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Open Letter to the Baylor Community

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Open Letter to the Baylor Community

Spencer Traver

Before I begin, allow me to preface this post: I'm not trying to be a "hot take", nor am I trying to profit off of a sensitive topic. We don't make money off of page views and my identity is not rooted in viewership statistics. However, I feel pressed to faithfully steward this platform God gave Mitchell and I in writing, and want to share my thoughts with you in hopes to extend grace and compassion to those in need.

In case you haven't heard, Baylor University announced leadership changes after a thorough investigation regarding sexual assault cases involving some of their football players. 

For the entire city of Waco, the Baylor community, along with the victims and their families, my heart breaks for you. As a male college student, it hurts me to see young men inflict hurt upon young women by lacking respect for their counterparts and taking advantage of them for their own selfish desires. And as an older brother to a younger sister, it scares me to see how pervasive sin can be in relation to sexual violence.

The most challenging aspect about correcting social injustices comes from knowing that we cannot undo the damage that has already been caused. What's done is doneThese young women cannot forget the sexual violence they endured because of these young men, some of which they knew and trusted. And no matter how many jobs are lost because of this, it won't make up for the loss these young ladies have withstood. 

But as a Christian, it's impossible for us to seek and find joy in the firing of several Baylor staff members. When we are called to love one another with compassion, that includes loving those who instigated and perpetuated this whole ordeal. We can cling to this promise because Jesus showed us there is no sinner too far from the love and grace of God (Romans 8:34-39).

I cannot find joy in these sexual assaults, nor will I rejoice in the firings made in response to them. But I can find solace in knowing that our God is one of restoration. He has already been at work on repairing the broken hearts of the victims and those closest to them. And today is another step in the right direction for these young women to regain their peace of mind.

Likewise, God knows the names and hearts of everyone who allowed this violence to occur. There is nothing hidden from him (Hebrews 4:13). And He will hold those accountable to these things, if they do not turn from them and repent. But if they do, He is quick to forgive (1 John 1:9)...and we should be too.

To the young women who endured this horrific sexual violence, I commend you for boldly coming forward. Justice cannot occur where injustice goes unheard of. Silence is a horrific, deafening response to wrongdoing. Thank you for your courageousness. However, I want to encourage you of this: God is not done with you. I don't know you personally, but I'd imagine each of you are experiencing different phases of healing right about now. And I pray God would remove any and all guilt, shame, pain, and/or regret that comes from this, if He hasn't already. You are not a rape victim. You are a survivor. More importantly, you are a created being of God, loved and adorned by your Creator. He does not see you as a victim of sexual violence, but as a human being worth sacrificing His only Son for. You are deeply loved, cherished, and adorned, no matter your sexual history.

To the young men and leaders who instigated and perpetuated this whole ordeal, I pray you will turn to God and repent of any wrongdoing if you haven't already. While there are consequences for our mistakes, there is no mistake that disqualifies us from the love of God. Nobody is qualified to earn his love - it's a free gift (Romans 5:6-11). But you have to accept the gift to receive it. Everyone makes mistakes, and this is no exception. However, you, too, are a created being of God, loved and adorned by your Creator. He does not see you as an instigator or perpetuator of sexual violence, but as a human being worth sacrificing His only Son for. You are deeply loved, cherished, and adorned, no matter your sexual or leadership history.

For the rest of us, let's be leaders in love and compassion for all who are broken and in need of the same grace we've been given by God. From a Horned Frog to the entire Baylor community, I want you to know that I love you and I hurt alongside each of you who are experiencing pain and heartbreak because of this. I wouldn't wish any of this upon my worst enemy. And I pray we can take this collectively and learn from it, to set an example for others in treating one another with respect, love, and compassion.

At the end of the day, God is still on the throne, and He is still good. He's willing and just to forgive us, restore us, and unite us under the roof of His grace. It might feel like it right now, but I'm willing to bet this is not the end of Baylor University. And even if it were, God is faithful and worthy of our trust. When we pull a penny close to our eye, an entire skyline in the distance seems fairly small. But God's grace allows us to remember He is greater than our circumstances.

Though some of your trusted leaders neglected their duties to care for the hurting and the broken, God can take this mess and turn it into a message. He hasn't turned His back on your campus and its leaders. He's working in this tragedy to restore healing amidst the brokenness. It's what God does best. And His grace allows your community to return to what the Christian faith is all about: the building up of His kingdom for the sake of His name (Matthew 28:16-20).

While these failures cause pain and angst, God reserves the right and the ability to heal and restore. Let us keep our eyes focused on King Jesus - He who knows our pain and our weaknesses, and loves us still. 

If I can be of help to the Baylor community, please contact me via email by sending a message to spencer.traver@tcu.edu. Again, I'm not trying to be a "hot take" or a profiter of a sensitive topic. I want to be a part of the solution. And I'm willing to do whatever I can to help.

May God bless and restore you and the rest of the Baylor community.