I must admit to a certain measure of alarm this morning. After what appears to be nearly a week, the Harvey Weinstein story is still playing strong. The outrage du jour is lasting ages past the jour part and almost into the semaine. Are you seriously expecting me to keep thinking about One kind of scandal for more than forty-eight hours?
It’s almost like the deep incoherent hypocrisy of this culture has finally been brought enough into the light to show the truth about the human person, every human person–that he, and maybe sometimes she, is a sinner, a person who does bad things while professing to do good ones.
Sin is kind of a drag. Especially as we’ve been training ourselves since the dawn of time to think of ourselves as upright, holy, pure, doing good rather than evil. Go look at that ghastly song of praise that Lamech sings to himself in Genesis, rejoicing in the strength of his own arm, the glory of his own vengeance. The song isn’t a song of repentance–oh no! I killed a child, oh no! May God have mercy!–but of boasting. And how can you pass over the awful reality that he has taken two wives, as Matt pointed out in his sermon on Sunday. Lamech is the first, the primordial polygamist. His wives have to rally round and listen to his ugly song. There the world is all fresh and new, and within a matter of minutes the corruption has run so deep that no one can even vaguely recall the serenity of the garden.
Men are sinners. All of them. So has shown the hashtag burgeoning on Facebook and Twitter–#metoo. I think there’s a total of three women in my various feeds who haven’t used it. And those three have gotten into fights about whether or not they’re deluding themselves. But now that all the Twitter users of the west have seen the enormity and scope of Man’s bad behavior, his wrong posture towards the other half of humanity, what are we to do? He is a sinner. We can see it. We know it. We’re not any longer trying to say that he is good. What next?
The problem with our post modern selves is that we think that knowledge is power. We think that just by knowing more information we’ll be able to put right what we destroyed. Unhappily, though, it is not. It isn’t even a little bit. Knowledge is knowledge, and power is power. But we always say to ourselves, to know is to be able to turn around, to fix everything, to change the world.
Knowledge isn’t power. The human person, finally seeing his sin, is helpless, unable to climb out, unable to remedy anything. He can’t fix it. He can’t go back. He can’t undo the ugly deed.
It has to be God who comes in and does something. For the thousands of woman hash-tagging #metoo there isn’t a human, a man’s remedy for that. More education, more knowledge isn’t the answer. Indeed, the power was the problem in the first place. It was used to twist and pervert knowledge, it was used to block the cold wind of conviction.
No, there has to be a miracle. There has to be a God who comes in with his own power, his own perfect knowledge to restore what was broken and lost. His solution has to be accepted, has to be grabbed onto, clung to after the false and ridiculous grab at human flesh. This God offered his own body, his own blood in the place of the one who sinned.
The trouble is, having for many a year chucked over the concept of sin, we threw out the deep and total remedy that God provided in his own blood, even in that awful moment in the garden–the gracious and healing balm of forgiveness. For all the years that we’ve been corrupting ourselves and each other with power and half truths, God has been using it to unwind the confusion, mend the brokenness, heal the wounds. If you thought the garden was lovely, you will be overcome by the richness of God’s more perfect gift of forgiveness to the repentant sinner.
Whoever you are, go to him and learn about it. Lay down your knowledge and your power. It isn’t enough. It won’t clothe you. Go learn about the mercy of grace. There is no other way.