A World Where #MeToo Couldn’t Exist
For weeks now, victims of sexual harassment have been sharing their #MeToo stories. The Bible promises a world where those stories will never happen again.
Sometimes I like to play a game called “What If We Just …?”
It’s a pretty simple game. Here’s how it works: Sometimes, when I come across a passage in the Bible where God tells us to do something, I ask, “How would the world be different if we all just did that one thing?”
The answer is almost always, “It wouldn’t fix everything, but things sure would be a whole lot better than they are now.”
Take the Eighth Commandment. How would the world change if no one stole anything ever again? A lot of insurance salesmen would be out of a job, for starters. We’d be less worried if belongings went missing—in a world with no thefts, things would only be misplaced. We’d be a little more trusting and a little less worried about being defrauded or scammed by a con artist.
You can do the same mental exercise with the other commandments. What if we lived in a world where no one lied? Where no one murdered? Where everyone honored his or her parents? Where everyone kept the Sabbath day holy? Imagine a world where any one of those things is true, and you’ll see how one little rule, universally obeyed, could really change things.
Weinstein and #MeToo
“What If We Just…?” is a fun game, but it’s also a sad one—because at the end of it, you have to come back to a world that frequently ignores all of God’s commandments (and not just the 10 big ones). You have to wade through depressing news story after depressing news story of things that never would have happened if people would just do the thing God said to do.
Consider the millions of stories reflected in the #MeToo hashtag.
Millions upon millions of women have made it clear that sexual harassment is pandemic. Last month, as allegation after allegation of sexual assault came out against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano suggested on Twitter, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
Within hours, #MeToo was everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—over the next few weeks, women around the world took to social media to identify themselves as victims of sexual assault and harassment. Overnight, #MeToo offered a staggering sense of scale:
Weinstein is not an anomaly. Millions upon millions of women have made it clear that sexual harassment is pandemic. It’s a serious problem in the workplace, in universities and even at home. For so many women, it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “how often.”
Missing the point
How did we get here? How did we end up in a world where so many women (and even some men) have to deal with being degraded or violated—a world where the victims are often too afraid or too embarrassed to speak out?
Whenever this topic comes up, a lot of well-meaning people have asked a lot of well-meaning questions that have entirely missed the point. These questions tend to put the blame at the feet of the victims: What was she wearing? How was she acting? What part of town was she in?
If we’re trying to get to the heart of the problem, then those are the wrong questions. Is there a discussion worth having about how God expects His people to dress and behave? Yes, absolutely. But are those the real reasons men assault or harass women?
Men who mistreat and abuse women do so because something in their mind is sick and twisted. That’s the reason.
The heart of the problem
Let’s play a quick round of “What If We Just …?” This time we’ll plug in the Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
How would obeying that verse change the world?
At first glance, the scope seems limited—at least until we consider the true depth of that commandment.
Jesus explained to His disciples, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).
The Seventh Commandment isn’t just about what we do with our bodies; it’s about what we do with our hearts. It’s about where we’re looking and why. It’s about the places we let our minds go.
Now imagine a world where no one lusted after anyone. Where both men and women looked at each other with respect for their value as human beings and not as objects to be desired, used and discarded.
Would the #MeToo campaign have a reason to exist in a world like that? Would stories like the Harvey Weinstein scandal exist in a world like that?
No, they wouldn’t. They couldn’t. If we just obeyed that one single commandment, there would be no need for anyone to post their #MeToo stories. There would be no need for women to fear being violated or humiliated by strangers and coworkers. We wouldn’t need to be having this discussion at all.
The problem of the heart
Unfortunately, we do need to be having this discussion. The difficulty is that there’s no policy change or legislation that can change the hearts and minds of the people causing these problems.
But change is coming. It’s unavoidable, inescapable and far grander than anything we could legislate or enforce today. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is returning to assume His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In an Old Testament prophecy, He explains the relationship He’ll have with His people:
“I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
This will be a world where people—all people, regardless of gender or ethnicity—are going to be safe. In this future world, we’re not going to have to play “What If We Just …?” anymore. This is going to be a world where people know God and have His laws written on their hearts. This won’t just be a change in behavior—it’ll be a fundamental change in the very nature of who we are.
Right now, many women have good reason to be afraid. But in the world that’s coming, they won’t have to be afraid anymore. They won’t have to be afraid of being alone with their bosses. They won’t have to be afraid of having to choose between supporting their families and keeping their dignity. They won’t have to be afraid of finding themselves in a situation they can’t get out of without screaming and fighting and flailing. They won’t have to be afraid of not being able to tell anyone their struggles without being called a liar or being told they “asked for it.”
This will be a world where people—all people, regardless of gender or ethnicity—are going to be safe. They’re going to be protected. They’ll see firsthand how God’s way can change the world. And if hashtags still exist in this world, no one will be posting #MeToo. Instead, they’ll be able to say #MeNeither.
A head start
But we’re not there yet. Until that day comes, we’re going to have to make our way through a world that largely rejects God’s perfect ways—a world where Harvey Weinsteins can and do exist.
In the meantime, we can make it our goal to not be part of the problem—and not just in terms of #MeToo. If God’s Word holds the answers—if His laws are going to be internalized and obeyed in the future—why not start now? We can get a head start on the best change the world will ever experience, and our own lives will be better for it.
Jesus didn’t just elaborate on the Seventh Commandment. In His Sermon on the Mount, He revealed the deeper spiritual principles behind much of God’s law. If you’re serious about digging deeper, then our article on “The Sermon on the Mount” is a great place to start.