For years now I have been hearing about safe places. Safe places on college and university campuses. Safe places in secondary schools and elementary schools. Some safe places even in …
For years now I have been hearing about safe places. Safe places on college and university campuses. Safe places in secondary schools and elementary schools. Some safe places even in preschool.
These exist for various purposes. They are places to get away from “hate” speech. Domestic abuse and other forms of abuse sometimes require such places for some to go. But I have wondered about some of the other so called “safe places.” Have we missed something? Have we gone too far?
During July of 2019 my wife and I were privileged to travel to Alaska for two weeks. We were celebrating my in-laws’ 60th anniversary. We all flew as a family from Nashville, Tennessee, to Seattle, Washington, before going on to Fairbanks, Alaska. While we were in Seattle at the airport I went to the men’s room and then into the handicap stall. As I closed the door I noticed a sign on the back of the door. In big bold letters it said, “This Is A Safe Place.” In smaller letters it said, “If you feel threatened while in the Seattle Airport please notify the airport so they may address the issue.” Not an exact quote but close enough. I had never thought of a bathroom stall as being a “safe place.” What have we come to?
Let me be clear. We need “safe places.” But we need to make sure they are actually just that, “safe places.” Some of these so called “safe places” are actually places where some go to be enabled in their way of thinking and their lifestyle that, quite honestly, are not approved by the Judeo-Christian worldview. They are not approved by God and his word.
When I was growing up, school was a safe place. I had many teachers I could go to and talk to them about issues I was facing. Many of them were Christians. We talked freely about God, Jesus, his will and how to deal with sin. And while we still have some great Christians who are teachers, we continue to tie their hands and not allow them to openly tell our youth about the one TRUE safe place for all to go.
His name is Jesus. He does not white wash our sins. He does not enable us to continue in them. He asks all of us to let the sinful lifestyle go and embrace him. He is our safe place.
John 8 comes to my mind. A woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus. Jesus dealt with the would-be accusers. They left. He then asked the woman, “Who condemns you?” She responded, “No one, sir.” Jesus then said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus was her “safe place.” He did not enable her. He confronted her in love and told her to stop doing what she was doing. We need safe places. But we also need to embrace the truth. Jesus is our ultimate safe place.
(Gerry Parker is the pastor for the Powell Church of Christ.)