BY MICHELLE WILLIAMS, GRACE ATTENDER
Why does this feel wrong?
I’ve grappled with this question for over 2 years now. From the perspective of a woman, I catch myself feeling like a traitor for even whispering that question silently to myself. I know that victims of sexual assault, abuse, and misconduct deserve support, justice, and love—I get that, and I wholeheartedly agree. Each time I see yet another story in the news about a sexually-motivated injustice, my heart breaks for this tremendous pain, much as God’s does.
At the same time that I pray the victims’ pain would be healed, I still find myself struggling with an odd sense of imbalance each time a new story hits the focus of the public eye. Communication technologies have enabled a greater awakening of awareness about injustice—and that’s good. On one hand, I want victims to have their voices heard to promote healing. But on the other hand, something about the subsequent distribution and handling of these stories has felt wrong to me for a long time. When you see how some people use this information on social media platforms, you can see how these technologies make it frighteningly easy to incite a massive angry mob.
After the past weekend’s sermon and seeing a familiar name pop up in the Google trending search terms this morning, a connection clicked. Massive angry mobs don’t spread the light of Jesus. That’s the source of the discomfort that I believe is the stirring of the Holy Spirit.
Angry mobs can be seductive because they often carry the torch of a just cause—but it’s not necessarily the light of Jesus. Jesus never called for an angry mob to follow Him. “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Matthew 26:52
Instead, Jesus fostered a group of committed, contemplative individuals to spread His peace. He never claimed that following Him would be easy, and He most certainly promised that following Him would bring persecution.
Let’s ask the question, “What Jesus would do if His friend was exposed for committing a sexually-motivated injustice?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:31-32
If we are to follow Jesus, we don’t join the angry mob. There’s no grace in an angry mob. When someone we know and love falls ill with sin or loses the path, we come alongside them and point them back toward Jesus to extend them grace. God’s grace is the redemptive and transformational medicine that Jesus offers to sick people. We may be persecuted by the angry mob for not abandoning our sick friends, and so be it. That’s the cost of keeping pace with Jesus and spreading His light.
Whenever you find yourself in the company of a sick friend, remember to be a source of Jesus’ light for them. This is how we love Jesus and thank Him for His sacrifice.