Why Are The Enablers Of Bill Hybels Not Asking For Forgiveness?

A person who was part of Ravi Zacharias’s ministry has come forward with a public apology for his complicity with covering Ravi’s sin. See the below site.


Why has no one who covered for Bill Hybels written a similar apology to the women violated by him? Is it because, much like it seems Bill has done, they do not want to embrace the humility necessary for seeking forgiveness? Even if Bill, the perpetrator, cannot embrace the grace necessary for entering the broken space of repentance, what about those who, as in Ravi’s case, enabled his behavior? Why has there been no strong endorsement of the shameful way Bill’s victims were vilified? Why no courageous endorsement of the horror of the violation of these women’s sacred boundaries?

Ravi was a classmate of mine at Trinity, and we shared a love of philosophy. We talked many times about intellectual topics as it related to our faith in God. I recognized his immense intelligence even at this stage of his life. We drifted apart over time, checking in over events we attended. I was disheartened when, little by little, information leaked out about his inappropriate sexual behaviors. But, as I reflected on it, I was not surprised. Ravi, though brilliant, lacked emotional/social intelligence. This is a recipe for emotional isolation and vulnerability to the pseudo-feelings that sexual experiences provide. Individuals like Ravi get trapped in the burden of their own success, feeling both anxious and irritated by the demands they take on.

Without the deep accountability that tough and confronting brothers provide, people like Ravi and Bill, formulate a shadow life that soothes their sense of isolation, while forcing them to live compartmentalized lives. They then form a cadre of attendants to their isolated experience by protecting and defending the successful person. These attendants have such a personal “buy-in” to the fame of the person, that they derive “worth by association”, and therefor do not call out inappropriate behavior.

Bravo to this person who owned the fact that it was not only the perpetrator, Ravi, but also those who sinned by association, being culpable in the denial and protection of failed leader. It took guts to say what he did. He recognized that he was caught up in the way that Ravi was able to manipulate the truth. The part of him who benefited from the truth not coming out, was complicit.

Where are those who provided cover for Bill? Why are they not stepping up and owning their complicity in the tragic abuse of these women? Cowards? If they would step up, even though Bill does not have the courage to face his own shadow, it would so powerfully affirm the pain of these women.

As an aside, the strongest indication of the guilt of someone is their running away and avoiding the people they have sinned against. Where is Bill? Why has he not been back? He often said that Willow was the greatest community in the world. He also said that Willow is his home church, and that he would be around and attend. We have all played “where is Waldo”. Should we play “where is Bill”?

One thought on “Why Are The Enablers Of Bill Hybels Not Asking For Forgiveness?

  1. Jim, it is sometimes puzzling for those with a sense of responsibility for our own actions and to have grown up to acknowledge our own guilt to fathom how life can just go on without ownership for one’s behavior by others, especially those that have held themselves up as a paragon of virtue. Where there is no accountability, there can be no truth or reconciliation. Those that can own their actions have no problem looking into the mirror. Can BH look in the mirror without a shadow of guilt? Can his enablers look in the mirror and feel good about what they see? As you point out, most people have trouble understanding how anyone can expunge an entire period from their life as if it never existed. MP

Leave a Reply