Covering Up the Evils of the Wicked is Forbidden by the Lord

Deu 13:8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.

I wanted to talk some more in this post about this remarkable passage of Scripture found here in Deuteronomy 13.

We know that “cover up” is all around us. We see it in the news constantly.

  • The Roman Catholics cover up for pedophile priests
  • Protestant leaders cover up for pedophiles and abusive church leaders
  • The crimes of celebrity figures are covered up

Cover up. Pull the covers over the thing. Get it out of sight. Conceal the crime.

Now, in the setting of Deuteronomy 13, the Lord (through Moses) is commanding the Israelites on how they are required to respond when someone tries to lead them into idolatry. Never mind if the transgressor is:

your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul…

…their evil is not to be concealed. There it is. Cover up. Covering up evil, hiding the wickedness of the lawbreaker is forbidden by the Lord.

We have seen a clear example of this concealing in the recent case of Tom Chantry whose trial for assault and sexual molestation of children just came to a conclusion (for now at least. He is going to be tried again on several charges). In the course of this trial, the leaders of ARBCA were revealed as concealers of Chantry’s evil. They covered for him. For many years.

Co-dependent relationships are still another example of cover up. A parent excuses, rescues, hides, protects a wicked child from the consequences of their wickedness. Local churches refuse to expose an evil-doer among them (as in 1 Corinthians 5), covering up the guilty entirely or minimizing the crime.

Why? Why the cover up? You can understand a wicked person concealing his/her own crime in order to escape punishment. But why do other people cover for the wicked? Refuse to call the police. Tell the victim to never speak of such things again. Twist and pervert the idea of “forgiveness” and thereby announce “it’s all been taken care of,” and then behaving as if the crime never happened. You know how this goes.

The Lord gives us some explanations, including this one:

“nor shall your eye pity him”

Misguided pity. Feeling sorry for the wicked. Yielding to his “crocodile tears” and feigned repentance. So his evil is covered up. Poor fellow. He said he is sorry you know. A sociopath/narcissist loves this stuff. He goes away laughing at those fools who let him off the hook. They yielded to him. They pitied him. They disobeyed God’s command!

And I think that there is another reason for the cover up. Look at this last verse in the account of Ananias and Sapphira in the early church:

Act 5:11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

The fear of the Lord is a necessary mark of the genuine Christian. We fear Him with reverential awe. We know that our God is a consuming fire who is not mocked. Ananias and his wife did not fear the Lord. But the Lord exposed their secret sin. The cover up was short-lived and the result was that all greatly feared the Holy One of Israel. It turns out that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The New Covenant in Christ had not changed God’s holiness.

Counterfeit Christians do not like a God who is to be feared. And so they introduce grace on steroids. Mercy. Love. Forgiveness. No need to fear. That is the thing they want. A “church” where you can sin without repentance, habitually,  and still have your on the way to heaven ticked punched.

And so, the cover up. Churches that cover for the wicked are not churches at all. They are gatherings of whitewashed tombs who cover up their own evil by covering up the evil of others. They persecute those who truly do hunger and thirst for righteousness and cast them out.

Christ’s command to us has not changed:

Eph 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

 

 

The Problem is Often with What is NOT Said in our Sermons and Teaching

The church I attend does not talk about domestic abuse. There is sermon after sermon about how marriage should work, and what each party should be doing, but almost nothing about what you can do if your spouse consistently mistreats you. And the absence of that teaching leaves victims stuck, unsafe, and unsupported.

A wise lady wrote this paragraph to me recently and it deserves serious thought.

The Bible has MUCH to say to us about how to deal with sin and evil and the devil and his servants. Yes, it does certainly give us God’s design for life in Christ, including His design for marriage and family. But when churches only give conferences and seminars and sermons on how things “ought to be,” (and so often they even get that part wrong!), and fail to deal with what a “marriage” looks like where wickedness is reigning, then evildoers are emboldened and their victims are further oppressed.

Evil and wickedness are not pretty. It is not a fun time to study and hear about the dark deeds of the kingdom of darkness: the details of child molestation, what really goes on behind closed doors in the house of an abuser, what “deacon Smith” is really like behind that fake mask, how much evil is hiding in local churches, and so on. But is the Bible silent on such subjects? NO! Just imagine how thin your Bible would be if you cut out all the parts that deal with such things.

And yet….

What are we being taught in our churches? What are the subjects focused upon in conferences, retreats, seminars, and the popular books of the moment? For the most part the answer is “happy things.” Ear-tickling things. Things that give us warm fuzzies at the end of the story (those fuzzies then being called “the Spirit”). After all you know, we can’t lay too much heavy stuff on folks or they will not want to come to church. So we don’t. We don’t say things. We don’t teach about them. We just teach about how “it ought to be.”

And by this omission – let’s face right up to it – we are empowering evil by letting it remain invisible in the darkness.

Just very recently a Christian woman who had left her abuser husband in order to protect her children and herself, was shot to death by him. Her church and pastor? Well, they pretty much told her to do her best with the lot God had dealt her and keep on a happy face. This is how that prescription turned out.

You cannot defend against your enemy if you do not know that enemy. His nature. His tactics. His weapons. Christ calls us to be wise in regard to evil while remaining innocent of it. For the most part, this command of our Lord has been ignored. It seems that ignorance of evil has been turned into an asset. A mark of “true godliness.” It isn’t. The blind only lead the blind into a pit.

 

“Propriety” and “Protocol” are Often Used to Protect Evildoers

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Mat 15:12-14)

Evildoers and those who protect them often create “protocols” in order to silence anyone who would seek to expose wickedness. As we work to shine light upon evil that is hiding in churches, we see this tactic very frequently.

As you can see in the verses above, Jesus smashed through the niceties of the day and confronted the wicked in broad daylight. The Pharisees were the “clergy” of the day. The exalted church leaders claiming God’s authority, yet they did not know Him at all. They misused God’s Word to keep people in bondage and to exalt themselves. Power and self-glory were their goal.

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Mat 15:10-11)

He called the people to him. He told them publicly. So that not only the people, but the Pharisees could hear. He said that the theology and doctrines of the Pharisees were bunk. And everyone knew exactly who he was talking about.

The disciples, bound to some degree by the evil-protecting etiquette of the day, cautioned Jesus that he had offended these holy ones. “Too bad. Forget about them. They are destroying people along with themselves.” That was Jesus’ reaction to “protocol.”

We have the same false, binding, evil-protecting rules laid upon us today. For example:

  • Oh my goodness, you said these men who are our brothers in Christ covered up for a child molester. Yes, I see there is a possibility they did, but it just isn’t right for you to say so where everyone can hear.
  • You must not speak of your husband that way. Sure, what he is doing is wrong, but a wife must obey her husband.
  • It is wrong (Bill Gothardism here) to “take up an offense of someone else.” You must not speak of a sin or crime committed against another person besides yourself.
  • A Christian must never, ever say something negative about a fellow Christian. Especially in public.
  • That man is a great, holy Christian who has accomplished magnificent deeds for the Lord. And YOU dare criticize him?
  • Ok, ok, he did that. But now is not the proper time to say so. What you say may be true, but I don’t like the way you are telling it.
  • In response to a news article about a wicked man who claimed to be a Christian, charged with murdering his wife and two children, one commenter said: “There isn’t enough information to even tell if he’s guilty or not. It shouldn’t be guilty before being proven innocent. There are no details at all about the crime and why they think that he is guilty.” So we must not speak of it, you see.

People who expose injustice know that if they “play by the rules,” nothing is going to change. They are not going to be heard. Because “the rules” are most typically loaded in favor of the wicked. Of those holding abusive power. Think for example of the civil rights movement. Protocol said that a black person was not to drink from a “whites only” water fountain, or sit in a whites only seat on a bus and so on. These were the very things that civil rights workers did. It got some of them killed. But it was right. The protocol was what was evil and wrong. Or think of the women’s suffrage movement which sought to get the vote for women. They did not always concern themselves with “propriety” so as “not to offend.” Because the propriety was what was wrong in the first place. It silenced the righteous.

And so it is in the church today, just as it was in Jesus’ day. If we are going to expose domestic abusers hiding in the church, or pedophiles creeping in among us, or power and control junkies like Diotrephes (see 3 John), then we cannot “play by the rules.” Like Jesus, we must be willing to be hated by the powers that be and press right on in announcing that they are leading people into a pit.

But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Act 4:17-20)