle it right. Yes, you can point to all kinds of procedures that weren’t followed. But the simple truth is that this doesn’t happen in other countries. It happens so rarely in Canada we can all recite for you the very few mass shootings. And other countries are miniscule compared to even Canada, let alone the United States.

And once more, a town has far too many tiny coffins to bury.

Then the next day Josh Duggar was sentenced to 12 1/2 years for possession of child sexual abuse material.

Other restrictions were also put on him upon his release. I would have liked to see a longer sentence (his baby will be 10 when he’s eligible for parole, and that’s still pretty young), but it’s fairly stiff.

And we are all wondering, “how can this family continue to stand behind him? Why did no one do anything? Why is Anna still with him?”

There are many reasons, of course, that Anna hasn’t left, and I don’t mean to blame her.

That day, May 25, was also the anniversary of the George Floyd murder.

But we look at all of these cases–the SBC; the church with multiple covered up abuse allegations; the mass shooting; the Duggars; and we have to wonder: how are things ever going to change?

In all of these cases, people knew the harm that was being done, and the potential for more harm, and no one did anything. 

And, in fact, the apathy is still so strong that it’s very unlikely that anything will really be done at all, except perhaps in the case of the church in Indiana, where  I think police may actually lay charges against the son at least.

But there will continue to be those that support the Duggars. There will be more mass shootings with no attempt to curb them; there will be little done in the SBC to stop abuse, just as there will be little done to protect the Duggar kids. Because you can’t stop abuse when you consider men more important than women and children, and the SBC and the Duggars both do that.

(I’m not saying that it’s not possible to abuse in places where women are equal; I’m saying it’s less likely, though it happens everywhere (as Willow Creek and The Meeting House have shown us).

Right now there is righteous anger combined with hopelessness.

People want the mass shootings to stop. They want abuse to stop in the SBC. They’re angry things have gotten to this point.

But it looks like even though people are angry, real solutions are unlikely to be found.

I don’t have any good answers right now. But I will say two things:

1. Be careful of those who use intellectual arguments to claim that nothing can be done.

We see this in both the SBC and in the matter of mass shootings. When people start using big arguments about why things have to stay as they are, and they’re ignoring the very real harm coming to the least of these, you know that’s not of Jesus. It just isn’t.

“Whatever you did for the least of the least of these you did for me; and whatever you didn’t do for the least of these, you didn’t do for me.” 

Are we really saying that people must continue to be slaughtered, and women and children must continue to be raped, because change is worse? Because change means going against God–as if somehow what is happening now is OF God?

When people show you their priorities, believe them. And thoughts and prayers are not enough–not for the school shooting, not for the SBC, not for abuse. And at some point, each of us will have to answer about who we want to align ourselves with. For many, this may be the week that we walk away.

2. “Feed my sheep.”

Another thought I had, and this one needs a story.

Wednesday was my birthday (that’s why there was no post!). and I wanted to plan something that my family could do together (well, Katie lives too far away to join us, but we FaceTimed her in!). And I received an email from a sheep farm nearby where you can book a time to go feed the foster lambs. When a ewe has more than two lambs, they remove the third and/or fourth and feed them themselves because the ewes usually can’t handle more than two babies (and few have more than two).

So I booked a time for us to go feed lambs and hold lambs!

It was a bit of a drive, and involved a short ferry ride (my grandson’s first time on a boat!), and then another drive through lilac lined roads to the farm. And there we fed and held the lambs.

Feeding lambs

When Joanna (our co-author for The Great Sex Rescue) heard how I was planning to spend my birthday, she laughed. She said, “you spend your whole year trying to feed people, and then you spend your birthday literally feeding lambs.”

I hadn’t thought of that, but she was right! And I thought back to John 21, and Jesus’ conversation with Peter. In the middle of talking about all the terrible things that await them, and how life is not going to be easy, Jesus’ commands were simple:

Feed my sheep. 

Follow me, and feed my lambs.

I think that’s what God is asking of us today. Don’t be so caught up in the horror that we lose sight of those around us who need us. Don’t get so caught up in intellectual arguments that we forget to do the work of caring for others. Don’t spend so much emotional energy on things we can’t change, and focus on changing the things we can.

Feed my lambs. 

I don’t know what that looks like for all of you, but let’s dig in and care for those in our path, and change the things we can–even if we know we can never change everything. 

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the messages that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these toxic teachings?

It’s time for a Great Sex Rescue.

In the next year, before my next birthday, we’ll be releasing our Mother Daughter book, She Deserves Better.

It’s my next attempt to feed lambs, to rescue those who have been hurt by erroneous church teachings, and prevent more girls from being harmed by them.

I’ll keep forging ahead. But I may take some time to grieve, too, because this has been a big week. I hope you take some time as well.

And then let’s get back to feeding the lambs.

What do you think? How do we handle the hopelessness? How do we handle the apathy? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

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18 Comments

  1. Meredith

    I needed to wake up to this today, Sheila. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Meghan

    We’ve been reeling here in our little Texas home. We had just finished signing my daughter up for kindergarten on the 25th so our emotions are extra raw. My husband and I both signed up with Moms Demand Action. I don’t know what else to do besides that.

    Pray for us, especially the folks in Houston where the NRA convention is currently going on.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Meghan. It shouldn’t be scary to send your child to school. It just shouldn’t.

      Reply
    • Laura

      Meghan,
      I live in NM and not too far from the Texas border. I feel you on this. I am NOT a fan of the NRA and I admire you for signing up with Moms Demand Action. This helps and the more people who show support for this kind of organization and those similar, I think will make a difference.
      Praying for your child to be safe this coming school year and peace for you and your family.

      Reply
  3. A2bbethany

    I’m not tech savvy but I managed to download the report and read certain parts. In particular the timeline was VERY enlightening and explained a lot. And not all was bad….. though it’s sparse!
    1. The way stuff works, only the few around the current president and the resident legal counsel were aware of the abusers even contacting the organization. The trustees and the “messengers”(I don’t understand how it works very well) were kept primarily in the dark. Unless something was actually voted on. Which rarely happened!
    2. The primary force in cowering away from the topic? A single lawyer giving “polity” advice! He started in 1966 and just retired VERY recently. His long career giving advice blocked almost every attempt to do ANYTHING on this issue! Why? He kept them TERRIFIED of a. Lawsuit (losing money) b. Churches leaving (money) c. Reputation (ego)
    Once he left things started actually moving!
    3. Nothing might’ve been visible but their was one person who decided not to look away. This person insisted on compiling a list of abusers and those who might be in ministry still in a church. He gave this to each president and made them aware of it. This person was never allowed anything more and was minimized as a useless “harmless” thing, but it wasn’t. Because of his faithfulness, we know better how bad it really is! I believe God used his little effort to get something moving.
    We’ll see what comes of it now!
    (I didn’t finish it and I don’t know how to get it back up on my phone.)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, it was a few people high up who held up the process.

      But at the same time, what gives me little hope is how individual churches have acted. Pretty much all of what was in the report was already widely known (there were few surprises for me, but I’ve been paying a lot of attention on Twitter). And so many high up in the SBC have spoken AGAINST survivors on Twitter–even beyond the Executive Committee. And then you look at churches like the one in Warsaw, Indiana, which have covered up abuse for YEARS. Multiple allegations. Even if the SBC starts talking the talk, can it change when individual churches cover things up? I don’t know.

      The sight of all of those people in that video in Warsaw comforting the pastor after it came out that he had abused a 16-year-old, rather than rallying around the woman–that’s the state of it. I know that church isn’t SBC, but it’s everywhere.

      Reply
      • A2bbethany

        It enters the conversation about whether it should exist at then. If churches aren’t even given basic moral expectations to be a member, why have a club? I know they claim evangelism and missionaries are their goal…..but you can’t do that if predators are in charge and abusing.
        As far as missionaries…. there’s other ways of support. And some don’t have support at all! I think the organization is called heart cry…they are missionaries that never as far money and rely on God and or work. That’s healthier than being so attached to a few millions of dollars.

        Reply
        • Andrea

          Oh I didn’t even think of their mission outreach. The report only covers cases of abuse in the U.S., right? Just wait until people who joined Southern Baptists church plants abroad start coming out with their stories. Christa Brown is being interviews by newspapers from around the world, which will embolden all the international victims to speak up as well. It’s just gonna get uglier as we realize the global proportions of this.

          Reply
      • Viva

        It is a devastating experience to tell the truth to shine light on the evil of abuse and have the exposure used against the victim who is treated with contempt by the perpetrators (and all the complicit are perpetrators) instead of being comforted and nurtured with humility and justice.
        It is compounded abuse.
        It is an attempt to silence the truth and withhold justice from the oppressed.
        And yet, brave victims still stand and speak.

        Reply
    • Boone

      Messengers are what they call delegates sent to represent the individual churches. These usually consist of pastors, church staff and retired folks that don’t have anything else to do.

      Reply
  4. Viva

    How do we handle the hopelessness from the weight of the horror of evil?
    You already encouraged us with the answer:
    Follow Jesus
    Tell the Truth (feed the sheep with the gospel).
    Take heart.
    I have to remind myself all the time that Christ has already conquered the forces of evil and I can therefore love without fear and confront evil with confidence. The truth and lovingkindness, the very character of God, is the only strengthening force that enables me to stand under the weight of horror and despair caused by betrayals personal and systemic.

    Reply
  5. Laura

    It has been a rough week here in the U.S. I live in New Mexico which is a neighboring state of Texas so it did hit close to home. I’m having difficulty in how a lot of “Christians” I know are handling this matter on social media. Most of the ones I know are so hung up on the Second Amendment about the “right to bear arms” that they cannot handle the idea of gun control.
    Like you said, “Are we really saying that people must continue to be slaughtered, and women and children must continue to be raped, because change is worse? Because change means going against God–as if somehow what is happening now is OF God?”
    In the U.S., the idea of having stricter gun control laws is seen as a threat to a lot of gun-loving people. Guns have become one of many golden calves to a lot of Americans, even Christians.
    I’m seeing so much gaslighting on social media where posts are made about how we need to have Jesus in our schools. They say that gun laws aren’t the issue and make excuses for why there are mass shootings. It’s not enough to say, “Thoughts and prayers,” because we need to take action. As for the Christians who gripe about Jesus not being allowed in schools, I don’t see Him in the church especially when the church covers up lots of sexual abuse cases and they are money hungry.
    Rant over!

    Reply
  6. Christina

    Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Codec

    I honestly find it difficult. I mean finding solutions. Solutions that can work for people who have diametrically opposed views on how to handle problems.

    People are pretty good at helping people we are also good at being terrible to people.

    Reply
    • Codec

      I am serious.

      I honestly do not like the vitriol. The simple truth is people are hurting. Moms wether they are pro or anti gun are hurting and they are trying to protect their children. I see people hurt by churches. I see people who look at their neighbors and because they stand on the other side of an isle they refuse to try to understand figuring ” Why even bother neither of us will achieve anything that benefits us”. I see lots of hurt people trying to figure out why.

      I have enough trouble dealing with the day. Yet I persist. I find little things to be grateful for.

      Reply
      • S

        Yes! I love being an American but one of the most difficult things is that we, as a nation, can’t collectively grieve anymore.

        I lean far more conservative and am opposed to gun control. I was gutted by the news in Texas last week and have spent so much time crying and in prayer.

        I’m asking the Lord to help me see where my beliefs could be wrong and could shift. I have not made a call to a representative YET because while I am leaning toward change with guns I’m also thinking of other policies that also might help bring change.

        I feel isolated and alone when there is gun violence here. Because we support the 2nd amendment, we can’t grieve or mourn for our country and our fellow men and women is almost how it feels when guns are misused. Of course, I believe that is due to misunderstanding across the board.

        Thank you for recognizing that *all* of us are affected.

        Sheila, I do wonder about Canada’s political culture. When there are shootings (though they may be few) do you unite as a country or does it still further divide? I’m genuinely curious.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Hi S! I think we pretty much unite. It doesn’t really cause problems. The biggest mass shooting we had recently was Nova Scotia last year, and it was pretty much universally seen as a tragedy.

          Reply

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