The Church Can Learn from a Greenleaf


About last night…

Wednesdays nights have become more than the traditional Bible study event for Christians and ‘church folks’. The drama of broadcast entertainment has many of us debating about what to watch live and on demand.

Why is it that faithful believers are addicted to watching so much drama?

Probably because it’s in our own lives.

I confess; one of Oprah’s latest series on her network has had me looking forward to Wednesday nights.

Greenleaf.

If you have never watched an episode, I suggest that you go back to the first season and get caught up. In my opinion, it is worth it.

Now about last night’s episode, Grace Greenleaf, aka Gigi who is the main character continues to deal with the bitterness, anger and outrage that her uncle has been freed from charges of sexual molestation. He has been molesting and seducing teenage girls including his own niece, Faith,who apparently died by suicide because of his ongoing abuse towards her.

As any sister, Grace seeks to get justice for her sister’s suffering and death.

One of the interesting things about this series is that the setting is a church in Memphis, Tennessee. Being a Memphis resident, I can relate to so many scenes. As I posted on my social media while watching last night’s episode, “Oprah sure did do her homework on Memphis churches!”

There is so much that I want to unpack about the entire series, but especially the last few episodes. One of the things that gets under my skin is how Grace seems to be the only one concerned about what her uncle did to her sister and other girls. I mean she has nearly her entire family, including her parents against her.

By the way, her parents are the spiritual leaders (bishop and first lady) of a prominent Memphis church. They and the other church folks appear to want to take the spiritual road and just let God handle it.

Yes, God does rightfully distribute his judgement and discipline. But God does not want us to allow harmful things to continue when we have the authority to stop it.

This series discusses so many things that I cover in my latest book. Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind talks about how the church does not properly deal with sensitive issues such as sexual abuse, mental health and traumas.

As someone who was sexually molested and assaulted as a child, I know how the trauma can weigh on you and affect you in adulthood. I understand how Faith, Grace’s sister found herself in a state where she felt so hopeless about her life that she decided to end it.

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all” (Luke 8:17).

As I state in my book immediately following this verse:

God does not want acts of abuse or any act that hurts His creation, His children to be kept hidden. God does not expect us to be a sacrifice for darkness. Our Father does not want us to keep our pains a secret, even if they are going to expose or bring shame to those we love. He wants us to break the silence so that we can get help.

Unfortunately, child abuse occurs within the church or involves church members as the predator and victim. I admire Grace for her determination to advocate for her sister and others like her. Yes, I believe she has to be healed and forgive her uncle. But this process does not require her to sit idle and allow her uncle to continue his disgraceful acts to young girls. Grace is not just talking about the issue, she is doing something about it. And I think this is what the CHURCH should be doing too!

Be sure to check out Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind.

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