Rot, or Revival?
The rot is everywhere. Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.
In the Republicans. In the Democrats. In sports. In Hollywood. In business. In our churches.
America is awash in the sewage of sexual harassment and abuse, drowning us in heartbreak and humiliation.
Yes, this is largely a male chauvinist problem. But we cannot fall into the trap of believing that these men are the only ones to blame. It’s critical to realize that many of the enablers are women.
Powerful women in Hollywood confess that they not only knew about Harvey Weinstein’s predatory practices but also cooperated for their own benefit and refused to protect younger, more vulnerable women. We now know that Charlie Rose’s female executive producer told his victims to just deal with it. And we know that Katie Couric actually joked about Matt Lauer’s awful behavior and never lifted a finger to guard younger women from him.
We recently learned that Hillary Clinton protected a powerful man on her campaign who repeatedly made unwelcome advances and sent tawdry emails to a female subordinate. While Ms. Clinton let the perpetrator keep his job, the victim was transferred.
And then there are the gut-churning testimonies of more than 150 victims of the now-infamous doctor to Olympians. Many little girls cried for help, but the beast was protected by the female president of Michigan State University, as well as others.
No, this awfulness is not a man-versus-woman problem. It is a problem of evil. Of a nation and homes saturated in pornography, “sexual liberation” and endless images of human beings degrading themselves and others. Of the Christian church failing to be the Christian church.
You can’t even stand in a grocery store checkout line, for crying out loud, without being assaulted by sexual images and screaming, sultry headlines.
It seems that America was woefully unaware that a steady diet of garbage would result in a steady rise of sexual harassment, abuse and enabling.
Has the proliferation of porn, “sexual liberation,” explicit sex education in schools and scores of TV shows glorifying “hooking up” led to an America where people have more satisfying human relationships?
The answer is a resounding “No!” Divorce is rampant, marriage is on the decline, men who use porn report that they are unsatisfied with sex, young hearts are broken after sexual encounters, and we are saturated in sexual harassment and abuse.
So, what’s the solution? Censorship? Sensitivity training?
No and no. Nothing but a spiritual revival can save us now. Only through sensitizing our hearts to God’s goodness and mercy can we each begin to reject what is wrong. To stand up for the vulnerable. To end the madness.
Only our gracious God and his immense power can heal the brokenhearted.
There are so many among us who are broken. Too many still hide in the shadows of shame. Too many are quietly living a nightmare of abuse. Too many continue to abuse.
And the storm rages on.
Media of every kind spew the lie that humans can behave like animals in heat with no negative consequences. And we continue to consume the rot on our personal devices and in our own living rooms — and so do our children.
The perpetrators are prolific in their abuse. They live and breathe their monstrous behavior, attacking the innocent again and again. Many were victimized themselves as children, caught in a chain of abuse that never ends. Others consume materials designed to degrade and arouse and end up as evildoers, attempting to satiate their selfish sexual fantasies with innocent human flesh. We must put the guilty behind bars but also recognize that they will not change unless they are spiritually transformed.
For the victims and society as a whole, only when we fall to our knees and ask for God’s help will we begin to heal. Only when we seek His wisdom will we treat others with the respect they deserve — as people made in the very image of this same Almighty God.
God longs to rescue us. In Psalm 34:18 we are taught: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 147:3 again reminds us: “God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Isaiah speaks of the mercy of Jesus in chapter 61: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
Jesus verified and demonstrated many times that he can make us “more than conquerors.” Luke 4:18-19 is but one passage that proclaims the powerful victory over evil that is ours through Christ: “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. And recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
We are given specific instructions in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 in how our nation can be saved, and it all starts with Christians: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Will 2018 be the year of the Lord’s favor and freedom from oppression for our nation? It all depends on our response to His call.
Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.