I’ve made it no secret that I have thoroughly enjoyed Ravi Zacharias over many years. I was introduced to him by my Pastor, Steve. Not in a literal sense of course. There was no handshake, but Steve told me one day that I might really like listening to his Apologetics works. I checked him out and was hooked.
There has always seemed to be a genuine loving kindness in every word he offered. Even if a person found themselves in total disagreement with Ravi, he made his statements, asked his questions, and served up contemplations in such a fashion that it would be hard not to leave him with true respect at minimum, and in most cases much more.
I remember the first few times I listened to him tackle some of the really hard questions in culture. I left podcasts or videos thinking to myself, “man, he can really get behind the stingers and hot button aspects of this topic, cut through the rhetoric, and come to the matter of the heart.” It was largely due to these smart and thoughtful insights that I continued following, listening, and learning from Ravi.
I was only really healing up from Nabeel Qureshi’s passing when Ravi became less accessible in media and died not much later in May of 2020. I remember being very sad at the time. When you become fond of a certain person’s perspective, instruction methods, and depth of knowledge, it isn’t uncommon to question what voice will fill that particular void. I know I’ve asked that very question often since Ravi has passed.
I have become so disillusioned with news quality and content, I haven’t given the big players a lick of time in years. I also don’t surf the net and chase current events offered by the mainstream media. The allegations of Ravi’s indiscretions were unknown to me. When the same dear friend who introduced me to Ravi, my ol’ buddy Steve, and I were talking on the phone he mentioned the confirmation communication recently given by RZIM, Ravi’s ministry. I was taken aback by this, and we were both deflated, to say the least. I immediately went to read about it HERE.
This discovery has left me thinking about a good number of things. First, much prayer consideration… I have prayed for Ravi, his widow Margie, and certainly the victims. After all, while I may not know much about the details, abuse of power perpetrated upon the innocent is self-evident. Then, there was a prayer for people just like me, that had their trust shattered.
Too often we idolize the man, or messenger in this case, rather than carefully absorbing the message. We should be more discerning in this…
Herein lies the rub for me. If not only was Ravi routinely guilty of sexual misconduct privately over a number of years, all while offering the opposite of that notion to us, and then denied it vehemently, do we toss him, all his works, and the whole of Ravi in the trash?
We have a tendency to whitewash our history every chance we get. This is more popular now than ever before in our history. We make clean what was tarnished. Think about that. How though, can we truly clean the stain of something like sexual misconduct? And more importantly, “clean” as defined by Who? In the literal sense, this isn’t possible. We’re under the false impression that tearing down statues in some southern states will impact systemic racism. If Google removes access to something they deem inconsistent with their self-imposed values from the internet, we’re somehow a little more civil, right?
Two things are problems for me here. First, you can’t unring a bell. Second, we’re all flawed sinners, right? So, stemming from the second statement, how surprised can we be when sinners sin? And, knowing the fallen nature of man, do we erase the good, and I do mean “good” as defined by Him, that fallen sinners have given us for consideration and discernment?
Let me put this another way. If we all agree that every person that has walked the Earth is a fallen sinner with only one exception, and we’re prepared to erase the good works of them all if they’ve sinned, would there be a single good work left of which to benefit? Don’t be confused with the severity of sins. That idea is a blog for another day. Any and all sin places us apart from God. I’m simply making a blanket statement with a question. Premise, premise, conclusion, if you will. See if this works properly for you.
Sinning is bad. Works from sinners should be removed. All people are sinners. Ergo, all works by all people should be removed.
Rather than the model offered above, I concluded good works offered by sinners remain valuable. However, I have also concluded for vital context, some are more or less credible than others. We discern similarly in our own churches based on weakness and proclivity on a daily basis. Do we pray that pedophiles become saved? Yes. Are we placing pedophiles in charge of the youth programs within our churches? No.
Ravi was confronted on his behavior while among the living, and it appears he denied the claims. Should this be proven, it is a significant blow to his credibility on various levels, but especially on questions of sexuality. Will I still listen to Ravi Zacharias routinely? I may. Will I make him my first choice for Apologetic discussion on the immorality of sexual misconduct? I’m less likely.
Be salt and light my friends. Please. Be valuable to others and share Him.