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Is it ever okay to celebrate a sinner’s downfall?

Sin is frightening and dangerous. Its seed is within all of us, lurking and waiting for its moment to act. It slithers beneath the surface, never proclaiming its presence until it is too late. In many ways, it knows us better than we know ourselves, and it definitely knows what buttons to push.

Sin’s allure is hypnotic and seductive. It can even be beautiful. Sin appeals to our own hedonism and promises us the world. It assures us that there is nothing wrong with it, that it’s actions are victimless, and that it feels really, really wonderful. And most importantly, it assures us that we will never get caught—provided we are uber-cautious in covering our tracks, we have the power and finances to silence any witnesses or bury any evidence, or we have a good alibi or rationalization to at least minimalize our guilt and shame in the event we get caught.

In fact, sin is so good at convincing us to act on it that we never bother to ask the question, “If there is nothing wrong with my action, then why should I even worry about getting caught in the first place?”

However, there comes a point in every person’s life when sin comes full circle back on us, where its sirenic mask is ripped away exposing all its true ugliness. Sadly, this often happens in view of loved ones and sometimes, even worse, in the watchful eye of the camera.

In an instant, the tantalizing pleasure of your sin explodes with a humiliating flash. And when your life begins crumbling around you, you look with astonishment at your new friend Sin only to discover that it has betrayed you and now stands as your accuser.

With the dominance of social media, it doesn’t take long for one’s sins to go viral under the seething judgment of cyber-finger-pointers.

When word began to surface about the extracurricular activities of Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein, I must admit my initial reaction was one of smugness. I became one of those finger-pointers. I have never really liked Weinstein for any number of reasons, primarily because we share very different political opinions. This in and of itself is not a problem. What bugs me, is his arrogant hyperbole against anyone who disagreed with his political agenda. He was an elitist, judging everyone to the right of him as little more than an ignorant rube who don’t know any better. His movies come across more like propaganda than art. He had an agenda, and he was never hesitant to throw money and vial words to achieve it. And I really grew tired of his—and other Hollywood elites—diatribes against us from behind every glitzy awards podium, reminding us idiots of all the evils of the world caused by, well, us.

Recently, sexual harassment accusations against Weinstein flew across cyberspace, gaining steam and picking up momentum—a snowball evolving into an avalanche. Only God knows how many more women might come forward. The liberal media were slow to cover the charges, but the conservative media were quick to fill in for the lapse.

In a matter of days, the board of his own company fired him and changed its name. Recently, it was announced that Weinstein’s wife left him. Words like “rape” are starting to be thrown around which would surely warrant a criminal investigation. News came out that Weinstein was flying to Europe or Arizona to enter rehab—the Hollywood euphemism for “damage control.”

Then, rumors swirled about police responding to a possible suicide call…

We can only guess what new developments will come out today.

With each new, sad revelation, I began to think more and more about Harvey Weinstein. I picture him standing within the smoldering rubble of what once had been his sparkling empire. I wonder what is going through his mind. Defiance? Panic? Bewilderment? Sadness? He was a very powerful man in Hollywood. He could make or break multi-million-dollar careers. He hobnobbed with presidents and other important people. He has more wealth than any of us could imagine. It was a kingdom he himself had built. And now it is a kingdom he himself had destroyed.

I no longer saw Harvey Weinstein the man standing there. I saw Harvey Weinstein the sinner.

Then, I saw myself standing there in the rubble of my own sin.

My smugness at his downfall started to wither. Suddenly, my perspective changed.

What filled me with glee that some elitist jerk finally got his come-uppance now became sadness of a man broken by his own sin. Not only has his sin destroyed and humiliated many lives, his sin had also destroyed his own.

So why would this make me happy? Why am I so smug? Why do I inwardly cheer at the immensity of his downfall?

What if that was me?

Harvey Weinstein man who needs a savior’s forgiveness, or even my forgiveness for that matter. This is a man who genuinely needs not my pointy fingers or smirking condemnation but my prayer.

Please believe me—I am not trying to minimize the damage that man brought on to others. What Weinstein did was disgusting, atrocious, and evil. If it warrants jail time, so be it. His actions were despicable.

Just like my own sins.

Granted, I can say with certainty that I have never sexually harassed a woman. But Jesus said that if a man lusts after a woman “has already committed adultery with her in his own heart” (Matthew 5:28). Sadly, I can’t say I am not guilty of that.

Rich and powerful Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is no different than I.

Sin has placed us on the exact same level: sinful humans in need of the cross.

As this mess continue to unravel across the internet, my glee has turned morphed into remorse. In many ways, I am not writing about Weinstein’s sins. I am writing about my own. To watch fellow conservative media dance with glee at Weinstein’s downfall in the same way the liberal media dances over the grave of the fallen minister or politician troubles me. I am a sinner just as capable to committing the same sins. I need to treat Weinstein with the grace of Jesus, the same grace I hope others treat me with when my own sin catches up to me as accuser.

I find it interesting about how Jesus deals with the sinner. Standing over the woman caught in adultery, surrounded by a crowd ready to stone her, he offers her no condemnation, telling her to “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11). Jesus reserves his judgments for the accusing crowd eagerly waiting for permission to cast their stones at the sinner’s head and says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7).

Never should we celebrate someone else’s sinful downfall.

No matter how much we think they deserve it.

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One Comment

  1. Jerry Andersen Jerry Andersen

    Dan, Jer says good read! Good look at sin in someone’s life in contrast to our own sin.Love, Jer and Dot

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