Pastor Harry Reeder: Why would we be surprised when culture lives out sexual sin it has promoted for years?
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Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to return to a story that we’ve talked about before, but the story gets bigger, and bigger and bigger. Towards the end of last week, more names have come out and more accusations have come out.
We’ve got the host of a major morning network television show – he’s been accused, he’s been fired. We have the head of Disney Animation, John Lasseter took a leave of absence after there were allegations toward him. Oliver Stone, Hollywood director, there are allegations against him. And now another lawmaker, John Conyers, there are allegations against him.
Harry, there is a tidal wave of women coming forward claiming sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Why is this all happening now?
DR. REEDER: I think it’s fair to note that the predominant accusations and revelations surround the world of power in politics, in the media. It’s pretty clear that those entities, which have focused their powers, and their skills and their abilities to promote the sexual revolution since the 1950s all the way into this century from the very halls of influence, now come some of the consequences back to them.
In this present eruption of accusations, there is the statement that this was unwanted advances. Those who are being accused are saying, “Well, I thought it was consensual. I thought it was wanted.” They probably thought it was wanted because they wanted to think it was wanted and so you have this environment in which one’s sexuality exists for gratification.
Well, the flimsy barrier of consent gets interpreted, reinterpreted and erased in just a moment. The reality is, any time you violate God’s law, then the judgment of that begins to be experienced immediately, not only the ultimate judgment such as when God brought destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah, but immediate judgments of shame and guilt and those things that occur in the life of someone.
Tom, when I sit down and deal with young couples who are on the verge of a marital breakup, Tom, it’s absolutely astounding how many times in the conversation we get back to the reality and the fact that they had premarital sex and the woman, in particular, is still to that day, ashamed and feels that she was taken advantage of.
The guy will say, “Well, I thought you consented,” and then we’ll have to go back and deal with that and bring the Gospel solutions of asking for forgiveness of the Lord and giving forgiveness to each other as you ask forgiveness of each other because you have sinned against them. Only then will we be able to rebuild the marriage to go back and deal with that.
Therefore, what you have is the reality of the shame and guilt that some women have been carrying now, in these cases, some are 20, some are 30, some are 40 years and it hasn’t disappeared.
With this current environment of cultural affirmation of women bringing their accusations back to those who had pursued them or forced themselves upon them and, now, there seems to be, “Oh, here is a way I can get rid of my shame and guilt,” and here is a way that they have to own what they did.
Certainly, I believe that all of this needs to be dealt with – it’s fine for it to be dealt with, it needs to be dealt with – but here’s what we need to understand: When you break God’s law, God’s law breaks you.
You can’t engage in sexual anarchy, you can’t engage in sexual promiscuity and sexual perversion without consequences and the first place the consequences are felt are in shame and guilt because of sexuality outside of the sacred bonds and boundaries of marriage.
Tom, let me make this as clear as I possibly can: Sexuality is a gift from God. It is a good gift, but only where God has designed it. Any time the idolatry of sexuality is embraced by a society, there will be the ramifications and judgments from sexually transmitted diseases, to broken hearts, to broken lives, to shame, to guilt, to all of those things that one feels.
These women have felt used. The amazing thing is that the corporate America that financed it, the political world that protected and promoted it, and the entertainment world that sold it, celebrated it and redefined it in terms that would make the unthinkable thinkable – and, once it’s thinkable, to become doable and then it will be acceptable – the fact that these people in power that were promoting that actually lived that out, somehow, we’re amazed.
Why would we be amazed? This is what the movies told us happiness was, this is what our children went to see, this is what our culture embraced and we are amazed that they actually lived out what they were selling by the song, by the movie, by the book, what they were approving legislatively and what they were financing from corporate America? Why would that amaze us?
The church of Jesus Christ not only needs to speak to the issue and the horrors of public sin, but we also need to deal with it in our own lives. We need to get back to Godly evangelism – what all of these people desperately need is to hear the Good News of forgiveness in Jesus Christ and even the power to forgive those who violated you because of what Jesus can do in your life and that needs to be proclaimed, that glorious Gospel that He will take you right where you are, He will forgive you, His blood was shed to forgive all of our sins and the very things that have destroyed your life can be removed in a whole new life in which our previous weaknesses and sin become strengths of His grace.
I’m not saying that people don’t need to pay for what they’ve done – that’s what the State needs to do and that is called justice. Getting justice will never remove the shame and the guilt for us, but there is a Savior who can remove it and even bring you above it and beyond it.
That becomes salt and light and it filters into society so that the entertainment industry – which, at one time, wouldn’t even show a couple getting into the same bed that was married in order not to bring temptation into the public square – with its unfettered celebration of sexual immorality and perversion, but if we, again, begin to announce that which is true in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe all that He has commanded – do not commit adultery, that sexuality belongs within marriage – if we did that, that would produce not only the light of truth that was proclaimed to society to restrain the darkness of evil, but it would also bring the salt of the Gospel so that the restraint upon sin would take place and that’s another way to love our neighbor.
“We want you to come to Christ, but we also do not want your life broken and we know a society is much more beneficial and inviting to live within when that society embraces Biblical morality.”
You’re seeing this eruption of, “I’ve been victimized. I’ve been the object of sexual gratification,” and it is so destructive to anyone’s life and, particularly, to these women who are speaking up.
And I want to pray for them, I want to ask God to be at work in their heart and, where justice needs to be established, let it be, but I want the transforming power of God’s grace to be brought to these ladies and then I want the truth of the Gospel to come to bear upon men as well as women to understand that there is a better way and that better way is to come to Christ and then, by His grace, have your life conform to His Word, and then know the joys of walking in obedience to Christ. That’s what I long to see and we, the church of Jesus Christ, that’s what we’re called to do.
Therefore, I call upon the courts to deal with these things rightly, but I call upon the church, “Let’s get back to evangelism and discipleship and, by God’s grace, having lives changed.”
He really changes your life and His good gifts can be enjoyed as he has given them to be enjoyed and, whether you eat, or drink or whatsoever you do, when you are walking in obedience to Christ through the Spirit of God, you can do it to the glory of God.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.