Over the last couple days I've watched, with increasing sadness, as #MeToo began showing up regularly in my social media feeds. And I've watched the responses that have shown up - both in the comments and the blogs and articles it has prompted.
It's been an inescapable reminder of the brokennness of our world, of how lost we've become.
How did we get to a place where so many women have been sexually harassed or assaulted?
How did we get to a place where any of us could think this was acceptable or expected or normal?
What has happened to us?
I don't want this post to be just another one that jumps on with everyone else. I don't want to just repeat what I've read elsewhere. But, I've also realized this is something where I can't just stay quiet. This is something that hits far too close to home for me.
I'm not going to share personal experiences or stories here. That's not what compelled me to write this. If we take the time to read any of the posts shared in the last few days, we can all see pretty clearly what the issue is here.
As I've read these posts, I've wondered about whether these people sharing this have any places in their lives where they have or where they could talk about it. Ir is social media the only place they feel they have to turn?
I firmly believe the church should be one of the safest places to turn with this kind of pain. But, far too often, it's not. Far too often our response actually just causes more pain.
Instead of the love and care they so desperately need, we offer judgement and condemnation.
Instead of the listening ear they need to know they're not alone, we rush to offer solutions for how to move on or how to keep it from happening again.
Instead of just believing their stories, we look for things they could have done differently.
But, we don't have to continue this way. We can do something differently. We offer the love of Christ to those in our circles who have spoken up. Many of those who have shared are already in our churches, in our social circles. We have connections to them.
It could be easy to get overwhelmed by the size of the issue. We see how big the problem is and we end up paralyzed because we feel so small in comparison. The result is that nothing changes.
But, if we all did what we could in our own spheres of influence, we would have a bigger impact than we can envision. Start where you are at. When you see or hear something that's not right, say something. Our silence is essentially approval. Speak up.
If someone shares their experience with you, listen. Don't try to find an answer or a solution. Listen and love them first. Then offer help and things that could be done. But, whatever you do, don't skip the listening first.
Start where you are.
That changes everything.