AUTHOR’S NOTE (July 16, 2020):
Since publishing this article yesterday, I have learned new information that, at the very least, pokes holes in what I have written below. One of his alleged victims messaged me personally with the sad revelation that he has not personally apologized for his actions. While she also voiced her hope that he has truly changed, learning that there may be some action items missing alters the tone of the article below.
At WAY Nation, we are not a large investigative news organization. We are a small team of committed Jesus followers, who want to influence others to love and follow Jesus. We know that God can change any heart, and that we are not able to judge the state of John’s heart or faith. However, we will wait for continued evidence of repentance and restoration before we begin promoting any new content from John Crist.
Eight months ago, I wrote my personal response to the news that Christian comedian John Crist was seeking treatment for his “sexual sins and addiction struggles” after multiple women came forward with accusations against him.
In my response, I shared my own story: how someone I trusted in the church took advantage of me. It made me question everything in my life from my faith to my identity.
I bring this all up because today, John Crist made his first public statement since the news broke.
You might think that the “girl who has experienced sexual abuse” plus “public figure making his first statement about accusations against him” equals “canceling John Crist forever.”
But, that’s not the case.
I don’t support “canceling” any human being, no matter how terrible their “crimes” might be. And nothing about the grace that we’re called to show others supports “cancel culture.”
Instead, I want to share my personal hopes for John:
1. I hope he’s apologized.
I don’t personally know the women who he wronged. Reading their stories was heartbreaking. While I’m glad that John is publicly owning his actions and not making excuses, I hope that the private work he’s done involved sincere remorse. His actions left behind victims, and I have to trust that they weren’t ignored as a part of his healing.
2. I hope he’s changed.
The ability to change is probably my favorite part of what Jesus offers us. None of are too far gone, and the Bible is full of stories that support that. If murderous Saul can become Biblical hero Paul, then I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God can change our hearts.
When I think of the boy who wronged me years ago, I’m not bitter anymore. I hope he’s changed. I hope he’s a good husband and a good father. Having these hopes for him was the only way I could forgive him, and I hope nothing less for John Crist.
3. I hope he doesn’t stop talking about it.
If John has apologized to those he hurt most, and if his behavior shows true heart change, then I don’t think he should have to flog himself forever.
But this was probably my favorite quote from his video: “If I can look you in the eye and tell you that I’m part of the problem, then I can also be a part of the solution, and I think that’s what I’d like to be.”
Sadly, John’s story isn’t an isolated incident. My story is not an isolated incident. If you were to look around your church, there would likely be a similar story in every row. I wish I were exaggerating, but after witnessing countless tears of friends who have their own heartache in this area, I’ve learned how common it can be.
So, while I don’t think he needs to apologize for the rest of his life, I DO think he has a unique responsibility to make sure these stories become obsolete by calling out manipulative and abusive behaviors in others.
His video is the start of the next chapter of his life. More than anything, I hope it’s also the beginning of his story of redemption.
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