Fallen Heroes

As you already know, I’m doing a series for a few weeks on “Great Heroes of the Faith”.  Last week I started with a missionary who gave her life, talents and heart to Japan.

This week I want to talk about a recently ‘fallen’ hero.  As you may have picked up, this blog is often more about me processing stuff than any inspired thought which might be of any benefit to you.  I thank you for your patience.

So if you’ve never heard of Ravi Zacharias, you have now.

Ravi has often been labeled one of the best Christian Apologists of our times. His book “Walking from East to West” made me want to have a ‘do over’ on my entire missionary career, just based on the insights he had on Eastern thought vs our Western ways.

I listen to his sermons most mornings as I walk on the treadmill and come off it both physically and spiritually invigorated.  I pass on his quotes to people I don’t even know on the train……. that’s how much he has influenced me.

And now, a year after his untimely death at 73, the ‘reveals’ have started happening.  At first no one believed it, but more and more so-called ‘proof’ has surfaced, verifying that he had made some inappropriate moves on some of his massage therapists. The independent investigation has been published on Google, and I believe none of those ‘moves’ were reciprocated, but still ……. I stopped reading after awhile because it made me so reviled.

His huge organization, RZMin, either didn’t know or kept it swept under the rug, as in a single case that surfaced in 2017.  You know the drill, as every high person seems to go thru this lately from presidents to lowly preachers with chronic back pain.

I’ve spent a few weeks denying that this could have even happened.  Especially to one of my heroes!  When I was young and more naive, I cried when someone fell, and believe me, in a mission as large as ours, there were a few.  But now I’ve lived a little longer in this broken world so that now I’m somewhere between that original naivety of youth and the old crones who sit back and snarl, “I knew it!!”

I’m beginning to think the following about Ravi. I welcome your comments to tell me if you agree with how I feel, or if I need to go back and take up crying again.

We live in a fallen world.  Why wouldn’t Satan take extra time with a man who was/is influencing so many?  I heard somewhere recently that temptation isn’t the sin, but giving in to temptation is. It may be of some comfort to remember that Jesus was the only one who actually was able to completely resist temptation.

But then there are my Bible heroes.  David went up on the rooftop. Moses hit the rock in anger. Lots daughters did some pretty weird stuff …… the list goes on.  RVMin, in their expansive public apology asks forgiveness for not building in enough ‘accountability’ in their organization, particularly pertaining to the founder himself.  We missionaries all know the patented “Billy Graham Rule” where no one is ever alone with a member of the opposite sex while working at the ministry, apart from their spouse. I believe this has been ‘upgraded’ to the Mike Pence Rule because of his adherence to it as well.  This is not so much for the participant’s protection but unfortunately for what the media of today can do with it. They say as he lay dying, Billy Graham always had two round the clock nurses on duty.

I want to make excuses for Ravi; after all, he was raised Hindu before his conversion as a young adult and we can click our evangelical tongues and say we all know those guys have no morals, but seriously, what we’re taught as a child does have ramifications.  And there’s Billy Graham and his insistence that, “Sin is Sin”. That means making rude suggestions to women is sin. I don’t want to let him off by saying, “Boys will be boys”, because what he did was wrong. But I also think there are other equally sinful sins out there. For example, is this any better or worse than overeating, smoking, or involvement in anything that harms your body? No.  Sin is sin, and it doesn’t come in a prioritized list.

But I prefer my husband’s standard reply to all the juicy gossip I bring home, usually with the comment that, “I wonder if …. such and such”.  His answer is always the same.  “This person will stand before God and HE is the only one who knows what really happened, so you don’t need to worry about it.

King David wrote some beautiful psalms, some of them undoubtedly growing out of the grief of sin he so often brought on himself.

I think Ravi’s preaching and teaching will live on, and some of us will try to get past this besmirching.

Ravi will still and always be a hero for me. Not for the last things he did, but for the inspired teaching that came from him over the years before. I may have to give him a rest for awhile till I forget the hurt, but I’ll go back.

Next week we’ll reach out further to some really old heroes who started out bad and turned out good!!  But then the media didn’t exist back then, so as Tony said, “Only God Knows”.

Have a good week!

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