Sexual Harassment

Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly – the very names of these very accomplished men have become linked to sexual harassment, a heinous act that these men callously did over and over again.

For the very few famous men who have been caught, there are many more silent situations where women and some men have been, and continue to be subjected to, unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

The deployable habits of these men, clergy, coaches, teachers, supervisors, and even presidents, who use positions of power, positions of trust, and positions of superior physical strength to impose their demented form of pleasure on others, is in no way condoned by God.

Many may be surprised that the word of God is not silent about the wrongness of sexual harassment, the evilness of sexual assault, and the depravity of rape. God makes it abundantly clear that when these malicious acts are committed, ultimately, they will not go unpunished.

In Genesis 34, when Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, was violated by the son of a neighboring ruler, her brothers murdered the rapist, killed his father, and all the men of his city out of revenge.

Joshua 19-21 tells the story of the unnamed concubine was gang-raped, and left for dead by men of the tribe of Benjamin. In hearing of this injustice, the other tribes went to war against them destroying houses and taking land.

After Tamar was raped by her half-brother Amnon, 2 Samuel 13 tells us that Tamar’s Brother, Absalom killed Amnon, and incited a rebellion against his father, King David.

God is grieved by sexual harassment, and all forms of injustice. While many have suffered and many more will suffer from sexual harassment, we, the disciples of Christ must know that God sees what is going on.

As we have seen in Scripture, these acts of evil will be avenged one day. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but hopefully in the lifetime of my Granddaughters. As Martin Luther King, Jr. would often say paraphrasing Amos 5:24 “Justice will roll down like waters,”
and righteousness will come like an ever-flowing stream.

In the meantime, as disciples of Christ we should consider doing these four things:

  1. Go to the Lord in prayer, and ask for healing for the victims, deliverance for those who are bound, and forgiveness for those who are the harassers.

  2. Demand zero tolerance for any acts of sexual harassment in our churches, our workplaces, our schools, and our lives.

  3. Search ourselves to identify any tendencies of sexual harassment, hate and bigotry, and when we find them, ask the Lord to blot them out.

  4. Speak out whenever we witness, or are victims of sexual harassment. “Me too” must become more than a hashtag. It must become the mantra for all our actions.

Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly – these are the names we know, but there are many more who we do not know. The past, and even our present may seem dark as allegations of sexual harassment continue to mount. However, we can take comfort that God is in control, and one day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess the evil acts of sexual harassment and that Jesus Christ is Lord!

He knew what he signed up for

“He knew what he signed up for,” is allegedly what President Trump said in a condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sargent Le David Johnson, a U.S. Special Forces soldier, who was killed alongside three other Americans, and four Nigerien troops during a surprise attack earlier this month near Niger’s border with Mali.

Regardless of how you may feel about the alleged remarks of the president, Jesus is clear about what we are signing up for when we make the decision to become a disciple.

In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus lays out the cost of discipleship. This includes discarding our possessions, putting aside our relationships with parents, siblings, children, and finally, even putting life itself on the line so that we can carry the cross of Christ.

Just as a builder will figure out the cost before embarking on a project, and a general will figure out the strength of troops before committing to battle, Jesus asks us to way the cost of discipleship.

In figuring the cost, there are some real question to be answered:

Do we trust Christ with our possessions?
Do we trust Christ with our parents, siblings and children?
Do we trust Christ with our lives?

In knowing what we signed up for we can take conform that that scripture states repeatedly that the Lord will provide.

Matthew 21:22 
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

1 John 5:14
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

Romans 10:13 
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

With less than 1% of the U.S. population in the military. Then less than 1% of the U.S. population are involved in the wars that we fight, and the battles that we wage.

We often forget that our fellow citizens are at war.
We often forget that our fellow citizens are fighting.
We often forget that our fellow citizens are dying.
We are doing all of this forgetting while we go about our daily lives with little to no knowledge of their sacrifices.

When we do think of our military, often we make them out as super hero’s to be honored at moments designed to make us, not them feel good. Like the arranged, surprised homecoming captured online designed to goes viral for all of us to see. Or when troops are shown standing tall at the playing of the Star Bangled Banner either at the stadium, or a live feed from some far away outpost. Or when soldiers are used as a convenient backdrop for the remarks of the Commander-in-Chief, who in recent years regardless of political party, has never served in uniform.

Our military the less than one 1% who are in harm’s way are people, with all the goodness and blemishes of life. They have good days and bad, excellent marriages and rocky ones. They love their parents, siblings, spouse, children, and significant others, just as we do. In other words, they are God’s loving creation just like us.

So today, as we go about our daily lives let us remember Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida and the other soldiers that died in that ambush.

Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio

and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia

As President Trump allegedly said, these men “knew what they signed up for.” And as cruel and as harsh as it may have sounded if the President said it he is right it is true.

The men and women of our armed forces know what they signed up for. What they signed up for was to serve their country, even it meant dying in that service.

Nevertheless, let us never take their service for granted, or make little of their tremendous sacrifice! To do so, demeans them, and shames all of us!

Jesus is asking us to know what we are signing up for in becoming a disciple, and what we are signing up for is to trust and serve the Lord.

So my fellow worshipers — Jesus in asking us today

Do you trust me to provide you with the possessions that you need and want?
Do you trust me to take care of your parents, siblings and children?
Do you trust me with everything — even your own life?

For when we do, Jesus will be with us always, even until the end of the age.

Marben Bland is a veteran and is the Pastor of Hall Chapel and Mitchell Chapel AME Church is Sparta, Georgia. If you like this post you are encouraged to please share it with others as the Lord has given Marben the mandate to take God’s Word to the world. Find more posting at www.marbenbland.com

I am Going To Take A Knee

There has been a whole lot of talk lately about people taking a knee.

Some folks including a big important man who lives in a white house, who makes big speeches all over in places like the United Nations and Alabama, and then tweets about it.

This big important man is saying that folks should not take a knee especially if they are a football player, especially if they are exercising a first amendment right that service members including this writer served for, especially if they do it while national anthem is being played.

Psalm 95:6 tells us Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

So today before a speech or a tweet can catch up with me I am going to take a knee.

I am going to take a knee and pray for the people of Puerto Rico. United States Citizens who could be without power for months ahead, all while the commander in chief keeps tweeting that everything is going well.

I am going to take a knee and pray for the saints at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, near Nashville, where a man opened fire as church was letting out last week, killing one person and injuring seven others.

I am going to take a knee to ask God’s guidance and intercession regarding the opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 90 Americans die day every day, after overdosing on opioids.  

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin along with prescription pain relievers as fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.

I am going to take a knee and pray to thank the Lord for his goodness, his grace and his love.

I am going to take a knee often today and every day:

To pray for people in need.
To pray for situations of despair
To pray for justice
To pray for peace
To pray for the man in the white house who likes to tweet

I am going to take a knee because the Word of the Lord says in Romans 14:11-12
 
For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

I am going to take a knee
I am going to take a knee.

Please like and more importantly share this post! Marben Bland is the pastor of Hall Chapel and Mitchell Chapel AME Church in Sparta, Georgia. He is also a second year seminarian at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Go to www.marbenbland.com for more of his commentary