I surprised myself by how sad I was to hear about the allegations against Matt Lauer. It’s strange how we kinda sorta feel like we know someone like that. Of course I don’t know him at all. Of course I have no real idea what kind of person he is and that all I see is on the camera in front of millions/billions of viewers. I have no idea what he thinks, does, and honestly it shouldn’t surprise me at all in some ways that he is the latest in the sexual misconduct firestorm.
But it did. And that goes to show how even someone like me – who has seen a lot, who knows better, who has stories to tell – still doesn’t know everything and still has ground to cover. What we’re experiencing is a revival of sorts. A revival toward a more healthy and just sexual landscape. It’s unravelled into destruction and chaos for so long that we’ve forgotten what it could be and what we should expect it to be.
Are we learning yet? It’s easy to vilify “monsters” like Weinstein, among others who shall not be named. It’s also easy to rewrite the story for people like Louis CK. We want to make sense of it all but we also want justice for the victims. We can’t pick and choose our perps. We can’t dismiss some things and not others. If we say we have a zero tolerance we can’t keep erasing that 1 infraction. We’ve been doing that for too long.
The short list is this: don’t throw stones. It’s easy to do. But more people have something to hide and it has to start somewhere. Be sure your sin will find you out. Come out of hiding before someone drags you out.
The first question I always have to ask is of myself. What have I done to contribute to the grossly overlooked and unkempt sexual landscape of today? It may seem like I’m blaming the victim, but I’m not. I’m blaming the perpetrator. I have created sexually charged situations. I have behaved inappropriately. I have harassed. As a woman, I have put men in compromising positions and I used sex like a weapon instead of as the tangible reminder of God’s glory.
This is my first act. Repentance. As a Christian, I firmly believe I start with me. You start with you. This is the gospel at work. It is individual. It is pointing all the fingers at me first. I’m not saying there isn’t room for accusation. I’m saying that’s not where I start. Redemption starts with me.
But redemption must also spread. It is giving all who have transgressed the opportunity to come out into the light. Stop hiding. Stop fighting shame and guilt. Stop thinking that you’re winning. The only way to win against sin is to lose. To lose yourself, to lose your arrogance, to lose your self-dependence. Redemption begins with repentance. Admitting what you’ve done, or what you failed to do. Then claiming the price that God has placed on your head – the price that Jesus paid for all time.
Then, it’s no more excuses. No more tolerance. It’s calling yourself and those around you to full transparency and accountability. It’s saying we have a problem and we are not going to ignore it any longer. We must look at it square in the eyes. Name it. Fight it.
Here’s the thing. If we just fight the sexual inappropriateness in other people – calling it out immediately, reporting it to authorities/leaders, getting that person fired, etc. – that’s all good. It’s a step in the right direction. But what happens? That person goes somewhere else. That person learns something. To hide it better. That person, without addressing and getting help to stop the need, the underlying roots of the behavior, will go somewhere else and do it to someone else, someone who isn’t ready to call it out. It goes on. This is how we get to where we are. Everyone pointing fingers. No one taking the blame and getting help. Hiding.
This is where the Church has not helped. There are people in every congregation in every church in the country right now who need to deal with this. There are men and women sitting in your pews every week, even in leadership positions, who have serious, long-term issues with pornography, sexual innuendos, and outright aggressive behaviors. Maybe it’s you.
Church, we NEED to be leaders in this area. We need to be handling these issues with respect and urgency. No one can more clearly heal and redeem sexual brokenness than Jesus. In many ways, we should have the market on redeeming the time.
Why don’t we? Why aren’t we at the forefront? What are we afraid of? Why aren’t we leading the battle? There is much to do.
What can I do? Where do I start? Jesus, help us. We are drowning without you. Be our Help and our Guide. Shine your light on our dark and “melt the clouds of sin and sadness.” Restore your design for our sexual landscape and assist us in the work before us. For our good and your glory.
Come, Lord Jesus. Even now.