Lauer, Cosby, Clinton—a Proper Response

Hardly a week passes that someone’s champion doesn’t fall.

Hardly a week goes by that a well-known man won’t keep his hands to himself, his zipper firmly secured in the up position.

The higher profile the better. The more firmly entrenched in a definitive camp—liberal, conservative, Christian, entertainment—the better, the more appealing as a juicy target for his adversaries.

Matt Lauer was the latest casualty, if we can call a man who commits sexual harassment a victim. Reports surfaced Wednesday of a pattern of misconduct. He presented a colleague with a sex toy including a note detailing how he’d like to use it on her. He summoned another female colleague to his office and dropped his pants exposing himself at which point, he reprimanded her for not acting. He led an office game of “f___, kill, or marry.” Surprising behavior from NBC’s crown jewel who commanded a $25 million annual salary. NBC immediately dismissed the star.

Ironically, last September, Lauer grilled disgraced and fired Fox News host, Bill O’Reilly over his sexual misconduct. “You were the guy that the ratings and the revenue was built on,” said Lauer. “Doesn’t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given some evidence that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?”

They are not alone. More than 50 women have made accusations against Bill Cosby, that bastion of familial paternity. Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are the most recent culprits from the entertainment industry. Politics seems a particularly fertile breeding ground for this sort of debauchery. Former President Clinton was/is a notorious philanderer. Disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a minor. Several women accused even former President George H.W. Bush, at 93, of inappropriate contact.

Despite our nation’s earnest efforts to curb it, improper use or intended improper use of the penis is more a problem now than ever.

Collectively, we ought to thoroughly investigate every allegation. The culprit, if proven guilty in a court of law vice the court of public opinion, ought to receive justice. The accuser, if proven false, ought to receive a measure of justice.

These incidents lead us to draw two very necessary conclusions.

1. All Men Are Fallible

At the Command and General Staff College years ago, a classroom discussion turned to General Petraeus. At the time, he had commanded Fort Leavenworth, rewritten the Army’s counterinsurgency doctrine, and been assigned the unenviable task of righting the ship in Iraq. No mean feat, but he pulled it off. His star continued its ascent.

Several of my classmates had worked for him, and they exhorted his work ethic and his brilliance. “Where is the chink in this guy’s armor?” our instructor asked.

Enter Paula Broadwell.

Petraeus succumbed to a common temptation, an extra-marital affair. As his dalliance with his biographer became public, he resigned in disgrace. Her career was ruined. I know he was a general, but why did no one ever approach this man about spending so much time with a pretty, younger woman who was not his wife?

In all of this, we must be reminded of a fundamental truth, the fallibility of man.

All men are capable of sin, great sin, and all men, at some point, have a tendency or a propensity to sin. (Romans 3:10, 23) For many men, that tendency manifests itself in the desire to misuse the penis.

 “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” Psalm 146:3.

In Christ alone do we find salvation. In Christ alone do we find one worthy of our worship, worthy of being exalted. Instead, we elevate men, generate heroes and idols. Certainly, men exist worthy of honor and praise, worthy of being esteemed. I know many. Yet, when honor becomes worship, we’ve neglected the fallibility of man.

The unfortunate recipe combines fallibility with power, influence, and wealth. As many have a propensity to sin sexually and then are presented with numerous opportunities to satiate their lusts, why wouldn’t many fall? In military circles, the common and accurate statement is that leaders fall due to zipper, bottle, or money issues. My observations and experience have repeatedly affirmed the truth of this.

Only Christ fully mitigates this fallibility. The redeemed believer is equipped by the indwelling Holy Spirit, empowered to live a life of purity and holiness. Further, the proliferation of the common grace of the Gospel restrains even the unbelieving heart. Jesus was and is the greatest advocate for women ever and where Christ is preached, women are more cherished, protected, and honored.

Combine fallibility with power, influence, and wealth…add rampant godlessness and yet I ask again, why wouldn’t men fall in this regard?

2. I Am A Fallible Man

In the sixteenth century, John Bradford observed a group of prisoners being marched to the gallows. “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.” Aside from his reference to himself in the third person, his intent is to express humility, that only God’s sovereign hand could place him where he is. Were it not for God’s sovereign hand, he could just as easily be marching to the gallows.

His statement is a loose paraphrase of Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) It is the sovereign hand of God that shapes and molds me into what I am, not any intrinsic merit of my own. Apart from the grace of God, I am nothing but a miserable wretch.

Paul expresses the outworking of this mindset in the same letter. “Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.”

Such were some of you.

Maybe me.

Apart from the grace of God, the unmerited grace of God, I would still dwell in my sin.

When we scoff at Matt Lauer, when we rejoice at O’Reilly, or Weinstein, or Spacey and their predicaments, we forget that such were some of us, perhaps even you or me, apart from the grace of God.

We ought to condemn the sin, mourn it certainly, but refrain from any kind of haughtiness. Well I would never do this, that, and the other. Given the right circumstances, the right opportunity, the right exaltation, I think you would be surprised with what any man might be capable. Do you think Lauer ever thought it’d come to this?

Never mind that many men wallow in a litany of disparate sins, maybe just not sexual. How many gluttonous men scoff at the sexual fall of others? How many greedy men scoff at the sexual fall of others? How many idolatrous men jeer at their plight?

When you think that you have it licked, when you believe that you have a handle on your own sin, you walk in grave danger. We may never let complacency rule our conscience. We must never let our guard down or think that our willpower is sufficient. We must pursue Christ as He conforms us to His image, for His purposes. This is the proper response.

In response to the sins of so many, I am thus reminded that all men are fallible. In their weakness, I am reminded of my own. I am as fallible as they.

May this truth guide our hearts.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

The Giver, not the Gift

It’s the Giver, not so much the gift.

From the pages of Scripture, God calls us to, “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) What is God’s will for your live? To live a life of joy, prayer, and thankfulness.

The object of our thankfulness reveals much. The author of Hebrews exhorts, “Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” (Hebrews 12:28) Considering Jesus, we ought to be thankful for things eternal. We ought to be thankful for the Church, Heaven, God Himself, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

It’s the Giver, not the gift.

The Gift

We like the gift.

Last summer I inherited a cherry, ’89 Ford F-150. My wife’s grandfather bought it new and drove it around his little West Virginia town where he served as the town barber for fifty years. He drove it on fly-fishing excursions and after he passed several years ago, unbeknownst to me, my father-in-law had it restored, had a new engine installed, and drove it down to me. I was overcome with gratitude. I become a boss when I slide behind the wheel. Everywhere I go, it turns heads, catches eyes.

I should be thankful for this wonderful, uh, blessing. We thank God for our food before consuming a meal, and we should. We thank God for health, our families, our jobs, and we should.

But I hesitate to even use the word blessing, so twisted and perverted has it become.

To be clear, in sovereignty, all things come from God. I have a ’89 Ford F-150 because God decided that I should. I had my dinner tonight at the provision of God. My health, my job, my family: all come from God.

And we should be thankful for these things, these gifts, but…

The Gift is Transient, Fading

Twenty-three years ago, my father bought me an ’89 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200. It was a sweet ride, two-tone blue and grey. I quickly lowered the rear and installed a set of wicked drag pipes to ensure everyone knew I was coming and that it was appropriate to look at me.

On it, I became a rebel, a free spirit, an outlaw biker though the extent of my scoffing of the law probably involved driving a little more aggressive than I should have. I mean, I didn’t actually want to get in trouble, but my leather jacket and illegal, non-DOT-approved skull cap certainly generated an appropriate appearance. But, I loved my scooter, this gift from my father.

Today, it is no more. It exists only as a well-worn memory.

The gift always fades; it diminishes.

John assures us of the transient nature of all things. “And the world is passing away along with its desires.” (1 John 2:17) Isaiah affirms that, “The grass withers, the flowers fade.” (Isaiah 40:8) James confirms that our very lives are as a vapor, here today, gone tomorrow. (James 4:14)

In the end, all things will perish. One day in the not-too-distant future, Christ will return, bodily and in power, and He will set all things right. There will be a Resurrection and a Judgement, and all things will perish in the fire, the heavens and the earth. And there will be a new heaven and a new earth as Jesus sets all things right, for good. (Hebrews 12:25-27)

Nothing will last.

My cherry pickup will one day be a pile of rust. I may never have another meal after this one. I may rise to death tomorrow or the Lord may see fit to remove my family. Yes, we should be thankful for all these things, but we should understand a bitter truth learned by Job so long ago. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. (Job 1:21)

I Merit no Gift

Back to the blessings. I sometimes cringe when I hear people refer to the gifts given to us as blessings.

Yes, the Lord blesses us when He gives to us, but the failure occurs when we attach these blessings to merit.

Tyler Perry stood before T.D. Jakes’ congregation at The Potter’s House to inform them of his intent to donate $1 million. He was a giver, he informed the audience, and had been his whole life. “You see, when you have favor with…come on somebody,” as Perry pointed heavenward…as if man could earn or merit the favor of God.

Be not mistaken. God calls the believer to bear fruit, to live a life of holiness, purity, and obedience to Him. Yet, these works, done in the will of God, conformed to Christ, empowered of the Holy Spirit, though pleasing to God, merit no favor or special consideration.

I wonder, on what basis a man like Tyler Perry thinks his favor with God is based.

Is that why he has so much wealth, why God has chosen to bless him?

I wonder about the Christians in Africa slaughtered at the hand of Al Shabab. Where is their favor? Why didn’t they earn it? What did they do wrong? What about the martyrs, the countless number who’ve perished, often violently, at the hand of man purely because their faith? Did they merit no favor? Even the Apostles, the foundation of the Church—why did God’s favor not keep them from a martyrs’ death…well, maybe John merited favor as the sole Apostle not martyred on behalf of Christ.

God blesses, but He does so as He sees fit and not based upon any thing that we may have earned. This type of thinking inevitably leads to stratification based upon possession and inevitably a works-based salvation, both anathema to the word of God.

The True Gift

My two-year old son loves me, at least at first, because of what I give to him just like I loved my parents for what they gave to me, like a motorcycle. At some point though, a change occurs, a transition happens.

Though I am still thankful for all that my parents gave to me, I’m ever more thankful just that they are my parents. I pray that my son would feel the same at some point.

The true gift is the Giver, an unperishable, unshakeable, immoveable gift. I love the other gifts and cherish His blessings and thank Him for them daily, but with an understanding of an eternal truth.

It’s the Giver, not the gift.

My heavenly Father is the greatest reason I must be thankful this day. The Giver is the greatest gift I could ever have. My adoption as a son, my status as a sinner justified by His grace alone, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the anticipation of one day hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)

Let us be thankful this day for what matters most.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Fathers—The High Priests of Athletica

I witnessed a father in full performance of his priestly duties.

His son, maybe 8, was engaged on the wrestling mat in a bitter struggle coming down to the wire. He battled valiantly; his opponent refused to yield. Locked at the horns—manō y manō—the clock approached zero as the score remained tied.

“Step to the left! Hook the leg!” the father exhorted at which point the son looked toward him expectantly. The instant he turned to look, the opponent went on the offensive.

“NOT AT ME! LOOK AT HIM!”

The son recovered and successfully defended the attack. Thirty seconds.

“Shoot! Shoot!” The son looked to his High Priest once more and once more his opponent attacked.

“NOT AT ME! NOT AT ME!” This time, the son did not successfully defend and as the clock approached zero, the opponent finally turned him for a take-down. Two points! The crowd roared its approval. The priest wailed in agony as the buzzer sounded.

The boy hung his head in dejection as the referee raised his opponent’s hand in victory. The crowd cheered and as the applause abated, the High Priest’s voice reverberated across the gymnasium,

“YOU LOST BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH!” was his decisive proclamation.

An American Revival

In an excellent article in the Federalist, Heather Smith posits the existence of another religion which is usurping the traditional and historically central role of Christianity, the religion of Athletica.

She notes the absolute zeal and sacrifice that supplicants of Athletica place in their faith. They start discipling children from the youngest ages and she notes, “these disciples are willing to sacrifice almost limitlessly where their dedication to this faith is concerned.”

With absolute fervor, Athletica pervades in every area of its follower’s lives. Whereas most Christians reserve one hour a week for assembly, if that, members of Athletica gather nearly every singly day for several hours at a time. She observes that Christians compartmentalize activities into religious and non-religious while adherent of Athletica infuse their beliefs into every aspect of their lives.

“As Christianity fades in the West, dying from a desire to be like everything else except itself, Athletica has risen to the ascendance as the self-assured, pervasive cultural influence.”

Ouch.

The Priesthood

As insightful as the article was, Smith missed one aspect. Nothing happens by accident, especially the creation of a religion.

Every religion maintains a priesthood of some kind to steward and grow the faith, normally men who are well-practiced in the various aspects of whichever faith, men with zeal and tenacity. Normally the faith maintains a qualification or certification for the priesthood.

In Athletica, the father has assumed the role of High Priest with much effectiveness.

As Athletica has exploded across the nation, the High Priests of our nation have stewarded this revival and with intense discipleship, have ensured the continual expansion of the faith for the foreseeable future.

It was not until sons began showing up at my house that I was introduced to this priesthood. A few years ago, they started playing baseball and immediately, a member of the Order of the Diamond pulled me aside in exhortation, near rebuke.

“Your kids got a decent swing and is pretty coachable, but he needs some work,” he confided in a serious, hushed tone. “Here, take him here,” as he slipped me a business card.

It was a school for advanced skills, a “swing doctor”, whereby a priest skilled in the liturgical aspect of the bat-swing might impart his knowledge to my son, thus expanding his potential for future service in the priesthood.

“He’s ten,” I dryly offered.

“It’s not too late,” he assured me. I quietly pocketed the card and walked away, suddenly unsure.

Perhaps I was not doing my duties as the High Priest of my home…

A Founding Father

Marv Marinovich is to Athletica as Gameliel is to Judaism.

After an abbreviated NFL career, Al Davis hired him for the Oakland Raiders as one of the league’s first Strength and Conditioning coaches where he applied his knowledge of eastern bloc training methods to NFL football players.

However, it was his son that commanded his most zealous attention.

Todd Marinovich grew up under the strict discipleship of his father who was determined to raise him to the highest levels of the priesthood himself. His tutelage is the stuff of lore.

Marv forbid his pregnant wife from eating or consuming anything that was processed or manufactured, including any salt or sugar. At birth, Todd’s training began in earnest. He only consumed fresh vegetables, fruits, and raw, unprocessed milk. He teethed on frozen kidney. At one month, Marv began working on Todd’s physical conditioning. He stretched his hamstrings, learned pushups. He worked a medicine ball and a balance beam. Both activities became easier as Todd learned to walk.

As a young boy, he had never eaten a Big Mac or an Oreo. He took his own cake and ice cream to birthday parties. He ate homemade ketchup prepared with honey and was not allowed to watch cartoons, they were too violent, while being schooled in classical music and jazz, touring museums.

Marv brought in a team of priests to tutor Todd in football determined to school him in every aspect of the game. And it worked!

Todd Marinovich became a high school football legend, dominating the California record books. Sports Illustrated chronicles his exploits in “Bred to Be a Superstar,” which discussed Todd’s unique discipleship and his father’s quest to generate the “perfect quarterback”. They declared him “America’s first test-tube athlete”. Others called him “Robo QB”.

As a redshirt freshman at USC, he got his first start and was named the Collegiate Freshman of the Year. However, things had already begun to spiral. In high school, he developed a taste for marijuana and that continued into college. As the pressure mounted and his performance degraded, the wheels began to come off.

“I wouldn’t want to be Todd Marinovich.” – Todd Marinovich during his freshman year at USC.

After two years at USC, he actually made it into the pros but after three forgettable years in which he descended into the pit of partying and addiction, he was out of the league. The experiment was over. A string of legal issues followed. As recent as 2016, Todd Marinovich, the Robo QB, was arrested naked with drugs in a neighbor’s back yard.

I wonder what Marv Marinovich thought as he watched his son fall?

A Father’s Call

The father is the dominate player in a child’s life, even secular sociologists will acknowledge this. The father’s absence, the father’s presence, what he does or does not do is largely determinative and shockingly predictive of the future behavior of the child.

Fathers have abdicated, or are in the process of abdicating, their role in the church, in the home, and even in the defense of the nation. It is not shocking therefore, that we have a generation of men who don’t know how to be men. They’ve never been taught.
But what they have been taught, they cling to. Athletica.

Don’t hear me say that a father should not encourage his son on the fields of friendly strife, or coach him even. We should exhort them to excellence in whatever endeavor they pursue and you can learn invaluable lessons playing sports. I’m talking about focus and scale.

I also understand the temptation. I remember coaching a few years ago and I was beside myself as the team went winless week after week. I couldn’t understand it. I sank into a pit of depression. “They’re six,” my wife reminded me. I’ve actually had to step back from college football, my favorite sport, because I found that it tended to influence my mood in an unhealthy way. Ridiculous when you think about it.

I can’t help but wonder, what if men attacked true discipleship with the same tenacity, zeal, and enthusiasm as they do their priestly Athletica duties? What if we were concerned about our children’s spiritual health than their ERA? What if we were more concerned with their discipleship than their batting average? What if we were more concerned with their spiritual standing before the Lord that we were their win-loss record?

The most troubling aspect of this, as you peal the onion, is that many fathers are not concerned with these aspects of their son’s development because they themselves still walk in the darkness, blinded to their own sin and standing before the Lord.

This nation will go as far its men, its fathers, will take it. That is a fact, whether you agree with it or not. The great question remains, what will you do?

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Rape—What We Ought to Know

I am led to follow up my last article concerning the folly of teaching our young men to fight our young women, how this contributes to how men perceive women, their lack of regard for them, finding ultimate expression in the form of rape and sexual assault.

I received a number of responses and wanted to clarify and amplify some things.

Of a never-ending affliction

For those of us who have never been on the receiving end of a rape, it is impossible to codify or to understand the extent of the affliction. I am married to a survivor and I fail daily in taking this into account, into consideration. Rape and sexual assault afflict for life. It is always there, coloring feelings and emotions, dictating actions, under-girding thoughts.

For those of you married to a survivor, I urge you to be intentional in your consideration. Pastor Mark Gungor, in speaking on marriage, posits that the male brain is like a series of boxes whereas the female brain is like a series of circuits. For the woman, thoughts zap around the brain incessantly. They are all connected. They are all inter-related. The man has boxes. He goes to a box, opens it up, thinks on the subject, and then closes it up and moves onto whatever is next.

When I open the box of my wife’s assault (I cannot actually bring myself to say the appropriate words), I seethe with rage at the offender and am torn up with emotion and empathy for my wife. I long to hold her in my arms and cherish her and comfort her. I long for her to feel safe. Yet, inevitably I close the box and move on to the next. Without deliberate and intentional effort, I fail to factor this into my daily interaction as I must.

For those of us married to a survivor, intentional sensitivity and daily understanding must become routine thinking. Repent when you fail.

Of the culprit

Rape is the fullest expression of the curse from Genesis 3:16.

God declares to the woman, “Your desire shall be for your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

At first glance, at least the first half appears okay. Why wouldn’t we want a woman to desire her husband? Yet, language is decisive as the Hebrew portrays a usurping, a desire with intent to rule. The woman’s desire, from the curse is to usurp the man’s role and to rule over him.

In opposition, the man will rule over the woman in an ungodly manner. He will dominate her in an ungodly fashion.

It’s no coincidence that almost all sexual assault and domestic violence is committed by men against women.

The result of the Fall is that men and women exist at odds with one another. This oppositional construct has defined the interaction between the sexes ever since. The wickedness in the hearts of men as a manifestation of Original Sin yields the intent to assault, to take by force what God has reserved for marriage.

Of the victims

The victim is always the victim. Nothing justifies an assault. I fear that I may have unfairly portrayed the nature of sexual assault and its association with alcohol. No victim should ever be shamed for what she did or did not do, how she may have ‘provoked’ a man.

“It made me feel weak, empty, worthless, dirty and stupid,” said an unidentified Airman and victim of sexual assault. “Why couldn’t I stop him?”

A young lady, a friend of mine, shared her tale with me, a tale of assault from an older man. Only her refusal to succumb, her willingness to fight, allowed her to survive. Yet, stereotypes and corrupt leaders shamed and persecuted her to no end. She confided in me that these events still haunt her after 19 long years.

She did nothing to ‘deserve’ her assault. A wicked man with no regard for women did this to her. But the point is that no woman deserves an assault, no matter what she does, or how she conducts herself. 

I am led to clarify my stance on the Army SHARP program. I do believe we have made great strides in response to assault, in our support of the victim, and our prosecution of the offender. My frustration comes when that response is masqueraded as a solution. Our secular context forbids us address the true source of sexual assault, the lack of regard for women in the hearts of men.

And though alcohol and rape sometimes share a sordid coupling, we must refuse to allow that to color our support of any victim and our condemnation of the culprit, regardless of the circumstances. A thousand different situations yield similarly tragic results.

Of pragmatics

A recent internet video showed a young woman who was sick and tired of trying not to be raped. She and several other women displayed the various means they use—from whistles and pepper spray to routes and habits—whereby they minimize the risk of being raped.

Their point was, they shouldn’t have to do this. They shouldn’t have to go to these extremes to keep from being raped.

And they are correct. A woman should be able to dress how she likes, even scantily as she sees fit and is comfortable with (I’ll here resist the urge to advocate modesty). A woman should be able to go where she pleases. She should be able to drink and have a good time if she desires, without worrying about being assaulted. She should be able to become as intimate with a man as she desires and say “no” at any point and the man should stop immediately, respecting her desires.

Unfortunately, the wicked hearts of sinful men assure us of the fallacy of such a line of thinking.

We adopted my son Tevin from inner-city Memphis some time ago. After a court visit, we drove through his old neighborhood. In front of his old house, my wife wanted to get out and walk around.

“Woman, we ain’t getting out in this neighborhood.”

“Why not?”

“Baby, they don’t let white people walk around down here.”

“You’re crazy!”

At which point, Tevin leaned forward and resolutely affirmed, “They don’t let white people walk around down here.”

Now, this is America. I should be able to walk where I please. However, pragmatics and the sin of men necessitates prudence just like it necessitates prudence in the life of a woman, an unfortunate and sad reality of our fallen world. I jokingly (but not) exhort my daughters to stay away from the barracks.

On healing

Sin shattered the harmony between God and man, between man and woman, and between man and Creation. As man and women sit in opposition to one another, we require a Mediator. It is Christ who heals, Christ who reconciles. As He reconciles men to God, He likewise reconciles men to women.

Before Christ, I had only the faintest idea of what it meant to love my wife, that I should love her as Christ loved the Church. (Ephesians 5:25) Christ taught me that love is patient and kind, that it does not envy or boast, that it does not insist on its own way, that it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Only in Christ do I find the selflessness to honor my wife as she deserves.

It is the same for all men.

Christ is the biggest advocate of women that there ever was. It is only the society founded upon the Judeo-Christian ethic that properly esteems women. Absent Christ and the common grace of the Gospel, society drifts into domineering patriarchy. As our nation drifts further into godlessness, as the Gospel is preached less, as common grace diminishes, I fear for our collective women.

Dare I say that all women desire a godly man to honor and cherish them. Rape and sexual assault shatters that dream, betraying trust, breaking hearts, and resonating for a lifetime. This wickedness wounds deeper than I know.

Only one thing remains. It is the LORD alone who heals the brokenhearted and binds up our wounds. (Psalm 147:3) There is hope in Him. As a survivor or as someone who loves a survivor, would you turn to Him today?

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

%d bloggers like this: