Until we abandon partisanship for the Gospel, our national political climate will continue to suffer.
While we await the political fallout of Friday’s bombshell that FBI director James Comey is re-opening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, there is an angle to this story that will likely be ignored. However, it is arguably the most important angle of them all.
God is God, and we are not.
He gives us rules for a reason, and there’s a reason why He calls them commandments and not mere suggestions. Regardless of what pretend “law” wayward human institutions may conjure, there really is only one law on this planet and it is His. And if we persist in breaking His law, it will ultimately break us.
This presidential election is a painful reminder of this truth. For it is being driven not by substantive issues that will really determine the future of our nation for the next four years, but by this very principle. Three men — Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and now Anthony Weiner — and their unrestrained sexual appetites are going to play the biggest roles in the outcome on November 8th. Not the candidates’ positions on real issues.
These three men need accountability for their actions, for sure, including being nowhere near the most powerful office in all the world in an ideal situation.
Because try as we might, and pretend as we so often do, the real issue has always been character. It counts most of all. Public policy doesn’t trump (no pun intended) personal integrity, despite all the sweet nothings we tell ourselves so we can justify wallowing in our sin all the more.
Whether it’s the predatory and/or boorish actions of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, or now the tawdry creepiness of Anthony Weiner, exposing yourself to those you’re not married to at the time exposes you to more trouble than you can possibly imagine. As well as to those around you, and often at the least opportune times. Our sins have a way of finding us out.
This election is nothing more than that age-old story. Wars have been fought over the unrestrained sexual appetites of men. Like when a face once launched a thousand ships. Kingdoms have been threatened by the unrestrained sexual appetites of men, like we see with David and his son Solomon in the Bible. Families are often ended in this culture by the unrestrained sexual appetites of our men, which is constantly fed and fomented by the perpetual red light district that exists online.
Though we want to tell ourselves what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is nobody else’s business, or flaunt on a hot mic is just harmless “locker room talk,” the exact opposite is true. For now what Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Anthony Weiner were doing in these circumstances is everyone’s business.
It even impacts America’s ability to do business. Like when the stock market plunged in reaction to the news the FBI was re-opening the Clinton investigation thanks to Weiner’s sexting scandal. Weiner was too far gone to contemplate how he was endangering himself with his sins, let alone the amount of money lost in one day on Wall Street thanks to his lack of restraint.
Similarly, Bill Clinton never bothered to consider he could bring down his whole presidency for turning the word “humidor” into a verb with an intern in the White House. And it’s obvious Donald Trump’s entire life — from the divorces, to the bankruptcies, to the way he’s campaigned on the biggest stage of all — has been an exercise in escaping any accountability whatsoever.
Yet, here we are in the final days before another important election. Caught in the Bermuda Triangle of three men’s genitals, with literally the immediate future of the country at stake.
I say these provocative things not because I’m self-righteous, but because of my own lack of righteousness. Like so many of the men in my generation, I was literally discipled into and marinated by today’s porn chic that is all the rage. I know who Ron Jeremy is. Who John Holmes was. Who Jenna Jameson is. In fact, I’ve got carnal knowledge of all three, if you know what I mean. I wasn’t a virgin on my wedding night. My wife and I lived together before we were married, and we didn’t sleep in separate rooms.
In short, I did everything God said not to do. The only difference between me and these three men is the power they had at their disposal to act out in ways my limited means did not permit me to.
On second thought, there’s another difference between me and them. I agreed to let God go about changing my life, and consented to the painstaking work of transforming me into the person He made to be. Not the person my sin was turning me into.
These three men need accountability for their actions, for sure, including being nowhere near the most powerful office in all the world in an ideal situation. Although at least one of them likely will be come January.
But even more than they need accountability, they need forgiveness. Not from us, but from God. The forgiveness they must seek for themselves. We should pray they will seek it, so they can learn as I have that mercy triumphs over judgment. That God’s grace doesn’t mean we escape accountability, but gives us the character to accept it and then the strength to overcome our weaknesses. To be better than we are, and we ever could be on our own.
Christian leaders like Billy Graham used to deliver this message to our politicians, which is why they were often friends to those in power regardless of party. Unfortunately, in this election, it seems as if Christian leaders have delivered every message but this one. How many Christian leaders do you believe are hoping to politically capitalize on the failings of these three men rather than do anything to help them sincerely repent and be truly restored?
That’s the real Gospel, not some seat at the table. Sadly, though, it is a Gospel mostly being silenced in exchange for the false gospel of partisanship. Which means we are likely to continue suffering as a result of the sins of our unrepentant politicians no matter who wins in November.