I have something I want to say. It might not be popular.
I’ve been ruminating on the MeToo movement lately. It’s been in the news for a year, off and on. Most recently, it’s surfaced with Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I started thinking about how there’s no way to prove what he did, or if he did it at all. I believe Dr. Ford because I don’t think she’s a tool of the Clintons (!) or any other Democrats. Why would she come forward and ruin her good reputation, now forever colored by the scarlet letter of sexual assault victim? She could provide no probative evidence, like a stained dress, or an eye witnesses. Nothing. Only her recollection of a drunken teenage party gone horribly wrong.
Brett Kavanaugh denied the whole encounter. Vehemently. He ranted and raved. He got angry and lashed out. Righteous indignation? Perhaps. But it seemed out of keeping for a future Supreme Court justice. Again: it’s he said, she said.
I remember learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. when I was in first grade at Irvington Elementary. Our teacher Miss Jones passed out black and white coloring pages for us. He was – and remains – a great American hero. Then I wrote a blog about how Dr. King was a serial philanderer. He cheated on his wife, Coretta Scott King, over and over. He was a Baptist minister and no doubt preached against adultery a time or two. He couldn’t seem to help himself. Yet he founded a whole movement of civil disobedience, turning the other cheek and standing his ground. How do we reconcile the two?
And what about the defeated Bill Cosby, now serving time in a Pennsylvania prison? Currently, he has no roommates and has only the guards for company. What of the funny family man who put out records, and toured, starred in the Cosby Show, and sold us JELL-O, for goodness sake? What happened to him? He inspired generations of young black men and women to do more, to be more. He encouraged them to dream big dreams and continue in school. He received several honorary doctorates for his excellence as a role model. Why did he drug and violate all those women?
There are so many more. I want to hit a little closer to home. Let’s talk about Bill Hybels, fallen pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. As someone who has been a secretary-type for most of her life as well as in the church, I understand the implications of the accusations and why his assistant didn’t come forward when he groped her. She “didn’t want to ruin his ministry”. What in the world?! I know it sounds strange. Nobody gets it unless you’ve been on the inside of church life. She knew how rumors and innuendos damage even the most spotless church leader. She struggled with the obvious anointing on the man’s life. She can see he’s blessed by God. But she knew the sin, experienced it firsthand. What to do? Well, if she’s a good girl, she says nothing. She shoves it down. God appears to have favorites, the Teflon-coated. She’s not one of them. She spirals down. He increases. She blames herself and the shame engulfs her.
All of this needs to stop. We need to stop putting people on pedestals or in pinions. We aren’t all black or all white, people. Bad people have capacity for good deeds. Good people have capacity for bad deeds. What’s a person to do?
I have an idea. What if we tried to help people along the way? What if we paid attention to the tendencies of up and coming leaders and said, “Hey, I notice you have wandering hands. How about we work on that together? No shame. Let’s deal with it before it forms a poisonous fruit to destroy you and those you love?” Isn’t that real love, not a squishy feeling with a fuzzy heart around it. “Love is patient, love is kind…” This is 1 Corinthians 13 love. Strong. Hopeful. Wanting the best for another.
Now, maybe this DID happen. Maybe these leaders were approached by their sympathetic elders. Maybe they rejected the help. Maybe the approach rubbed them the wrong way. Or maybe they had enough upper leaders or minions to cover their tracks for them. “Don’t worry about that, kid. She’ll never tell. It’s not a big deal. You have a great future ahead! God has really blessed you.” They had enough power to keep on keepin’ on hurting others.
I don’t know. I’m not privy to such information. All I know is we have to do better. We need to speak up when sin raises its head. And we need to listen to correction if we’re committing the sin. We know the judge and He will judge all fairly. The sin we all wrestle with does not define us. It’s not our identity. It’s an addendum to the original creation. We shall overcome, but only with Jesus.
For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. – Matthew 10:26