Like many of you, I’ve sampled the sad string of news stories that have recently come out concerning allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault involving a Hollywood mogul. I couldn’t help thinking of surgery-analogy; something that has festered under the surface for years, is now being exposed so it can be excised. It’s painful, not only for the people who have a direct story involving this guy. Of course, unlike a contained cancerous tumor, there’s no way to simply “get it out” and move on with life. But as Christians whom Paul calls “children of the light and children of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:5), we see good when anything dark or “of the night” is exposed. The enemy or the disease that can be seen, has a better chance of being defeated. Using this light/darkness context, Jesus says to Nicodemus (who came to him in secret, under the cover of night): “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…” (John 3:20-21).
Speaking of bringing darkness into the light…over the weekend after the scandal started to break, an actress tweeted “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Within the first 48 hours, the #MeToo hashtag was used 825,000. And within 24 hours, there were 12 million Facebook posts engaging in the #MeToo conversation. Now not every tweet and not every FB post is necessarily a personal statement by a victim. BUT… a whole heck of a lot of people aren’t on these social media platforms, and a whole heck of a lot of victims aren’t able to or ready to share their pain. The bottom line? The tweet resonated, big time.
I’ve seen some #MeToo tags from people I know. I know others who have experienced that pain, not because of posts, but because of life in community – spiritual and friend/family community. And my motivation for sharing this brief message is to say “I think you’re increasingly realizing that you’re not alone.” And, “There’s greater hope for a measure of healing and wholeness through the body of Christ which has tasted Resurrection power through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” This idea lies at the core of our Grace Stories – our twice-a-year mini-series that invites members of the GRC community to share how God has brought some healing; how God has worked in the midst of suffering, doubt, dysfunction, emotional anguish, trauma, addiction. These stories don’t fit the mold of: “and they lived happily ever after.” Each is in-process and each cling to faith that God is making all things new.
Whatever you’ve experienced; whatever might tempt you to think that you’re all alone, that no one else could possibly understand; whatever might be causing you to dig a hole and hide, to withdraw from real relationship…let a Hollywood scandal that has empowered victims to share of their traumatic past, and let our very own Grace Stories convince you otherwise. You’re NOT alone. Each of us is a broken sinner in need of healing Gospel grace.
Maybe you’ve heard a story that sounds like yours. Go ahead and find that person on Sunday and invite them into your hurt. Maybe you’d want to visit Celebrate Recovery that meets at church every Wed night at 7:30pm. Everyone there knows their brokenness and would not at all be surprised that you too, are broken. Maybe you want to email/call/talk to Joanne, Ken or myself, to make an appointment for counseling. We’re available, and nothing you tell us would surprise, shock, or make us think any differently of you.
Live as children of light and of the day, even if – no, especially if – you’ve been a victim of someone’s darkness. The evil one cannot win; Jesus has conquered sin and death.
Grace to you,