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I recently wrote about good times to be quiet. There are also good times to speak. It takes wisdom to know the difference, courage to speak when it’s time, and resolve to see it through.

Consider the story of Etan Patz. 6-year-old Etan left his home on 5/25/1979 headed to his school bus. It was the first time he had ever made the 2-block journey alone. He hasn’t been seen since. In 2017 a man was convicted of his murder.

The man had told his church bible study group in the early 1980’s that he had killed a little boy. Even though there were about 50 people in the group, there is no record of anyone coming forward. One now says she reported it. If so, her report was never documented.

Etan’s story increased America’s missing children awareness. He was one of the first milk carton pictures, and inspired Reagan to declare May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day.

But any day you know something is the right day to say it.

I received a call recently from a man in another state. He told me how a subject in their church was frequently in the children’s area of their church, despite church policies about not being in the children’s area. Everyone in the church knew this subject was chronically in violation of the policy. He always had “good reasons.”

The man who called me was willing to do something about it.

He got a letter from the mother of a child who had experienced a recent uncomfortable encounter with the subject in an off-limits area, stating how it wasn’t the first time for this child or others. The reporting individual reminded the pastor of the times the subject had violated the policy, his common good reasons, and the way the subject had been repeatedly told by security, teachers, and others.

Of course, the pastor said, “we’ll talk to him.” The man who called me would not settle for that. He (and that child’s mother) pushed to the point of a church board meeting which resulted in a no-trespass order being served against the subject.


Think About it

Policy provides framework for action. But action doesn’t just happen – it takes someone willing to take a stand. If children’s safety is the question, say something and stand resolutely.

Even when it’s someone in your bible study.

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