The Steubenville rape case has been all over the news the past few days, and I couldn’t help but sit in shock after hearing gruesome details that seemed to just keep getting worse the more I listened. After a few minutes, I had to turn off the T.V. because I couldn’t bear it anymore. All I could think was, God, why? How are human beings even capable of this? Is this really our world? Days later, upon reading this article, I couldn't help but wonder how these young men had seemingly no conviction about the terrible crime they were committing, and the effect it might have on that young woman’s life. What’s equally disturbing to me is that there were a multitude of people who actually witnessed the crime, and never said so much as a word to stand up for the victim. What are parents teaching their children today? Where is the respect for humanity?
These questions inevitably lead me to look at the condition of the human heart. I see an extraordinary depth of damage that must exist in the hearts of the young men involved. I see an extraordinary depth of pain in the hearts of the victim and those who care for her. I see innocence being stripped from the hearts every witness (in person and through social media). I see hearts being hardened little by little as sexual objectification becomes more prevalent in various forms (including pornography). Every day hearts are being bruised, torn, and destroyed… it is a ripple effect that is wreaking all kinds of havoc across the globe.
There is a vital need to protect this fragile yet powerful thing we call the human heart.
As mentioned in the article, the internet (and social media in particular) has made it even more difficult to keep our hearts guarded from the evils of this world. In the counseling realm, we need to be aware of what our clients have been exposed to; it will give us an indicator of what has inflicted damage on their hearts. It is equally important that we are constantly aware of the condition of our own hearts. Over time, no matter what field we decide to go into, we will all come into close contact with a number of lives enveloped in trauma, sin, and brokenness. We will all, on some level, be impacted by them. We need to have wisdom in knowing when we are reaching burnout, and what constitutes appropriate self-care. We also need to be cautious in what we allow ourselves to be exposed to; if it negatively impacts the heart (the command center), it will eventually have a negative impact on everything else. This idea is outlined in Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
My heart hurts for the young woman who will now spend years recovering from all the damage done in a single night. I am filled with anger, confusion and frustration at the fact that so many people could participate or watch and never say a word to stand up for a fellow human being in a completely helpless state. But I am once again reminded of the reason why I am called to the profession of counseling. We live in a broken and hurting world… a world that is in desperate need of people who follow Christ, the only One capable of healing the damaged human heart.