Is there Hope for Hollywood?
Updated: Feb 22, 2019
Harvey Weinstein. Once revered, this now a name that triggers gag reflex worldwide. We are learning what everyone in Hollywood apparently knew all along: for many, success in Tinsel Town comes only after the right people ravage your private parts. Endless accusations of unspeakable details from A-list actors and actresses are pouring out against the co-founder of Miramax. The silence has been broken and the hidden hurt and shame of years of coerced sexual abuse are coming out. The facts are clear and simple: Weinstein is a man who has used his wealth, fame, and persuasion to leverage the aspirations of young women as a means to indulge his lusts. We’re quickly learning that he’s done it for years. The list of women is getting longer every day.
Harvey is being publicly crucified for his sins, and disbarred and defrocked with a proportionate amount of outrage. But what can we learn from this? How should we think about Hollywood and its future, these women and their pain, Harvey and his soul, and the rest of us who will never make take the trip from the casting couch to the silver screen? The Bible gives us an answer— the only answer that offers any real hope. While this analysis is not exhaustive, I do believe it provides a framework for starting to think about it (and situations like it) from the perspective of the one whose evaluation matters most — God’s.
This is tragic, in every possible way. The awfulness of this scandal is and feels so catastrophic because the injury is so personal. That’s why in its proper context sex is rightly called “intimacy.” It is meant to be given to the right person at the right time and in the right way. It is fragile, vulnerable, and supposed to be secure. Intimacy is meant to be given, not stolen. It’s made to be mutual, not forced. It’s supposed to be gentle, not brutal. It's designed to be sweetly satisfying, not permanently painful. The reason it feels so wrong is because Weinstein stole, brutalized, and inflicted great pain, even considering some gave it freely.
God grieves over this and so should we. We should be grieved that He has been dishonored and people’s lives have been damaged. We should be upset that His perfect design of romantic love has been so misused and distorted. We should be ashamed that secret, lurid details have emerged that shouldn't even be spoken (Ephesians 5:12).
It’s tragic when young, beautiful, talented men, women, boys, and girls flock to L.A., hoping to make it on the big screen, only to discover that not everything that glitters is gold in Hollywood.
It’s tragic when a Hollywood mogul believes that the mere mention of his name gives him a right to command women to fulfill his erotic fantasies.
We should mourn the anguish of those who have been targeted and what they’ve been coerced to do and see, and even that others sought it willfully.
We should cry over those whose identity is now rooted in what’s been done to them, and don't know how to offload the guilt they feel. Equally, we should hurt over those who’ve taken on this new identity and wear it as a badge of honor.
We should suffer as we see women who are despondent and unable to move forward into healthy relationships because they relive these nightmarish memories, both when they are awake and asleep.
We should have pity on those who’ve turned to drugs, alcohol, or attempted suicide in an effort to numb the pain and obtain some form of relief.
We should lament the enslavement of the offender, who is indeed a slave to his lusts and cares precious little about anything other than his own pleasures.
We ought to ache over those who knew what was happening, but did and kept quiet because they were afraid of losing their spot in line, especially those who were so close to “making it.”
We should detest the posturing of powerful women who saw the opportunity to profit and advance themselves by luring young, naive, talented women into harm’s way.
We ought to feel empty at the sight of those who have achieved greatness at so great a cost, but having reached the pinnacle of prestige, are possibly the emptiest and loneliest people alive.
We should weep with Weinstein’s wife (and kids), as we consider the amount of betrayal she has experienced within her marriage covenant and the husband’s/boyfriends that are left in Harvey’s wake.
We should sting over those who compromised and gave in but never succeeded in their careers. They are people who lost both their dignity and their opportunity when they were discarded into the Hollywood recycle bin, only to be picked up by another Harvey trash truck.
We should wince, knowing that this is merely the tip of the iceberg of what has been revealed—the tale of what is happening in Hollywood hasn't been fully told.
These are real people. They may appear big on screen, but they hurt too. And so should we.
Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem when He saw how far their hearts had moved from Him and how much they refused true hope (Luke 19:41). God has real emotions and is grieving over our sin and brokenness (Ephesians 4:30). He doesn't see the limited details we see on the outside—He sees all the way down into the darkness of the heart. Amazingly, the Bible says that He so identifies with us that He is afflicted when we are afflicted, even when we rebel and treat Him like our enemy (Isaiah 63:9-10). Our response should mirror His— consider the words of the apostle Paul who said, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18–19)
Here you have a four-fold description of an enemy of the cross of Christ: he or she 1) thinks with a value system that excludes heaven entirely; 2) feels no remorse for celebrating what is despicable; 3) worships lust instead of God and feeds its voracious hunger; and 4) destroys his life (and the lives of others) and his soul, both now and in eternity.
As much as this list describes Harvey Weinstein, please be wary of shaking your head and wagging your finger. Notice that Paul says, I “tell you now even weeping…” He can't pen these words without crying over the tragedy of a lost soul in that condition. Neither should we.
Have you cried? Do you weep?
Do you weep over the damage that has been done and can’t be undone? God does and you should!
Do you weep over the victims who’ve become the victimizers, the prey turned predators? God does and so should you!
Do you weep over the fact that an entire empire can be built on broken and perverse sexuality, cheapen family values, objectify women, publish it on the screen, make men powerful, and then ruin lives to create a new normal that paves the way for a worse form of evil? God does and so should you!
Do you weep knowing that the same atrocities aimed at these women are also aimed at little boys and girls? God does and so should you!
Do you weep at the number of callouses that have caked over the consciences of people whose names are not Harvey, but are guilty of the same thing and are hiding for fear of being exposed? God does and so should you!
Do you weep that we have yet to see how bad it can still get? God does and so should you!
Do you weep that it’s happening right now somewhere else to someone else? God does and so should you!
What’s happening in Hollywood is so tragic that you should cry.
Yet, unfortunately, it’s nothing new.
Why did this happen? What are we forced to face in light of this tragedy that we’d rather not? The Christian worldview has an answer—an answer that God has provided since the very beginning. In Genesis 3, when our first parents sinned, in an instant, sexuality was broken. Both Adam and Eve felt shame in their nakedness, pulled away from each other, and in doing so, forfeited the design of their Creator.
You might find it odd, that after they sinned with their lips by eating the forbidden fruit, they felt shame and disgust in their private parts. Why? They hadn’t used those parts to sin. You would expect their fingers to tingle, their lips to burn, their stomachs to ache—those are the parts that were used to sin! But they felt dirty in their genitalia. Huh?
The answer is simple: if you go back and read God’s original mandate when He made them, they were to be fruitful and multiply, rule over the earth and subdue it. Again, that requires genitalia. They would procreate and populate the earth with people and guide them into God’s will. However, when they sinned, those private parts, though not used in committing the sin, would now be used in the spread of sin. No longer would they fill the world with children who would honor their Creator. They would fill the world with sinners (Romans 5:12-21; Psalm 51:5). That’s also why Eve and all women after her were promised pain in childbirth — as she pushed out a renegade, she would feel it and we would all hear it.
Let’s be clear — every form of sexual deviancy is the result of that moment. When Adam and Eve pulled away from God and each other, it’s because sin was in the way. Their obvious disdain with each other’s nakedness started to spin off in many different directions. Sex would no longer be what it was, and never would be until they were aligned again with their Creator. Selfishness took over. Men would get bored with women one day and explore something else. The next day he would get inventive with women and overrun them with evil. Only three chapters after they fell, humankind was so embroiled in sexual sin that God decided to wipe out the human race and start over again with eight people. But no sooner were Noah and his family off the ark than the shame of nakedness splintered the human race again and left us with what we have today.
Let’s also be clear on one other point—Adam and Eve took the fruit and ate it at the prompting of the deceiver Satan, who offered them a fast-track to deity. He was the first promoter. They believed his lie that they could become like God, and achieve ultimate status with prominence. He is still alive and at work in the world and in Hollywood, in the lives of Adam and Eve’s children.
All of us are sexually broken. We have all inherited our first parents’ nature, their bent towards evil, their obsession with idolatry, and their wayward sexuality. This is what humanity does because humanity is not right with God.
With this in view, here is the hard reality of what Harvey Weinstein teaches us: Lust is never satisfied — Harvey’s endless list reveals Harvey’s endless lust. Proverbs 27:20 reminds us, “never satisfied are the eyes of man.” After limitless sexual escapades with over 1,000 different women, Solomon wrote,“All things are wearisome; man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8). If gratifying his lust was satisfying, then why was once not enough? Lust is a lie. Lust is also not alone. In Solomon’s case, at least 700 of those women were political/power alliances, with benefits. It wasn't all sexual—it was about control.
Lust leads to a life you are going to hate — there’s a day coming when neither Harvey nor those women he manipulated will be laughing. They will hate life. Many of them already do. In fact, all they’ve built and are standing on is beginning to crumble beneath them. God tells us to expect this. Again, speaking of his exploits of achievement in money, fame, hobbies, work, and women, the king of Israel tells all: “I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor…. So I hated life” (Ecclesiastes 2:9–10, 17). This is the straightest path to self-destruction.
Lust has no age limit — Harvey is 65. Hugh Hefner was still going at 91 when he died. This isn’t the story of an overactive hormonal teenager. This is a sinful man with an insatiable appetite for evil. The more he took, the more he wanted. The more he wanted, the more he felt entitled and the deeper he got. The more widespread it became known, the more normal it seemed. Learn this: lust doesn't get tired, it gets bored. The more Harvey fed his dragon, the bigger and more demanding it became, and thus, the more it devoured. Just ask King David. He was 50, young by comparison, when he took Bathsheba, despite his 22 other wives. Mark this down: a dirty young man becomes a dirty old man.
Big sins are just little sins that grew up — evil that is unchecked and unpunished will only get worse. By saying and doing nothing, God says the heart gets harder. Ecclesiastes 8:11 reads, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” Harvey didn't act alone. The people that knew and should’ve stopped him enabled him. No one in his industry held hi accountable until it was too late. Many of them were doing the same thing, we are learning. Scripture tells us that there is a progression of immorality in Colossians 3:5. Working backwards, Paul tells us to“consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” God says it starts small, with a desire that we shouldn’t have. That desire morphs into a desperate longing because we think it will make us happy. Then it upgrades into something that starts controlling us and defiling us from within until we can resist no longer. We have to take hold of it and indulge it. We make it a tool for self-worship. We enjoy it—all pleasure and no pain, so we repeat it. The act becomes a pattern, and the pattern becomes a lifestyle. The lifestyle becomes our reputation, and our reputation becomes our undoing. It didn’t start overnight and it’s not going away overnight.
Sin really is that sinful — you might look at Harvey Weinstein and think, that man is sick and evil, and you would be right, he is; but don’t think of him as a rare anomaly. Don’t view him as ill and in need of institutionalization. Instead, think of him as depraved: ruined by sin in every part of his being and in need of a Savior, like the rest of mankind. While we may pause and even gasp at what we know about him, the Bible says each of us has a Harvey Weinstein inside of us. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” You might not have done what he has done or to the same degree, but each of us has to answer to God for what we have done, including our misuse of His gift of human sexuality and the stewardship of each other’s purity.
Sexual sin is universal — it’s not just Harvey. It’s everyone born into the world, including me and you. That doesn't mean that everyone is a predator; it means that no one is immune and everyone will be tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 3:23). It also explains why #MeToo is trending on social media so far and wide, women (and some men) feeling brave enough to come into the open and admit that they are carrying the weight of someone else’s unwanted urges and impulses. Statistically speaking, most abusers commit dozens and dozens, even hundreds of Harvey Weinstein atrocities before they are ever caught. There are no words to adequately capture the magnitude and pervasiveness of this sin.
Harvey Weinstein isn’t the product of his environment — Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23). Much can be said about the excuses Weinstein made, the allowances his industry gave him, the friends who enabled him, the politicians who surrounded him, and the women who caved to him, but we are getting a rare glimpse into what Harvey’s heart is like. With or without his hundreds of millions, Harvey Weinstein is completely responsible for his actions. Rehab won’t fix Harvey; only Jesus can.
This isn't going away— today it’s Harvey. But there’s another Harvey who isn't in the headlines. Not yet. It doesn’t matter your education, ethnicity, socio-economic privileges or lack thereof, sexual brokenness has made it’s way into headlines and always will. This week it’s Weinstein, but it’s also late night talk show hosts, Presidents, U.S. Senators, producers, actors, pop-stars, news reporters, talent scouts high school teachers, and even some pastors to name a few. And just as there will always be Harvey’s, there will always be women who see their bodies as a tool of great power to gain access to people and privileges.
Whether we realize it or not, every single scandal like this one, that emerges from the shadows, is an expression of God’s grace. Blurred between the headlines are three amazing glimpses of God’s mercy on our culture: 1) Our consciences are still working and God’s Spirit is moving; 2) we have a rare confession from Hollywood about the existence of God and the truth of the Bible; 3) we have a sober preview of the unveiling that will take place at the Final Judgment with enough time to repent.
Our consciences are still working and God’s Spirit is moving. The combination of guilt and outrage in Hollywood proves that men and women still are able to discern right and wrong and that God’s Spirit is doing what Jesus said in John 16:8, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” That’s happening right now, and not just among the A-listers but B, C, and D-listers. God is at work everywhere on planet Earth, and Hollywood is no exception. God’s Spirit uses our consciences to convict us that there is indeed a moral standard, that we have fallen short of it, and that there is a judgment for violating it. This explains why we feel dirty when we do wrong and vindicated when we do right. This is exactly how people come to see their need for a Savior. But when the conscience is no longer working, there is no hope. Just like a smoke detector that has been pulled out of the wall with the battery removed can't warn you that your house is on fire, so the conscience that has been repeatedly ignored and muted leaves you without the sensibility to restrain and turn away from evil. In many cases, this is true of those in Hollywood — maybe Harvey is too far gone. But God is not done working. Not even close. Tinsel Town is on fire and the alarms are going off loud and clear. This is encouraging.
We have a rare confession from Hollywood about the existence of God and the truth of the Bible. Even with the hypocrisy that Hollywood is punishing the very evil they promote, the fact that they are angry and have united their voices for justice argues that they understand there is a universal moral Law written on their hearts with universal recognition and authority. The book of Romans argues that people who don't know God and have never read the Bible still “show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:15–16). Their outcry and society’s agreement is a confession of the existence of a God that they may deny with their words, but understand in their hearts that they will answer to Him for what they’ve done. People are mad because everything about the Weinstein scandal is the opposite of how it’s supposed to be. They feel this because of a consistent internal understanding of what is right and wrong, and that is from God. They are doing exactly what the Bible says they will do when things like this happen, proving it’s credibility right before our eyes. This is encouraging.
We have a sober preview of the unveiling that will take place at the Final Judgment with enough time to repent. The details that are being broadcast on news outlets and social media are ugly, to be sure, but Hollywood is getting a preview of coming attractions. It’s like a trailer that gives us a clear enough look at what will happen when, as Revelation 20:11-12 says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” In His ministry, Jesus spoke of what the final day will reveal about all that we have done:“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:2–3). This judgment will not merely render justice for sinful actions, but will probe and punish sinful thoughts and intents of the heart as well: “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts” (1 Corinthians 4:5). The grace in this is that God’s judgment has not yet fallen because God’s patience has held it back time and time again, giving men and women the opportunity to turn away from this evil and come to Him for forgiveness. God, who has seen it all to its ugly core, is working redemptively, to bring hope and healing. This is encouraging.
But it is a warning: justice is coming. In fact, it’s already begun. Carefully read Romans 1:18-32: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
You just basically read about Hollywood—words written 2,000 years ago with pinpoint accuracy. But notice this: it’s not just Hollywood, it’s humanity; it’s not an addiction problem, it’s a worship problem; it’s not about coming wrath against sexual sin only, its about present wrath, already beginning to pour, evidence that our culture is under wrath; and it’s a progression— we get to a place of sexual evil when we reject God, serve idols and push for sin so hard that God gives us what we want, which unleashes all others forms of evil, unrestrained. For that, there is only one answer — the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The worst scandal for sinners presents with it, the greatest opportunity for the gospel to intervene and transform, because it’s times like these that men and women see their need for a Savior like no other. The solution for Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood (and all mankind) isn’t.
Rehab that alters the exterior with behavior modification (though evil behavior should be restrained and punished by a culture that views it as a serious problem).Stricter standards and cleaner art that offer a more sanitized version of entertainment yet masks the real issues (those movies are already out there and largely unhelpful, and access to porn will always be only a Google search away).Legislation that more tightly governs and curtails abuses in the industry (though consequences are a necessary deterrent to keep evil from being as bad and widespread as it could be).
These measures may come from noble motives and can certainly help limit the problem, but they don't stop the problem. Unless the heart changes it’s never a solution; the abusers just get better at hiding.
The solution is the gospel that reconciles sinners to God and produces a sincere heart change. To be clear, the gospel is the good news that God who is perfectly loving and eternally holy, pitied mankind in our lost and perishing condition, and rather than sending all of us to hell for an eternal punishment which we rightfully deserve, sent His Son Jesus to earth. He lived the perfect life that we could never live, offered Himself in our place to die the death we deserved to die, endured the wrath of God for us, satisfying the demands of God’s justice so that God would accept His sacrifice as sufficient payment for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead, conquering the power of sin and death, and returned to heaven while those who’ve been changed by His grace carry His message to the rest of humanity, that they too might be forgiven of all their sins and transformed in their hearts. Until He comes again in final judgment, He offers this hope to the one who turns from his sin and trusts in the saving work of Jesus by faith alone. When that person believes the gospel, he or she is completely forgiven and inwardly transformed, experiences a total renovation of his heart, has the power and desire to live as he was originally created, is free from the consequences and shame of sins done by him and those done to him, and lives in harmony with his Creator.
This is the only hope for Harvey Weinstein, his victims, and you and me. In light of this, the most recent scandal calls us to do two things:
Believe the gospel
If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ alone to forgive your sins and change your heart, all of this can turn out for your good. You have seen what life is like apart from God and where it leads. It’s not going to get any better. Hollywood is spinning even further out of control. You can be rid of the filth, shame, and guilt that not only fuels the despair and disappointment of broken dreams, but you can escape the coming judgment as well. You can be right with God and become a tool in the lives of others who also need hope, just as you do.
This is the day to turn away from the futility and emptiness of the life that Hollywood promotes and then penalizes. God helps us know what this looks like when He diagnoses our culture with the following words: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1–4).
Consider the change that can take place when we replace the destructive love of self with the power of the gospel—no longer having to live believing that we are the most important people in the universe and that everyone else is a means to our happiness. Rather, we can find great fulfillment when others flourish. To be no longer entranced by the hypnotic illusion that money can buy happiness and security, but our resources can be a means to make a difference in the life of others. Consider it, no more tireless days spent promoting yourself and your brand, being rejected because you are not good enough or exalted because others see a way to get rich off of you. Instead, your identity can be wrapped up in the who you were originally created by God to be. Oh, to be free of the entrapment of self-worship and the endless posturing, and climbing—using others and being used. No more secrets coming out into the open for those with a delight in drama to destroy the lives and reputations of those whose demise means their own self-exaltation. Instead, think of living a life of integrity that knows whatever is hidden and then made known could be written across the sky without fear. The power to resist the pull of temptation, seduction, and compromise. To have a brand new value system that honors and exalts what is truly beautiful and good in God’s world.
Is this not a life you would love? What you give up is nothing compared to the endless worth of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-10). Turn to Him.
The gospel changes your heart, washes you from sin’s filth, covers you with His perfect righteousness, and makes your misery a thing of the past. He puts His Spirit in you to help you and one day will take you into His kingdom. Read about it here: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)
Moreover, Jesus’ death not only covers the wrongs we’ve done; it covers the wrongs done to us. The Bible teaches that Jesus took our shame upon Himself as well. This is glorious: Jesus who did nothing wrong, had all the filth and grime of all our sin put on Him when He went to the cross in our place, and he took it all away. All of our shame was transferred to Jesus. He was treated as if personally responsible for the sins we had done and the sins done to us, overcame it, and offers us His victory. According to Scripture, we can move forward, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Put in modern context, Jesus comes to the One who comes to Him, takes their #MeToo that’s hanging around their necks, puts the #MeToo on His neck instead, goes to the cross, and removes it forever. When this happens, our identity is no longer in what we have done or what has been done to us, but in Him and what He has done for us. Our lives begin to go the opposite direction, from a life of emptiness on the broad road to destruction to a life of purpose on the narrow road to life.
The gospel is so comprehensive and freeing, that God offers this promise to all who are in Him: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Did you catch that? God Himself, who is a God of peace, can step into the chaos, confusion, and misery of a life that has been ravaged by evil, and so “entirely” remove it’s stigma, pain, shame, hurt, and enslavement, that every part of you, “spirit, soul, and body” can be “preserved complete and without blame,” as you prepare to enter an eternity of joy with the One who set you free.
Live the gospel
If this has already happened to you, that is you are a Christian, then you have the opportunity to step into the lives of those affected by the same evil, and offer them something greater than a Golden Globe, Oscar, Emmy, or Grammy. You can give them Christ. They can see in you what Paul had in Philippians 3:7-10: “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
But this is exactly where we need caution and care: those of us who know Christ need to not run away from Hollywood and throw stones—instead, we need to run towards them with authentic care and hope. Jesus didn’t run from sinners; He ran to them, and they because of this, ran to Him. Many in the industry have no interest in the gospel. They are still only interested in the pursuit of deity and have no desire to be rescued. But the ones we seek are those who are weighed down with the burden and guilt of sin.
We need more Christians in the industry, not more ostriches who stick their heads in the sand and hide their faces from what is happening. More Christians who are willing to use their talents, abilities, and relationships to surface the real issues of human sinfulness, but in a way that it is clear that the solution is the gospel.
Pray for those in LA who are Christians in the entertainment industry at every level to give people around them the opportunity to see and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The hearing part is vital, but so also is the seeing. They have to see the gospel in action if it is going to be believable. Consider the following exhortations of Scripture: “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
(1 Peter 3:15)
“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.”
You will never commend the gospel to others who are trapped in sin if you are still acting as if you are under its power. Beware of the hypocrisy of casting judgment upon others for the same things you nurture or celebrate. Do you pay to promote what you punish? Do you wag your finger at Harvey Weinstein, but secretly and smugly delight in the same things? This is not a day for self-righteousness but self-examination.
“Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”
The hardest rebukes in Scripture are reserved for the religious hypocrite who knows better, but who has hardened his heart. Jesus’ most severe denunciations came against religious people. It is the stodgy religious phony that should feel the hotness of Jesus’ breath, not just the outwardly immoral. But for the grace of God go I, and all the rest of us.
If you saw the eternal punishment that awaits Harvey Weinstein, as much as you hate him, you would run to him and plead with him to repent and avoid such a fate. But whatever happens to Harvey, while he is being crucified publicly for his sins, consider that Jesus was publicly crucified for your sins. Run to Him—He is ready to forgive you so that you avoid the same fate, and to cover, cleanse, and remake you.
People flock to Hollywood to reinvent themselves. The lure of L.A. is that it affords the opportunity for people to become something they’re not but always wanted to be. It suggests that if they can break that code, then they can break into the industry, and find fortune with fame. The gospel offers the ability to reinvent but in an infinitely greater way. Jesus called it being “born-again.”
Those who leave friends and family are usually also leaving a life behind that they’d like to escape. Hollywood promises a new life, one that forgets the past; but the gospel offers something that Hollywood could never—true forgiveness.
Those who sacrifice, scrimp, save, and set out to L.A. are coming with plans to “make it big” — we have the responsibility to tell them that they were made for “big” because they were made for God. They get to find their worth and significance, not in the praise of men who laud them for pretending to be something they are not; instead they get to find themselves delighting truly in the One who made them, whose salvation sets them free from their desire to make much of themselves, but of Him who is altogether satisfying.
There is hope yet for Hollywood. Only one hope. His name is Jesus.