I hesitate to even write about this topic but it seems avoidant to not even name the recent phenomena happening all around us. Every day when I turn on the news, another man in a position of power or celebrity has been accused of sexual misconduct of varying sorts and degrees. I won’t list the accused and their accusers. But I am very curious as to what is different now that the reaction appears to be less about blaming the victim and more about acknowledging the misconduct. Why now?
I’m not sure why now. What changed that we moved from a place of brushing under the rug or ignoring to firing prominent figures and shaming men for inappropriate and damaging behavior? As we have learned, all ages, colors, political affiliations, and levels of fame have participated in inappropriate behavior. The one common denominator is being in a position of power or authority.
I am thankful that I, personally, have experienced nothing more than a few off-hand or disrespectful sexist remarks along the way. Nothing that wounded me or that couldn’t be easily ignored. I feel lucky I couldn’t post the #metoo response from a month ago.
I know that God’s heart has been broken by these harmful behaviors. Ways in which we dishonor the body, dishonor women, dishonor the covenant of marriage, dishonor the workplace, and dishonor basic human decency and respect of one another. We can do better. We must do better.
I pray that this may be a reminder to people of faith everywhere that our ethical standards and measures matter. They are guides to keep us from harming ourselves or others. They are guides to lead us to celebrate life and God’s good gift of created men and women. They are guides for helping us as a society determine how we will treat one another, what is acceptable and what is not. That there are consequences when we choose to behave badly. And grace when we choose to repent.
Acknowledging that I don’t really have any answers and mostly observations and wonderment about what is happening, I do offer a prayer to ground our reflection spiritually. There’s a lot of hurt in our world. Prayer seems a holy and appropriate response.
Prayer for Healing for Victims of Abuse
Praise to you,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
source of all consolation and hope.
By your Son’s dying and rising
He remains our light in every darkness, our strength in every weakness.
Be the refuge and guardian
of all who suffer from abuse and violence. Comfort them and send healing
For their wounds of body, soul and spirit.
Rescue them from bitterness and shame and refresh them with your love.
Heal the brokenness in all victims of abuse, and revive the spirits of all who lament this sin.
Help us to follow Jesus
in drawing good from evil, life from death. Make us one with you in your love for justice as we deepen our respect
for the dignity of human life.
Giver of peace, make us one in celebrating your praise, both now and forever.
And amen. Be kind to one another.
Grace and Peace,