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Food for Thought: Men behaving badly


Food For Thought is a public theology & Bible advocacy blog for Eternity from Sophia Think Tank’s David Wilson, who gathers top Christian thinkers to take a closer look at how the Christian faith addresses matters in society at large every week.

In last week’s Friday wrap on ABC radio John Faine commented on the past week’s lead stories as all about men behaving badly. He then said it would be good if men simply learned to keep their zips done up. I agreed with this rather simplistic analysis and solution but also thought that if someone from a more religious background said this it would be dismissed as archaic wisdom and typical of a moralistic approach to life that just doesn’t fit any more. However, the Bible is as up to date as talk back radio!

Faine was summarising the stories of sexual abuse in the Catholic church (amongst other organisations) and the royal commission that had recently been announced, and the now retired head of the American CIA and his sexual affair. He could have also been referring to the Victorian police officer charged by NSW police of sexual offences dating back to the 1980s, the former Anglican bishop in the UK arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting boys as young as 12, and the male worker in an after school are centre charged with raping two girls aged 8 and 9. All these stories hit the press in the last week.

Men behaving badly. John Faine hit it on the head. Not only men, but men in positions of leadership, men who are entrusted with the care of our children letting us down (allegedly), Priests, police officers, child care workers. The royal commission will undoubtedly uncover such men in many other positions of leadership and trust who have let us down with society’s most vulnerable.

Men behaving badly. The Bible has a lot of stories of men in leadership positions who let their people down. Not so much in relation to child abuse but certainly in relation to abusing the power they had, power that should have been used to serve and empower others but instead was used to gratify their own selfish desires and to get what they wanted. I guess it’s a reflection on human nature as we know it, as it has become. But that doesn’t excuse it or mean that it has to be that way. Jesus had some very firm words against the abuse of children. He said that it would be better for a man to drown himself than to be guilty of such abuse. He also, in a more general sense, taught that power is given for service not abuse.

Men behaving badly. Here’s a call to all of us men to stop it! To stop the abuse at any and every level. To make an apology for such abuse and for turning a blind eye to it around us. And to make a fresh commitment to use whatever power we may have to serve others rather than to serve ourselves. Come on…we could change the world.

Food for Thought.