This week, another prominent and notable celebrity lost their job amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. Apparently, the evidence was so substantial that it only took a couple of days for a storied career to be no more.
It’s a story that is being repeated on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis as men and women who have suffered in the shadows finally speak publicly about traumatic experiences in their past. It is simultaneously terrible and praise-worthy that these horrific abusers are finally being held accountable. Time will tell if these allegations will be proven to be true or are just carefully planned publicity stunts, but regardless, the church has to open it’s eyes to the overly sexualized world that we live (and often participate) in.
As a Christian, there are several ways that we can respond.
1. Be indifferent. It is easy for Christians to simply bow out of the discussion all together. If we stand for the holiness and purity of Christ in this world, we can not ignore the very real pain and injustice that is going on in it.
2. Judge. This is a hard one, because these actions are definitely judgement worthy. If we believe what the Bible tells us to be true, it is not our place to judge non-believers, and I’m pretty sure most, if not all of the perpetrators do not know Christ. Judgment of the world is in the hands of law enforcement and judges, on this earth, but eternal judgement is in God’s hand’s alone. Now if the perpetrator claims to be a believer…that IS part of the role of the church.
3. Defend their actions because you like them. Christians can carry a terrible double standard when it comes to this. If a favorite Christian musician, author, pastor, or politician is guilty, then don’t defend them while throwing every other perpetrator under the bus. We see this along party lines with politicians all the time but Christians should be consistent.
4. Rush to judgement or forgiveness. One of the greatest rights we have in this country is the right to be innocent until proven guilty. In this climate, false allegations are very possible, but so are terrible actions by people that we thought were better than that. When we rush to judgement or to forgive, we shortcut the process for the truth to come out.
5. Be pithy. This goes along with #1. Sexual assaults are not “meme” worthy. They should not be summarized by a mistranslated Bible verse or summarized with pithy religious jargon. The lives of real people are in pain and God wants us to be near the broken hearted just as He is.
1. Pray for the victims and abusers. There is only one true to path to health after trauma, and that way belongs to Jesus. Pray for their healing and to experience Christ in a real way in their lives.
2. STOP WATCHING PORN. Sexual sin ALWAYS leads to increasingly damaging sexual sin. When you start looking at pornographic images, you will eventually want to watch pornographic videos. When you get used to videos, you will want to watch full length movies. When movies don’t cut it anymore, you will begin to seek out ways to fulfill sexual fantasies with real people. IS IT ANY REAL SURPRISE THAT SOME OF THE WORST OFFENDERS ARE ENTERTAINERS WHOSE “WORK” INCLUDES THE SAME KINDS OF SEXUAL SIN IN THEIR TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?
Many Christians have no problem watching cable TV and streaming dramas or movies that have tons of explicit, pornographic sex in them. Every one of those shows has an effect on you. It is the effect that the producers/actors wanted it to have on you…less resistance to sexual sin in your life, because many of them want their bad behavior to become mainstream…and that is what is happening.
Every time we celebrate sexual sin, we are contributing to the very same climate where these types of sexual assaults happen and no one bats an eye.
3. Assess the sin in your own life. When we see the ugliness of other’s sins, it should cause us to assess our own lives. Yes, their sins were horrific, but in the grand scheme of life and our need for a Savior, our sins are just as black and damning. We can’t force anyone else to deal with their sins, but we can definitely own up to our own.
4. Pay attention to what is going on around you. While most of the most recent allegations are of famous people that everyone knows about, this is happening to people that you DO know. They are living with pain in the shadows, too. They need someone to support them, encourage them, and be willing to go with them to report this type of behavior, too. Jesus was always concerned with the oppressed and the abused.
5. Commit to a lifestyle of growing purity and holiness. This is the life that God has called us to. Not one of us will reach the goal of purity or holiness until this life is over, but we can commit to searching out sin in our own lives and dealing with it regularly with Christ. We can get better as we grow, but not if we haven’t made it a driving value of our lives.
22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:22–23 (ESV)
There are many other ways we SHOULD or SHOULD NOT respond to sexual sin in this world. What would you add?