Ravi and Rush – Failures and Successes

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Let’s take a pause from politics and consider the passing of two great men: one who never pretended to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but grew into it—and the other who had a relationship with Christ, but now we know he fell away. We’ll be looking at the lives of radio entertainer and political commentator Rush Limbaugh who died on Wednesday, and evangelist extraordinaire Ravi Zacharias, who passed in 2020, but whose true character is now being brought to life.

Both men had enormous success and even greater failures. One overcame, and the other was overcome. Their lives and their deaths show us that each day is ours to take into account. Will we reap blessings or curses?

RUSH

Rush Limbaugh called himself a lovable little fuzzball whose talent was “on loan from Gawd.” He grew from a failed disc jockey, who gave it one more try, into a man who revolutionized talk radio. Rush was brilliant, could talk for three straight hours (with a few “obscene profit centers” thrown in), whether he took callers or not. Rush could easily and artfully expose hypocrisy in a way that would make listeners laugh out loud. He was beloved by his listeners and hated by many of those who disagreed—mainly because they couldn’t hold a candle to his intellect, his humor, and the truth.

I began listening to Rush in 1991, astounded that I found a powerful voice able to validate my own beliefs. I rarely missed a show! A few years later, I was paid by a company out of New York to listen to Rush, make show notes, and highlight whenever he mentioned the name of a corporation. The editor who made the assignment was apologetic, “Limbaugh can be hard to take, so let me know if this gets to be too much for you.”

“Will do,” I responded, leaping with abject joy and praising God that I was getting paid to listen to Rush!

Above: Rush Limbaugh receives Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowed by First Lady Melania Trump during the 2020 State of the Union address.

As the years went on, Rush got better and better. He also got softer and more humble. He lost all of his hearing in 2001, but it was significantly restored with a cochlear implant. In 2003, he admitted seeking treatment for an addiction to pain medication, and three years later, Rush turned himself in “on a single charge of prescription fraud,” which was later dismissed because he complied with court mandated treatment. 

Between those two events, I moved with my family to rural Georgia where there was no AM radio and no Rush. I was busy raising four children, training horses and teaching riding lessons. These were the George W. Bush years, when many of us breathed a sigh of relief and thought the country was in good hands. 

Rush used to say that Democrats were outrageous and fun to watch when they got into office. And so it was with Obama—funny, in a sick sort of way! Then, as now, we are the opposition party, not having to defend anyone or anything, daily astonished at their crazy ideas. Alas, now we know that crazy policies, like AOC’s, have dire consequences. At least we could turn to Rush and receive a dose of optimism to mitigate the insanity!

But now Rush is gone. At the end, he confessed his relationship with Jesus and his earthly candle was extinguished with words of modesty and humility.

President Trump was interviewed on several programs Wednesday. He aptly described Rush’s ability to fight to the end and his intense patriotism, adding, “He wanted to get past the election and he made it easily.” What Rush fans felt with the spurious inauguration is the same gut punch we experienced with his death. Talent on loan from God was recalled from whence it came.

There are many others whom Rush mentored, such as Mark Steyn and Sean Hannity, who may help fill the void. But there will always only be one Rush Limbaugh.

RAVI

The other man whose passing merits our attention is evangelist and fallen Christian leader Ravi Zacharias. A few months after his death last May, we began to hear increased rumblings of predatory sexual sin. Now we know the details: “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape,” according to an investigation by RZMI, the ministry he founded.

Very few men have ever been able to turn atheists’ arguments into mush like he could. How sad that it was something as mundane as sexual lust that turned his walk with Jesus into mush.

We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. Or should we? RZMI hired outside investigators to look into what happened and learn from it, “so nothing like this happens again.”

This is the organization under whose cover a sexual predator operated and was protected—and truth-seekers were marginalized.

Above: Ravi Zacharias at 2015 prayer breakfast in Louisiana, hosted by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Ravi used his salary from ministry donations to purchase massage parlors so that he could have sex whenever he desired. He preyed on women who were trying to earn a living as massage therapists and who thought of him as a grandfather/protector. When they began to object to his sexual advances, he used God and biblical figures like David to justify his own personal harem.

He used a credible (and later found to be truthful) accusation against him in 2017 to destroy his accusers. The ministry stood behind him and has now repented, saying “others trusted Ravi because they trusted us.”

Despicable… and not so surprising.

The Bible is full of accounts of imperfect people, the direction they moved during their time on earth is what’s important. Paul celebrated murder and went on to write much of the New Testament. David went from having a man killed to full repentance. But Solomon, the king and smartest man who had ever lived, readily left wisdom to pursue folly. He died without repenting.

Psalm 90:12 has a strong warning: God, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. The Apostle Paul echoed that sentiment, saying, “But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Cor. 9:27

Oh, that we would heed those words!

Whatever Rush and Ravi taught us, let’s learn that we must not just run the race, but finish well. Jesus was tempted like we are, every which way, yet He was without sin. And because God knows that it is impossible for us to “sin not,” Jesus came not just to live perfectly and show us His Father, but to make a way for us to be righteous through Him. We simply cannot do it any other way.

Rush knew he needed God and turned to Jesus in the end. I hope Ravi did the same. God’s mercies are new every morning. Today is the day of salvation for those who have faith. In these troubling days, may we remember that God is not the author of confusion. Those who turn to Him will find strength, hope, and a bright future that does not depend on who is in office. Whether we live or we die, we will be with the Lord.

Comments

  1. Susan Gillespie says:

    Wow I guess it’s true about Ravi. This is pretty good proof and sad. But good for Rush! Thank you!

    >

    Like

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