I had heard the information before, but for some reason it hadn't clicked. "In 2016, 1,631 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses." I was sitting in a lunch meeting at the office of Doss Brothers, listening to Monty Burks, the director of Faith Based Initiatives for the state of Tennessee. He was here in Lawrenceburg this week, speaking to a few of the pastors from the community who had been called together to learn more about the devastation that opioids and other drugs are causing in our state and especially in our county. "It's time to start a conversation," he said. "It's time that we talk about this because it isn't just happening in our community – it's happening in our churches." As we talked about the stories and experiences that several of those around the table had had with this issue, it became apparent that we as a church are not talking about this enough. It's easy to think that it's not happening as long as you aren't one of those effected by it. But chances are, someone you know is dealing with addiction or close to someone who is and they don't know where to turn for help. I'm excited to work with the other pastors in Lawrenceburg to help facilitate a conversation about this silent killer and begin the process of ending opioid abuse.
As I was sitting there listening to Monty talk, I realized that drug abuse was not the only killer we don't talk about. I started thinking about all the other things that happen in our churches that we like to keep in the shadows. This week, due to events in the news, the conversation has been started for those who have been sexually harassed, which is something that is long overdue. But there are other things, like domestic violence, pornography, and self harm, that are just a few of the silent killers kept under the rug. Jesus said, "There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known" (Matthew 10:26). These silent killers, though done in secret and not talked about, will one day be brought to light. Isn't it time to start the conversation so we can let the hurting know that there are people who care?