When I heard this quote by Derek Minor, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement as I vibed to his “I Have A Dream” track from his newly released “The Trap” album. But I was instantly filled with conviction because the #MeTooMovement exists today because of people like me.
Growing up, when I wanted to express my feelings towards a girl I was interested in, rather than saying so with my words I would do so with my hands. This was a disrespectful, carnal and an immature way of thinking as I followed “the futile way of life inherited from my forefathers” (1 Pet. 1:18), looking at women as objects of my lusts rather than people to be loved and respected.
So when I heard about the 8 hour funeral for “The Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, I was struck with much grief when I saw how the Bishop presiding over the funeral inappropriately fondled singer Ariana Grande.
This hurts me for 3 reasons:
- The pain inflicted on the victim
- The fact that I am Bishop Charles Ellis III
- The shame this brings to the Church
Looking throughout the Scriptures, we can see man’s predatorial ways towards women in stories of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob who was raped by Shechem (Gen. 34:1-7), the story of the Levite’s concubine who was raped, left for dead and body dismembered and dispersed throughout the land (Judges 19:25-30), the infamous story of David and Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11-12) and Amnon and Tamar, in which Amnon raped his own sister due to his lustful obsession (2 Sam. 13). These are stories we see on the news all of the time and with the rise of the #MeTooMovement these things are being revealed on a greater scale.
The world could literally see the discomfort in the face and body of the singer as she was being groped by the Bishop, and yet people will highlight her attire over this sin committed against her. This too is an all-to-common-logic where the victim is blamed rather than responsibility laid upon the culprit. After releasing “God is a Woman” I sincerely hope and pray that the true God of Israel will grant her repentance, save and give her peace.
I am unable to feel the pain of anyone who has been abused but I know the mind of an abuser. In the story of Dinah the daughter of Jacob, she was raped by a man whom the Scriptures say “loved her and spoke tenderly to her” (Gen. 34:3), but we know from the story of Amnon and Tamar that lust and love are not one in the same; strong desire does not mean love. True love does not lead to rape, but rather, the Apostle Paul lays out the fruit of love in 1 Corinthians 13 where he says “love is patient and kind” among other things. Bishop Ellis did not love his neighbor that day and we are all guilty of that exact thing when we use people made in the image of God to carry out our lustful passions. I have no way of knowing how Bishop Ellis truly feels, but I pray that the God of Heaven may grant him repentance and restoration.
Lastly, it is acts such as these that bring shame to the Church of Christ. No matter what, the world will look at this situation and shake its head due to the moral failure of a professing man of God. These are things we as the Church must consider when it comes to our sins, they do not just affect us personally, it profanes the name of God who is Jealous for His glory. King David, who was to represent God to the nations instead had “given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2 Sam. 12:14). The fact that Bishop Ellis has done this as well as many others (including myself) shows that humanity is in great need of a Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for the abused and the abuser. His grace is greater than all of our sins, His Blood washes away the darkest stains and He will joyfully present those who trust in Him alone for salvation blameless before Almighty God on that Great Day. As zealous as we may be for the attributes of God, all the more may we be zealous for His glory by way of conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:27, 1 Thess. 2:12).