1. Let's welcome it
This is long overdue. From time immemorial, unspeakable evil has been committed against children with apparent impunity. Right now there are victims who are hurting – they feel worthless, unheard and disempowered. Many of us have dedicated our lives to protecting young people. Anything which helps achieve this is an answer to prayer. All Christians should welcome this Royal Commission so that what has been kept in the darkness can be brought into the light. We need a way of protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty. This is a time to bring healing. This is a time to bring justice.
2. Abuse will be exposed
Abuse has occurred in families, in institutions, in schools, in sporting clubs … anywhere where children gather is a likely place for abuse to occur. Some have used the cloak of religion to mask their misdoings. There can be no doubt that abuse has occurred in churches.
3. “Cover-ups” will be exposed
Compounding the degradation of abuse has been the wall of silence where sins have been concealed. Too many places – churches included – have simply ‘hushed-up’ cases of abuse to protect themselves. All this has only served to increase the pain of the victims.
4. All churches will be suspect
To a cynical world, the findings of this Royal Commission will reinforce the widespread thought that ‘churches can’t be trusted’. There will be some horrendous headlines and sickening stories over the coming years. People will probably be far more forgiving of hospitals, schools and community groups where abuse may have occurred. But the Christian church is a popular target for all sorts of attacks, and we Christians can expect that the integrity of us all will be under fire.
A challenge for us all will be – how can we keep reaching out to a world that is more and more distrusting of us? And it’s no use claiming “It wasn’t our church” – “It wasn’t our denomination”. In the eyes of the world, all churches will be tarred with same brush.
What will you do to keep promoting Christ when the sins of our past are being paraded so visibly? A challenge for us all.
5. The innocent might be brought down
In a world that has been far too passive on the issue of child protection, the pro-active nature of a Royal Commission might well have some unintended victims. If a false allegation is made, perfectly innocent people might have their reputations scarred for life. Even if allegations are later proved to be false, mud sticks. The damage might already be done. Careers and reputations of innocent people might be on the line.
Check out your own attitude. When you hear that someone has been called into the Royal Commission for questioning, will you assume that they are guilty? Or will you hold with the long-held and fundamental principle of “Innocent until proven guilty”?
The results of this Royal Commission will be for the benefit of everyone. The process of getting there will no doubt be imbedded with pain.
So … what do you think?