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This week playwright and comedian Tyler Perry was on the Oprah Winfrey Show detailing, for the first time, his history of physical abuse, sexual abuse and the adult life struggles that ensued as a result. Tyler described times when beatings were so severe that he once blacked out for 3 days, and sexual abuse from both men (3 before age 10, including one minister who performed oral sex on him) and at least one woman that also wanted to fulfill her lust with a child. Here's a video excerpt of one of the events of physical abuse that changed Tyler forever: Opra.com
Tyler Perry's description of his early years:
Let Me Be Clear:
At first, I was under the impression that this interview would be like the Kirk Franklin interview simply outlining the numerous sins and hypocrisy of yet another popular gospel personality. After viewing the show and listening intently to what was said, I can only say that I have a new, deeper and more profound respect for Tyler Perry and what he has endured. I part ways with the punditry that continues to criticize and mischaracterize this man's experiences and desires. Although there is legitimate, ongoing conversation that must be encouraged, I hear LOUD and CLEAR, by his own testimony that Tyler is not nor has ever been a homosexual.
To their shame, popular pundits have used Tyler's experience to argue against other individuals unrelated to any significant issue at hand. Some have taken the position that no matter what "Tyler ain't saved" because he continues to satire his aunt Jerry (Mudea) on stage and in movies. For them, the reality of this man's experience takes a back seat to what he does on stage and in Hollywood.
|Aunt Jerry aka Mudea|
Another area of confusion is over understanding and distinguishing the difference between a physical response (an erection) to unwanted sexual abuse and undesired sexual and physical aggression. For those critics, only conformity to a set of standards, rules and codes, usually outlined by and for them, are the only thing important. In fact, one popular minister posted the following regarding Tyler's revelations during the interview:
"If Tyler Perry confessed to being confused sexually and his best friend is TD Jakes? Why is he still confused? Isn’t Jakes a man of God? Isn’t he able to cast out demons and heal the sick? Isn’t he the master of men’s emotions and an awesome deliverer of the word with power? Why can’t TD Jakes, best friend of a sexually confused, cross dressing man, help him? This situation speaks volumes for TD Jakes sexuality."
Now, there are quite a few problems with this statement including the fact that Tyler didn't mention T.D. Jakes at all, but somehow, TD became the target of this minister's retort...Besides the fact that it is totally callous and indifferent statement toward individuals who have suffered from sexual and physical abuse ~ from a MINISTER~ this sort of reasoning implies that all saved people really aren't saved if they have unsaved family members or friends. In other words, your realness is proven by your ability to save those around you??? I suppose, according to this pundit, the salvation and "power" of any believer should be in doubt if the inability to convert family members and friends doesn't immediately arise as a result of a relationship.
In short, this and statements like this are ridiculous sentiments to say the least. One reason could be because everyone that I know of has at least one unsaved family member. Some godly and powerful individuals have husbands, wives and even children that are not saved. There are many logical flaws with this sort of reasoning, if it can be called reasoning at all.
Let's look at the aspersion of sexual confusion for a minute. Did Tyler say anything that would ascribe him as being "sexually confused"?
NO. The fact is that I heard a Tyler Perry that was anything but sexually confused. I heard a Tyler Perry that confessed that he studied his sexuality for quite some time distinguishing the difference between his desire and what his body wanted to "deceive" him into believing. This sort of reasoning may be unfamiliar to many, but from a psychological and biblical standpoint, these types of statements and reasonings are anything but confused. The bible plainly outlines the war between the flesh, the spirit, and the mind, indicating that we can know the "mind of the Spirit" and distinguish its call from the call of the flesh. In fact here is the exchange between Oprah and Tyler regarding this "confusion"
Oprah: Did [the molestations] leave you confused sexually?
Tyler: Yes, absolutely. How could it not? I knew I liked the little girls in the neighborhood, but this man was doing something to me and my body kept betraying me. It took me all of my 20s to figure out what this was that this man had given me to carry inside of my heterosexuality that did not belong to me. This is why so many men will not talk about this—the shame of having to admit that. And there is no textbook definition for what molestation does to someone. Each individual is different.
Oprah: Everyone is different.
Tyler: This is my story, so another man who has been molested may have a different story. But for me to be in this position and have what he had done to me...he gave me something to carry that I didn't want, that I didn't desire. And thank God, somewhere along the way, I found what you feed will grow in your life, and what you don't will starve.
He summarized the actions of all of his molesters like this:
"All of these people had given me something to carry,"..."I think that everyone who's been abused, there is a string to the puppet master, and they're holding you hostage to your behaviors and what you do. At some point, you have to be responsible for them. What I started to do is untie the strings and chase them down to where they came from. And I was able to free myself and understand that even though these things happened to me, it was not me."
What Tyler was given was the burden of sin. This was the load that he carried. It is obvious that whatever was previously confusing is no longer confusing and what burdens that he was carrying, he learned to lay down. All of which are biblical principles:
Matthew 11:28-30 ~ 28- Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29-Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30- For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light."
Now, the critic would ask, Is Tyler saved? I believe we can agree that if som there is some work to do, as he adds more of the world to himself, but we must look to the argument at hand and ask, are we really to believe that the nature of our sins follow some uniform standard, code or set of rules? Are we to believe that there are "gatekeepers" who somehow certify our sin and repentance in a context that suits them?
Here we have yet ANOTHER classic example of the church, listening to and witnessing a victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse and clergy sexual abuse, explain their story only to be received by a church who yet blames the VICTIM for what he has experienced and how he has responded. This is the sad reality that we face.
Discovering Healing From Sexual Abuse