Took last week off to enjoy the holiday and getting back into routine is not easy for me to do. I am a simple guy trying to write a simple blog weekly and sometimes subject matter can be a problem. This week was no problem and that was a pleasant surprise. For the past few months of this year, sexual harassment has been the elephant in the room and about two weeks ago the whole herd arrived. The other term we could use is a parade of elephants filled the room. I have my subject, now to research and develop. I was going to “socialize” this, you know bring it into today’s world and write about the biblical aspect related to it. Surprise…this elephant has been around a long time.
Was Ruth a possible victim of “sexual harassment?” Michael Carasik, has a recent post that I found to be just the way I wish I could write. To many of us here in the pew the post would be informative and go outside the box we normally stay in when reading Scripture. I had to read it twice which still resulted in my asking, “are you serious?” I don’t know how many times I have read the story of Ruth and never made the connection. So there is the first elephant in the blog room. Remember to check out Michael Carasik’s article here:
Next, some thoughts on this issue of sexual harassment biblically speaking from Dr. Craig Keener. In Genesis we have stories from the Middle Eastern culture which point out the fact that women lacked many of the rights that we take for granted these days. It is also interesting that Dr. Keener notes that in the world of the Israelites, attacks on women’s sexuality also entailed attacks on the men to whom the women were attached. (Keener) Dr. Keener lists these scriptural references to establish the fact that harassment was always a danger for women.
Genesis 12: 10 – 15
10 When a famine struck the land, Abram went down toward Egypt to live as an immigrant since the famine was so severe in the land. 11 Just before he arrived in Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know you are a good-looking woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and they will kill me but let you live. 13 So tell them you are my sister so that they will treat me well for your sake, and I will survive because of you.”
14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw how beautiful his wife was. 15 When Pharaoh’s princes saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s household. 16 Things went well for Abram because of her….
Isaac in Canaan, where Rebekah also faces potential threats to her sexual security. Genesis 26: 7 – 9
7 When the men who lived there asked about his wife, he said, “She’s my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, The men who live there will kill me for Rebekah because she’s very beautiful. 8 After Isaac had lived there for some time, the Philistines’ King Abimelech looked out his window and saw Isaac laughing together with his wife Rebekah.
9 So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, “She’s your wife, isn’t she? How could you say, ‘She’s my sister’?”Isaac responded, “Because I thought that I might be killed because of her.”
The threat was always present even among your own and it doesn’t end there. “The Bible also reports terrible incidents of sexual violence (Gen 34; 2 Sam 13) and God’s punishment on David for his affair with, and abuse of power regarding, Bathsheba. Such actions always appear negatively in Scripture.” (Dr. Craig Keener)
Another Elephant in the blog room.
What is the Bible viewpoint?
I am always thankful for those scholars, teachers and religious writers whose knowledge is so valuable to us folks in the pew. The subject of sexual harassment is one that has been with us from the very beginning. We could make a list of many reasons it is not right, there is no excuse for it. The correct answer or solution is not what the world condones, or the parameters set by society at any time. I read an article by Gary Hunt that puts what I believe to be the best insight biblically on this subject.
“As far as the word’s (generally speaking) definition of sexual harassment, the Bible would agree that it is wrong. When someone in a position of power, speaks or acts in ways that “offend” (sin” against someone and imply or insist on sexual gratification, they are wrong!” (Gary Hunt)
In the secular world it is a well-known fact that has become the stories told in the locker room, the good “ole” boys well-kept secret that everyone talks about, the elephant no one sees that destroys those who are unable to protect themselves from it. It is alive and well in the darkness of the halls of power, position, and influence. These last few weeks the elephant in the room has become a herd. The only real worthy approach to this is found in God’s word.
John 3: 20
20 All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light.
It is time we brought this elephant out of the dark into the light and insist that it has no place among God’s people. It is time also as I shared with you a few weeks ago that Christians insist that they be given a place at the table. WE must re-establish Christian values in the world we live in. WE must tell the story and share the Good News.
Life is Good