A truth from Scripture that I recall being taught from my earliest memories is how the conscience can so easily be seared with a hot iron and become numb to repeated violations. Sadly, this is happening to members of the group who repeatedly witness wrong things and stay silent out of fear:
- People are rebuked publicly without mercy, and without even having been approached privately first.
- Non-member teens are called out publicly for their misdeeds, humiliating them and their parents, and usurping parental authority.
- Entire Bible class sessions can be taken up with unmerciful public rebuking, with little or no actual study of the Bible.
- Gossip and evil surmising.
- Retribution, “witch hunts,” and intimidation used against those who try to speak out.
- Truth doesn’t need to be afraid of a lie, yet valid questions are silenced rather than answered.
The first time you witness something like this, your conscience is pricked, but fear keeps you from speaking out. The next time, it’s easier to accept it. After many years in the group, the conscience can become so numb to abusive behavior that it goes unnoticed altogether.
There are plenty of people who have witnessed or heard things done that without question are totally wrong, and they know it in their hearts because their conscience is pricked. However, by choosing to stay silent out of fear, or by making excuses for what is done by pushing away what their conscience is telling them, they’ve had their consciences seared with a hot iron. It’s time to stop ignoring what you know is not right.
James 4:17 (KJV) “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
h/t to an anonymous contributor for most of the above