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Like a Berean

It's my job to protect this little girl.
So often I find the skill of critical thinking to be underused.  And while it may just be in the Jesus-loving circles that I run in, I do find that there's a whole lot of blind trust that happens.  A benefit of the doubt is given by default, sometimes to a fault. This is especially true as it pertains to those in leadership, though I see it among most social circles within the church too.

In the Bible, there is much praise given to the Bereans, a group of early believers who, in Acts 17, essentially tested what the apostles Paul and Silas had to say by comparing it with Scripture before accepting their testimonies.  I think the principle can be generalized not just to matters of theology, but matters of life.  It is good to question, to critique, to reject (in some cases) and to season everything with a healthy amount of skepticism and distrust.  I mean, even the apostle Paul did not go unquestioned! The only Truth is the Bible.  Everyone and everything else is sinful and fallible, including (especially?) church leaders and teachers.

I've been pondering the scandal around a church and a ministry in the States, where a civil suit was filed against them for conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse against children in the late 80's and early 90's.  I'm not going to comment on that situation specifically, since I don't know too much about it and I suspect the truth is not going to be found in a Google search anyway.

But it does give me pause to consider my own roles as a mommy and a Christian, and how I model and navigate the waters of grace and trust in a corrupt and sinful world.  I mean, what would I have done if the scandal happened at my church? How do I protect Little L from something like this, while still being respectful of "authority," keeping all of this other stuff in mind?

I think that the Bereans have it right: question and apply critical thought. Don't assume that anyone who self-labels as a Christian can automatically be trusted, and always remember that everyone is prone to sin.  Ask why and don't do anything just because that's what you're being advised to do; consider alternatives and Biblical teaching on the matter.  Pray and listen carefully to what God Himself might be revealing to you.

And in my case - keep in mind that nobody is going to protect my child more than me.

I think about this and feel good with my decision not to leave Little L in the nursery with strangers.  I praise God that Hubbs and I are of one mind when it comes to not allowing random folks, well-meaning or otherwise, to babysit her.  I am okay with the fact that only a small small circle of people are allowed to hug and hold Little L.  And I celebrate and respect her "clingy-ness" and aversion to strangers as her God-given intuition to keep her safe.

I just wish more parents were proactive in setting boundaries to protect their vulnerable little ones, and willing to say no and ask questions that challenge how things are done and why.  This doesn't totally prevent children from harm but I am certain it could reduce the number of kids being hurt, if more parents stayed vigilant.  And though I realize that this is only one preventative step in a complicated situation with multiple causes and considerations, it's at least one step in the right direction.

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8


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