John Crist Breaks His Silence: Here’s Why I’m Not Canceling Him

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 allegedly 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.

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. Click To Tweet

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.

 

We talked to a survivor of human trafficking who now helps others escape the same fate. Her story of forgiveness and survival is inspiring. Watch it below.

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Amy C. Bennett
Amy C. Bennett
July 15, 2020 3:19 pm

Yes! If Jesus can accept Peter after he denied him THREE times, I can forgive a fellow Christian who stumbles. We all mess up. I’ve messed up big time during my Christian life. We have to reach out in love to these people who seek forgiveness. No matter what they’ve done. God doesn’t cancel us. We shouldn’t cancel each other. Period.

Denise
Denise
July 15, 2020 4:27 pm

Forgiveness is hard when looked at through the lens of your own experiences. I have a similar experience, but mine was the youth pastor. Looking beyond the pain and seeing him as a person in need of a savior, it makes forgiveness possible. I pray that John keeps seeking after Jesus and laying his cross at the feet of Jesus.

Cheryl
Cheryl
July 15, 2020 3:25 pm

I agree with all 3 of your points. Sorry for your history. But your wisdom is impeccable!

Margie Ryne
Margie Ryne
July 15, 2020 3:56 pm

Jesus tells us to forgive & sometimes that’s not at all easy to do but that’s what He tells us to do! I struggle myself with forgiveness but I do pray a lot asking that I can please be able to forgive & I know God is in control so he is with me! Everyone makes mistakes because we are human but we need to forgive those mistakes & live one day at a time! Today is the day I should be concerned with, not yesterday or tomorrow! Thank you Bekah for what you said! I pray John has gotten… Read more »

Kimmie
Kimmie
July 16, 2020 11:42 am

Thank you for your honesty, openness and opinion. I believe people need to own their sin, that’s their responsibility and journey, but I also believe that it is our responsibility to be Christ like to our fellow man. I’m grateful to Jesus that He hasn’t given up on me, and I want to extend that to others. Not excusing sin, but also not condemning.

Melissa
Melissa
July 15, 2020 4:37 pm

As someone who was, repeatedly, sexually abused. It would have helped, tremendously, if my abuser would have acknowledge they were wrong and apologized. I doubt very much it will happen and that is the 1 piece that I need. He’s made me feel unworthy and any little thing he says or does to criticize or belittle the pain is there. I’ve used this experience to help others so I know this was part of God’s plan for me. God needed me to grow so I can help end it for others. ♡

Anonymous
Anonymous
July 16, 2020 2:57 pm

Mine was my biological father. He is also a pastor’s son. It took a long time for me to forgive what happened for the first 5 years of my life, but I did. Hearing any man own his mistakes always helps me heal a little more. Forgiveness is hard and so is owning your mistakes. Adam and Eve had a really hard time doing that and I believe all humans do, but I also think it helps all of us heal whenever any one owns their own mistakes. It takes a lot of courage to do it and I really… Read more »

G Bailey
G Bailey
July 17, 2020 12:14 am

bekah,

thank you for your well-reasoned first and second reactions. i think this is a good way for Christians to act. i have missed john crist but i think he should finish his repentance work before becoming a public figure again. that is more important than even his career.

thank you, bekah and wayfm for being a light

Nick Gehlbach
Nick Gehlbach
July 19, 2020 7:38 am

Man, for a guy who’s a Christian public figure apologizing for something pretty serious, I find it odd he doesn’t mention God, Jesus, etc at all.

Almost like he doesn’t want to push a Christian persona that would push away secular followers.

Jayne
Jayne
Reply to  Nick Gehlbach
July 20, 2020 9:15 am

That stood out to me also. This video seemed so generic and void of heart.

karen
Reply to  Nick Gehlbach
July 21, 2020 7:59 am

have to start somewhere, and admitting fault to anything is a challenge for many but actually a step in the right direction.

I was abused from 4-11 and only 1 of the 2 abusers stood up to admit, and I give credit to that individual who is still sorrowful today…but the other…..not a peep 🙁

Debbie J Swanson
Debbie J Swanson
July 20, 2020 12:18 pm

We all make mistakes. It is how we learn. We have all screwed up in one area of life or another. We’re human, not infallible. Therefore, John is a brother, and we can show him all the love and compassion and forgiveness to help lead him to a path of righteousness, wholeness, peace, and a sound mind.

Beth Browne
Beth Browne
July 20, 2020 12:44 pm

I myself was molested by a relative that was also an elder in the church I know I was not the only one. It took me many many many years to forgive him and his wife who knew but allowed it to continue, but once I did wow what a release! My life was pretty messed up for a while all I can say is….. But God!

Frank Williams
Frank Williams
July 20, 2020 9:25 pm

This should be handled privately, it is not likely that a public navigation of these issues, with each individual will serve any of the parties well. What do you do with a dead horse, because public discussion obviously is not going to properly resolve the issues with each and every situation. There are probably legalities involved. Behavior must be changed, and the passions of the comedian need to be properly channeled. Since, I am from Louisville, Kentucky I have watched a few horse races. I remember a big race at Belmont, New York two champions, one male and the other… Read more »

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