I was on Twitter this week and found that mega-church Pastor Bill Hybels was accused of sexual misconduct.
Pushing for the investigation were two former teaching pastors and the wife of a longtime president of the Willow Creek Association, a nonprofit organization related to the church. Some of those pressing for more scrutiny say the church’s prior investigation had shortcomings in their opinion and at least three leaders of the association’s board resigned over what they believed was an insufficient inquiry.
Christianity Today posted an article and the first response was: "It's an accusation, not a fact. Let's believe the best until then."
On top of everything, it was a woman. I replied, "Why is believing the best exonerating Hybels and not sitting with the honesty of the accusers?"
The discussion went into the difference between the justice system and the system of grace. With woman after woman siding with Hybels and finding the #metoo movement to be wanting and the possibility of a man being subject to "evil women wanting to make a name for themselves and tear Christianity apart." (To be honest, there were quite a few women helping me argue this out, also!)
Of course, the temptation is put people on blast for these things--on Twitter or in real life. Why would a woman accusing a man be worse than a man assaulting a woman? Why is a man's sexual misconduct not the tearing apart of Christianity? So many questions. I really did my best to not be snarky. I couldn't keep it all out of my head because the last exchange was:
...blah blah blah...evil women out to get men...
response from Bryna: Way to blame the victims! No one wants to hear their story. Where is the support for them. Many of us know some of these claims first hand from those who have come forward. To infer that these are some evil women seeking vengeance is a horrible assumption.
me: Exactly! And especially since five people from his inner circle (men and women) are saying this. Hybels says they are colluding so his retirement is marred. ... Because that is exactly what your closest ministry partners plan to do.
If you can't tell. I did descend to sarcasm. But, I think I kept the most of the conversation pretty clean. Did I change hearts and minds? Maybe not. But someone should speak on behalf of those who are silenced. And we need to do it without descending into trashing others like the "evil women" were trashed.
Oh, but the temptation.
I pray that you will find a chance to speak truth and honesty while engaging from a fully human and compassionate level. Avoiding the temptation to trash the other.