Can Harvey Find Forgiveness?
- Written by Jody Vickery Jody Vickery
- Published: 13 October 2017 13 October 2017
You can elude consequences for only so long. Eventually, like a cheetah chasing a gazelle, they catch up, swat you down and grab you by the throat. Moses told the tribesmen of Gad and Reuben in Numbers 32, “. . . be sure your sins will find you out.” Paul cautioned the Galatians, “you reap what you sow.
” The first Psalm warns, “. . . the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” And so the sins of Harvey Weinstein have found him out. He is harvesting a bitter crop. His career, relationships, marriage and more have all been destroyed.
I do not think it is necessary to recite Mr. Weinstein’s record here. It is enough to simply note that the details are devastating and salacious. If Hollywood, a culture not widely known for its high moral standards and incorruptible virtue, is scandalized, you may safely conclude that Mr. Weinstein has reached a most wretched low. Various celebrities have labeled his actions “shocking,” “inexcusable,” “disturbing,” “disgusting,” and “horrifying.” The most devastating assessment, however, came from his now estranged wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman. She called his behavior “unforgiveable.”
Not for a moment do I wish to minimize the shame and wreckage Ms. Chapman or her husband’s victims are enduring, but God help us all if she is right. In fact, if she is right, God cannot help us at all.
A seminary professor of mine once told of a lecture given by the famed German theologian, Karl Barth, just a few years after World War II. As Barth spoke of the extravagant reconciliation available through Christ, a student in the class raised his hand and said, “Dr. Barth, you speak of Christ’s work on the cross as if Hitler himself could be saved.”
Barth paused, then replied, “You think you are better than Hitler, don’t you.”
Of course we think we are better than Hitler. And Harvey. And the recently deceased Mr. Hefner. There is a long and growing list of people to whom we may favorably compare ourselves. Against the black background of their sullied records, even the seediest reputation can achieve a bit of sparkle. But then, none of the people on that list set the standard. The standard is the Holy God. And no one, not a single person, comes even close.
Paul, a man familiar with failure, quoting David, himself a moral washout, wrote; There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Romans 3:10 – 11, NIV).
It’s like this. The Pole of Inaccessibility, also known as Point Nemo, is the spot in the world’s oceans farthest away from land. It lies 1,670 miles from Ducie Island in the South Pacific. If a boat dropped you and a world-class open-water marathon swimmer, at Point Nemo, which of you would make it to land?
Neither. The current unassisted open-water swim record is around 78 miles. The distance between where the best of us lives on our best day and where God lives on his worst is infinitely greater. And God has never had a bad day. Ever. Which, to a lot of folks, seems kind of unfair. If God’s perfection is the standard, then the game is as rigged like a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino. So we set our own benchmarks. We absolve ourselves and judge others based on our own personally determined codes of what constitutes right living.
I think it may have been Francis Schaeffer who illustrated our inability to live even by our own measures with this scenario: imagine being born with a built-in recording device that archived your voice every time you used the words “should” or “ought.” Then, at the judgment, your fate is determined by how you lived against your own standard.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly could not live up to my own standards – much less those of the Holy God.
Which is why Jesus came. Why he had to come. Not just to show us how a rightly lived life looked. But to credit to us the innocence we could never claim.
So can Mr. Weinstein find forgiveness?
Of course he can. So can you. So can I. Anyone can be forgiven. That possibility has never really been in question.
The real question is this: Is Mr. Weinstein looking for it?