How to be Biblically Authentic: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Commenting “Me Too”

There is such a high demand for vulnerability and authenticity in our online world these days.
There’s no escaping from the jealous fingers that point, accusing you of “only posting the highlights!” unless you almost altogether rip yourself to shreds. There’s almost this formula to “being real” – one must post 3 makeupless, pajama-wearing, morning hair (and breath) selfies for every selfie where you look like you have your life together. But the call for this “realness” is transcending what’s seen and is prying open that which is most sacred to our hearts – pain that has shattered us, grief that has left us breathless, and every moment we’ve ever stumbled in our life. This culture of demanding people to share more of the depths of their hearts opens up a whole new door for shame and brokenness to fester . . . And I believe that’s probably the reason why it’s not quite the biblical thing to do.

Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6, CSB)

A dear sister in the Lord (and amazing writer) Sarah Scott Pape took a poll on Instagram a couple days ago in response to the new “Me Too” movement. This hashtag on social media is a calling for men and women to band together by replying with a simple “me too” if you’ve ever been abused/harassed/assaulted sexually. I’m not opposed to sharing my story with others, but  I’m not interested in commenting on someone’s Instagram post or retweeting for raising awareness. Here’s why:

Sharing for God’s Glory

When I first decided to follow Jesus, I felt such an urgent call to write a book about all I had learned/was learning those first few months. I remember the day the Lord wanted me to share my story so clearly like it was yesterday. I was driving home from work in my truck, and all of a sudden I felt this overwhelming weight hit my chest like a freight train. “No no no no no no God, I can’t share that.” But only a few moments later I realized I had no other option. I wanted to be obedient to God above anything else, and if he wanted glory for redeeming my broken heart, then that would be my mission.
Not everyone is called to write a book and put one of the most painful memories right there smack dab on the first page of Chapter One. But that was what the Lord wanted of me, and I willingly obliged for his glory. His glory meant more to me than my feelings, and I would praise his name for the great healing he had given me as a Christian from my encounter with sexual assault as a young teen.
But it wasn’t easy. I have had God with me every step of the way, and I know he will never forsake me, but sometimes hurt comes to you personally when you’re living to glorify God and not yourself. There have been reactions from people (Christian and not, acquaintances, close friends, and strangers) that were hurtful. In most cases it’s not intentional, sometimes people just don’t know how to react. But because glorifying God was more important than my feelings, I was able to press on and not let their words crush my soul.

If you’ve ever been a victim of abuse, rape, assault, or the like, please seek godly help. Talk to a counselor, a Pastor, or a trusted family member/friend who will point you to Jesus.

ASK YOURSELF: Am I more concerned with glorifying God and obeying him, or am I more concerned with my own gain (fitting in, receiving sympathy, etc)?

Pain Isn’t Something to Take Lightly

There’s a reason I wrote about my sexual assault in a book and I didn’t just post a Facebook status about it. We don’t owe anyone on the internet anything. I love writing to you all, but there are just some things that are too precious to be broadcasted here with no filter. I’m not giving away the depths of my heart to just anyone, and that’s perfectly biblical.
Your story is unique, it’s much different than other terrible things that happened to other people you know or have read about. People won’t understand or identify completely with your story, and that’s okay. The cause might be different, but the pain is the relatable factor. If you decide to share your story, treat it like a big deal, because it is. Expect backlash (which is why I’ll never encourage/force someone to share their story, that’s something the Holy Spirit has to lead you to do). Sharing parts of your heart and painful memories is not something that should be done flippantly.

The sole purpose of sharing any bits of my story is to point you to the gospel, to Jesus, and he commands us to do so with discernment. In Matthew 7:6 Jesus tells us not to cast our pearls before swine. When I’m face-to-face with a sister in the Lord, I can lean on the Holy Spirit’s guiding to know whether or not I should tell her more, if that would benefit her and cause her to want to praise God and know him more.

But when I’m online, I have no idea who will read my story, and I have no control over whether or not to hold back after I press “publish.” Will they just twist my story around blaming the victim, or worse, blaming my Lord, the one who rescued me? Will they trample my precious pearls instead of stand in awe of the amazement of the Lord? Those are questions I cannot answer for the people on the other side of this screen, so for that, I will share with discernment and not give it all away.

ASK YOURSELF: Did you pause and pray before sharing your story, are you leaning on the Holy Spirit’s leading?

Only God Heals

If we look to awareness campaigns and online movements for healing we are relying on a false god to heal our wounds. Only the true Lord can ever provide us with lasting healing and freedom.

After I was sexually assaulted, I looked for healing in all the wrong places – namely, the place that broke me apart to begin with. I longed for control. I longed for healing and to be truly loved. It wasn’t until I met the Lord and realized his love for me is so great that he died, taking the punishment I deserved on the cross so I could be with him in eternity. He bore the weight of my sin to take my pain, to heal me, and to give me free salvation for eternity!

Apart from Jesus, the struggles and pain I endure are meaningless, wasted, nothing. But because of him, what you or I went through can mean something. God uses absolutely everything for his glory and the good of those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Even sexual harassment. Even sexual assault. Even rape.

It doesn’t make logical sense, but if you’re following Jesus you know this is the truth. We don’t see all the ways God is receiving glory, but we know the Lord turns ashes into beauty, and he often shows us glimpses of the complete beauty we are waiting to witness someday.

The point of us sharing our mess should always be so we can point people to Jesus. It’s not about us. Don’t band with me here in this brokenness, shouting “me too!” in response to our pain. Reach out to me personally, should you choose to, so I can point you to the Healer.

I don’t want to minimize what happened with just two words. There are no words to explain all of the hurt and pain I’ve suffered through, but if I began to try I would need more than a simple “me too”. If I share my story, I want it to be in such a way people can realize a little more of the depths of my sorrows, in order that he may be glorified more through the even deeper depths of the healing and peace he has restored in me.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you pointing others to Jesus, or are you pointing to a campaign as their source of freedom?

Shame is Just as Bad as Pride

So many men and women pin the blame on themselves for sexual assault, abuse, harassment, and rape. In reality, it’s the enemy of shame pointing the finger at them, commanding them to hide their hurt and “suck it up” because they should’ve done 13 things differently, and then it never would’ve happened.

I know I’ve struggled with accepting my innocence, with allowing myself to be healed by Jesus. Sometimes I feel utterly responsible for the mess I found myself in that day.

I’m glad not everyone has experienced that, and some don’t struggle with the shackles of shame that make you put your hand down when asked “has this happened to you?” because you’re feeling insecure. But sometimes survivors don’t feel the freedom to shout “me, too!” because they’re quietly battling their own mind to realize their innocence.

When I reverse the roles, however, things become clearer. If a girl came to me, having the story of what happened to me be true for herself, I would shout “NO WAY!” if she tried to take the blame. Realizing I would comfort the girl who went through what I did allows me to see the legitimacy of my own innocence.

ASK YOURSELF: If I came to you with my story, and it looked identical to your own, would you blame me for what happened?

I’m sure there have been those “Me Too” posts done tastefully and with all the right intentions. I’m not trying to minimize someone else’s efforts or shame anyone into silence. Maybe I’m a bit of a nay-sayer when it comes to campaigns and movements, but I take my time before jumping on any fast-moving vehicles, bandwagons included. I hope before you share your story you’ll consider these four questions, and above all else lean on the guiding of the Holy Spirit before giving your heart to the online world.

If you’ve been a victim, there’s so much healing in Jesus. If you need a friend to talk to, I’d love to point you to him, my inbox is always a welcome space for your questions and conversations that are too private to comment below.

3 thoughts on “How to be Biblically Authentic: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Commenting “Me Too”

  1. Well written and thought out post, Emily! I have a few points I’d like to share: First, in my opinion nobody was required to post “me too” on social media. It was a personal choice, and I, among others, chose not to post “me too” even though we would have “qualified”. I too have been a victim of sexual assault, however I chose not to share it on social media as my personal choice. However, I commend those who did post “Me too” to their Facebook or other social media. The reason I commend them is because the point was not for sympathy from others, but to raise awareness of the issue that sexual assault is. Personally, I have dealt with the guilt and shame of my sexual assault and feel like it’s something I need to hide because “it was my fault” (as the manipulator who did it to me so fervently told me over and over again) and I feel ashamed even though it was not my actions that caused the assault. I also know that those who posted “Me Too” did not have to share their story for all to read (I have many friends who simply posted the two words “me too” and that’s it, without going into any detail, once again, their personal choice). And I truly don’t believe they were doing it for attention. It’s BRAVE in my opinion to bring attention to something so scaring and horrible. If awareness isn’t brought to how many girls have been affected by sexual assault in one way or another, the issue will never improve. Our God is one of LIGHT, not darkness. Keeping this issue in the dark will only give leverage for it to continue to no avail. Those are just my personal thoughts, and I think we are all entitled to an opinion so thank you for sharing yours!

    1. Great thoughts, Meredith! Thank you for sharing your input and experience. I am glad to hear that there are a lot of people who don’t feel pressured to share, but at the same time there is some pressure for people because otherwise “are you doing your part in raising awareness?” I’m not saying the movement itself is bad – but as you know, good things can often go bad in the hands of the wrong people. I’m so, so glad you didn’t experience pressure from the movement, but I’m sure that’s not the case for everyone. Even if nobody outright came and told somebody “you’re inauthentic for not sharing!” I’m sure there are some men and women who are struggling right now because they don’t want to share but feel like if they don’t they’re doing a disservice to society and being “fake” online.
      I in no way condemn people who’ve participated – it IS brave, but I simply challenge you to think about what the primary motivating factor is behind why you choose to share. If it is “to raise awareness” without pointing people to Jesus, I find as Christians that response comes up empty and short of pointing to the hope and healing he provides. As Christians, we should take advantage of this movement and spread the gospel – IF you choose to participate. At the end of the day, I think that’s going to make the biggest difference, because only by our changed hearts can we conquer sin and only by the grace of God will sexual exploitation ever cease. Whether or not you choose to share your story is up to YOU. There’s no shame in not sharing, and I’m glad for the many people who’ve shared the gospel through sharing how their pain was restored by Jesus. I simply want those who are silent to know they’re not in the wrong for not sharing something so personal, and those who speak up I hope they do a heart-check and seek God for wisdom in how best to share for his glory.

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