‘Me Too’ … but God! | Faith
by The Press and Standard | October 7, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 3, 2018 at 9:31 am
Over the past several years, especially more recently, there has been an outcry of sexual harassment and molestation allegations across the nation, from the workplace, schools, parties, even to the church. The magnitude this issue has reached shows that it has become a dark spot in our nation’s history and must be dealt with in its proper prospective.
It doesn’t matter who, what, when, where, how or why. “No” means no.
The Bible clearly speaks against sexual immorality.
Paul’s epistle states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21 ESV).
There is no question about it, so why put a “question mark” where God has already put a “period”?
Further, taking advantage sexually of young children and teenagers is an abomination. Children are a blessing from God and are not meant to be harmed in any way. Look at what Jesus said about children in Luke 9:48 (ESV): “And said to them, ‘Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.’”
Jesus gave a stern warning about bringing harm to children and leading them astray in Matthew 18:6 (ESV): “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Taking advantage of a child can ruin him for life. When I see and hear stories about such, my heart grieves for them because as adults, we have a responsibility to take care of and guide children, not harm them. Many times when women are sexually harassed or molested, they will not tell because of the shame and also because they feel they will not be believed. In other cases, they are so frightened, depending on their age, that they just don’t know what to do. Further, some victims feel that they will be told that they asked for it as some have been told this.
If I may, let me share my “Me Too” story with you. My aim, as always, is that it will help somebody to open up and release the pain inside.
While I was growing up, especially in church, I naively trusted all adults because I did not see bad things happen to cause me not to trust any of them. Consequently, I had two situations to happen to me that opened my eyes clearly to the fact that all adults could not be trusted. I even remember what I was wearing. Needless to say, I was “well-covered” and properly dressed because my grandmothers and my parents were very strict about what we wore, especially the girls.
When I was in third grade, some of my cousins and I went to visit a couple from our church. Sometimes, the husband would set us on his lap and tell us stories or just say funny things to make us laugh. There was never any reason to feel anything would go wrong. On this particular day, he set me on his lap and started to tell me a story. He turned me on his lap toward the door as my cousins’ and his wife’s focus was elsewhere. As the storytelling continued, he began to touch me inappropriately.
Even though adults’ discussion of the topic of *** with us when we were children was practically taboo in our community, we knew when it was wrong. I got so scared that I jumped off his lap and ran home as fast as I could. My heart was racing inside so fast that I literally thought I was going to run completely out of breath.
My cousins came home shortly thereafter, and they wanted to know why I left and ran so fast without them. I said something to them to take the attention off why I really ran. They kept asking, but I would not reveal the reason. Finally, the subject was dropped.
I did not tell anyone because I was so frightened and did not know what to do. I never told my family or the man’s wife. I just stayed away from him and made sure that I was never alone with him.
Then there was another man from my church who tried to take advantage of me. I was in the fifth grade. This time I was alone. Letting children go places alone when I was growing up was commonplace because there were always little old ladies sitting on their front porches. We felt as though they were keeping a vigilant eye out for us to make sure we did not get into trouble or so that no one would bother us.
My grandmother sent me downtown to get some things for her from the store. As I was headed back home, I had to pass A&P Grocery Store. I saw this man from our church who I had known ever since I was old enough to know myself. He asked me if I was headed home. I said, “Yes sir, Mr. …” He went on to tell me that his wife had sent him to the store to get her a bell pepper, so he would be back out of the store in just a few minutes. Then he told me that I could go ahead to his car, and he would give me a ride home. I never thought of any harm he would do to me because all of my cousins, my grandmother, and I had ridden with him, and sometimes his wife, to church and other places within the community. So I went ahead and sat in the car and waited for him.
Finally, he came to the car, cranked it up, and proceeded to take me home. As we got closer to the traffic light, I noticed he got into the lane on the right, instead of the turn lane to go left on Lemacks Street. I started to get scared because that was not the way to where I lived. I asked him why were we going in another direction. He told me not to get scared, but I did. Then he asked me if I could use $10. Frightened half to death, I said to him, “I guess anybody can use money, but please take me home.” He went on to say that he wanted to ride a little farther with me.
Trembling, I begged him to take me home. Finally, he honored my wish and told me that the next time, he wanted me to ride a little bit farther with him. (Silently, in my mind, I was saying, “If I get out of this car today, there will be no next time.”) I wouldn’t say anything because at that point, I was too scared to talk. As he finally made the correct turn and headed to take me home, he said, “Don’t tell your grandmother on me. You wouldn’t want to see me in jail, would you?” I frantically said, “No sir, Mr. …; I wouldn’t want to see you in jail. I’m not going to tell!”
When we reached my maternal grandmother’s house, I jumped out of this “dirty” old man’s car and flew up the steps. My parents were at the house as well. I ran into my grandmother’s bedroom and told her everything that was said and that had taken place. She called my parents into her room and told them everything that I had told her. Needless to say, anger ripped through my grandmother’s house like wildfire.
During those days, some people in my neighborhood tried to settle differences with others on their own rather than involving the cops. My father and one of my uncles tried for six months to confront this man at his house or elsewhere, but he ducked and dodged them continually. As many times as they went to his house, neither he nor his wife would open the door. They were not going to approach him in the church because they knew God would not be pleased with that. Again, I made sure that I was never alone around him and would never talk to him anymore.
I could have allowed these two situations involving sexual immorality to destroy my life, but thank God, I was raised by a strong woman (my maternal grandmother) who would never let anyone take advantage of her in any way. She loved the Lord and served Him faithfully until her health failed. She instilled independence and a take-charge attitude in me, and I have never forgotten that. Further, my mother was equally strong-minded.
Anything adverse that has happened to me in my life, I have always used it to make me a stronger, better person. Further, it increased my faith in God and built up my confidence level.
This is why I can adamantly say, “Me Too”…but God!
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)