Former Michigan State University gymnast Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Dr. Larry Nasser of sexual abuse, was the last victim to speak at his sentencing hearing. In addition to being an athlete, a wife & mother, and a lawyer, Rachael is also a devout Christian — and an intelligent, thoughtful, insightful woman. Christianity Today’s Morgan Lee interviewed Denhollander after the trial. Ms. Lee’s article is very much worth reading. I’ve shared three favorite Rachael Denhollander insights below (it was hard to choose just three!)
On the church’s blindness to victims’ pain. “Christians… tend to gloss over… any kind of suffering but especially sexual assault, with platitudes like ‘God works all things together for good’ or ‘God is sovereign.’ … When [Biblical truths] are misapplied in a way to dampen the horror of evil, they ultimately dampen the goodness of God. Goodness and darkness exist as opposites. If we pretend that the darkness isn’t dark, it dampens the beauty of the light.”
On forgiveness and justice. “Every single Christian publication or speaker that has mentioned my statement has … focused on the aspect of forgiveness. Very few… have recognized what else came with that statement, which was a swift and intentional pursuit of God’s justice. Both of those are biblical concepts. Both of those represent Christ. We do not do well when we focus on only one of them.”
On the evil of the church’s self-protection. “The gospel of Jesus Christ does not need your protection. It defies the gospel of Christ when we do not call out abuse and enable abuse in our own church.”
Please don’t miss this superb article on the Christianity Today website.