Good men are avoiding doing the right thing by blaming the possibility of lawsuits.
While most Christian are appropriately loathe to sue other Christians, it is interesting to note that because of the threat of lawsuits, people are not willing do the right thing.
I noted this in what was otherwise a very moving and excellent first ten minutes of Josh Harris’s sermon preached Sunday 18th, the Sunday after the trial of Nate Morales exposed the fact that three of the pastors of Covenant Life Church admitted that they knew of the sexual molestation that had occurred, knew they should have gone to the police, yet failed to do so. As a result the church is facing a civil lawsuit. http://tinyurl.com/Harris-Sermon-May-18
As Harris was stating that he desired to be transparent and putting everything on the table so that the members’ questions could be answered, he said something that does not surprise me, but should. He told his congregation the following (4:48 in the sermon): “But trying to answer questions now before the civil lawsuit is resolved would greatly endanger the church.”
So the truth would endanger the church? How so? I Cor 6:7 suggests that even if wronged, a Christian has the option of just being defrauded. In this case, it appears that the church’s failure harmed their fellow Christians. Telling the truth may help make the case of those that were harmed – I agree. But if that is the truth, one would think that there is harm to the victims if the church remained tight-lipped. Surely no harm can come, unless godly restitution that should be paid to the victims is considered harmful.
In the case of Mars Hill Church, under whose bus this writer speaks, doing the wrong thing because of legal implications appears to the order of the day. Ex elders who were supposedly men above reproach, thus allowing them to be elders, are blaming having NDA’s which were forced on them for their failure (or inability) to speak the truth. They will not walk in the light and do the right thing because of the threat of lawsuits. Why do they not trust the scriptures and walk in the light?
The latest and rather sad example was something I was told by a community group leader close the Andrew Lamb case in 2011/12 http://tinyurl.com/A-Lamb-case
This community group leader told me that he was talking to one of the main elders involved in the mishandling of Andrew Lamb’s repentance. What he said was stunning. The elder stated that he wanted to repent and apologize to Andrew, but he could not because the Mars Hill lawyers would not allow him to. In other words, he will not do what is right because of the threat of legal action. Yet his own heart knows that Andrew actually has a case. What about Micah 6:8? Does the threat of a lawsuit mean that you cannot do what you should do as a Christian?
And if there is a threat of a lawsuit, even in the mind of the alleged perpetrators of the abuse (in this case Mars Hill), shouldn’t the church leadership heed Matt 5:25? “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.”
Surely the lawyer, in a Christian environment, should say to this elder, “…settle this as quickly as you can. Apologize! Make it right! Make amends! Win the offended brother over.”
Instead, the lawyers tell offended parties to avoid each other. (Of course, they make no money if the matter is settled 🙂 )
I appeal to the leaders and former leaders at Mars Hill Church. Walk in the light. Set aside the fear of being sued. You are less likely to be sued if you heed the scripture to settle matters quickly.
No more blaming the lawyers for your silence.