First things first: this is not a political post. After the most recent debate, I think I’ve had enough of politics to for a while. This is a post, however, about “locker room talk,” something we’ve heard much about over the past several days.
To objectify a woman … to reduce her to an object for sexual gratification … to use power, position, or authority in any way to take advantage a woman … to demean a woman with words, thoughts, or actions … to be caught saying something horrific behind someone’s back … to lie … it’s all wrong. It’s selfish. It’s repulsive. It’s sin. And it’s, at times, what I have done.
You see, if I’m being honest, there have been times in my life when I have looked at women with lust. Any time I have done so, I have reduced a woman to an object. Lust dehumanizes. It objectifies. It takes someone made in the image of God and reduces that person to an image for sexual gratification. My heart breaks over the fact that there have been times when I have done this in my life.
If I’m being honest, there have been times when I have talked very badly about people behind their back. I’ve made fun of people. I’ve gossiped. I’ve allowed my anger to get the best of me. I’ve used my words to beat up another person and they didn’t even know it. I grieve over the fact that the reason those types of things have come out of my mouth is because those types of things were finding a home in my heart.
The words of Donald Trump horrified me and yet they also reminded me that there have been many things that I have thought or many things that I have said that would cause me great shame if they were ever brought in to the open. I think we all have a tendency to “hide.” That goes all the way back to the beginning. Genesis 2 tells us that Adam and Eve were in perfect relationship with each other and with God … they were both naked and they felt no shame. But, then in Genesis 3 we see sin and brokenness enter our world. Their private world had now become public and, both Adam and Even immediately hid. As God searched for them in the Garden, He called out “Where are you?” Adam answered “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Exposure created a sense of fear. And, where fear is found, shame is not far behind.
So, we keep our sinful thoughts hidden. We keep our sinful words private. We keep our deepest fears secret. It’s easy to think that as long as those things are not public, we’re OK. But, the truth is that our sinful thoughts, our sinful words, our deepest fears … they’ve all been made public on the cross. You see, the cross just points out what nobody likes to admit it … the fact that you and I don’t have it all together. There are times I find myself thinking things I know are absolutely wrong … there are times I find myself saying things that are absolutely sin … there are times I find myself doing things that I wish I didn’t do. Now, I can deny it, but reality will eventually catch up with me. I can try to hide it by comparing myself to someone else who is worse and say, “Well, I’m certainly not perfect, but at least I’m not THAT bad.” But, that doesn’t deny the fact that there is probably someone else out there who is “better” than I am and maybe they are comparing themselves to me and feeling pretty darn good about themselves! Or, I can admit my need for grace. What leads us to freedom and transformation is the ongoing reminder of our need for grace. I can hide my struggles, but when I do I hide from grace.
I know I’m not alone in this. In Romans 7:15 – 19 and 24, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway … Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The freedom Jesus offers is the freedom to stop pretending we are anything but a sinner in need of a Savior. In other words, when I trust in Jesus’ accomplishment and not my own, Jesus’ strength and not my own, Jesus’ track record, not my own … my lustful thoughts, my sinful words, my selfish actions aren’t just outed, they’re forgiven. This is grace.
So, as horrified and offended as I was by the words of Donald Trump, I was reminded once again of the grace I have been shown and my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. I am not guiltless, but I’m no longer guilty. Thank You, Jesus!