Tears. When someone that you love, whom you hold in the highest possible esteem, whom you aspire to bring to your country, if even just to speak to your leaders, if even just to challenge your youth, in ways that will stimulate a love for the Lord and his truth.
When you look up to someone like that for many years, then find out he sexually abused multiple women, manipulated and objectified women in crisis for sexual pleasure. When you find out he used his God given platform, ministry funds and religious language to seduce these women to join him in adulterous and perverted acts; you can understand why it takes a few months to write about it.
I read the full report of Ravi Zacharias’ “activities”. My heart sank. Anguish. Disbelief. Pain. I can only imagine what his family felt. I was also gripped by an unquestionable certainty that the global church, pastors and leaders everywhere need to learn from his failure. It hurt.
But could it possibly benefit the body of Christ internationally? Could it stir a thirst for righteousness, fuelling a push for accountability and transparency that will endure until the Lord returns for his bride?
Some persons don’t feel the pangs of perversion. Good for them. I don’t know if it’s a male thing, I’m sure statistics would have something to say, but for some of us this is a daily war. And the first step to absolute moral failure is pretending there is no threat, nothing to repent of, no gates to valiantly defend; no need to cry out to God for the grace to face another day.
Paul, in stunning humility, seemingly bewildered by his own frailty said “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans chapter 7 verse15). If everything is always ok, you lie. Be real. Your heart, my heart, our hearts are desperately wicked; there is none righteous, not even one. It’s nothing to be proud of, and it’s no excuse, it’s just the reality.
Don’t Be Naive
More than likely, most of us haven’t sunk to ‘predatory pervert’ status. But be sure that if lust is anywhere on your list of struggles, that’s the devil’s goal. The enemy wishes to pervert you to the core and to convert you into a conduit of perversion rather than God’s righteousness.
This life is not a playground, free of traps and ambushes; it is a minefield with one like a roaring lion, trying to co-opt us into chief predators as well. There is only war.
Be transparent and accountable
One of the things that stood out to me about the Ravi Report was his determination to hide his habit, with multiple phones, secret trips and the like. When challenged, he vehemently denied everything, doubling down rather than coming clean.
Maybe it wasn’t in the purview of the investigation, but there seemed to be no-one that was able to stand up and say, “Ravi confided in me, he was struggling and pushing to be transparent.” I think the absence of that causes this whole situation to hurt even more.
I beg you leaders, as I encourage myself, we must remain painfully transparent and accountable, personally and professionally. Every Christian organization should have a system of accountability, one that is tested and vibrant, not just on paper but in real life.
I challenge every board or executive to put structures in place to hold our leaders accountable, especially our super-star leaders, who everyone assumes is so very holy. Leaders and persons who aspire to lead should do so understanding that they are required to be transparent and accountable.
The command by Jesus to be so strict with sin that if our eyes cause us to sin, we should gouge them out or if our hand causes us to sin, to chop it off; in Matthew chapter 5 verse 29; should be appropriately applied here. It’s a call for us to be practical, harsh and quick with our approach to sin.
No system or structure in our lives, that supports sinfulness should be left standing. If it is erected in a day, in the purging of repentance those systems should be viciously chopped down and burnt to the ground. Movies, tech, trips, anything at all can be chopped off and burnt at any time!
Be a Lover of God
At the end of the day, the most powerful source of holiness, the most important repellent from sin isn’t the faces of men, but the face of God. As Joseph teaches: how can we do these wicked things and sin against God? Holiness isn’t something we should be, just because it’s demanded of us from scripture, but it’s the appropriate response of lovers of God.
One of the scariest things for me personally, is that Ravi Zacharias seemed to love God so much, hold Him in such high esteem, and know Him so much; yet he did such evil. What does that mean for me?
What hope do I have that the evil desires that rage in my heart won’t team up with the devil himself and reduce me to ticking time-bomb of a predatory pervert? I must be real, vigilant, transparent, accountable, practical and ruthless.
Oh Lord, keep me from evil. Let my heart not stray from your righteous path. Oh Lord, let the torch of repentance, passion for you and raging holiness, never go out. Preserve us Lord and may your bride be glorious, spotless and ready for your return. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Dr. Daniel Thomas is a medical doctor and Christian Advocate who loves the Lord deeply. He is married to Grace-ann Thomas the love of his life and currently leads a youth organization called the Love March Movement; which is committed to empowering the youth to fight for sexual purity and the family in Jamaica.