The Gospel in #metoo

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This is heavy stuff.

Let me start by saying that sexual assault, harassment, or abuse of any form is always, always, always wrong.

I’ll be honest; I’m writing every single word of this post with a lump in my throat, teary eyes, and a churning stomach because this topic requires more sensitivity and gentleness than anything I have ever written.

I’m not writing this piece to join a movement, push an agenda against men, or because I think that a few feeble words will right the heartbreaking wrongs that so many women and men have endured at the hands of careless and corrupt sinners.

I’m writing this for the dozens of girls who have sat on my couch, with a shaky voice telling me, “I’ve never told anyone this, but…”
For the girl who collapsed in my arms, barely able to speak through tears as she told me about what a trusted family member did to her when she was a child.
For the girl who has struggled with addiction ever since the day she was molested.
For the girl who thought it was her fault.
For the girl who was never taught that sexual assault isn’t normal.
For the girl who almost didn’t marry the good guy because she felt unworthy.
For the girl who hates all men because of the terrible actions of one.
For the girl whose flashbacks keep her up at night.
For the girl who still thinks she deserved it.

I’m not writing this for the statistics, I’m writing this for the faces in my mind, the contacts in my phone, and the women I interact with every day.

Maybe I’m writing this for you.

Last week, hundreds of thousands of women spoke out against sexual harassment and assault of all kinds via social media platforms. By using the hashtag #metoo, they identified themselves as someone who has experienced sexual harassment, abuse, or rape, bringing light to an area of their lives that shame would tell them to keep in darkness.

Me too.

There’s an instant community found in those words, isn’t there? Even in light-hearted conversations, “me too” is a connection. It’s an affirmation that someone else in the world “gets” you; that your vulnerability is safe with them.  Whether we’re talking about something as simple as a preference or as weighty as abuse, “me too” tears down the facade of isolation with two sweet, comforting words.

 

…sweeter still, when whispered by a loving Savior.

In the darkest moments of our sin-stained lives, our first assumption is often that God is either cruel or that He is absent. We forget that when Jesus came to earth, He didn’t live a pain-free life. In fact, if anyone who ever lived could empathize with feeling used, abused, or abandoned, it’s Jesus.

What if the “me too” came from His mouth, instead of a stranger’s?

“You were abused? Me too.”

And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows. Mark 14:65

“You were cornered? Me too.”

So Judas consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. Luke 22:6

“You were abandoned? Me too.”

But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. Matthew 26:56 

“You were betrayed by someone you trusted? Me too.” 

But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. Luke 22:21

“You were exposed? Me too.”

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. Matthew 27:28

“You were treated with hate? Me too.”

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3

“You were hurt because of someone else’s sin? Me too.”

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

“You were oppressed? Me too.”

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,  yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,  and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  Isaiah 53:7

“You were wrongly accused? Me too.”

And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,  and there was no deceit in his mouth. Isaiah 53:9

“You had lies and rumors spread about you? Me too.”

Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,  but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. Matthew 26:59-60

“You were mocked? Me too.”

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. Luke 22:63.

“You were hit? Me too.”

When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” John 18:22

 

He knows. He understands. He’s been there.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” Isaiah 53:4

And He’s working to make all things right.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities;

Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and by His wounds, we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

Our wounds bring shame, isolation, and immense pain. He willingly stepped into that shame, isolation, and immense pain because His wounds heal. When He walked out of the grave, He defeated death and all that leads to it.

His resurrection is the promise that victory is real, and the One who holds that power is actively fighting to bring justice for His girls.

Posting a hashtag is brave. It brings comfort and community to many women who may have felt isolated in their pain. Hopefully, it brings light and awareness to a terrible thing that has been reduced to a sad normality. But sadly, a hashtag has its limits. It cannot undo the wrong. It cannot reverse time, restore innocence, or erase memories.

A hashtag cannot heal.

There is comfort in the #metoo. There is healing in knowing that the only One who has the power to restore, redeem, and make right knows what it feels like to walk where you’ve walked. No, friend. You are not alone. Your twitter feed can tell you that. But on those nights when hashtag comfort just isn’t enough, know this:

Your Savior is working to make all things right.

You, sweet girl, have the freedom to move past this. You are not defined by what happened to you, what was taken from you, or what emotional (or physical) scars you bear. Embracing healing and forgiveness is extremely counter-cultural, but you do not have to buy into the lie that forgiving the one that hurt you makes their sin excusable. It doesn’t. There is no excuse. Ever. Forgiveness acknowledges that all the wrath and anger toward sin was taken care of at the cross.

You can choose to let go, because Someone else chose not to.

“So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”

Hosea 12:6

“For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord…”

Jeremiah 31:11-12

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Taylor Hurlbert is originally from Lancaster, Pa, but currently resides in Upstate New York where she works as a Content Editor for Word of Life Fellowship, Inc.

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