I know that I said that I would post a follow up to the Sanford post "tomorrow". What I forgot to tell you is that I subscribe to the "Gap" theory of blogging, that 1 day doesn't have to mean a literal 24 hrs. I also said that I would talk about a biblical way to solve their problem, and maybe stay together, but that is going to have to wait too.
Instead, I want to look at his statement again, because it is very instructive for those of you who are unhappy in your marriage, or in other ways, might be prone to an affair. Take a look:
"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he “crossed lines” with a handful of women other than his mistress - but never had sex with them."
He also said that, “This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story,” Sanford said. “A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.”
This is why I'm not a good counselor. I don't have the patience to sit and listen to all of these excuses of why people do terrible things. If there is one thing that this was not - it's a love story. (Did I say that right?) All that we need to know is in those two short paragraphs. I could have saved him the trouble of going through the whole sordid tale.
He said he had crossed the line with a handful of women in addition to his mistress. What does that tell you about him? It tells you that he did not simply fall in love with a forbidden women; all of this happened because he was a chronic cheater! He was testing the water, looking for the one that he wanted to actually sleep with! He was seeking out a relationship, he didn't stumble into one. Anybody with knowledge and proximity to him probably saw this coming for a long time.
I have heard journalists blame it on a midlife crisis, and, you know, it's so tough out there for men. He wants you to believe that he is just a decent man that fell in love with the wrong woman. Unfortunately for him, he told us too many details for us to believe that is true. He was a married man who sought out and would not be denied his adultery.
I'm sure *some of you think I am being too hard on him. You might be thinking words like, judgmental and mean, or uncompassionate. You might post comments like, "judge not lest you be judged," or "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Or maybe even, "The early bird gets the worm." Of course that doesn't have anything to do with anything, so I would soundly rebuke you...but I digress.
Listen, I need you to hear me on this - I am not judging his soul, because I don't know the guy and I can't do that anyway, but I am judging his behavior and calling him on the baloney he's peddling. Our postmodern culture wants to have a qualifier on all truth. "Well, you have to take in to consideration what he was going through and the situation at the time, and if his mother held him too close, or not close enough, blah, blah, blah." In other words, I can't say what he did was wrong, because maybe in his situation it wasn't wrong, or at least it can be explained. People are way more upset that he left the country without handing the reins of power to someone else, than they are about what he did to his wife and family.
You need to understand that doesn't have any basis in Scripture. Jesus (or any of the Bible writers, for that matter) did not deal in relative truth. There is right, and there is wrong, and the Bible gives us enough knowledge to know the difference and the responsibility to do something, or at least say something about it.
The Apostle Paul, in his writings, sometimes came off very abrasive, because he would call out sin and bad behavior when he saw it in the Church...and he would name names!!!! How about that for a church newsletter?
All that to say - it is perfectly alright, and even necessary to point out what this is: a bunch of excuses and rationalizations for sin. That is how the Church stays protected from false teaching, by fiercely defending Truth. It's not judgment, which is God's job - it is discipline, for his sake and for those who would follow his lead.
Okay, so, what do we take away from this and how do we learn from it? Well, I am going to have to finish this "tomorrow" because it is 3 a.m. (don't ask). Suffice it to say, for now, that this situation is completely avoidable and there is no excuse for it. None. Not one.
In the next post, I want to talk about the 3 different kinds of married people and how you can avoid the trap of adultery (in thought or deed!). I know, you are hanging on pins and needles (how do you hang on a pin, anyway?)
*if there are more than two people who read this blog, I can officially use the term, "some".