In the last 48 hours, I received four calls detailing horrific stories of abuse. One brave woman shared words that broke my heart. 15 mins later another call came in. I didn’t recognize the number but decided to pick up in attempt to escape what I was feeling. The voice on the other end, sounded scared. The call was eerily similar yet a little different to what I had just heard; this story hit me like a ton of bricks because it was about someone I know. As I hung up the phone, I cried out to God, “What am I suppose to do?”
I’m reminded of the words of Stephen Colbert who once said, “accountability is meaningless unless it is for everyone.” Even your friends. Even your loved ones. For Stephen Colbert, it meant even his mentor who opened so many doors for him and his career.
As I ended the call, I sat on a beach in Florida, where I’ve been the last three days, and started to weep. I should have known how triggering this all would be. I’m really not that strong. As the sky began to get darker and darker I cried out, “How can this continue to happen? How can so many leaders continue to look the other way? How can promises that were made never come to actual fruition? How could people choose to preserve themselves over the innocence that was taken from a sister?”
When it comes to someone we respect, we often don’t want to believe its possible that they have led a double life. We can easily transfer our angst, aggression and fire towards someone else rather than stand with the forsaken and stand up to those we love. It’s so hard. So emotionally exhausting. And yet many good people have chosen silence in order to preserve a relationship, to manage an image, maybe to keep the money coming in.
Jesus simply says, “what good is it for a person to gain the whole world and yet forfeit their soul.” As I got up from the beach, brushed the sand off my pants and wrote down the words “be consistent” in my journal. Consistency happens when one is in a state of harmony with what they ascribe to in every arena of their life. Consistency means to stand firm with your self professed value system even when it proves difficult, or opens you up to a new world of unknown in your life, career and relationships.
The alternative is a life that contradicts itself and propagates an accountability system that is absolutely meaningless in order to protect the thing that actually enabled abuse to happen. The soul of the victim suffers and, truth be told, so will those who choose to be inconsistent (ultimately). Loving out of congruence with Christ leaves us wanting more. It reveals our missing pieces. It exposes our lack of consistency.
So please keep speaking up. About the broken places, ideals, systems and people you see. Be consistent, in love, with grace and truth, in every relationship for the sake of every relationship so that accountability may never be considered meaningless.