Harvey Weinstein. Didn’t know the man, and never paid much attention to his role as a Hollywood power broker. But once the #metoo stories started emerging in the public’s consciousness, we all learned of his serial predatory attacks on women trying to advance their professional careers. We all learned of the destructive scars he inflicted on women.
Powerful men (and some women) are now under the public klieg lights where everyone can see and hold them accountable for their treatment of their subordinates. This is a good thing. Let’s not fool ourselves–at its core, sexual harassment is abuse of power.
A similar revolution is happening in the church. Influential pastors, priests, and church leaders must now face up to the pain they inflict on vulnerable members of their staff and people in their congregations.
Please understand, I am not gloating or finding pleasure in the downfall of these people. If anything, it is forcing me to renew my efforts to live with integrity before God and others. It is causing me to remember Scriptures’ encouragement to “Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters (I Timothy 5:2 NLT).”
This moment is also a time of righteous anger. Things hidden are now coming to light. Past wrongs and abuses are now being exposed and dealt with.
But I also believe this is a critical moment in our history to teach young men and young women what it means to respect the inherent dignity and worth of others. This means moving beyond the anger to redemption. Use this point in our history to teach young men and women how to treat and honor each other. Use this moment to teach others that power must be used to build up and not to break down.
It’s time we stop treating women as second-class citizens.
For over thirty-five years, my mother worked as a pharmacist in a public hospital. She endured put-downs, unequal pay, and sexual harassment from doctors and other men at the hospital. Back then, she couldn’t do anything to stop this mistreatment. It was status quo back then if she wanted to keep her job.
She’s ninety-one years old and her working days are long gone. But women like her endured the male predators of the workplace to make things easier for my millennial daughter who is a few years into her professional life.
I pray that the young women and men in our workspaces–religious or marketplace– will be treated as valuable professionals and not as objects of lust.
For this to happen it means that every pastor, leader, manager, professor, boss, must lift up in their settings the value of treating each other with utmost respect and dignity. Anyone failing to live up to this value should be seriously reprimanded or fired.
What do you think?