Every day there seems to be another sexual harassment, sexual abuse or sexual misconduct allegation coming out against a celebrity or politician. In the last two months prominent names such as Harry Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Ben Affleck, Mark Halpern, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer have been accused of inappropriate behaviors and more. Jobs have been lost and careers shattered. Some believe this is just a blip on the media feeding frenzy screen while others think it is just the tip of the iceberg. I am sure there are a whole host of men (and women) who are shaking in their boots waiting for the next shoe to drop.
There is nothing new about sexual harassment or abuse, in particular against women. (Although more and more men are coming forward with similar stories). And even though there are times when people are falsely accused, (this too has been happening for a very long time …Just check out the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39), I am glad that these people are coming forward and speaking out. These things need to come to light if there is to be healing, change and transformation.
As we enter this Advent season I will be starting a series entitled “God’s Girls”. It will look at four of the five women who are mentioned or alluded to in the genealogy of Jesus that is written in Matthew chapter one. Most people don’t like to read through “who begat whom” (as per the King James) and find it boring and repetitive. And much of it is. But when you take a close look at this recording of family history it is astounding that four women would even be mentioned. Three of the four (Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba) acted in ways that we would consider quite ungodly. Tamar pretended to be a prostitute to have sexual relations with her father-in-law. Rahab didn’t pretend to be a prostitute, she just was one. And Bathsheba committed adultery against her husband when she slept with King David.
In the ancient Mid-East it was a man’s world and women had a very minimal role. They were used to work the fields, have babies (preferably boys) and raise them to become men or young girls to be married off. But God never sees women that way. He never minimizes them or objectifies them. He never devalues them or obscures them. As you read the Scriptures you see that God raises women up even when the male dominated society knocked them down. Perhaps if our society held a more godly view of women and of sexuality, we would not be in the mess we find ourselves in today.
God uses the most unlikely people to accomplish His will in the most unexpected of ways. Each of the women who we highlight in the “God’s Girls” Advent series has a story. It is more than the label they are given, it is more than the behaviors they engaged in. Each of their lives are important and have significance and they are redeemed by the love of God. And that is a message of hope. Each one of us is under the same grace and love of God who will take our stories and make them signs of hope and inspiration.
You may not think that your life is worthy of God’s love and in a sense you would be right. But His love is not based on our worthiness. His love is given unconditionally and without measure so that the Apostle Paul could write: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8). May I add…”While we were still sinners, Christ was born for us.” We are not loved because we are sinners and we are not loved because we are holy. We are simply loved because God is love and that is why He came to live with us.
This season of Advent may we know that our stories matter. That we matter. And that other’s matter too. Nobody is an object to be used; we are all people needing to be loved and to give love to others. The Christmas message needed today is that godly, Christ-centered love is the hope of the world.
What do you think? How does it make you feel?