Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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"Avalanche." "Tsunami." "A cultural watershed moment." "A day of reckoning." Those are just some of the words the news used to describe the increasingly relentless accusations of sexual misconduct by powerful men. That quake has been shaking cultural epicenters of this country from Hollywood to corporate boardrooms to state capitals to the halls of Washington D.C.. And most observers believe this is only the tip of an iceberg.
The blizzard of revelations is new. Men using power to exploit someone sexually; sadly, that's not new. From athletes to politicians, from bosses to clergy sometimes. Tiger Woods outed an abuser's rationale when he went public with his extramarital relationships. He simply said, "Normal rules didn't apply...I felt like I was entitled."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Sex, Power, and Christmas."
There's the word. Entitled. The dictionary says entitlement is "the belief that one is inherently deserving of privilege or special treatment." "Privilege?" Like assuming the right to use power to dishonor or degrade a woman? No title, no favor, no authority can ever give a man that right.
From the time we guys are boys, we're raised on what I call the Male Conquest Myth. That a man proves his manhood by the sexual conquest of a woman. And it starts early. After one of our sons' first date, the guys at school had one question, "How much did you get off her?" In fact, we had just driven them to a movie and back.
For centuries, the Bible has presented a radically different proof of manhood. It is, in fact, about conquest. It says in Proverbs 16:33, "Better to have self-control than to conquer a city." So, a man proves he's a man, not by conquering a woman - but by conquering himself. His passions. His anger. His mouth. His dark side.
That's the battle one Bible author faced in our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 7. "I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't...there is another power that...makes me a slave to sin. Who will free me?" In his disgust with his own powerlessness to tame his dark side, he suddenly finds hope. He says, "Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ."
For 2,000 years, men who couldn't change did change. When they've turned to the Man who poured out His life on a cross to break the chains of human sin, and who proved His singular power by conquering death itself. If He has the power to walk out of His grave, there's nothing that conquers me that He can't conquer. In the midst of swimming in a cesspool of sex-and-power revelations over the past year or so, there is Christmas. The manger. The Baby.
And one of a thousand reasons I love and follow this Jesus. Because the most powerful Man who ever lived used it only to help, to heal, to save. Leaving behind, not a trail of wounded, exploited people, but powerless people lifted to full humanity. Lepers. Beggars. Women. Children. People kicked out of the "church."
Behind that silent night in Bethlehem was a stunning divine transaction. The Bible says, "Though He was God...He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being...He humbled Himself...and died a criminal's death on a cross" (Philippians 2:6-8).
In His own words, Jesus explained that He "came not to be served, but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). King of kings, the Bible calls Him. Lord of Lords. Prince of glory. Son of God. Birthed in a stable. Giving, never taking. Hanging on a cross to bring rebels against Him home.
In the midst of the crud, there is Christmas and the hope of a new beginning. Something pure. Something more powerful than the darkness. His name is Jesus. "His life brought light to everyone. (He is) the light that shines in the darkness." (John 1:4-5)
If you'd like to begin a relationship with Him, go to our website to find out how that can happen for you today. ANewStory.com.
For 2,000 years, "wise men" have ended their search at the feet of Jesus. We come with the chains of our own personal darkness. And we leave forever free.