What you don’t do is start a witch hunt

One of the standout claims from the Oprah Winfrey interview is the claim that a member of the royal household made racist comments about the potential skin tone of baby Archie.  The accusation is hard hitting in the context of current concerns about racism’s effect on our society and to be honest has that edge of plausibility about it.

If a member of the royal household, even a senior member of the family made such horrendous comments to Harry, then that should have been confronted and dealt with.  Even now, it should be challenged and appropriate action

However, what has happened instead is that comments were passed on and now leaked into the media in effect putting all members of the family and household under suspicion.  We’ve now been told that it wasn’t the Queen and wasn’t the Duke of Edinburgh but that leaves plenty of people to speculate about.  The nature of royal protocol means that others are not able to speak out and defend themselves.  They are simply left under a cloud of suspicion.

As we think about how to deal with sin and abuse within the church that we don’t use the World’s tactics. The Bible gives us clear methods for dealing with such issues. The Matthew 18 principle is that a matter is dealt with by the smallest number of people possible, 1-1, a few witnesses and then if there is no repentance, to the church.  Such a method prevents the kind of leaking, speculation and inuendo which leads to gossip and suspicion and is itself a form of abuse. 

If an accusation needs to be brought out into the open then it should be made clear what the nature of the accusation is and the person(s) it is directed at with evidence. They should be given the opportunity to defend themselves.  They should also be given the opportunity to repent and there should be appropriate Gospel based restoration.