Ravi Zacharias. When you read or hear this name, it is the unfortunate and difficult truth that Christ and his ministry are no longer the first two things that we remember. We mainly remember the ways that Jesus and the ministry He gave Ravi became secondary to the abuse and lies that he engaged in. The revelation of what happened with Ravi made it important for me to take responsibility for how I responded to this and how we respond to the truth that is stranger than the narrative we thought we knew.
I’ve wanted to speak on this for a long time, because of how much this person impacted my life and faith journey, as well as the harm he caused to others in spite of the truths he professed. Specifically, taking account of how I should’ve responded differently to what took place, since I took my time to share on my ‘Thoughts Of Redemption’ social media platforms and reflect on him when he passed. Ravi Zacharias was the founder of RZIM Ministries, through which he served in apologetics ministry. As such, he played a pivotal role in helping believers understand their faith in Christ and how we express it to an unbelieving world.
I first started with a draft of my thoughts on this early last year, but didn’t fully given the attention that it needed, but it was always on my heart and in the back of my mind. As you may have read, it was a year and a half before I published here on this blog, but I’m thankful I still get the opportunity to say what I need to say.
From 2020 and beyond, unfortunate truths about our beloved Christian leaders were exposed in spite of attempts to keep them secret, and Ravi Zacharias is no different. His contributions to apologetics and the faith of millions around the globe cannot be understated. However, what was understated was his predatory actions against women at massage parlors he frequented, as well as an affair with another woman who has been wounded as a result, amongst other things. Ever since this news came out, I dealt with the tensions of hearing about the abuse and sexual assault allegations just prior to his passing, the celebration of his life, and the subsequent confirmation of the allegations leveled against him by a private investigation commissioned by RZIM.
When he died last May, I, along with many others, honored his contributions in ministry, and the effect his teachings, sermons, and debates had on my walk as a thoughtful follower of Christ. Even as I honored this man, I had already heard of the accounts of sexual immorality and abuse, yet I never made it known that there were untold questions and allegations that needed answers. As well as denials and non-disclosure agreements given by Ravi to his victims. I made a decision to reflect on how his ministry and work impacted me and others and gave thanks for that, but that decision wasn’t good because of what I knew needed to be said. I have a responsibility to be honest and balanced whenever I speak on something or someone.
I’m not saying that it wasn’t good for me to wait on the investigation that fully confirmed what was hidden by Ravi, but by only reflecting on one side, I gave the picture that all was well with his ministry, when RZIM was one of the vehicles he used to abuse and violate other women in secret. So, I want to take responsibility for how I handled myself on this platform, because I know that God revealed and gave me the concept of Thoughts Of Redemption for me to steward this responsibly. I’m not condemned of course, but I’m still responsible for what I say publicly.
I’ve thought a lot about what truth is and how we experience the truth about someone or something in contrast to what we thought we knew. How much it can change our view of individuals who have impacted our lives. It also shows us how we respond to the truths we learn about them. In light of Ravi, I now deal with the stumbling blocks he created before and after his death. I’ve had to process questions like: “Do I still read his books and watch his videos?” I grieve the loss of what should have been only the ministry of reconciliation God set Him up for, I’m honestly frustrated with how complicated things have become, and how many women and men were hurt because of his actions. How many people still struggle with trusting Christian leaders and what they say they believe.
I truly believe that the amount of Christian leaders and organizations that have experienced their season of exposure since 2020 till now, God’s desire is for all of us to be accountable to what and/or who we believe. What do we believe about ourselves, those we love, and what we say we profess and stand for, especially if we profess to trust in Jesus.
God is less concerned about the world trusting in our church institutions and leaders, and more about the truth. Even if that costs us our beloved leaders (like Ravi) or our churches (like Hillsong), and no matter how hard they or we try to hold onto something that is covered up in lies, pain, and secrecy, there’s always a season of exposure, judgement, and accountability. When we are as invested as we can be in someone or something that fails, it’s really inconvenient for us to respond to it as truthfully as we need to, and that process of reorienting our experiences in light of that truth is sometimes too much for us to handle. The lie that was told to us is more simple to believe, and requires less from us than the truth that ends up bursting through.
I truly believe that the amount of Christian leaders and organizations that have experienced their season of exposure since 2020 till now, God’s desire is for all of us to be accountable to what and/or who we believe.Tweet
The past two years have shown us that we crave stability and normalcy in our lives, and sometimes telling the truth leaves us feeling as if we’ve lost all of that and we can’t imagine it being stable or normal in any other way. While the whole time, God’s purposes was for us to be truly grounded, not in what we thought made sense. In light of the situation with Ravi, in spite of these difficulties and inconveniences, aligning ourselves with the truth is the ultimate blessing. We can still be sober-minded in speaking the truth about Ravi’s actions as a cautionary tale of forsaking God’s way for our own, rather than dismissing it. Truth may not be easy, convenient, or clean to display, but since truth is the nature of the God who redeems us, we gain more than we think we lose when we tell the truth. It’s always redemptive.