Rachael Denhollander, a former national gymnast who publicly accused former USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar of raping 160 athletes said in an interview with Warren Cole Smith, “that love has to be our motivation and not revenge” when we’re victims of injustice. Warren quotes American scholar Richard Weaver’s book “If ideas have consequences” but goes on to add his own words, “then bad ideas have victims.” Unrelenting love is a radical approach when injustice happens, yet it was the one that Jesus used and teaches us to take. Love always wins.
“The more we love, the harder we fight,” says Denhollander. When we are passionately motivated and we want our children and survivors to not endure what was done to us we fight hard. “The more we love, the harder we fight,” she said. It tells us why we have been witnessing an escalation of anger and violence in recent months and how bad ideas have prevailed. We forget to think before we act and the consequences of our ‘ideas’ may have on our future.
Evil actions have long reaching consequences.
There is a domino effect. What we do and the choices we make always have an effect on others. We like to say, “live and let live” but the reality is, “no man is an island.” In another interview in Newsweek magazine, Denhollander is further quoted as saying to Nassar, “You have become a man ruled by selfish and perverted desires. You chose to pursue your wickedness, no matter what it cost others. I can speak the truth about my abuse without minimization or mitigation, and I can call it evil because I know what goodness is. And this is why I pity you.”
You see, Nassar had such twisted thinking that he didn’t know right from wrong any longer. His “all about me” world told him that his own desires were all that mattered. This is the danger we face today in the ‘idea’ of ‘my truth is my truth” and ‘your truth is your truth” because it prevents us from knowing “The Truth.” Our ‘all about me’ and ‘selfie’ nature has no room for the Ten Commandments, moral compass or Godly guidance. It gets in the way of “me” and “my” and numbs us to the consequences of our bad ideas. We remain forever lost without the redemptive love of Jesus.
We can’t avoid being infected with sin and selfishness, but we can choose goodness.
Paul said it this way in Romans 7:15-20, “I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me but will-power is not enough to accomplish it. My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am.” We can recognize sin and the evil it creates, and we can choose goodness and the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness that Jesus freely gave to us to remedy our sinful and selfish nature. Jesus’ powerful love to forgive teaches us how to become overcomers when selfish desires seep in. Good prevails over evil.
Most people know of the Ten Commandants, but few ever believe them to be “the laws” of God today. Most think they are just ancient good thoughts. When we actually believe them to be laws of love set forth by God for us to live successfully on earth, they become unmasked. We realize their significance and wisdom. Then comes the hammer. We realize that we can never live up to them. God realized that too when He gave them to us which is why His ultimate plan had already included Jesus. Jesus came in the flesh – as a man and was subjected to all the sinful and selfish challenges we are confronted with in life. Except He successfully overcame everyone. And, because of His perfect and powerful love, He took on our sin knowing that we were unable to do the same. His sacrificial death set us free from the law’s power over us to condemn us (John 3:17). God then does a truly miraculous action when we accept His Spirit in us.
God empowers His Spirit in us to access the same power Jesus has by releasing His Spirit upon us.
When we accept that God is our Creator and that Jesus came in the flesh taking on our sin and forever freeing us from our sin, something amazing happens. God’s Spirit dwells in us and empowers us to choose differently and resist evil. However, when Jesus ascended to Heaven the Bible tells us that the Spirit came ‘upon’ those watching. It empowered them as never before. (Acts 2: 3-4). Those watching were equipped with languages. Languages they had not known which allowed them to speak of God’s redemptive love globally and to cultures who were much different. The language of love fights evil in all languages and overcomes all cultural and gender differences. When Rachael Denhollander forgave Larry Nassar, she was empowered by the Spirit of God to love the unjust and to care for a soul that had brought evil to not only herself but to 160 other victims. It was a power outside her human self to do and unthinkable to our culture of hate, but it caught the world’s attention.
God’s miraculous power in us captures the hearts and lives of others with unrelenting love.
As our nation recovers from the polarization of a presidential election, the ongoing battle on how to maneuver properly during the ongoing pandemic, and the continuing racial and gender injustice, know that the Holy Spirit lives in us but also know that we have the power to access the Holy Spirit to empower us. We can call on Him to come upon us so we can always choose the will of God and not our will. We can truly love our enemies authentically and we can love in every horrific situation. Jesus gave us an eleventh commandment written in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus commands us to love everyone in all situations and assures us that if we do we will become known. Rachel Denhollander proved it to the world and we have an opportunity now to do the same.
Paul instructs us further in Romans 12:3 (TPT), “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think.”
And… “Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (TPT).
Love is the finest weapon because love always wins.