Thursday, March 13, 2008

Competence or Character

The talk around the water cooler, at least where I work is all about the NY Governor scandal’s wife! No, not necessarily the scandal, the discussion revolves around his wife.

I’ll be the first to admit when I saw photos and press coverage of her standing beside her husband as he “confessed” to his extramarital encounters I snickered a little. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “Stand By Your Man” but c’mon, she looked like she had been through the wringer.

All day I have heard the references to Hilary and Bill, and how Hilary “stood by her man…” and a few other politicians who were recently exposed were brought up as well. Most women come right out with it, “She ‘s sticking it out for the money,” or “She’s just doing what she is told….” Ugh, both reasons have little, if any clout with me. To be honest, I am not surprised. For right now, she is doing what she has to. Who knows what she will do later. They have three teenage daughters to think about.
On the flip side of this… (you knew I would do that, right?) I was thinking about something I read recently relating to the unfaithfulness of men in elected political positions. According to statistics most people really don’t care about adultery in the lives of these men as long as it does not affect their competence. In my opinion, it certainly does affect their competence! If the man can’t make good on an oath to his wife, how can I expect him to be competent in his oath to an entire country!
Last year I was talking with another woman in ministry. She confided in me about something that really bothered her. Apparently she had at some time discussed the topic of adultery among pastors with another pastor (he was not guilty of an affair- they were just talking). She was shocked when he told her that people will forgive you for having an affair but they won’t forgive you if you can’t preach. She was really bothered about this statement, as she should have been.

My position on this is a little different than my position relating to politicians. There IS a difference, both offices take an oath, however, the oath of a public politician does not include the Ten Commandments but the oath a minister takes has a higher set of standards. Those standards are in the Word.

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” (Titus 1:6-9)

I do believe in forgiveness and I believe that infidelity can be forgiven and worked through. I do not believe that any one should be a doormat and allow such behavior to continue. Furthermore, there is something to be said for women who may also fall into such a devastating situation. My feelings are the same.

We have all read about pastors in our nation who have given in to sexual immorality. There are some circles where such behavior has resulted in children finding out that their daddy was not the man they had thought. Yes, in the church. I don’t know about you but I find that a lot harder to swallow than the fact that a man can’t preach.
In closing, know that I am well aware that we are ALL susceptible to sin. But for the grace of God it could be any one of us… however, in light of this recent situation and those that have occurred in the past, let us walk slowly and deliberately contemplating our commitment to God and to those we lead. In plain English, we should also remember that although our talents and ability may get us a platform, only our character will keep us there.


Deanna Shrodes said...

Oh my word, that is so true. Agreed on everything here, but the statement you said that stuck out to me personally was, "they'll forgive you if you have an affair but they won't forgive you if you can't preach." I hate to say it but with many people that is true. And it's something that really sticks in my craw now and again! One day Larry and I and our BF in ministry were sitting and talking about something of the largest churches in our fellowship and/or people in various authority positions and our BF comes out with the following, "Well, I guess all you have to do in the AG to pastor a big church is run out and have an affair..." Now, it wasn't that these people had affairs and imediately pastored big churches but many years later some are. And it makes you wonder...what about the "small church pastor" who has been faithful to his/her church, faithful to their spouse, for YEARS, yet they are not granted the same accolades as some of these others and it just makes you think that indeed, there is something to the fact that some will forgive you for having an affair, as you can preach good...and keep the crowds coming's alright...

I hate that.

Kerry said...

When will people realize that character is so much more important than outer appearance. We may talk the talk but if we can't walk the walk...actions speak so much louder than words. The heart is important to God and He knows your heart. Sin is sin is sin. The Bible clearly states that regardless of what the sin is. What will matter most to God, that you can't preach as good as Pastor so and so and you don't have a megachurch or that you committed adultery?