Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Pastor Daniel Fusco Answers: How Would Jesus Respond to #metoo?

Pastor Daniel Fusco Answers: How Would Jesus Respond to #metoo?

CL: As a leader, do you have personal experience addressing sexual abuse in a congregation?

Fusco: I think when sexual harassment statements come up, I think we have a moral responsibility to figure out exactly what’s going on and not just receive one side of it. As church leaders, we’re very quick if we have to notify proper authorities…our job is not to know the legality of something, we need to report when allegations are being made.

I think one of the keys to being wise is knowing in certain situations what you were to do if something like this were to happen. So you don’t have to think about what to do, you just execute what you do in that situation.

Early on when I came to Crossroads, we had a volunteer who was arrested and ultimately convicted of molesting his nieces. I remember when he was arrested, right away we were on the phone with law enforcement, asking what they wanted us to do. We had never heard any allegations, and he was working in youth ministry and kids’ ministry. And we told law enforcement, “You can interview anybody, you can ask anybody.”…Ultimately, there was nothing going on in our church, as far as we know what had gone on was isolated to his family, and our hearts broke for the family. One of the things they asked us was to email our congregation informing them of the situation, including when he was volunteering, and ask if anyone had information. We followed their protocol to the letter. We have lots of policies in place for volunteers and anyone meeting with children…The law enforcement officers told us that as far as a safety policy for volunteers and kids that this was the best they’ve seen. And we were grateful for that.

Whatever the truth is—because Jesus sides with the truth—we want that to come to the fore.

CL: How has the #metoo movement impacted you personally?

Fusco: [Seeing the #metoo movement and hearing all these stories] reminds me that I’m responsible for me. I’m responsible for who I am; what I bring and what I give into this life. It’s caused a lot of self-assessment on my part. I love that verse in the Psalms “if there is any wicked way in me, lead me in the way everlasting.” My job is not to condemn someone else. My job is to look into my own life. There’s an old saying we should “love the sinner and we should hate the sin.” I have a friend who says “well no, we should love the sinner and we should hate our sin.” That’s a very provocative statement. When I see someone failing, I realize my belief in Jesus is because I have failed in innumerable ways, every day. So it causes me to really look at my heart, my life, and the way I live, and the things that I am investing in this world. And as we start to see these things going on, I start to say “Lord, if there’s any wicked way in me, lead me in the way everlasting.” I believe the Lord is faithful to do that.

CL: What would you say to a leader who thinks, I haven’t assaulted anyone. Do I need to worry about this?

Fusco: The problem with blind spots, the only person who doesn’t see it is the one who has it…One of the keys is to have what some people call 360 degrees of feedback. If you don’t have people who you have allowed to speak into your life, you have a greater capacity for not realizing certain things…When I hear about these things, I need to ask “In any way, have I contributed to any of this?”…That’s a very healthy, self-reflective question in any situation.

The great example of this is the disciples. It was only in Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Jesus. But when Jesus said “one of you will betray me,” they all said, “Is it I, Lord?” The only person who had thought about this was Judas, but all 12 said: “is it me?” That’s the humility of teachability, of saying “maybe I’m doing this and I don’t know it.” We all have blind spots. I think what God is trying to do in all of us is first of all he’s trying to reveal blind spots to us. He’s the Great Physician. He doesn’t just do surgery and not tell us. He wants us to understand where there are issues….

For me, being a man in authority, as a lead pastor in a church, my first question is: “Is there any way that I’m doing anything that would be perceived as a harassment or as abusive?” I have to ask that question. And praise God, there are none of those allegations, but I also ask “Is there anything else I’m doing where I’m taking advantage of my position?” I have to ask those hard questions. If you don’t ask good questions, you don’t get honest answers. And if you don’t ask hard questions, you’ll never get at the root of things.

Jesus was a master of asking good questions that revealed all sorts of things in our hearts. Because of the good news of Jesus, we shouldn’t be afraid of realizing that we’re not perfect…The Gospel reminds me that even though I fail I am loved and God’s not finished with me yet. I want to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem. That’s not only in the area [of sexual abuse] but in all areas that are broken in our world.