Our country has been reeling in the last several weeks and months over allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by various figures in Hollywood, Washington, and now in journalism. We wake up each day to new reports of another fallen idol of sorts. And while none of us actually sit at the feet of many of these characters, they all hold some sort of iconic place in our minds. Sadly, many of us are not shocked as new reports come forth and what is even sorrier is that we might become numb - as if we are at a new norm.
I have to admit I stopped watching the Today Show many years ago as my own life was falling apart and I felt I needed to fill my morning with something other repetitive news, recipes, and the latest fashions. I started watching what my kids call, "Mom's Jesus TV" - which is really just a few of my favorite preachers' Sunday broadcasts. So this morning, a friend texted to see if I had heard about Matt Lauer as the announcement was made that he was fired because a colleague came forth about sexual misconduct. I hadn't heard and when I returned home, I found the footage from this morning to watch.
Savannah Guthrie read the announcement carefully crafted by her NBC higher ups and very early on I could hear her voice break and crack with tears. She later said Matt was a good friend of hers and her heart broke for him and the colleague who bravely came forward. I admit I began to feel sorry for her as well. That was a hard boom to lower and whether or not you like NBC, Matt Lauer, or news media at all, it was heavy. Why is it so heavy even when we don't know these people intimately? Because sexual violation of any kind cuts us to the core more personally than any other sin. Regardless of its severity sexual sin strikes us all whether it be affairs, pornography, physical or emotional abuse - it's why the #metoo campaign on social media caught on faster than any mannequin challenge or ice bucket challenge. We've all been hurt - men and women, alike. God revealed our sensitive natures in the Book of Genesis by telling us the first thing Adam and Eve did after their first sin was to cover their nakedness. Isn't it interesting that even though their first sin had nothing to do with sex or their bodies, they sought to cover themselves immediately?
Savannah went off the teleprompter and mentioned briefly that they were all grappling with the question of how one reconciles deep love for a friend who could do something so wrong. What I would love to tell Savannah over a cup of hot coffee at my kitchen table is that the only way to do that is Jesus. Yes, it's that simple and that monumental at the same time. The one and only way to ever reconcile, forgive, and sometimes restore a relationship broken in such a vile way is understanding the love and forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ. As someone deeply hurt and tormented by the sexual sin of another, I could not muster understanding, forgiveness, or reconciliation on my own. It was only when I saw my own sins, understood the work of Jesus on the cross for me and received it fully for myself that I could offer any ounce of forgiveness to someone else and see that someone else as broken and sick. Jesus is the only reason it is possible to have compassion when hurt so deeply.
As I pondered all of this, I thought wouldn't it be something if all this mess going on in our country brought about a great revival? What if the vile nature of all of us and the hurt turned everyone to the Savior whose birth we celebrate next month? My friend posted a beautiful picture of Eve standing before a pregnant Mary in all her sin and shame. The artist depicted the idea that Jesus came to take that shame away from Eve and remove the cloaks of animals skins she so quickly fashioned to cover herself. Jesus came to remove not only the sin but the shame and pain that often come as result. While we all want to jump on the bandwagon and jeer all the perpetrators, we need to remember our Savior died for both the victims and the violators. That's a hard one to swallow but in all honesty, believing that and knowing that is the only way to stop wrestling and start restoring ourselves and our country.