One of my fondest memories of my short-lived musical career was playing at the Salvation Army on 14th street for a Ravi Zacharias event. I met friends there that I know and love till this day.
I attended another Ravi Zacharias event a few years later at Columbia University. He defended Christianity the way I hoped it could be defended. Whatever doubts, resentments, or waverings I had, his arguments helped me find firm footing in my faith.
He was a blessing to me during my coming of age.
“Let My People Speak” was a podcast of his I would listen to again and again. His words and arguments bolstered my faith. Ravi helped cement the foundation of Christianity in my thinking, values, and way I walk through this world.
And during all those years of ministry, he harassed women. He preyed on them. He manipulated them. He was a narcissist. And those around him perpetuated the lie, even after he died.
To say that I’ve been disappointed by my fellow Christians these past few years is an understatement. I have a visceral reaction to anyone who prefaces their opinion with, “God told me…” or “Scripture tells us…”
“Christian” means little Christ. He is the prism through which we understand who we are, who God is, and what we believe. Yet for centuries we have this need to pair Jesus with something else: Jesus and politics, Jesus and work, Jesus and prosperity, Jesus and social justice. In our pride, we fit Jesus into our worldview, not the other way around. We are meant to become more like Him.
I paired Jesus along with men of God. Jesus and John Piper, Jesus and Ravi Zacharias. Last year, I completely dismissed a friend who brought up the allegations against Ravi. I didn’t want to believe it and I shamed him for even thinking it.
Ravi’s work has had an enormous positive affect on my life. I just wish I didn’t equate his work with his character.
But it doesn’t just happen in ministry and religion though does it? Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk… we want to lionize people and because they help simplify a complex life. We want to point at one person’s life and say that’s the path we can follow.
But it doesn’t work like that. It never does. In our fear, laziness, and need to worship, we create idols and set ourselves up for disappointment.