Allegations, protection, and common sense

D145_250_179_0004_600Suddenly the whole Mike Pence strategy of not being with a woman who’s not your wife has a whole lot of value. Initially he was ridiculed, but now, as celebrities, politicians and news personalities fall one by one to claims of sexual misconduct, the wisdom of setting and maintaining such boundaries makes a whole lot of sense.

I was taught very early on by some very wise mentors to never put myself in a compromising position. Don’t ever be with a child or young person alone and don’t meet behind closed doors (especially secretly locked doors) alone with a woman who is not your wife. When we designed our new church building, we made sure there were windows in all the doors. When I meet with a woman, I make sure someone else is around. When I’m with kids, it’s always in a group, or with parents present. I am even cautious when going out to visit women twenty, thirty or more years older than me! All it takes is one accusation, and you are fighting for your reputation, ministry and life.

These are not new ideas. In many circles these safeguards have been required practices for years (Cf. Good News Clubs, Boy Scouts, preschools). As allegations of sexual misconduct make daily news headlines, I can’t help but wonder how they didn’t know. Did they really think they would just get away with it? Were they oblivious to the potention dangers? No one saw this coming?

I am thankful for those who were watching out for me, our children, and other adults. Being safe and above reproach isn’t so hard to do. Just have someone else around on site or in the office. Protect yourself and them.

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