As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12
As a country, we have recently seen a public outcry against sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. At the heart this is right, proper, and in keeping with goodness. We should seek to fight against a culture that enables such heinous actions, that protects those who act them out, that blames the victims. The #MeToo movement, at its heart, is noble, and I support it.
This article is not designed to refute claims of anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault nor to defend those who have committed such acts. Rather, this article is for me, for you, for the Church. This article is concerning Matthew 7:5:
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Morgan Freeman has been accused by multiple women of touching their skirts, touching their lower backs, making sexual comments about women’s bodies, and making sexual suggestions. And as a country the majority responded naturally: shock and heartbreak. Not only are we hurting alongside the women whom this was done to, but we are hurting because another Hollywood Icon has been brought low by accusations. True or False, Freeman’s legacy will be tarnished forever. In a country where innocence is presumed before proof, there is no going back from something like this in our modern context.
However, what was my wife’s reaction? “Whatever. Guys do that sort of stuff all the time in the workplace.”
My wife is friends with the majority of her coworkers, so she has been made numb to this behavior. And I imagine that is the case for either gender within a specific work place—the individuals become numb to this behavior despite it being crude and sinful. This numbness is a blight because it allows it to continue. But that could be an article entirely on its own… one I perhaps will write, or perhaps try to convince Christine, Rachel, Ricky, or Madelyn to write…
The point is that there tends to be two reactions, one is the common one cited above, the second is the one my wife has. But what was my reaction?
Well first, I experienced the shock and heartbreak. Selfishly I worried about how it was going to make me feel when I watched a Morgan Freeman movie again. Because of my OCD, would I have intrusive thoughts every time I watched the movie Going in Style? But then I moved past that thought, and remembered that innocence is granted to Mr. Freeman by being an American citizen. He must be proven guilty by a court before he is judged. Or at least that is how it is supposed to go. So, I am supposed to give him the benefit of the doubt…
But then I remembered that in our society, we are supposed to now believe the accusers, the alleged victims, first and before anything. That is the majority opinion. This prevents victim blaming, victim shaming, and allows their voices to be heard. But… innocent before proven guilty…
I was torn. I am always torn when it comes to these situations. What is the right thing to do?
Well, as a Christian, I actually have a very clear answer:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
Pair that with the opening verse of this article. You, me, everyone. And it is not just adultery; it is murder as well. Let us look at the verses that come right before the ones directly above:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:21-26
Sin begins in the mind. And this is not an excuse to then act it out, but rather it is to show us that we are depraved, sinful, and dead in our trespasses before we act out our thoughts, before we even utter a word. Mr. Freeman and I are equally guilty before God. Innocence is not the default in a Christian mindset; it is being guilty of sinning before God. All of us are murderers, adulterers, rapists, sexual harassers, etc. We are filthy and unclean, like used menstrual rags (cf. Isaiah 64:6)
Therefore, once I had time to sit down and think it through, to sift through the various opinions of the world, I said to myself that it is not surprising. Especially when you consider that Hollywood has been a hot bed of mental and physical depravity for a long, long time. It is a breeding ground for entitlement, for the acts of the mind to be carried out without fear. And it is for this reason I am glad that as a country we are starting to no longer tolerate it.
Though I would be remiss not to mention it is ironic that the majority of those Hollywood females, who are absolutely victims of crimes committed against them, while they are fighting for the right to feel safe in the workplace, to be free of having someone violate them, they are the same sort that fight against the rights of the unborn to be be safe and free of having someone murder them…(*)
So, while I am heartbroken still, for selfish sinful reasons (I won’t be able to view Mr. Freeman’s movies without thinking about it), and for the alleged victims, I am not shocked. Mankind is this way. And the only solution is in Christ Jesus Himself. Apart from Christ, there is not innocence, there is only guilt, decay, and death. And it hurts knowing that Mr. Freeman is not a Christian because he will not find true forgiveness for his sins without Christ. Without Christ, the alleged victims can never truly heal. Without Christ, Mr. Freeman will not be able to change.
And the same applies to me, to you, to everyone. We are all guilty of the same sins. And it is only in Christ that true healing, forgiveness, and new life can be found.
(*)It is hard to address these topics because they are interwoven; everything is connected. And by the very nature of who I am, as a Theologian, a Philosopher, and a writer, I tend to want to throw them all into the ring and connect them.
Post Script Update:
Even though Mr. Freeman apologized, that is not enough. It is not enough for the world because in his apology he failed to address his actions properly. Sexual harassment is not about one’s intentions specifically; it is about treating others as if they were an object, taking verbal and/or physical liberties not granted to you with another person. And it certainly is not enough for God, as Mr. Freeman did not repent of his behavior directly. But rather sought to excuse his behavior. Perhaps I am applying the Law too harshly. Perhaps not. Let me know in the comments.