If you were to write a letter to the high-profile men who have recently wronged women in our culture, and you knew that your words would be read, what would you write? Wait a minute; that was way too abrupt… what would you write after you had really prayed about the content of your letter?
All over our land, little boys are rising each morning to eat their breakfast, get ready for school, and sometimes even groom their hair. The dark influence of our culture awakens each morning to “school” and, yes, even to “groom” our little boys to see the value of life, of women, and even manhood in a distorted way. Violated women, fractured families, obliterated careers, and a deep reservoir of shame are the inevitable results of abuse and harassment.
I have recently written blogs identifying the root causes of this recent rash of inappropriate sexual behavior in the marketplace, the media, the entertainment industry, in our government, and among our athletes. Yes, some of our little boys have become man-children, intoxicated by a culture that depersonalizes and objectifies women. These same politicians, actors, celebrities, billionaires, trainers, and anchormen were bewitched by a distorted ideology of success. Their ill-perceived invincibility turned out to be an intense vulnerability. For some, an abundance of money and the love of it turned out to be, not an asset, but a liability. The deceptiveness of power and authority only revealed their insecurity and spiritual impotence. Their arrogance reveals a thirst for deeper meaning.
What must it feel like to abruptly move from fame to shame, from popularity to obscurity, from the limelight one day and into hiding the next? If such men based their identities on their careers, then they, in their own minds, must cease to exist. No public relations firm can concoct a strategy even close to bringing about a reconciliation with the general public. Admittedly, it feels kind of good to beat up on these men. Yes, they must bear the consequences of their actions. But before we pick up a stone, let’s also realize there is an enemy without flesh or blood. This enemy has been subtly schooling and grooming our little boys for decades, and he’s had a great deal of support. Here is what I would say to men so justly accused:
To the men justly accused…some good news
There is only One who truly knows how to treat a woman and how to put together a shattered man at the same time. There is only One who can give you your true identity. Only He can reconcile you to yourself, to others, and to him. He is now one of the few, if not the only One, wanting to sit with you, listen to you, and love you. Though you may have cursed him, mocked him, left him, or denied him, he patiently waits with an invitation to heal you. It is not that he loves you, it’s that he is love already demonstrated. He knows to escort you from your self-constructed prison because he himself has been imprisoned for you. The transformation he will bring about in you is the only credible, lasting change that will ever alter another’s opinion of you. He is your only way out because he is the way. In humility, he will grant you reverence. Though you are intelligent, he will provide you with wisdom. You may be creative, but he is your Creator. In your depression, he will give you peace. In your exhaustion, he will be your rest. Though you are hiding, he will soon be your hiding place. He knows of the failings and let-downs of your attempts at spirituality, yet longs for you to encounter him and experience true victory.
The flattery and accolades of man have left you longing for more. There are not enough votes, awards, approval ratings, or ticket sales to fill the void now exposed by your actions. His grace is sufficient. His forgiveness is liberating. His friendship can be eternal. The time has come now for you to confess to him and turn from who you have been. You may have been searching for a “something” though you really need a “Someone.” Jesus Christ is your answer. He is the One with your answers and he is the beginning of a whole new life. Cry out to him. Seek him and he will be found. He endured God-ordained, desperate measures to meet you in your self-imposed desperation.
As a culture, we now find ourselves within a brief window of opportunity. Abusers, while their hearts are still pliable, have an opportunity to call out to Christ beneath the prayers of an earnest church not willing to right-off the wounded. There are men all over this land and in our churches that need to hear what we would prayerfully say to our high-profile men who have fallen because they too crash and burn daily.
Those abused deserve the encouragement and compassion of an understanding church to transcend their personal trauma. One in four Americans have been abused in some way. This Sunday, many will quietly pass out church bulletins, lead small groups, and lead worship services. Others, will feel too dirty to even darken the doors of a church.
Let’s never dilute or condone sin, but let’s always remember that the speck of sawdust in another’s eye and the plank in our own eye likely came from the same tree. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
Dr. Gary Hewins is the President of lifepoints.org, a coaching and consulting ministry to ministry leaders and preachers and the Senior Pastor of Community Bible Church in the picturesque mountains of Highlands, NC.