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15.02.2018

Little Big Things | Connecting with Culture

Oxfam. Harvey Weinstein. Larry Nassar. The Presidents Club. Barry Bennell. #MeToo.

Whether it’s prostitutes in Haiti or young gymnasts in training, the sexual abuse accusations just keep appearing. Large scale scandals that shock our society. ‘How is this still happening in 2018?!’ people ask. ‘This is a blight on society’, they say. They’re right. It is a blight on society. And there are many reasons why it is still happening.

One of these reasons is collusion. Whether on a massive scale, like the accusations levelled at Michigan State University in the Larry Nassar case, or on a smaller scale, where safeguarding procedures are overlooked, friends protected, or victims not believed, collusion is everywhere.

It’s in our businesses. Our workplaces. Our supply chains. Even, I’m ashamed to say, in our churches.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll think that scandals happen ‘out there’. You, like me, will be convinced that if you were to come across anything illegal or ethically questionable, you would immediately put a stop to it. Blow the whistle. Tell someone.

Except it’s rarely that simple, and most big scandals – like everything else – are made up of a collection of smaller choices. One decision at a time.

So, what if the smallest decisions of our daily lives were actually forming us the most?

One click. One purchase. One email. One word. One promise. One lie.

It adds up.

It’s likely that most of us reading this won’t be faced with big choices about disclosing large-scale abuse scandals. We probably won’t have to do what Rachel Denhollander did, and be the first in what became a line of over 250 girls accusing a former coach of sexual abuse.

But we will – just like everyone else – never be more than three clicks away from pornography every time we open our internet browser. We will make decisions about where we bank, and how we spend our money. We will make snap choices about whether to speak up or remain silent.

What if the smallest decisions of our daily lives were actually forming us the most?

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Judge fairly.

Defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Look after widows and orphans in their distress.

Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

In small decisions as in anywhere else, this is our true and proper worship.

Author

Nell Goddard

Comments

  1. Nell
    Great wisdom here
    Little choices matter
    Thank you
    Graham

    By Graham Hooper - 16th February 2018
  2. Good aproach to the theme. Small decisions!

    By Isabel - 16th February 2018
  3. Hi Nell, Just wanted to say thank you for those thoughts on ‘the little things that form us most’. I think it’s true. ‘Little things mean a lot’ as the song goes (actually playing on classic fm at the moment! …Granada Serenade) I’m reviewing the ‘little things’ daily…and Lent gives the perfect opportunity. Be blessed today Lisa 🙂

    By Sue Bethel - 16th February 2018
  4. Very impressed with this insightful and clear reflection. Both personally challenging and yet encouraging too. Thank you

    By Jolyon Trickey - 16th February 2018
  5. Thank you. Your blog has spoken loudly and clearly to me this morning. ‘Send us out in the power of your spirit to live and work to your praise and glory’. Every click, every smile, every action is our praise and worship to our loving and just God.

    By Ruth Murray-Webster - 16th February 2018
  6. Thank you for bringing light into the darkness of this huge area. Reminding others that when we too walk in this light we, we are making a difference. In very ordinary every day life, choices and personal decisions can instead bring hope

    By Hilary Peake - 16th February 2018
  7. Thank you Nell. I found your article immensely challenging, especially over the temptation to keep silent when we should speak up. And I loved your resume of how we should walk as Christians.

    By Ruth Lawrence - 16th February 2018
  8. As Above

    By Ruth Lawrence - 16th February 2018
  9. Excellent summary. Sadly the problem for many today, not least in our churches, is that we think that we must not judge others. True, that is what the Bible tells us. But it also tells us to judge fairly and wrong is wrong. Therefore we must be prepared to stand up for what is right; challenge those whether in church or elsewhere who are acting wrongly, unjustly etc. Many children even in Christian families are not being disciplined today – again an instruction that comes many times in scripture – because ‘they are individuals and can make their own decisions’. Sorry but that is utter rubbish! Yes, it must be done in the right way, and at the right time, if not they will simply continue the so called fashionable trend and another generation will go on accepting (wrongly) that we all have freedom of choice, whatever that may mean, and whatever the consequences. Enough said!

    By Peter Day - 16th February 2018
  10. A very good comment with which I entirely agree.
    The solution of course is to develop, as we all must before the Lord, life skills to just say No, to avoid, immediately to walk away etc… These are absolute skills we all need to work on.
    No to the extra click into porn.
    No to telling lies, or, if one does inadvertently, to avoid embarrassment, to own-up and put it right as soon as possible like NOW!
    Never be complacent – how often can the mighty (self-righteous)fall?
    ‘Please Lord, PRE-VENT me, go before me and protect me’ is my frequent prayer. And, do you know, most of the time it really helps to keep me free of these things…

    By Martin - 16th February 2018
  11. Thank you Nell. I agree with what you have said.

    Sadly, there are a number of issues that our society has not yet adequately addressed. One of these is the sexual abuse of boys by women, including in some cases, by their mothers.

    The Church of England Newspaper recently published an article that I wrote on this subject. It now appears on the website of the Male Psychology Network:

    http://www.malepsychology.org.uk/2018/01/11/can-the-church-do-more-to-support-male-victims-of-sexual-abuse/
    .

    By John Steley - 16th February 2018
  12. Such accurate and discerning reminders remind me that I need to stay close to the Lord at all times. None of us knows what lies round the corner – what temptation will come next – but our ever-present Lord, through the living, pulsating power of the Holy Spirit, is greater than any – even the strongest – temptation or opposing force. Hallelujah!

    By Alan Bateman - 16th February 2018
  13. Thanks for this very good piece
    I think we need to be more aware that churches are a very high risk environment for abuse to happen. Firstly this is because we have a belief that churches are full of good people; in fact they are full of sinful people (like me). On top of this they contain structures which combine focussing power in the hands of particular individuals with very weak systems of supervision and control and a high emphasis on the need for loyalty and confidentiality. And the added factor is of course spiritual power – if an authority figure says (and maybe believes) that a course of action is right, who is able to challenge?
    Churches are full of damaged people – which is great, since Jesus calls such people to him. Sadly, many have been damaged by the abuse of other Christians.

    By Mick - 18th February 2018
  14. Re Peter Day’s remarks about not judging others, that doesn’t mean we should remain silent about the truth. As he says, wrong is wrong, but silence colludes with wrong, as Nell suggests. By all means let God or others be the judge, but let’s not confuse not judging with not speaking the truth about the facts we see before us.

    By Alan Crooks - 18th February 2018

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